Dutchman Yvo Staudt first burst upon the scene with his eponymous brand 8 years ago, when he launched his Praeludium Hand Wound in October of 2014. This was a classic case of someone who couldn’t find what he was looking for elsewhere, and despite giving up his search set out to create what he wanted for himself. Not being trained as a watchmaker but a classical accordionist at heart, it took some trials and errors to get where he needed to be. Now though, closing in on almost a decade of watchmaking under the Staudt name, the new Prelude Chronograph collection sees the light of day. In line with the classical and elegant style portrayed by Staudt, the Prelude Chronograph is a true case of honest, wholesome watchmaking.
Yvo Staudt is born and raised in Twenthe, in the most eastern part of the Netherlands. Following his dream of becoming a great accordion player, an instrument he picked up when he was only five years old, he studied at the Conservatory in Italy before venturing into the world of watchmaking purely by chance. As mentioned, he created his very own watch for the simple reason he wasn’t content with what he could find in other brands. He designed a dial, sourced a case, hands and movement, put a strap on it and as such created the first Staudt watch. When attending a watch event he got very positive feedback and some people asked Yvo to build one for them as well. He would assemble 45 pieces in total, which kickstarted his brand which has been growing strongly ever since. The collection now spawns multiple versions of the Praeludium, a colourful series of Ton Sur Ton watches, several Chronograph versions and now also the Prelude Chronograph.
The case for the Staudt Prelude Chronograph looks and feels very good, both in hand and on the wrist. It comes in stainless steel, with a luxurious 18k rose gold case also being available. At 41mm in diameter, it’s not overly large, which is a very good thing. This way it will easily feel at home on most people’s wrists. The height is a bit on the tall side, at 13.6mm including the crystal. Then again, you need a bit of space given the selected movement inside the Prelude Chronograph, but let’s not jump ahead to that just now.
The caseband is brushed on the vertical sides and polished on top. A concave polished bezel rises up to great the domed sapphire crystal. The backside of the case also has a sapphire crystal, held in place by a concave-shaped caseback. Classical pump-style pushers are used for the chronograph, giving a resounding “snap” when pushed. The pull-out crown is knurled for a bit of extra grip and signed with an S, in reference to Staudt.
You have a choice of a couple of dials, coming down to black versus white for the stainless steel case or white for the rose gold one. The white or black base dials show some depth through raised areas like the rings around the subdials and the chapter ring that caries the hour indices. The finishing is crisp and very finely done. The applied numerals are either blued or gold coloured on the white dial, or polished on the black dial. Blued, gold-coloured or polished leaf-shaped hands are used for the central hours and minutes, paired with needle-like hands for the remaining indications. The small seconds and chronograph 30-minute hands always match the central hour and minute hands in terms of colour/finishing. Around the outside of the dial is a printed railroad-style minute track. The final details on the dial are the “Staudt Chronometrie” signing at the top, and the hint it uses an automatic movement at the bottom.
The Staudt Prelude Chronograph collection comes with an automatic chronograph movement inside, the Valjoux 7753. This very robust calibre is used in a very wide range of watches and needs little introduction. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and uses 27 jewels. Once fully wound by the rose gold-coloured central rotor, it will keep ticking for a maximum of 48 hours if left untouched. It indicates the time through the central hour and minute hands, with a small seconds display at 9 o’clock. The remaining two hands are for the central chronograph seconds and chronograph 30-minute counter.
In terms of strap options, Staudt does not disappoint. The new Prelude Chronograph is available on either a sand-coloured suede leather strap or a handmade alligator leather strap in dark brown or blue. Both of these come on a stainless steel folding clasp, or a rose gold pin buckle to match with the rose gold case. Optionally, Staudt offers other colours for the suede leather strap or even a Milanese bracelet to change up the look even more. Depending on the selected material of the case and the strap, the Prelude costs you EUR 3,389 (steel & suede), EUR 3,489 (steel & alligator) or EUR 14,989 (gold & alligator). The Milanese bracelet is sold for EUR 398 if you’re interested. The Prelude Chronograph is presented in a blue wooden box which can be converted into a four-watch collector’s box.
While this doesn’t make it a groundbreakingly affordable Valjoux-powered chronograph watch or anything, it certainly buys you a very good-looking, well-finished classically styled chronograph. At 41mm in diameter, it will fit most wrists easily and given the high-quality straps it will be worn with great comfort. And it does make us feel a little bit extra proud this brand has Dutch origins of course. The only slight bit of comment? The hour and minute hands of the black Prelude Chronograph have a streak of Super-LumiNova, which to me is too little. It would be better if the hours had luminous accents too, but that might just be me. Now it feels a little bit like an afterthought.
For more information, please visit Staudt-Twenthe.com