The MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 watch
If we had to pick one class of timepieces that are hitting the spot and have somehow overperformed during the pandemic, I'll, without a doubt, list the majority of independent watch brands. The boutique brands aforementioned keep growing their fan base among collectors and connoisseurs, outperforming their mainstream siblings. Case in point, the waiting list is here the outcome of stand-out craftsmanship along with small production batches. Habring2 belongs to this elite and offers top-notch timepieces at an affordable price point, featuring chronographs and split-seconds that Richard Habring masters like few others. Habring2 and our friends at MONOCHROME, a long-standing luxury media "dedicated to fine watches" since 2006, have joined their forces to commemorate the magazine's 15th anniversary.
Frank Geleen's media and the Austrian-founded brand partnered to craft a distinctive Chrono-Felix, which stands apart from the ordinary collection from an aesthetic standpoint and nostalgia "touch and feel". What can we take out from the watch's full name: MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1? Let's hope that the team at Monochrome will follow up with other collaboration pieces along the way; also, the watch pays homage to the once-called subscription watches. From a technical standpoint, you'll find all the traits and specs which are standard equipment of a Chrono-Felix, while packed in a more effective formula to the vintage die hard-fan.
The MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 aims at being a super collector's vintage-inspired chronograph drawing inspiration from vintage 1940s chronographs. Unlike other similar projects, Monochrome adopted, in my opinion, a winning approach geared towards the most demanding watch connoisseur. At 38 mm across and 12 mm in thickness, it is a mono-pusher chronograph whose start, stop and reset button is located at two o'clock. The icing on the cake is that the MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 welcomes a warm and eye-catching salmon dial which is becoming much wanted in this class of products; I won't be surprised if the team took their inspiration from lovely pieces like some Minerva-based Montblanc, for instance. All in all, the new Montre de Souscription 1 is a three-tone watch: salmon-coloured sector dial pairs with mirror-polished hands in steel, with the central and thirty-minute Chrono hands sport a vivid blue. Also, the case is extensively brushed front to back.
As you flip the watch over, you'll get a glimpse of the hand-wound movement (visible through a sapphire crystal), whose engineering and finishing prove Habring2's expertise. Richard Habring is an expert watchmaker who has extensively worked on 7750-powered Chronos. The 7750 is a "workhorse" like no other, but please don't compare a standard calibre with such a beauty. Richard himself fully re-engineered the calibre, which proves to be a class of its own in performance, finishing and appeal. It's like asking Rob Dickinson of Singer Vehicle Design to pimp your old-fashioned 911, like for like.
The outcome is the calibre A11C-H1 which takes a 7750's base qualities (robustness, low service costs) to new heights, both technically and esthetically. All the parts come from laser cutting or milling, not by mass-produced processes any longer, while an extensive hand-decoration extends to bridges and bevelled edges. Additionally, the escapement houses a Carl Haas anti-magnetic hairspring equipped with a KIF anti-shock device. It is worth mentioning that Richard is the father of IWC's Doppelchronograph and is one of the most recognized chronograph experts, who trained himself with Kurt Klaus under Günter Blumlein's visionary leadership.
The MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 comes with a nubuck strap or a 7-row "bead of rice" bracelet as an option. I'll opt for the first one, which I believe is the first choice for a watch this lovely, although I think the bracelet is a must-have while at the beach, for instance. As far as its retail price is concerned, the watch costs 5950 Euros (VAT not included), and with just 33 pieces on the shelf, it's a true collector's piece. If you're eager to make one of them yours, get ready to deposit 2000 Euro upfront to reserve yours by heading to shop.monochrome-watches.com. Sales are open from 24 June through 8 July. Congratulations to Monochrome on such a cool project; we look forward to the next one, guys.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Monochrome)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®