The Titoni Heritage 83019 S-ST-638 Is As Old As New Can Be
Heritage is a word on everybody’s lips. In fact, it has been for what feels like years, now. The watch industry is deep into the heritage warren. It is up to brands to engage wisely with this trend. Glibness should be discouraged. Ignorance is foolhardy. Sympathy is crucial to creating a watch that is at once reverential and relevant. Essentially, any attempt at creating a “heritage-inspired” model must result in something worthwhile. In the context of Titoni’s current catalog, I’m compelled to claim that the Titoni Heritage 83019 S-ST-638 more than lives up to the task. Why? Because this is something surprisingly new…
Exactly how easy it is for a brand to pull off a successful heritage launch has a lot to do with how familiar the brand’s target demographic is with its history. For many brands, you might assume that there is no demographic more likely to be aware of and engaged with the brand’s history than the brand’s target group. Nine times out of 10, you’d be right. Titoni, however, faces a slightly more unusual route to success. You see, Titoni has been around for a long, long time, but, due to focusing its business in the far east for many years, its current target demographic (those of that call Europe home) did not grow up as surrounded by Titoni watches as we were by brands like Breitling, Rolex, and Omega, for example.
And so the struggle is real: how does a brand effectively echo its past when its past is wont to look like its present and its future to an audience that may not have been charmed by this brand in its youth? Well, Titoni found an interesting solution: remake a watch that never was…
Finding the sweet spot
You see, Titoni isn’t the only brand under the Titoni umbrella. It also has a sister brand named Felca. Titoni never made the watch that inspired the Heritage 83019 S-ST-638. Crucially, however, Felca did. Not only did Felca make this watch, but the brand also made a really good job of it. So good, that Titoni decided to bring it into its catalog for the first time, more than half a century after its original release in 1948.
Right off the bat, the bold, fresh, “lemon-beige” colored Arabic numerals, which give an instant vintage vibe to proceedings, make this Titoni stand out. This is pretty much the biggest change from the original, bar its size (the Felca was 33mm wide). The original (powered by the AS 1250 movement) had greenish numerals. Some may have preferred to see them brought back, but I love the warmer tone of these numbers personally.
One of the funniest things about bringing this design over from the Felca line into the Titoni catalog is that full Arabic numeral dials were not a massive component of Titoni’s past. If you dig really deep into the back-catalog, you’ll find similar numbers on a Titoni Airmaster (which is a really nice model, by the way), but given that the brand’s “golden era of expansion” was proliferated mostly by dressier, applied indices, the choice to make a Felca the focus of the brand’s Heritage collection is interesting. Interesting, and, in a word: awesome.
Restrained but rewarding
The design of the dial is balanced and very mature. There is no desperation at play here. It’s the kind of restraint that would make Coco Chanel proud. Colors have been kept to a minimum. The bright red seconds hand is the only real accent. It is a very prominent accent, however, but manages to present itself in a very clean fashion by being so self-contained.
There is no red on the dial to tie the hand into the face itself, which is something I would normally advocate. Here, however, I think it adds to the vintage style — in trawling through mounds of vintage watch catalogs, I noticed that contrasting dial print colors are rarer than we might think (given their commonness these days). And before anyone mentions the famous Rolex “double red” Sea-Dweller, take a look at the kind of prices those things go for…
A solid movement and a good price
So what’s inside this handsome heritage-inspired, but very much new piece? Here we have an automatic Sellita SW200-1. The SW200-1 is as solid a movement as you’re likely to find coming out of the Sellita factory. There is no date complication to busy-up the dial. And, rejoice, there no day complication to give watchmakers headaches during the assembly phase.
The movement sits inside a 39mm stainless steel case that is water-resistant to 50 meters. The watch looks most at home on the leather strap, in my opinion, and retails for an approachable €930 in that configuration. Crazily, however, the bracelet version (reference 83019 S-638) is only €15 more expensive. I’m assuming that has a lot to do with the finely made deployant clasp on the standard leather.
The bracelet is very handsome. It is a quite unusual 7-link style that honestly looks somewhere between a beads of rice and a Jubilee style to me (the middle three links have a jubilee profile, but the additional two rows of links on the outside give it a BoR feel). For the sake of €15, I think I would actually buy it on the bracelet. After that, I would source an after-market vintage brown leather band for it separately.
Those prices, by the way, are inclusive of VAT when shipped to Germany (where the VAT is 19%). If you live elsewhere, the prices may be marginally different. However, I’m confident they wouldn’t be different enough to make this anything other than a strong value proposition. It is well made, handsome, and pleasingly versatile. I’m a fan. The more I learn about Titoni (and Felca), the more impressed I am. Learn more about Titoni here.