On Kickstarter: Manchester Watch Works Morgan Chronograph

With the rise of vintage we’ve seen many contemporary brands and start ups styling their watches after those from the 60’s and 70’s. The heyday of the motorsport chronograph, the 60’s and 70’s were a time of experimental design with exciting use of colors, interesting cases and, of course, the dawn of the automatic chronograph.

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Manchester Watch Works, a young American brand from Vermont whose dive watches we have discussed before, is back with a new racing chronograph that pays tribute to that era of fierce sports and engineering rivalries. Named the Morgan, MWW has developed a quartz chronograph with a very intriguing aesthetic, featuring a great case shape that just shouts 70’s Zenith.

The case measures a healthy 40 x 48.5 x 11mm, which is inline with many of the larger pieces from the era. The geometry is really gorgeous with a cushion shape that drops off at a steep angle, creating short, chunky lugs. The whole top surface is brushed vertically and contrasted by polished bevels that run along either side. On the right side you have two long pushers, which look great with the shape of the case, and a sizable crown. Flip the watch over, and you have a solid case back with an interesting etching in the center. MWW has created a sort of yin-yang out of interlocking horse head silhouettes in positive and negative. It’s a nice and unexpected detail that refers to the horses from which the watch gets its name. The watch is capped off with a raised and beveled sapphire crystal.

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A cool case only goes so far, and MWW did a great job on the dial. Coming out in three colors, with a fourth as a stretch goal, the dials feature triple registers designs with a focus on the 3 and 9 register for that classic, Panda look. The dials consist of a main surface in brushed metal, either silver or black, with large lume squares per hour. On the outer edge is a minute/chrono seconds index, followed by a contrasting black tachymeter chapter ring, for that real sporty look. The sub-dials at 3 and 9, for active seconds and 30-minute counter respectively, are cut through the top surface, creating a sharp line of delineation, and revealing a color or texture below. This has a nice effect, really separating them from the rest of the dial. At 6 is a 10-hour counter, which is printed on the top surface, keeping the focus on the sub-dials at 3 and 9. The hour and minute hands are big, coffin shaped pieces of steel with lume filling. They are bold and unique, playing off of the large square markers below.

For the three main colors, you have two with silver dials, one with black. The two silver dials feature period-appropriate contrasting subs, one with metallic blue, the other with an almost rust color. The blue is paired with a red chrono-seconds hand, and definitely speaks to the Zeniths of the time. The rust model is a bit of a surprise, and a very interesting look. This brings to mind aged vintage watches, ones with a so-called “tropical” patina… very cool. The third color way is black, all black. Can’t go wrong with a black dial, and this one brings to mind some of the odder Speedmaster variations from the early seventies. As a stretch goal, there is a very cool blue dial with white subs that will open up.

Powering the Morgan is the ISASWISS 8371C chronograph, which is a very interesting quartz chrono, and alternative to the Seiko Meca-quartz. Most notably, the 8317C features sweeping chronograph seconds with a precision of 1/5th second. It also has a 5 year battery life and end-of-life indication. It’s not “meca” but has longer battery and achieves the same sweeping hand.

The Morgan will come on a quilted leather strap that goes well with the motoring concept. For their Kickstarter Campaign, pledges start at $198, which will get you one Morgan of your choice and go up to $912 for all four. There are several middle sized pledges as well, all of which save you around 40% off the retail price. So, if you’re looking for an inexpensive but very well style racing chronograph, be sure to head over to KS and pick one up.

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