Monday Morning Find: A 1960s Meylan Chrono That’s Collector Catnip
Sometimes it's all the little details that come together and make an unexceptional watch really exciting. This Meylan chronograph isn't the most mechanically complex watch around, nor the most expensive, but the dial and case have enough distinctive features to get any collector looking twice.
The most unusual feature, and the one you probably noticed first, is that printed red scale around the edge of the dial. It's a decimal counter for the chronograph seconds hand, dividing a minute into 100 segments. Within each of those is three black hash marks, letting you slice things even finer. This chrono was likely created for auto racing and this would let the timer read out lap times in decimal format instead of minutes and seconds.
But it doesn't end there. The hour markers are arrow-shaped and cut out to fit around the registers. They're in great condition, with the side bevel still visible, though the little spots where the luminous paint once sat are empty. I wish they still had the faded lume in them, but it's not a deal breaker. Other points of interest: The minutes hand has a skinnier tip for easier, more accurate reading, there's a blocky applied "12" at the top of the dial, and all the sub-registers have circular graining inside.
The 37mm steel case is in good shape, and the twisted lugs still show their facet prominently. There's been some polishing over the years, but the edges are still clear and the finish doesn't seem to have been ruined. Because of the size, the watch looks much more modern than it is. The graduated bezel, which likely started out black, has become a sunburst grey color. It's about as cool as a bezel can get.
Powering this Meylan is a Lemania 1873 movement that's signed "Meylan Stop Watch Co." on one of the main bridges. The 1873 is closely related to the caliber 861 used in the later Omega Speedmasters and does not use a column wheel like higher-end chronos of the era. It's a historically significant movement and a good workhorse, if not the most technologically advanced.
This Meylan decimal chronograph is available from HQ Milton and is priced at $2,900.
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