Audi, a German luxury brand, which right now is busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the marque, has recently partnered with the German watchmaker Chronoswiss to present a co-branded version of the last year’s Tachoscope regulator-style chronograph. Just like the most recent generation of Audis (except, perhaps, for the gorgeous R8) the restyled watch looks, well, just like another overpriced German chronograph: an artifact that oozes perceived quality, but is otherwise absolutely nondescript.
While the original Chronoswiss Chronoscope Ref. CH1523 with its silvered dial, blued Poire hands and vintage fonts, looked like an homage to early regulator watches that, among others, were used by railway officers to adjust station clocks to keep the service safe (you know what happens when two trains try to share the same railway track at the same time,) the Tachoscope Audi Centennial Edition looks like, well, just another retro-styled modern watch that you can find in abundance at any boutique or duty-free shop, be it Geneva, Moscow or Dubai.
Yes, the wristwatch has retained its basic regulator-style layout with the centrally positioned minute hand and its vertically aligned hour and seconds sub-dials are still located at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock respectively. And its only chronograph counter is still operated with a single pusher protruding through the winding crown, too.
However, from where I sit, the new hands and numerals look just too plain and simple.
Although said to be inspired by instruments of the 1930s Auto Union race cars, in reality, they make this product looks more like a sophisticated (and hard to read!) pressure gauge, rather than an exquisite timekeeper that it initially was. I can’t say that it is really bad: there are not so many fans of “true” vintage-styled timekeepers and Audi probably wanted the watch to be as popular among its wealthy clients as possible. It just that the choice of design says something about the German automaker’s clientele.
Like the original Chronoscope CH1523, the new special edition model is powered by the Chronoswiss Caliber 125 automatic chronograph movement.
Based on Enicar 165 caliber from the 1960s (the German brand acquired a bunch of them in the early 1990s,) the movement has its column-wheel chronograph switching mechanism mounted directly beneath the dial: homage to vintage chronographs from the XIX century.
By the way, do you want to know how a real vintage-inspired timekeeper must look like?
Check the Doxa Chateau des Monts 120th Anniversary model that was, too, revealed earlier this month. That one does look like living classics in my humble opinion.
And they charge €14,900 and €24,900 for the white-gold and platinum versions of this. Well, somebody will even buy it, I suppose.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
The original Chronoswiss Chronoscope:
Chronoswiss Tachoscope Audi Centennial Edition specification
Price range: €14,900 to €24,900 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber C.125 based on the Enicar 165 movement, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
Power reserve: 35 hours
Case material: white gold or platinum, sapphire case back
Size: 38.00 mm
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator strap with a folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective