I am so excited that I don’t even know how to start. This particular version of the Gallet MultiChron Clamshell was on my wishlist for years. When I think back on how it crossed my path, I find it so amusing, and I still can’t believe it.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my Gallet collection grew big time over the last few years. So I guess you will not be surprised to see a few more spectacular Gallet chronographs this year. To highlight the grandiose entrance into 2024, I chose a scarce Gallet MultiChron Clamshell.

The Gallet MultiChron Clamshell family

To demonstrate the real variety of MultiChron Clamshell models, I used a snapshot from the old Gallet Facebook page. One of the former Gallet representatives shared an impressive selection of Clamshell watches, all in nearly impeccable condition. If I remember correctly, these high-quality pictures were taken for a book about Gallet history. It is such a shame that this book never saw the light of day despite multiple publishing release announcements…

The most common version of the Gallet MultiChron Clamshell pops quite regularly (a few times a year). I presented it in August of last year. If you missed it, read the article as an intro to the charming Clamshell cases with screws hidden in the feet of the lugs. The two-part Clamshell case has a unique design, it wears perfectly, and it looks unusual. The bucket-like back slips inside the front piece, and all four screws in the lugs compress the two-part case when tightened. It can be found branded Fortis, Harvard, or even Breitling.

Gallet MultiChron Clamshell lumed

A lumed silver star

As you can see, all of the Gallet Clamshell models featured in that screenshot above have non-lumed stick or sword hands. But there is another that has lumed hands, and that’s the one that, for years, I was attracted to the most. I made at least two €6K buyout offers to collectors who had them, but they turned them down. That goes to show how treasured these examples are. In the last five years, I don’t remember seeing one single piece resurface in an auction. Honestly, I didn’t expect one to come up anytime soon…

Buying a car

Last November, a friend of mine decided to sell his first-generation Honda Prelude. So my last trip to the Netherlands was not to see the Fratello gang but to pick up another (yes, another) Prelude. What can I say? It’s an amazing and reliable car. It’s so reliable, in fact, that I drove mine in a classic car rally across the Romanian hills last summer, and I am about to take it on a winter classic rally in the snow in a few weeks.

Gallet MultiChron Clamshell lumed wrist shot

Buying a watch

That evening, as I was about to leave for the Netherlands to go pick up the car, I had 15 minutes left before my brother arrived. I had nothing better to do, so I opened up German eBay Kleinanzeigen. I do that just once every two or three weeks. I swear, no interesting Gallet watches have popped up on there in years. Of course, a German public advertising site would not be the prime place to look for an “American” watch. There were almost no Gallet watches at all for months. Despite that, I kept going back again and again.

A lucky find

I could not believe my eyes that evening. After not even a single solid Gallet watch in years, I was looking at crappy pictures of my long-desired lumed silver star Gallet Clamshell. I was even more surprised to see that it was still available since the ad had gone up about 10 days prior. There was no price set, just a note that it was negotiable. I opened Google Translate and drafted a German message to the seller. Shortly after, with my blood pressure and excitement skyrocketing, I jumped in a van with a trailer attached to it. It was just past 8:00 PM.

lumed Gallet MultiChron Clamshell wrist shot

Lucky hour

For the next few hours, I kept refreshing my messages. At 10:30 PM, the seller responded that the watch was still available. And the best news? It was directly on my route to the Netherlands. The next day, I picked up the Prelude in the Netherlands and hurried back to meet the seller in Köln.

Denis, the seller, was a 55-year-old bricklayer. We met in a parking lot next to some McDonalds in the center of the city. Denis didn’t speak English, and I don’t understand much German. From what I got, though, his friend cleans old apartments, found the watch in one of them, and gave it to him. Denis said that he used the watch for years.

lumed Gallet MultiChron Clamshell wrist shot

Lucky me

When I asked, Denis said he had many people interested in the watch, but he ignored online offers. He’s an old-school guy, and he deals with clients in person only. It was almost dark outside, so I used the light on my phone to check the watch. The silver star Gallet Clamshell seemed to be in mostly original condition; it just needed to have the central seconds hand relumed and get the correct crown. I didn’t even try to negotiate the price and paid what Denis asked. It was still a bargain in comparison to what I was willing to pay for the same one a few months ago…

Spa time

With a new red Prelude and silver Gallet Clamshell on my wrist, the 1,000km trip back home was a bit more pleasant. Right upon arrival, I took a NOS Clamshell Plexi crystal from my parts box and rushed to see my watchmaker. You can judge for yourself what a fantastic job he did on reluming the central chronograph hand. This reminds me of my old dilemma about whether to relume vintage watch hands or not. Two years later, I am still on Team Relume.

The visual experience

It’s a phenomenal watch. It’s the same size and has the same case as the other Gallet Clamshell I have, but it looks genuinely different. What is so magical about this design? I guess it is the presence of “double” minute tracks…sort of. Usually, you see only one of these on a dial. This Gallet utilizes both of them, the railroad track for time reading and the other for chrono. Look at it closely; it’s real magic.

lumed Gallet MultiChron Clamshell

A clean design

The overall airy, divine feeling is achieved with the absence of any colored areas. There are no “contrasting zones” here. Everything is perfectly — almost surgically — clean. The big, fat font is such a testament to the era in which this watch was born. So are the “Waterproof” inscription and old, broad, extremely seriffed Gallet logo. The sword hands look epic, and the lumed central chrono hand is romantic. Railroad tracks in the tiny sub-dials, a blued arrow-tip hand, and the dynamic positioning of the numbers are other details that I cannot get enough of. This watch has one of the cleanest yet most creative, detailed, and satisfying vintage chronograph designs.

Last thoughts

When I brought it home from service, I could not get it off my wrist for a week. Some would never touch it since it is only 34mm in diameter, but it truly feels bigger on the wrist. I’ve worn it on freezing walks with my kids, and I’ve even already taken it on a business trip. The Gallet Clamshell is a super versatile watch. Plus, the circumstances of how I found it and collected it are unbelievable. This one already holds a special place in my collection. Happy hunting!