Since it was founded three years ago, Dubai-based retailer Perpétuel has released a number of well-applauded limited editions focused on up-and-coming independents and micro brands. It first began with the French brand Baltic through a limited release of the HMS and Bicompax, and more recently, the MR-01 Perpétuel, their spin on the brand’s best-selling micro-rotor wristwatch.
The retailer has now tapped the services of Excelsior Park, a legacy brand that is based on the former watch company known for producing chronograph movements for the likes of Gallet, Girard-Perregaux and Zenith. After numerous failed attempts at reviving the brand in the 1980s and the 2000s, it was relaunched by watch industry veteran Guillaume Laidet who previously spearheaded the resurrection of legacy brands Nivada Grenchen and, more recently, Vulcain.
After releasing a limited edition with a salmon dial that immediately sold out last year, they have teamed up once again to debut their latest collaboration in The Soda Fountain Edition, a limited release of the Excelsior EP95004 chronograph featuring a vibrant blue dial completed with applied Eastern-Arabic numerals.
The relaunch of Excelsior Park two years ago was kind of a godsend for vintage watch enthusiasts, given its long and rich history as a renowned movement maker. Since its rebirth, the brand has been carving itself a niche market catering towards a younger demographic who desire that vintage-styled watches but at an attractive price point.
Unlike its standard EP95000 models, the Soda Fountain doesn’t skimp on its detailing by using applied Eastern Arabic numerals instead of printed numerals on its vertically-brushed finished dial. For me, this is a substantial upgrade that makes it more reminiscent of the “Tasti Tondi” style chronographs from Patek Philippe, but with a contemporary feel thanks to its use of a brighter shade of blue.
Despite its attractive qualities, the main drawback for me would be its pricing. Priced at AED12,400 (or about US$3,400), the Soda Fountain costs double the standard EP95000 models while featuring the same Sellita-based movement with its no-frills case design. While this is only a limited release of 50 pieces, its price might still be a tough pill to swallow.
The design is clearly based on the Excelsior Park chronographs from the 1950s that featured a finely executed bi-compax design and were produced during this time. These design elements were later incorporated into the EP95004 model with its distinct salmon-coloured dial. By coincidence, Perpétuel issued its version of the said watch as a limited release of 50 pieces in 2022.
The dial on the Soda Fountain sports a minimalist yet vintage feel, with its bright blue colour gradient (officially called “soda fountain” according to Excelsior Park) that contrasts the neatly printed chronograph scale and lettering in glossy black and is complemented with a vertical brush finish. Compared to the regular EP95004, the standard printed numerals have been swapped with an appliqué of Eastern Arabic numerals.
As with the standard edition, the Soda Fountain retains the original dimensions of EP95000 chronographs, with its stainless steel case measuring 38.9 mm in diameter with its thickness varying depending on its case back: 13 mm with an open case back and 12.8 mm if it is closed.
Like its brethren, it is powered by the Sellita SW510 M BH B, a manual-winding cam-operated chronograph movement featuring a respectable power reserve of 63 hours. A clone of the customary Valjoux 7750 movement, variants of the said calibre have been used in other models of the brand and the chronographs produced by its sister brand, Nivada Grenchen.
Key facts and price
Excelsior Park & Perpétuel “The Soda Fountain Edition”
Diameter: 39.8 mm
Height: 13 mm (open case back) or 12.8 mm (closed case back)
Water resistance: 10 m
Movement: Sellita SW510 M BH B
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with central seconds and 30-minute counter
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 63 hours
Strap: Leather with pin buckle
Limited edition: 50 pieces
Availability: Direct from Perpétuel
Price: AED12,400 excluding taxes (equivalent to US$3,400)
For more, visit Perpetuel.com.
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