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Repost of J.H.'s: Not a Siffert or a Heuer...

Last night J.H. posted a picture and a query in the forum. The bug with the forum seems to have gobbled up my reply as well as J.H.'s original post. Fortunately, I had left my HTML editor open with my response still in it. So here is a repost of my reply intersperced with J.H.'s original message. J.H.'s thoughts are in bold italic type, mine are in the plain indented text. I didn't have a copy of J.H.'s original picture, but it was of a Hamilton of the same model as this one:

not a siffert or a heuer...

for that matter, but it does have the cal 11, and the contrasting dial/subdials. this one needs some work, but based on the dial alone....i can see why the siffert is so highly sought after....

This style of dial both has it's virtues and some drawbacks, at least in my book. For a long time I had a bias against contrasting sub-dial watches, mainly because they seemed "flashy" in my book. However, after purchasing a few, my harsh attitude softened.

I think that contrasting subdials add a "sporty" look to a chronograph. In the case of White Dial/Black Subdial examples, I find the dial, not only looking sporty, also seems to be very dressy as well. Almost like a White Tie chronograph.

As for the disadvantages, keep reading...

talking about the siffert, even though my little hamilton is a far cry...

Now don't sell your little Hami short... I recently picked up an interesting Hami myself...
My Chronomatic Pan-Europ 707 shares the c.14 movement that power many Heuer Autavia GMT's. A nice added feature that it's Heuer Half-Cousin's don't share is the under crystal Tachymetre scale.

J.H.... Did you by any chance pick up your calibre 11 off of eBay recently? I was looking at that one, but had computer problems that morning and was unable to bid. In any instance, don't be selling that one before you run it past me first.

now i'm curious what everyones pick of the most useful and readable chrono made by heuer is?? i don't mean the most popular like the monaco, although if that is your pick so be it.:) i'm more curious which heuer is the best and most useful for an activity such as racing, or whatever?

To be honest it's really hard to beat the Pasadena cased 7750's and 5100's all around for readability in chronographs, at least with Heuer's. The Carrera 5100 is another watch possessing superior readability, but it's plexiglas crystal makes it a less durable choice.
For a high stress environment, say a racing cockpit (or flight deck for that matter) when you need to be able to read the chronograph literally in a blink of an eye, the Lemania 5100 gets the nod over the 7750. The center pinion chronograph second and minute hand are just that much easier to read than a small sub-dial minute counter.
The Carrera 12 (c.1964) is also another good contender. Hard to fault the readability of this dial, but the larger dial and center pinion chronograph minute had of the 5100 is still tough to beat.

while i don't own a siffert, i'm pretty sure the siffert autavia would be my pick. after all if it was good enough for siffert, it's definately good enough for me. what is everyone elses thoughts? thanks in advance for any participation in my not official or otd approved survey!:)e

Actually one of the disadvantages that contrasting sub-dial watches have is the delima of what color to make the main timekeeping hands. If you choose white or black (and have a white or black dial) you run into the problem of the hands getting lost in the dial or sub-dial. If you choose "naked" or polished steel hands, they can get lost if the are reflecting a light or dark background on top of a light or dark portion of the dial.

An example of this is best shown by the sub-dial hands on my "domino" Japanese model Speedmaster Professional:

All of the hands on this watch are polished (or rhodium plated) Stainless Steel. As you can see the polished steel sub-dial hands can easily get lost in the sub-dials which makes reading the chronograph difficult, and under stress nearly impossible unless the lighting conditions are nominal.
My Bucherer c.1873 Chronograph takes an alternative approach in using white sub-dial hands which works well, but the problem with the main dial hands still exists.

This is one of the reasons I don't consider alternative subdial watches good candidate watches in high-stress situations.

Well, that's my theory... What's yours?

-- Chuck

Chuck Maddox

(Article index @

Non-Pasadena Pasadena Stainless 7750

Chronographs, like most finer things in life, only get better with time…

Messages In This Thread

Repost of J.H.'s: Not a Siffert or a Heuer...
thanks Chuck, i was actually....
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