Austrian independent watchmaker created by couple Maria and Richard Habring, also known as Habring², has been building a variety of watches/movements, most of them with a little twist for the display – such as a deadbeat seconds or a foudroyante seconds. Yet, their most emblematic model is, without a doubt, the so-called Doppel, or split-seconds chronograph. Offered in various generations, the latest being the Doppel-Felix, it has always been a rather large model. But, after finding out the “small is beautiful”, the watchmaking couple has decided to come back more compact, following the current trend for downsizing. And the result is this appealing new Habring² Doppel38.
The story of the Habring² Doppel starts in 2012, with the Doppel 2.0 watch… the concept; using a well-known mechanical base (a 7750) and modifying it with a rattrapante (or split-seconds, or doppelchronograph) function, yet with a price that was closer to a standard chronograph. A year later, Habring² introduced the Doppel 3.0 (see here for the review) with some major technical improvements, including the move from a classic pusher layout to a more appealing mono-pusher style.
But towards the mid-2010s, Maria and Richard decided to go deeper into their watchmaking independence. The result of this new strategy first took the shape of a rather sleek watch, the time-only Felix model, which came with the brand’s first in-house conceived and assembled movement. 2016 saw the launch of the brand’s second in-house movement, using one of Habring² signature displays, the Erwin with Jumping Seconds. The same strategy will then be applied to the Felix Foudroyante and the Chrono-Felix (in 2018). But more interesting for today’s context is the 2017 Doppel-Felix, a watch that took Richard’s acclaimed split-seconds concept and merged it with the brand’s in-house chronograph movement – the calibre A11R.
For long, Habring² has offered its Doppel watch in relatively large cases – in this instance, with a central case of 42mm, and an even larger bezel. However, as we’ve seen with the recent (and quite glorious) Chrono Felix Perpetual, the brand has decided to move towards more compact models. And here we are today, with something I think is very good news, a compact edition of the brand’s DoppelChronograph, the new Doppel38.
The new Habring² Doppel38
So, what’s to know here… Basically, we’re still talking about the same base movement but now integrated within a more compact case, with a streamlined look and cleaner dials. As explained by the Habrings, “the trend towards downsizing can be hardly overlooked even in the watch world,” and the demand today is surely moving back to more wearable, more discreet watches. The new Habring² Doppel38 is thus housed in a case that measures 38.5mm (central case) and 41mm (bezel) in diameter – and no, this isn’t small and such dimensions have in certain periods of time been considered oversized. The new Doppel38 is just accommodating the desire of the brand’s collectors for more compact watches.
Volumes have been reduced on all aspects of the watch, with now an 11.5mm (excl. sapphires) or 13mm (incl. sapphires) height, which is about 1mm less than the Doppel-Felix. The case combines brushed surfaces on the sides with polished elements – top of the lugs, pushers and bezel. It’s framed by sapphire crystals on both sides and is water-resistant to 30 metres – a bit light, if you ask me, but also the result of the downsizing process. It is worn on a 20mm strap, available in a variety of styles.
Talking about styles, the Habring² Doppel38 will be available in 4 different dial designs. All share the same wish for simplification and sleekness – in fact, the dials are much cleaner than that of the Doppel-Felix. The basics are a pair of central hands for the time, two central seconds for the rattrapante function, a sub-counter at 9 o’clock for the running seconds and a sub-counter at 3 o’clock for the 30-minute totalizer. All models feature a slopped inner flange with a precision seconds track.
As said, 4 editions are offered right from the introduction of this new Doppel38:
- silver-coloured, granular texture, black printings, matching sub-counters, blued steel leaf hands and chronograph hands
- silver-coloured panda, brushed texture, white luminous Arabic numerals, black sub-counters, silver/white luminous hands, blued chronograph hands
- silver-coloured panda, brushed texture, beige luminous Arabic numerals, black sub-counters, silver/beige luminous hands, blue and red chronograph hands
- salmon-coloured, brushed texture, white luminous Arabic numerals, matching sub-counters, silver/white luminous hands, blued chronograph hands
Under the hood, it’s a familiar movement, which has been conceived and assembled in-house by Habring² using self-made parts or components sourced from local suppliers. We’re talking about the same base mono-pusher chronograph movement as the Chrono-Felix (and our MdS 1 for that matter) on top of which is the all-important split-seconds function. The movement runs at 4Hz, is manufactured and finished manually and has multiple improvements over the classic 7750 architecture – even though it still relies on its tried-and-tested cam system. This movement comes with an amagnetic escapement with Carl Haas balance hairspring, a KIF shockproof device and a tangential screw fine adjustment. It’s decorated all around, with brushing, perlage and bevelling.
Availability & Price
The Habring² Doppel38 is now available for orders (not limited) and is priced at EUR 9,250. And while I can’t call that accessible, it remains a proper “value proposition” watch considering the complication inside… It surely is one of the most accessible rattrapante watches on the market – and one that has a distinctive movement (not a generic calibre) and the soul of independent watchmaking.
More details at www.habring2.com.