Mondaine SBB Classic Fall

Fans of modern design already know the Mondaine Swiss Railways watch. Based on the 1944 clock by engineer and Railways employee Hans Hilfiker, the black-on-white face with its red lollypop second hand is an icon of midcentury modernism. In 1986, the Mondaine company adopted the unmistakable graphics of the Railways clock into a line of highly successful watches. This fall, they have rolled out another variant, and let The Time Bum give it a try for a few days.
There are several Classic Fall variations available; this press loaner was a white dial in a 40mm matte stainless steel case with a 20mm red-brown leather strap. Other Classic Fall models come with a gray synthetic felt strap made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate fibers. What is that you might ask? Recycled water bottles.
Right out of the box, it is easy to see the appeal. The heavy black bars marking the hours and minutes command your attention, unequal width baton hands are just the right length, and the oversize red disk topping the second hand pops against all of it. This was a clock face engineered to be read quickly and easily from a healthy distance. It succeeds admirably and looks sharp in the process.

That said, it looks remarkably close to every other Railways watch in the Mondaine collection but when your customers are buying such a particular look, the differences between models tend to be slight. The SBB Classic Fall is distinguished by a thin cylindrical case, the flat profile of which is somewhat tempered by straight lugs that are angled downwards to meet your wrist. My favorite feature is the signed red cap on the crown.
The watch's specifications are fairly modest: flat mineral crystal, pressed-on case back, 30m water resistance, and a Ronda 513 quartz inside. Clearly, the SBB Classic Fall is not a tool watch, but neither is it a dress watch. It is the sort of watch that you can grab and go for anything from a trip to the coffee shop, to a day at the museums, to a week in the office. It will fit a wide range of wrist sizes, even smallish ones like my own, and vanish under a shirt cuff. Call it “everyday smart casual.”
The SBB Classic Fall is more about design than engineering, so it will likely not be the Mondaine of choice for hardcore watch nerds. They may find the dual movement Stop2Go or SW200 equipped Automatic line more to their liking. On the other hand, if you are looking for a modern graphic design icon for not much money, the Fall Classic is ideal. The model reviewed here sells for just $195.

For more information or to place an order visit Mondaine-USA.com.  ⬩

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