At Monochrome, we love watches. Simple as that. We love mechanical, nicely finished watches, made with passion. Of course, we tend to look at mainstream brands more often than the rest (don’t consider this as a bad thing, it’s just the reality of the market) but what drives us is not only the product but also the people behind it. This, together with this unique “free spirit” of independent watchmaking, is why we always had a strong focus on smaller brands. Today, we’ll introduce you with Staudt Watches, the dream timepiece of a young Dutch, for whom watchmaking was not the expected career – until now. Here is the Staudt Praeludium Hand-Wound, a classical watch, just a bit different.
Without going to much into the details of the creation of the brand (this will come later, in a dedicated interview), just know that at the very beginning, the man who created Staudt Watches did not intend to make watches – at all! Yvo Staudt (born in 1991, The Netherlands) started his life as a classical musician, an accordionist to be precise. Yvo visualized his first timepiece during his study at the conservatoire in Pescara, Italy. This search became an utopia, as he couldn’t find the right watch, the one that could suit his envies. Well, guess he applied the known motto “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself“. Yvo taught the technical part of creating a watch himself. Shortly after, he created his own first watch, not intended to be sold but just a piece for himself – until a few asked THE question ‘where can we buy this?’. This then became an entrepreneurial adventure, to create watches under the name Staudt.
What is the Staudt Praeludium? (a name that is reference to musician Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote dozens of Praeludiums… it’s difficult to hide your roots). The Staudt Praeludium is a classical watch, inspired by nautical elements, ships and marine chronometers. The watch is pure, refined, not too dressy – quite easy on the wrist and suitable for every occasion – and has a strong focus on qualitative parts – from the dial, the hands, the straps or the movement. All of that might let you think a rather hefty price, but this is not the case… more on that later. All together, it has to be said that the Staudt Praeludium has a certain charm and elegance, without being posh.
The case of the Staudt Praeludium is (in the present watch) made in traditional stainless steel. The dial opening is large, the bezel is thin. It has a respectable diameter of 42.5mm but it is linked to rather short lugs, which are curved to embrace the shape of the wrist. Furthermore, due to the use of a manual winding movement, the thickness remains relatively low, at 10.51mm – no an ultra-thin watch for sure but still completely acceptable for a business use. The case is polished on flat surfaces and the bezel shows a concave profile. The flanks on the other hand have a satin finish, which creates a nice contrast with the rest of the watch. The case is secured on the wrist by alligator leather straps, from an excellent quality, with a nice selection of leathers and a high-end finish (straps are made in Italy). It is attached to a folding buckle.
Moving to the dial, we find here the typical nautical / marine chronometer codes, those that could be found in early wristwatches playing on this theme, in the 1940s. The dial is large, clean and extremely legible. Traditional to its theme, the Staudt Praeludium has a small second layout with sub-counter at 6 – and due to the choice of movement, this small second it placed quite far on the dial, balancing the dial, despite the rather large diameter. The design of the dial is elegant and refined, again well designed, according to the nautical theme: long and thin leaf hands, large Arabic numeral for the hours with a thin font, legible railroad track for the minutes. This dial has a nice stepped construction, with a smooth central part and a grained surface on the hour and minute area, slightly raised. 3 configurations are available:
- blue dial with silver hands and white inscriptions – brown strap
- black dial with silver hands and white inscriptions – black strap
- white dial with blued hands and blue/black inscriptions – blue strap
Overall, this watch is discreet and elegant, without being too shy, like some dress watches can be. This is due to 3 main factor: a rather large dial, a dial with depth and large inscriptions and finally a casual feeling. Despite the 42.5mm, it remains easy to wear and won’t require a robust wrist. The overall quality of the external parts is pleasant, and so it is for the mechanics.
Next step of this hands-on review, the movement of course. From the photo below, you’ll easily recognize the base of this calibre, however, the finishing is far from what we’re used to see in small brands using such movement. The Staudt Praeludium uses as a base a well-known, robust and reliable ETA 6498. However, several technical changes have been done. First of all, it features a fine regulating system with swan neck regulator. Then, 2 jewels have been added (19 instead of 17) for a better reliability of the movement. The frequency is 3Hz (21,600vph) and not 18,000vph anymore. Finally, the power reserve have been increased to 50h, despite the faster frequency. All of that provides more comfort to the user and an increased precision.
In terms of the finishing, the old 6498 has been quite reworked in the Staudt Praeludium. The main plate has a 3/4 profile, it is plated in rose gold, it features bevelled angles and has circular Geneva stripes. The screws are polished and their heads are polished. 4 of the jewels (those serving the gear train) are inserted in chatons, for a more luxurious look of the movement. Overall, this movement adds a lot to the perceived quality of the watch and to its exclusivity, as we’re not talking about a generic version of the ETA, but an improved one. The movement is pleasant to look, pleasant to use – the joy of the daily winding…
Overall, this Staudt Praeludium is a nice surprised. Yes, it is rather classical but it has some charm and elegance. It is also quite impressive to see a young guy, brand new in the industry, to come on the market with a watch that mature already. The price of the steel version of this watch is also quite pleasant, as starting at 2,349 Euros (retail price). Compare it to watches from mainstream brands… you probably won’t have the same finishing and for sure, not the same exclusivity. More details on staudtwatches.com.
Specifications of the Staudt Praeludium Hand Wound
- Case: 42.5mm diameter x 10.51mm thick – stainless steel – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: modified ETA 6498 – manual winding – 50h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and small seconds
- Strap: alligator leather strap on steel folding clasp