It looks like the Swiss-based brand Saint Honore Paris, a French company that has a number of great models in its portfolio, but is still quite inconsistent when it comes to design, has finally found a contractor capable of making fine ceramic components for their fashion watches. Unlike Hermes, another French fashion house that has enough resources to get the best industrial designers and the best mechanical movements for their timekeepers, SHP is forced to move by really small increments towards their goal of becoming a great name in the industry. Still, they do make the progress and, around a month ago, the company has expanded its Opera line with a ceramic wristwatch designed for ladies, and now they introduce a sporty Saint Honore Worldcode Chronograph in Black Ceramic (ref. 890128 71CIN).
For a reason that I can’t really fathom, the Swiss company decided to equip the ceramic version of the Saint Honore Worldcode Chronograph with a quartz movement. Although the choice of caliber makes the watch more accurate, reliable and, possibly, increases their profit margin by a couple hundred of Euros, the quartz mechanism also detracts significantly from the timekeeper’s mojo: a thing, which is highly sought-after by men when it comes to buying cars, bikes and, yes, watches. The fact that the watchmaker decided not to talk about what movement exactly beats inside the watch, also tells a lot: there is probably simply nothing to brag about.
Even for those who happen not to care much about mechanisms that power their gadgets (after all, for some of us a watch is primarily a jewelry that’s supposed to look good with given attire in a given setting, nothing more,) the lack of official information about the mechanism must raise a red flag: knowing whether the mechanism is repairable or just another piece of throw-away junk assembled with “Asian parts” may actually be important if you (1) plan to use it for more than two or three years and (2) simply do not have that sort of disposable income that would allow you comfortably pay for a quartz mechanism after the original finally gives up on you.
Case & Bezel
The lack of a proper mechanical movement is partially compensated by the look of this beast. With black ceramic parts composing its mildly oversized body, bezel insert and even bracelet, and a sheet of carbon-fiber decorating its tri-compax dial, the watch makes some impression. The progress in design department is especially apparent if you compare this 2013 model to the previous version of the watch that was first released back in 2010.
At 43 millimeters in diameter, the watch is definitely large, so, if you are a skinny person, it would be a good idea to try one on your own wrist just to be sure that it fits.
The new dial is not as busy as the older one, and the graduated bezel looks a lot more refined, although the chosen font face looks very similar to that employed by Omega in their legendary Seamaster line.
What I DON’T like about this timepiece is low attention to details on the dial. I hope that these press photos were made using a pre-production model, but even in this case the rough, burry sub-dial cutouts in the carbon-fiber dial are absolutely unacceptable on a watch that bears “Swiss Made” inscription on its face.
Well, I hope they will figure something out before shipping the new Worldcode to stores. It is a very nice watch for those, who can’t afford a full-ceramic timekeeper from a major Swiss brand.
Speaking of “affordability,” I must say that I was quite surprised about the timekeeper’s relatively low (i.e. for a watch in a ceramic body powered by a quartz movement) price. Currently available at their own web-site for just €790 including local taxes (if you live outside of EU, you would have to also factor in shipping and custom duties,) the watch seems to be quite an interesting choice for a person looking for a nice timekeeper to put on their wrist.
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Photos: Saint Honore
Saint Honore Worldcode Chronograph in Black Ceramic (ref. 890128 71CIN) watch specification
Price: €790 (MSRP, including local taxes)
Movement: Quartz, Swiss Made
Power reserve: Around 2 years
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, tachymeter
Case material: Black ceramic
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Stainless steel
Case size: 43.00 mm
Dial: Black carbon fiber
Numerals: Arabic (bezel)
Hour markers: Steel
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black ceramic bracelet on ceramic deployant buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective