Balazs’s Top 5 Iconic Vintage Angelus Watches
Vintage watch fans are an interesting bunch of enthusiasts. We have our usual suspects when it comes to watch-preference. These include the Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Submariner, or the Breitling Navitimer, for example. Needless to say, these are not the only models we love from said brands. However, when it comes to smaller, lesser-known companies, we tend to be selective. So, from time to time, we need to remind ourselves that there are so many fantastic watches these often defunct brands can offer. This is why I selected my Top 5 iconic Angelus watches.
These are by no means the only timepieces from Angelus that I love. Yet, I have to draw the line. When Rob tells you to write a Top 5, I cannot add more. However, some of you who know me can testify to the fact I can go on and on about Angelus since it’s one of my favorite brands. Some of the models I selected for today are obvious choices. Others might be new to you. Either way, I hope you enjoy this list.
In no specific order, let’s start. The Chronodato is one of my all-time favorites and for a reason. The Chronodato is a large (38mm), steel chronograph with an in-house movement by Angelus. The caliber 217 inside the model is based on the 215. To spice things up, Angelus added a triple calendar function on top of the chronograph. This way, we got an amazingly functional timepiece that is still pretty useful today. Do need to know the day, date, or month, perhaps time your parking meter, or, God forbid, check the time? Your Chronodato is there to help you. Aside from the useful features, this timepiece came in many versions: gold plated, steel, or solid gold case with either light or dark dials. Stick or leaf hands and a date wheel in a whole bunch of languages — the perfect functional vintage Angelus for anyone.
If I talk about the Chronodato, I have to talk about the 215 as well. Possibly the most known Angelus ever, the 215 has no model name of its own. It is actually the caliber designation of Angelus’s most famous in-house chronograph movement. The brand built the 215 in a large volume. They even supplied the caliber to other companies. However, there was a unique model, in a large 38mm steel case, beautiful gilt dial and pump pushers that everybody now calls the “Angelus 215”. This watch was in production for several years. We know various versions — some with a press-on case back, others with water-resistant screw-on versions. Not to mention its military past. What makes the 215 so unique in my eyes is its simple elegance. The beautiful symmetry of the dial, with only two sub-dials and the unmistakable Angelus logo at 12. It is a thing of beauty.
Yet another gem — one that collectors sometimes overlook — is the Angelus Datalarm. When it comes to its complication, the alarm function is as much as fun as it gets. The Datalarm was not the only model that offered such a feature. Many brands like Omega with the Memomatic or Vulcain with the Cricket had timepieces with similar functions. Furthermore, the caliber (AS 1475) inside the Angelus Datalarm was not in-house anymore. As a matter of fact, you can find this movement in many other alarm watches from the same era. But does this take anything away from the awesomeness of this watch? Hardly! The earlier examples had a beautifully detailed dial with the large Angelus bell logo on it. Newer models are simpler but no less fun. In case you need a vintage watch with a date feature and a handy alarm function, look no further.
Next to the 21X line, or as I called them, the Holy Trinity (caliber 215, 216, 217), Angelus had another collection of watches that we do not talk too often about. These are the timepieces with 25X calibers. I’ll not get into the details (they numerous enough to justify their own standalone article). Still, to feed your hunger for knowledge on this topic, let me share some thoughts about the little sibling of the 25X line — the Dato 12. Looking at the photo of the watch, it’s pretty obvious where the name comes from. Our very own Tomas beat me to covering this gem in a previous #TBT article. Dato 12 might be a small timepiece, but thanks to its exciting date complication, it is still an intriguing watch. It goes without saying, the Dato 12’s 255 caliber is yet another Angelus in-house movement. Don’t let its size fool you. As they say, “Small rain lays great dust.”
I left the most special one for last. To me, this is the cherry on the — vintage Angelus — cake, the uber-beautiful Angelus Chrono-Datoluxe. The name is the combination of two less-complicated models — a regular Angelus chronograph (with caliber 250) and the Angelus Datoluxe. The latter has a moon phase and day-date function, while the earlier brings the chronograph functionality to the picture. This means that the Angelus Chrono-Datoluxe offers you features such as day-date, chronograph, and moon phase indications all in one. Inside the timepiece beats Angelus’s in-house caliber 252, from the same movement family as the Dato 12’s 255. Other than movement complexity what captivated me with this piece is its beautifully detailed dial and relatively small size. For a watch that has so much to offer the Chrono-Dateluxe is only 34mm. Compared to the Chronodato’s 38mm this is super tiny. Nonetheless, a mindbogglingly fascinating timepiece.
Pro Tip: If you want to know more about the history of Angelus, other than following our hyperlinks with tons of amazing material, collector’s guide, and more, make sure to check out the brand’s History section on their website.