For many years vintage watch collectors have praised Gallet chronographs made between the 1950s and the 1970s for their refined designs as well as for their solid column-wheel chronograph movements. Many of those Gallet watches were powered by Valjoux chronograph movements and by the calibers from the lesser-known Excelsior Park, an innovative Swiss caliber manufacturer that also produced movements for other top-tier brands like Zenith and Girard-Perregaux. Vintage chronograph collectors today seek out any prime examples from Gallet, but more often than not, it’s Gallet’s technically proficient MultiChron collection that gets the most notice.
Echoing its namesake, a new Gallet Watch Company last year teamed with top caliber maker Vaucher to develop a series of new Gallet chronographs meant to recall those vintage MultiChron models. According to Gallet Managing Director and Chief Watchmaker David Laurence, the new Gallet chronograph, called the Gallet Racing Heritage Chronograph, follows the "form-follows-function" tenets of those earlier models.
Thus, the Gallet Racing Chronographs offer internal, not external, tachometer scales as well as strong water resistance even without screw-in pushers. High-pressure-tested sapphire crystals at the front and rear, combined with dual O-rings at the winding crown and pushers, give the watch water resistance to 100 meters even before a single case screw is tightened, he explains.
“Over the past three decades, I have used, serviced, and restored almost every model of chronograph made during the last 130 years. My personal dream has been to someday design the ultimate chronograph that addressed the shortcomings I found inherent in every one. The result is a watch designed from the ground up for maximum performance and durability, not achievable by simply combining or making adjustments to pre-existing components,” Laurence adds.
The 40.5mm steel-cased Gallet Racing Heritage Chronograph also boasts hex-head screw bars instead of spring bars to secure the strap or bracelet to the watch. Every watch comes with the tools required to change or replace the strap or bracelet when desired.
Gallet explains that the Racing Heritage chronograph dials have also been designed to enhance visibility. Rather than allowing the hour and minute hands to occasionally obstruct viewing of the lower time recording hands, Gallet has opted to create broad, open-profile hands that are luminous at the outer section only. This means the lower registers of the chronograph maintain visibility regardless of the time of day or night.
Gallet will make 500 individually numbered Racing Heritage Chronographs ($9,600). A second version of the same watch, the Jim Clark Legacy Edition Chronograph (250 pieces), honors the legacy of Formula One driver Jim Clark, with a portion of sales benefiting the renovation and expansion of the Jim Clark Museum. Both watches are technically the same, but with a few cosmetic differences. Both are only available direct from the Gallet website.
SPECIFICATIONS: Gallet Racing Heritage Chronograph
Movement: Automatic Gallet caliber 550 (made with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier), 28,800 bph with dual mainspring, rotation in series, super low-mass, solid-gold adjustable inertia blocks, free-sprung flat balance spring, tungsten rotor with ceramic ball bearings, 50-hour power reserve
Case: 40.7mm x 13mm steel with sapphire crystal, 100-meters of water Resistance, 15,000 Gauss anti-magnetic
Functions: Hours, Minutes, (seconds subdial at 3 o'clock), chronograph (30-minute counter at 9, 12-hour counter at 6)
Strap: Farm-raised American alligator, vintage rally style, hand-stitched, steel buckle, hex-screw lug bars
Warranty: 10 year full-service