If you’re a recurring reader of MONOCHROME, you should very well be aware that we, as a team, have a thing for chronographs, and specifically, vintage-inspired chronographs manufactured by husband-and-wife duo Richard and Maria Habring. After all, this was the inspiration behind our very first Montre de Souscription, a sector dial monopusher with salmon colour… And since we’re definitely biased, there’s another watch that always resonates very loud at the redaction room, a rare and absolutely stunning model made exclusively for Habring² long-term Japan retailer Shellman, the Monopusher with Breguet numerals and snail-shaped scales. We’ve already featured a black example on MONO and today, it’s a silver edition that makes it to the magazine. To us, typically a watch you should look at closely, and maybe add to your collection.
Habring² is the kind of brand/watchmaker we love at MONOCHROME. Based in the small town of Völkermarkt, Austria (already something unusual), the show is run by a duo, husband-and-wife Richard and Maria Habring. An independent watchmaker with soul and passion, but also intuitu personae, it combines a no-nonsense style, a dedication to making movements great looking, reliable, efficient, easy to live with, and also an impressive technical background. Indeed, Richard has been behind the development of several notable complications during his years at IWC, including the creation of the DoppelChronograph, a rattrapante module to be used on a Valjoux 7750.
Contrary to some ultra-high-end independent watchmakers, watches manufactured (yes, we’re talking proper in-house) by Habring² are meant to be worn, attractively priced and made to last, thanks to clever constructions and intelligence in the way complications are integrated. This includes functions such as the dead-beat seconds, the foudroyante or the duo’s signature work on the chronograph, the famous hand-wound Monopusher, which is basically a heavily modified and improved take on the 7750.
There have been multiple editions of the Habring² Monopusher Chronograph, ranging from classics in the permanent collection, to more daring models such as the recent Chrono Felix with luminous dial… and of course, our MdS1 with sector dial. One of the most desirable editions, a watch that has long been on Frank’s and I wishlists, is the watch you can see today, the Japan Edition made for retailer Shellman. This watch is arguably one of the most appealing vintage-inspired chronographs on the market – well, at least, to us.
The story behind this watch makes us travel all the way to Tokyo, Japan, where operates one of the most respected retailers of independent watches on the island, Shellman. The watch was designed exclusively for them, being a retailer of choice for the Habrings. And there are many unique features to this watch to make it truly special and collectable.
First of all, the utilitarian, no-nonsense case is here offered in a compact, vintage-inspired size of 36mm and features a stepped concave bezel rather than a flat one – in order to answer the tastes of Japanese collectors and to bring a strong 1940s feel. The case is brushed and polished, and distinguished by its single chronograph pusher at 2 o’clock. The other important and unique feature is the dial, which mimics classic models from the 1940s, with a combination of blued, oversized leaf hands, printed Breguet numeral and a snail-shaped tachymeter scale. This, together with the two-register layout and the telemeter scale on the outer section, makes no doubt on the inspiration and brings a compelling look. Offered also in black, the model presented here by A Collected Man is equipped with a silvered, straight brushed dial.
Inside the case is the calibre A08-MONO, produced by Habring² in Austria. This watch had one of the last movements based on the 7750 ébauches, before the brand moved to the calibre A11 on the Chrono-Felix. Based on the robust ETA Valjoux 7750, the construction and design have been heavily modified, improving both its technical qualities as well as its aesthetics. Nearly all the movement’s components are produced by independent suppliers. Contrary to the A11, it uses an Incabloc and not a KIF shock absorber. The finishing is also on another level, with the bridges finished with circular graining and bevelled edges, while the base plate features perlage.
The present example has been sold in 2020, yet was produced in 2017, and is delivered with its original box, papers, Habring² strap and tang buckle, and an additional brown strap by ACM. It is available here from A Collected Man, at GBP 11,500, and said to be in very good condition and still has 25 months left on its three-year warranty.
If you’re looking for a compact, truly attractive vintage-inspired chronograph made by great people, look no further… The Habring² Chronograph Monopusher Japan Edition Shellman is the watch for you.
All photos by www.acollectedman.com