Fratello On Air is here, and we finally get around to answering a reader’s question about vintage chronograph movements. Are there differences? Which do we like best? We attempt to answer some of these questions in a chatty, non-technical way. We hope you enjoy it!

Balazs and Mike love a good reader question, and after over a month of travel and tackling different subjects, it was time to respond. Our reader sent us a question about vintage chronograph movements. Which do we like, are there differences, and should some be avoided? Well, we aren’t watchmakers, so the technical discussion is light. Still, little differences find their way into the conversation along with some of our favorite watches that use these movements.

Excelsior Park Tuxedo Dial Chronograph

Handgelenks Kontrolle

Before moving on to the main topic of vintage chronograph movements, it’s time for a Handgelenks Kontrolle. Balazs has come correct with his newly acquired Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 powered by the caliber 321. Mike also enters the game with his Excelsior Park “Tuxedo Dial” with an EP4 movement.

Heuer Autavia 2446 diagonal

The chronograph movements

For our main topic, we have decided not to boil the ocean. We simply could not discuss every vintage chronograph, so we chose our four favorite manual-wind movements with column wheels. As we mentioned, we aren’t watchmakers, so we’ll leave many of the technical intricacies to others. However, our research did point out that all four movements were stellar and that personal preference likely towers over true technical prowess. We discuss:

  • The Valjoux 72, is one of the most famous movements of all time. Its peculiar asymmetric pusher placement is a hallmark, and its robustness is a key feature. This is the engine behind greats from Heuer, Rolex, Universal Genève, and countless others.
  • The Venus 178 is a reliable, overlooked worker. Breitling used this movement heavily, as did Benrus and Clebar.
  • The Lemania 2310 (Omega 321) is the movement that went to the Moon! However, lunar travel wasn’t its only claim to fame. This movement found its way into many Omega watches and its predecessor, the 27 CHRO C12 is just as legendary.
  • The Excelsior Park EP4/EP40 just might be our favorite of all! This stunning movement is a niche piece versus the others listed here. These movements were used by Gallet, Girard-Perregaux, and Zenith to name but a few.

As always, thanks for listening! Please feel free to let us know if you have any other show ideas.