Szanto is dedicated to vintage watch design. I've covered several of their products and praised their retro aesthetics, but I've always thought they could take it a little bit farther. You see, they were all quartz. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. The Time Bum does not turn up his nose at a watch just because it has a battery. Quartz movements are durable, accurate, highly resistant to harsh environmental conditions, and generally inexpensive. In many ways, they make more sense then their spring-driven ancestors. Still, nothing says vintage like a mechanical heart.
Szanto heard the call, releasing a new line of automatics including the snap-lid Half Hunter 6002 powered by a Miyota 8218. This 21.6k bph, 21 jewel, automatic movement has a power reserve of over 40 hours, a date complication, and an offset small seconds. The Half Hunter's style dates back to the days of pocket watches when hinged lids protected your timepiece from dirt and impact. The "hunter" style, named for the gamesman who originally carried them, evolved into the half-hunter when fitted with a porthole and engraved markers, allowing the wearer to read the time without exposing his watch to the elements.
Szanto's version is 42mm wide in a polished case with wire-style lugs and crown guards, both of which give a nod to WWI pocket watch to wristlet conversions. It measures 13.4mm thick, but slightly curved sides and the lips formed by lid and case back temper its girth. The numerals on the polished lid are engraved in a delicate, serif typeface. True to its pocket watch origins, it wears a large fluted crown. It is unsigned, but not without its tricks. Press the button on the head and the spring loaded lid pops open, revealing an engine turned underside, an anti-reflective mineral crystal, and a gorgeous burgundy dial.
It's almost a shame to hide this face under a protective cover, brimming as it is with charming detail. The radial hour markers are printed Roman numerals with a watchmaker's four, which replaces the correct "IV" with the more visually appealing "IIII." Railroad indices surround the both primary dial and the silver small seconds sub dial in the lower right. Breguets antiques hands complete the image. Normally, I would complain that that the white date window cuts through the 3 o'clock marker, but in this case, it is so well integrated, I hardly noticed.
An attractive crocodile print leather strap complements the dial. It is 22mm wide, tapering to a signed buckle with a heavy, rounded frame. It fit my 6.5" wrist comfortably with one adjustment hole to spare. The watch wears true to size, not too large and an easy fit under a shirt cuff. Of course, how you wear it is another story. The Half Hunter is a sports watch, but not in the modern sense. You would most likely wear it as an everyday dress watch.
Does one need the Half Hunter's lid today? Absolutely not. A modern diving or tactical watch would laugh at that polished cap, but that is hardly the point. Indeed, the Szanto is only rated to 30 meters, whether the lid is open or closed. This watch is all about style. It is an eccentric confection, and I love the fact that they made it.
The Szanto 6000 Series Half Hunter has an MSRP of $495. See more at SzantoTime.com.
Pro: An unconventional style with lovely details.
Con: Not the easiest style to pull off.
Sum: Delightfully different. The Time Bum approves.