Ollech & Wajs might be a niche brand that isn’t known by a broader audience, it is one that has gained a certain famed among seasoned collectors and professional watches aficionados. Almost dormant for several years, the brand has recently been relaunched by a trusted and dedicated collector, who decided to keep the original “tool watch” spirit alive, as seen with the inaugural collection. Inspired by a long line of OW sports chronographs, and named after one of the brand’s most loved watches of the 1960s era, meet the new Ollech & Wajs Navichron, a powerful diving chronograph.
As with other watches introduced by the brand recently, such as the ultra-robust C-1000 or the pilot-inspired OW P-104, the new Navichron is not a proper re-issue of a vintage model but a watch that takes inspiration from some of the features found in 1950s and 1960s collections. As such, the base used for this diving chronograph is the same as all previous modern OW watches, with the addition, of course, of a chronograph function. Ollech & Wajs has a long tradition of watches for men of action – divers, racing drivers, technicians, pilots, engineers or sportsmen – and their chronographs have often been mixing specifications and features to be equally good in the air, on land and under the sea. The new Navichron stays true to this reputation.
The case is based on the same design and architecture as previous collections, with a rugged, no-nonsense style. Fully brushed, reasonable sized and made to resist to action, it has been updated here to meet with the requirements of a chronograph. If the height is now close to 17mm (the combination of a strong water-resistance and an automatic chrono…), the diameter, however, remains the same at 39.56mm, fairly compact for a modern tool watch. The case, with a semi-domed sapphire crystal, features a screw-down crown and caseback, as well as pushers with four gaskets, for a solid 500m water-resistance.
An interesting feature that has been directly taken from the past Navichron is the bezel, which features not one but two scales. First are classic 12-hour markers to display a second time-zone if necessary. Also, the first third of the bezel is used as a 20-minute scale, which can be used to time the necessary safety stops during an ascent – confirming the diving vocation of the watch. The dial retains the style introduced with the new collections, meaning a dark grey base, cream-coloured Super-LumiNova on hands and markers and a contrasting sub-dials for a vintagey panda-style. A date is positioned at 6 o’clock.
Inside the case is a movement that has a proven track record, the ubiquitous Valjoux 7753, following a long tradition of Valjoux chronograph movements used in most Ollech and Wajs watches. The automatic cam-lever chronograph runs at a 4Hz frequency and stores up to 54 hours of energy. The movement is disassembled to remove the hours counter and then reassembled, regulated, and precision and power tested in five positions. It features a dedicated OW machined rotor.
The Ollech & Wajs Navichron Chronograph is available on either on a perforated brown leather strap or on a brushed bead of rice stainless steel bracelet. Each model is initially limited to 56 numbered pieces, with deliveries expected in late March 2021. It will be priced at CHF 1,956 on leather strap and CHF 2,096 on steel bracelet.