We got acquainted with Depancel late last year, when we were offered a loaner with the Serie-A Stradale which featured a meca-quartz chronograph movement. They followed up with a new manual winding mechanical chronograph. We took the watch for a short test-drive, and we will share our thoughts on this timepiece.
Review: Depancel Legend 60s Chronograph
The new Depancel Legend 60s Chronograph retails for US$595 (approximately S$785) and it is available on the brand’s website. The watch is offered with a five-year warranty.
The Legend 60s aims to capture the spirit of the 1960s Formula One timekeeping. This is rather apparent in its design, and of course the choice of complication.
Notably, this is the brand’s first chronograph with a hand-wound movement, and at first impression, we do like the direction that the brand is taking. It features all the hallmarks of a great timepiece, with a timeless design that admittedly looks rather good.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The Legends 60s is fitted with a modestly sized 39mm stainless steel case – which is similar to the Serie-A. The relatively smaller case works well with the theme, bearing in mind that watches in the 1960s are not that huge after all. Despite its size, the watch does appear to look bigger than it actually is, as the watch is designed with a pair of long lugs and thin bezel.
Next, we have the dial of the watch. The dial is perhaps one of the best elements of the timepiece. Our loaner features the “panda” dial variation, where the silver satin finished dial is complemented with a pair of black counters. It is also available in the “reverse panda” variation, which features a black dial and silver counters instead.
Compared to the Serie-A, the Legend 60s is definitely a more serious-looking timepiece. The numerals – which have a more professional typography – are aligned on an upright position. The sword-hands are also clean, and the only exception is the bright-red central chronograph hand that acts as a contrast to the rest of the dial.
Lastly, for the keen-eyed, one might have also spotted the faux-patina markers on the minute track, which adds a nice touch to the timepiece and its 1960s theme. Given the context and the subtlety of it, we do think that it is done rather tastefully here.
Overall, the Legend 60s Chronograph looks compelling. It is a handsome timepiece, with a rather clean and agreeable design. It is just difficult not to like this timepiece, in terms of its aesthetics alone. We can say that Depancel had got the formula right again.
Movement: Seagull ST1901
Powering the Legend 60s is the Seagull ST1902, a manual-winding chronograph movement. The movement, for the geeks, was derived from the famous Swiss Venus 175, and it features a column wheel to activate the chronograph complication.
The ST1902 boasts a power reserve of approximately 45 hours, and it beats at a frequency of 3 Hz. Finishing-wise, the ST1902 is industrial. We do not expect any haute horlogerie level of finishing, especially at this modest price point. Regardless, the construction still makes the ST1902 a joy to view, and it is certainly way more entertaining than most movements that one would expect to see for an entry-level timepiece.
The Depancel Legend 60s Chronograph is priced at US$595 (approximately S$785), which offers tremendous value in our books. The watch comes with a period-matching micro-perforated calfskin leather strap as well, which feels pretty supple and comfortable on the wrist. Similar to the Serie-A, the strap on this timepiece also features a small French flag – a subtle Easter Egg that adds a nice touch to the origins of the brand.
Notably, there are a few timepieces that are considered as potential competitors to this timepiece.
First, we have the Mechaquartz collection from the ever-popular Furlan Marri (picture above courtesy of Furlan Marri). Sized at 38mm, the watch features a Mechaquartz movement, unlike the mechanical Seagull ST1902 that powers the Depancel. The design of the Furlan Marri reminds us of the old-school chronographs of the yesteryear, with a very classic and restrained look. It is priced at CHF 555 (approximately S$855).
The next alternative is from a microbrand that had made a name for itself: Baltic Bicompax 002 (picture courtesy of Baltic). The 38mm Baltic is more similar in offering here; it is fitted with a manual-winding Seagull ST1901 movement. This is perhaps more for a collector who wants a mechanical chronograph timepiece with a cleaner and simpler design. The watch retails at €540 (approximately S$800).
We round up our selection with a more intriguing option. Studio Underd0g is a young upstart that has produced some intriguing (but polarising) timepieces, and the Strawberries and Cream is one such watch. We like the unusual design approach, with a rather refreshing and original take in terms of its aesthetics. The watch is fitted with the Seagull ST1901 movement, and it is priced at €600 (approximately S$890).
The Serie-A may have been a great watch, but the Legend 60s speaks to us even more. This watch features great aesthetics, and now with a manual-winding movement to top it off. In addition, we find the design a little more agreeable as well, and frankly, it appears as though the Legend 60s is a timepiece that ticks all the right boxes.
There is no doubt some interesting options at this price point, given that many microbrands are playing their A-game in this slightly competitive space. However, Depancel does offer something compelling, and we do think that the Legend 60s is a great piece especially for someone who is looking to buy a good-looking and modestly priced beater watch with some horological pedigree.