Monochrome Watches
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First Look

The Union Glashütte Belisar Chronograph gets a Modern Refresh

Without changing the basics, the brand's all-included sporty chronograph gets a fresh new look.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |

Union Glashütte might be one of the lesser-known brands of the Swatch Group, but it is nevertheless one that has recently caught our attention, and for very good reasons. It shouldn’t be overlooked. Headquartered in the small town of Glashütte, Germany, close to sister brand Glashütte Original (also owned by Swatch), UG acts in a more accessible segment of the industry, but retains that German quality we expect from the region. One of its star watches, the Belisar Chronograph, has just been revamped and while keeping all the objective qualities of previous versions, it now adds a fresh, cooler look to the collection. 

Inspired by the world of classic cars and rallies, the Belisar Chronograph is a sporty watch with a list of specs and features that would make quite some Swiss brands jealous, particularly in this price segment. This new pair of models isn’t entirely new to us, as we’ve already seen it in other variations, such as the pleasantly colourful Speedster Limited Edition here. What matters for this year is the addition of two new colour schemes, which retain the charm of original models but with either a trendy, urban and monochromatic look, or a summery attire composed of an interplay of white and blue.

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But let’s first talk about the basics. The Belisar Chronograph is a watch with a substantial presence. No need to deny it. At 44mm in diameter, with a thickness of 15mm and a lug-to-lug measurement of almost 53mm, it won’t feel unnoticed on the wrist. It’s a hefty, solid piece of kit that has a sporty vibe and an oversized feel. You’ve been warned, it isn’t a watch for small wrists. That being said, proportions are correct and the watch feels balanced. Beyond the numbers, the Belisar Chrono has been designed with comfort in mind and the watch comes with nicely curved lugs and, altogether, hugs the wrist gently. It is particularly true for our editor Robin and his 18cm wrist, who modelled for these photos. Less with my 16cm wrist, obviously.

What doesn’t disappoint, however, is the general feeling of quality and robustness. These watches are built to last and with multiple details all around. Besides the refined step side and the combination of polished and satin-finished surfaces, I am particularly fond of the crown and pushers. They are deliberately oversized, adding depth and charm to the watch, but mostly, they have cool logos on the sides… I know it’s a bit of a gimmick but I really liked it. A gently domed sapphire crystal tops the watch, with a screw-secured transparent back and a very decent 100m water-resistance rating.

What’s new this year are two colour schemes, starting with a highly satisfying stone grey model. Almost monochromatic, with neutral tones close to concrete, it adds a modern, casual touch to this otherwise serious model. Light, fresh and contemporary, the dominant light grey tones are combined with white and black sub-counters and touches of red on the outer scale and chronograph hands. This edition is paired with a tone-on-tone and nicely integrated rubber strap (with quick-change device).

The other version of the UG Belisar Chronograph plays on classic nautical, summery tones, with a white base and blue contrasting elements – numerals, chrono sub-counters and outer scale. Red is found once again on the chronograph hands and the watch is worn on a blue textile strap.

While different in colours, these dials share the same design, in particular these stylized Arabic numerals reminiscent of retro cars – once again, legible but with a twist. What surprised me most was the use of a pulsometer scale, while a tachymeter scale would have been more appropriate in this classic car context (specifically if you use it for regularity races). If you want that, then the Speedster Limited Edition is the one to choose.

Union Glashütte isn’t only about designing cool and robust watches. There are also some serious watchmaking skills there. Of course, you’ll easily recognise the Valjoux 7753 base of the movement, however, it’s been deeply modified to become the Calibre UNG-27.S1. While it retains the same cam-operated chronograph architecture, this UG-exclusive movement is fitted with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and an indexless regulation system. Also, the power reserve has been boosted to 65 hours. Visible under the sapphire back, the movement is nicely decorated.

Still excellent in terms of built quality and mechanics, the new and appealing editions of the Union Glashütte Belisar Chronograph are released as part of the permanent collection and priced at EUR 2,950. I wouldn’t call them accessible but still fairly priced. You’ll just have to accept the dimensions. For more details, please visit

1 response

  1. While you didn’t mean it in this way, your “I wouldn’t call them accessible” comment also can refer to the inaccessibility of the Union watches in the U.S. They are about as accessible as rolex; in other words, non-existent. I’m glad I’m trying to get over the foible of watches. A terrible hobby!

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