Habring² continues its focus on affordable, interesting complications with the Chrono-Felix Top-Second. Dressed in a retro-military dial, the Top-Second is powered by the brand’s proprietary A11 movement like all Habring² watches. But it features a new (old) complication, the “Top Second”, essentially a running seconds indicator camouflaged within the “9” hour marker.
The Top-Second encapsulates the Habring² specialty of well-priced and interesting watches. It’s a chronograph with a complication that is the only one of its kind in modern-day watchmaking and priced under US$9,000 including 20% Austrian tax. That makes it excellent value – as is typical of Habring² – particularly considering the proprietary movement.
Granted, the 1930s-military styling of the watch is fairly generic, though appealing in its functional nature. That said, Habring² is versatile when it comes to design and the brand typically unveils variations of its models so it is likely the Top-Second will return in other guises soon.
Honest, affordable, and interesting
First introduced in the 1960s by Mondia, a brand soon after acquired by Zenith, the Top Second is a discreet running seconds indicator. A coloured disc spins beneath a small aperture on the dial, showing that the seconds are passing and the movement is running without the need for a constant seconds hand.
The Habring² take on the complication operates on the same principles as the Mondia original. A propellor-shaped disc located under the dial at nine o’clock makes one revolution every five seconds. Because the disc has two arms, the orange tips of each arm pass under the dial aperture once every 2.5 seconds. As a result, the indicator shows an orange “0” within the digit “9” every 2.5 seconds and replaces the conventional running seconds register at nine.
The compilation makes sense for a chronograph, since it means the dial is otherwise static when the chronograph is not running, creating a clean, restrained aesthetic.
The low-key seconds display suits the no-frills dial that is inspired by 1930s military watches that Habring² first used for its Erwin “Pilot”. The dial has a grained, matte finish matched with faux-vintage Super-Luminova on the dial and “cathedral “hands.
Under the sapphire back is the A11FC that’s based on the A11, a movement developed by Habring² as a workhorse calibre capable of supporting a variety of complications. While the A11 was constructed with the architecture of the tried-and-tested Valjoux 7750 in mind, it has been improved and refined to a degree that it’s an original calibre with barely any components interchangeable between the two. The geometry of the chronograph levers, for instance, were redesigned for better function.
At the same time, Habring² has upgraded the aesthetics and decoration of the A11, resulting in a pleasing view through the open back. Several of the steel components are heat blued, including screws as expected but also the cam for the chronograph.
Key facts and price
Habring² Chrono-Felix Top-Second
Case diameter: 38.5 mm
Height: 11 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Features: Hours, minutes, “top” seconds, and chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Strap: Leather with pin buckle
Limited edition: No
Availability: Direct from Habring² or its retailers
Price: €8,050 including 20% VAT
For more, visit Habring2.com.
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