This is a lovely vintage Exactus “Chronographe” watch with the venerable Landeron 51 Chronograph at its beating heart.
Who exactly were Exactus? Good question!
Exactus, the brand, was owned by Montres Exactus SA, a swiss watch company based in Neuchâtel. It was founded in the first half of the 20th century and was active during the golden period of Swiss watchmaking. They have disappeared without trace, just like hundreds of other Swiss Watchmakers, who were unprepared for the Quartz generation. It seems likely that they were a “builder of watches” rather than a watch manufacturer; taking cases, movements, etc. and adding their own face designs.
So, what can we say about this particular Exactus Chronographe?
Well first off, it looks fabulous!
The whole watch has that original “lived-in” feel that only comes with time, if you pardon the pun. The Silver dial has turned a smoky cream where it has absorbed the detritus of life; and one suspects its own share of smoke-filled rooms too. Having mellowed, it now has a wonderful glow which is a perfect complement to its black and red Tachymeter printed dial.
The ultra-thin Rapier hour and minute hands, along with a red seconds hand, set behind a new crystal, complete the picture.
The Gold-plated case with its fancy lug design sets this watch apart from its plainer cousins and has just the right amount of patina too. The plating is solid with minimal wear-through and catches the light beautifully.
The 6mm crown has a positive feel when winding and is showing its brass base on its front face. It is balanced by the two rectangular push buttons at 2 & 4 o’clock which are used for the Landeron Cal.51 Chronograph function. Having had a recent service, the movement is running exactly as it should with the chronograph function snapping back to 12, crisply.
The Landeron Cal. 47 was a revolution in watch manufacture. Just before World War II, Landeron developed the first cam actuated chronograph. Their Cal. 47 had three pushers: One to start, another to stop, and a third to reset the counter. They refined this movement to become the two-pusher Cal. 48; and the Cal. 51 is an enhancement on this original movement. This generation of movements would become one of the most popular chronograph movements ever made, with more than 3.5 million examples produced between 1937 and 1970.
It must be remembered that, before the introduction of the Landeron 48, a chronograph watch was an expensive proposition, only available to the very wealthy. The lower production cost of the Landeron movement, compared to a column wheel movement, meant an average person could afford a chronograph for the first time.
We have said it before, but it is worth repeating; Sports or Tool watches are brilliant for everyday wear and certainly make a statement. However, sometimes subtilty is more appropriate, showing good taste rather than being brash.
This Exactus “Chronographe” is exactly that; a unique watch that oozes good taste; all at an affordable price, just as it should be.