U-Boat Chronographs – A Review
I’ve discussed U-Boat’s seemingly short but illustrious history in this article (below) that highlighted the wonderful solid Sterling Silver Classico so I shall not cover the same ground again. I would recommend perusing this article because U-Boats history does, in fact, go back over 60 years and has continued to be helmed by the same family.
The FlightDeck has raised Arabic numerals for each hour marker.
Flightdeck 45 examples:
Flightdeck 50 example (sterling silver):
The Classico has indented stylised numerals for the 12, 8 and 4 hour markers.
Classico 45 example (carbon fibre dial):
Classico 50 examples:
Further to these two models there are the chronograph versions of the imperious U-42, where the U-Boat story started, and the oh-so Italian 51mm U-51. The U42s shall be discussed in a future article.
…and the imperious U51 Rattrapante:
The stunning U51 case:
U-Boat watches are unique in many respects. This is mainly down to their considered designs and exceptional attention to detail. One of these details is the clever addition of the engraving of the movement type on the caseback.
Most brands use mechanical movements from a high volume manufacturer. The most famous of these is ETA. The most famous of their movements is the Valjoux 7750. This renowned, tried and tested chronograph and date function movement is what U-Boat has wisely chosen to power their chronograph watches.
ETA was founded way back in 1793 in Fountainemelon, Switzerland. This small municipality is located in one of the main centres of excellence for horology in Switzerland, Neuchatel. They originally employed just four master watchmakers. ETA provides movements, or ebauches, for some of the highest regarded chronograph watches from some of the top brands in the world.
U-Boats main design ethos culminates in oversized, easy to read, water resistant, meticulously detailed, rugged and unique timepieces. Their chronograph ranges are of no exception to these well thought out and commendable rules.
There is, obviously, no way U-Boat could create these watches for these prices with an in-house movement. This is clearly obvious when you consider the price range of these watches. The Classico and Filightdeck chronographs range from £1700 to £3800, at the time of writing. Remarkably, this price range even includes solid Sterling Silver models, solid Ceramic models and solid Black Titanium models. The U42 and U51 chronographs are a little more.
Conclusion: Here at Andrew Michaels Jewellers we were immediately in admiration of the U-Boat family of watches. We were all keen to welcome the brand and watches into our showroom. Their history is at once short lived, allowing them freedom from expectant heritage compliance but is also one of interesting foundation. The watches themselves stand proud amongst the myriad of other timepieces that we offer and many clients marvel at how these distinctive and immaculately presented and detailed watches can be offered at such low prices.
The oversized, flamboyant aesthetics will not be to everyone’s taste. What is not subjective is the incredible level of detail, high-end materials and quality of finish throughout. If the courageous visuals appeal then you will not be disappointed about any other aspect of these timepieces.
All words and images by Richard Atkins, unless otherwise stated. This article may not be reproduced in part or in whole without the author’s permission.