Small independent watchmaker Ollech & Wajs from Zurich introduces their new triple register chronograph, inspired by their 1967 watch.
Press Release details with commentary in italics.
New: Ollech & Wajs OW Astrochron S
The new Ollech & Wajs OW Astrochron S will retail at CHF 2,496. The first 56 numbered pieces will be avaiable for pre-orders on the OW website from March 10.
Ollech & Wajs is an interesting, but small Swiss comnpany founded in 1956 by Joseph Ollech and Albert Wajs. The company was set on a founding pholosophy of precision, robustness and durability. Based in Zurich, they have been producing watches with the OW monogram since. Though truth be told, we are not familiar with the marque at all until recently.
Their watches were know for military and aviation as well as divers, including pioneering and patening the stainless steel monobloc case, with a water resistance of 1,000m. Albert Wajs retired in 2016, and the brand was acquired by one of their collector friends who also distributes the watches, and continues to produce. Their website shows the key collections in diving (Ocean Graph), aviation (Navichron) and in the base military inspired collections. This novelty harks back to a triple register chronograph which was used by NASA’s scientists including Chief Rocket Scientist Werhner von Braun. This novelty is obviously referring to this nugget of history, and christened the Astrochron. A stroy which OW exploits very well in this rather interesting article: Only one watch went to the moon, but severals others helped.
The overall look of the watch is mildly reminiscent of many of the Valjoux 7760 (the manual wound brother to the self winding Valjoux 7750) equipped flight chronograpsh like the IWC Pilot’s Chronograph. But what makes the Astrochron interesting is the water resistance rating to 500m, which is more commonly seen in diving watches than in aviation timepieces. And perhaps to demonstrate the multi-personality even more, it incorporates a five minute regatta counter. And looks very interesting as a tool watch. At least on paper.
The aesthetics are quite nice, with the pale blue dial with white sub-dials and a cool grey minute counter over the main dial and the minute totaliser.
Pricing of about CHF 2.5k seems to us to be a fair ransom for what is on offer. And is interesting that the movement used is the Valjoux 7753, which seems to be quite rare these days, though it was ubiquitious a decade ago. The Swatch Group who owns the brand name of Vajoux seem to prefer to make the latest generation decendents of the 7750 with ETA references.
THE OW ASTROCHRON: EXPLORING THE LIMITS SINCE 1967
The OW Astrochron story began in Zürich nearly 60 years ago, amidst history’s most ambitious era of exploration. The race to go faster, further and deeper had the world poised at the edge of several new frontiers, the most notable being outer space. The astral realm represented the ultimate in exploration and inspired the name of the famous Ollech & Wajs 1967 ‘triple-register’ chronograph. Perhaps it was inevitable that NASA’s most prestigious scientists would be amongst the elite professionals that used the Astrochron’s various dials and scales (Chief Rocket Scientist – Werner Von Braun amongst them). Engineers, sportsmen, commercial and military divers, pilots and ships officers were also fast to appreciate the value of such a rugged and water-resistant precision timing instrument.
Only a chronograph of exceptional quality would be worthy of continuing the Astrochron legacy today, and we had endeavoured to ensure this new interpretation is equal to the challenge. With a water-resistance of 50 atm (500 m), the new model more than doubles the depth rating of the original and far exceeds Swiss chronograph standard. Other updates include a 360-degree rotating compass bezel and a 20 minute diver’s scale. These additional utilities, combined with a five-minute Regatta counter, extra-thick sapphire crystal and unique four-gasket pusher system, make the new OW Astrochron as proficient on the ocean as it is under and over it.
Inside the brushed 316L stainless steel case is a descendant of the historic Valjoux 72 movement that powered the first Astrochrons. A custom-engraved automatic Valjoux 7753, with an OW machined rotor set onto it, is regulated, adjusted and power-tested in five positions at our workshop in the Swiss Jura, thereby qualifying for the OW Precision rating.
As a final tribute to its forebear, the new chronograph revives the distinctive North Atlantic blue dial of 1968.
Whether you’re exploring a wreck, exploring a theory or just gazing up at the stars and exploring the possibilities, the new OW Astrochron could well be the perfect chronograph. The first 56 numbered OW Astrochron S will be available to reserve via the OW website from March 10th and will be priced Swiss franc 2,496
Ollech & Wajs OW Astrochron S Specifications
OW ASTROCHRON S
39.56 mm X 16.8 mm
Brushed 316L stainless steel, screwed back, screw-down crown, twin pushers with 4 gaskets. Date adjusted by special diving pusher at 10 o’clock. Rotating 360-degree compass bezel with cardinal direction markers and an angle scale / 60 mn diver’s bezel. Manufactured in Jura, Switzerland.
Semi-domed sapphire with anti-glare treatment
Hands and indexes in Super-LumiNova® A seconds register, a 12 hour totalizer and 30 minute totalizer incorporating a Regatta counter.
Water resistance 500m/ 50 atm
Automatic Valjoux 7753 OW PRECISION 5 position adjusted, 27 Jewels. 28,800 bph, with a power reserve of +/- 54 h. Mainplate engraved Ollech & Wajs Zurich 1956, and OW machined rotor
Origin Swiss Made
20mm 316L stainless steel beads of rice, OW S-Type Mark II
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this one calls me a lot, 80 percent because of its massive bezel.