Claimed to be inspired by the famous district in the center of Paris near the Eiffel Tower, the new Saint Honore Trocadero Automatic Open Dial (ref. 880020 1NRN) is a nicely decorated, yet somewhat understated timekeeper that, while being powered by a completely unimpressive, mass-produced movement and featuring limited functionality, still brings you an interesting, even pleasant to look at design of its open-worked dial.
It looks like the guys from the French fashion brand Saint Honore know a thing or two about making a cheap thing (okay, a reasonably priced thing) look beautiful or, at least, extravagant.
You see, it is not that difficult to make a great skeleton watch when you have a team of brilliant artisans and a basically unlimited budget. Watchmaking brands that can sell their timepieces for dozens of thousands of dollars can go into great trouble of painstakingly skeletonizing movements, dials, bezels, and all other visible (and sometimes those that are not visible) parts of a watch. Those working in, so to say, mid-range price segment can, at least, buy skeletonized versions of mass-produced base movements from serious ebauche makers like ETA, and simply insert them into the same cases as the “base” models in the same collection. It’s interesting that Saint Honore didn’t bother with all the extra work: not because they are lazy, but simply because there is not much room for improvisation when you deal with hair-thin margins.
They simply took the idea of an “open heart” watch (the one where the exposed balance wheel serves as a poor guy’s tourbillon) and expanded it even further by cutting out four holes in the matte black dial and giving us view at the base plate of the good old ETA caliber 2824-2 automatic movement and at its slowly rotating calendar wheel that, too, comes as is.
Dial & Legibility
Surprisingly, the result looks interesting or, at least, amusing showing us that there indeed is a certain beauty even in an undecorated blank movement, which is produced and sold by the millions. The effect partly goes thanks to the applied silver Roman numerals and nicely shaped luminous hands that seem to be rhodium-plated and are surprisingly good at accenting the brass and steel parts of the caliber.
What’s even more impressive is that the gadget’s legibility didn’t suffer much with all three pointers clearly visible over the brass-plated baseplate of the movement. The calendar requires some getting used to, but that would probably take you, like, three seconds or less.
Purists will probably snort contemptuously at this artifact, however if you are primarily looking for a fashion watch that is reliable, looks cool, and doesn’t cost like a Ferrari (well, the official price is yet to be announced, but the Saint Honore Trocadero Automatic Open Dial is said to be modestly priced around $1000-$1500*), you should probably take a second look at this item.
There are only two things that I am not particularly impressed with. First is the simple shape of the 41mm body, and the second is the underwhelming water resistance rating of this Trocadero Open Dial: just 5 ATM may be more or less adequate for a lot more expensive timekeepers target at persons who can afford to have at least two or three timekeepers in their weekly rotation, each suitable for particular weather and activity. This one will probably be a “daily beater” for the greater majority of potential owners and its ability to protect the mechanical guts from corrosive properties of water isn’t good enough for the piece to be as versatile as one might have expected.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Photos: Saint Honore
* UPDATE ON PRICE: It is actually priced at just €795 as listed at the brand’s own online store making it an even more interesting proposition.
Saint Honore Trocadero Open Dial (ref. 880020 1NRN) specification
Price: €795 (MSRP, available on the brand’s site, tax included)
Movement: Automatic, ETA caliber 2824-2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.00 mm
Numerals: Roman (chapter ring) / Arabic (calendar wheel)
Hour markers: Silver, applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather strap on special deploying buckle
Back: Solid, engraved