Thursday, October 24, 2013

Schroeder Joailliers 1877 GMT Automatic Watch - An Elegant Piece Steeped In European History

In a small state of Luxembourg, there is a homegrown watchmaker called Schroeder Joailliers 1877. Founded in 1877, Maison Schroeder, suppliers of the Royal Family of Luxembourg, has a long family tradition. With two retail outlets in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in the city centre and in the City Concorde shopping mall, Maison Schroeder also has a design studio in Paris. The company has created its own "Pas de Deux" brand of jewellery and leather goods, and its own "Schroeder Timepieces" watches. These "made in Luxembourg" collections are updated every season.

I happened to visit its Luxembourg outlet and after going through the collection, I was impressed. So impressed that I walked out of the shop with this one...

The Schroeder GMT Automatic. This is a stainless steel watch with automatic movement, second time zone, a date window, exposed mechanism (see-through back plate), silvered dial and leather strap.

Sapphire crystal glass covers the dial as well as the display case-back. Nevertheless, the sapphire crystals were not provided for anti-glare protection. The glass protrude slightly above the side walls of the watch case. Any grazing hit with hard objects could mean the crystal taking the brunt of the impact.

The width of the watch is approximately 42 mm. It has a sunken dial design with slopped inner walls indexed at minute intervals. Apart from this scale, there are another 3 other scales provided on the dial. The next (after the first) is Arabic numbered 1 to 24 in 24 intervals. For this scale, half of it (from 6 to 18) is painted white while the rest is dark. This is the GMT reference scale. Next to it, the third scale, is a mixture of Arabic numberings and indexes at every 5 minute intervals. Finally, the last scale, also a mixture of Arabic numberings and indexes at every minute intervals. It is also on this last scale, the date window is located, at the 3 o'clock position.

The hour and minute hands are lumed. The GMT hand is also lumed but with an additional red border for ease of reference. Everything else is not lumed.

The crown is a push-in system. It has three positions. The safe position allows users to wind the main spring. In the first position, turning the crown clockwise adjust the date whereas turning the crown counter-clockwise adjust the GMT hand. The second position allows adjustment to the time itself.

This watch is water rated to 5 ATM or 50 m.

The picture above shows the ETA 2893-2 (or 2892A2) movement powering this watch. It is an automatic caliber with sweep second and quickset date capabilities. It also has a dual time or 24 hour function. It also has a second-hand hacking feature. The caliber uses 21 jewels and operates at 28,800 VPH. The main springs has power reserve of 42 hours.

The leather strap is approximately 20 mm wide and the buckle has the brand sandblasted (see below). The use of white thread in contrast to the black leather is very striking and exudes a "sporting" feel to the watch.

I have a 7.5 inch wrist and the size of the watch is just nice for me. It is also very elegant and can be used in all occasions.

Below is a picture I took in the dark. You can see the hands but in darkness that is not enough. The designer should have lumed part of the dials to provide some reference for the users.

Schroeder timepieces are relatively unknown outside of Europe. Some of the designs are refreshing and the build quality is first class. For the EUR875 (which was equivalent to MYR3859 @14 May 2011) spent, it was worth it.

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