Known for its iconic “Swiss railway clock” design that the watchmaker has licensed from Swiss Federal Railway (SBB) company around 26 years ago, the group has recently started selling yet another version of the legendary watch. Powered by a cheap, but quite affordable hand-wound movement, the new Mondaine Vintage is offered in a compact and slim stainless steel body and offers you all that you can expect from the brand: a simple and clear, easy to read design.
If you have already read our hands-on review of the Mondaine Classic Big Date quartz-powered ladies watch (ref. A669.30008.11SBO), there is probably no need to waste your time retelling you the history of the brand.
In two words, being as affordable as they are, these simple yet stylish watches offer you the most style and story for the price compared to similarly priced competitors, both Swiss-based and of Japanese origin.
This new Mondaine Vintage, a part of their 2012 Summer collection, comes with the same Bauhaus design of the aforementioned Swiss railway clock, which makes it easy on the eyes and, while not looking particularly flashy, allows you to catch the timekeeper’s readings at a single glance. Like other members of the series, the gadget is not that hot in the nighttime legibility department ditching any sort of lume in favor of recognizable styling, so keep this in mind while considering one of these cold beauties.
As I have already noted, its matt satin-brushed stainless steel body is quite compact at 41 millimeters in diameter and just 8 millimeters in height.
The praise goes to the good old ETA 2801-2 movement that, thanks for its manual winding system, is only 3.35 millimeters thick saving precious vertical space and making the piece impressively thin.
The movement has been around for almost 30 years now and, while clearly not especially high-end both in terms of components and design, is known for its reliability and accuracy. However, once the warranty is expired, repairing the mechanism may be a bit impressive (at least, for a person whose budget can’t afford a watch more expensive than €500 or so: for example, even such a mundane thing as a winding stem for this movement costs around $10 on eBay, add here shipment and labor and things may start to get expensive.)
Luckily enough, the caliber is till being manufactured by ETA, so getting parts will not be a problem in the foreseeable future.
The Mondaine Vintage has already appeared at some online shops and you can order one for quite an affordable price of some 500 euro or even less if you happen to live in a country with low VAT and/or sale taxes.
Photos: Mondaine Watches
Mondaine Vintage Hand-Wound watch specification
Price: Around €500
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) caliber ETA 2801-2, 25.60 x 3.35 mm, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case material: Stainless steel, matte brushed
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case, with Mondaine “M” logo
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 8.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Steel, black and red
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle
Case back: Transparent