Vintro Le Mans 1952 – Where the old and the new meets

By Frederik Drost
Vintro Le Mans 1952 – Where the old and the new meets
A vintage luxurious look with the charming feeling of a mechanical chronograph and the reliability and precision of quartz. All of this for a very affordable price.

In this review I will be taking a closer look at an intriguing and “under the radar” brand that produces vintage looking chronograph dress watches. Vintro watches is a small German brand created by a guy who collects vintage watches. What I really like about microbrands is how much passion you can feel is behind their watches, and i will try my best to showcase this here.

Their watches are sold at a very affordable price so the question is as always: are their watches worth the money? The short answer is yes, but I will of course explore why in this review. 

I present to you, the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Quartz Yellow Gold


Quick Pros & Cons

PROS CONS
– Very affordable – Not the best straps
– Great design
– Very retro look
– Meca-quartz movement
– Extra springbars and nato strap

Video Review



First Impressions

The watch comes in a nice leather boxed with a magnetically sealed lid that features the debossed Vintro logo. The watch comes with an extra black nato strap, extra quick release pins and a little leather card holder. This is a surprisingly nice packaging considering the price of the watch! 

At first glance, the watch definitely has a vintage feel and look to it. The telemeter scale just screams retro while the thin crown and pushers, the champagne dial and the vintage leather strap whispers vintage. 

It’s also very dressy being that it’s light, thin, and covered with polished gold. It has no lume, but sure does reflect every ray of light it can right back at your eyes. 

All in all, a very satisfying unboxing with only a few minor flaws that are to be expected for a watch in this price range.


A closer look

The case and crown

To be honest, the case is a very generic case design with rounded tapered lugs and a 45 degree descending bezel ring. The gold polishing is very nicely done and doesn’t reflect light very evenly, unlike uneven polished surfaces tend to do.

The crown is a nice thin crown with small teeth for grip, that sits close to the case. I love how understated the embossed logo is on the surface of the crown. It’s basically just the 3 tips of a triangle which is a very cool detail that only the wearer notices.

The chronograph pushers fits right into the hole in the case that was created for them and only moves a little bit when you brush your finger over them. The machining is nicely done leaving the polished surface impeccable when light hits it. They have a lovely mechanical click feel to them, mostly due to the Seiko Mecaquartz movement that i will be talking more about later.


The dial and hands

This very pretty dial sits under a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating on the underside. To my great surprise, this crystal reflects a nice blue hue on the edge when in a certain angle. It really looks great and matches the dark blue hands and markers on the dial, as well as complimenting all the gold tones of this watch!

The dial is elegantly executed with very crisp and legible printing and a nice beat blasted champagne dial. It features very elegant applied gold indices and two subdials with engraved rings that sits right under the surface of the dial. These two elements help give the watch a little bit of depth, but not too much since we want it to remain “dressy”. The telemeter scale and tachymeter scale brings the watch back in to the sporty world.

What’s really cool about the design of this dial is that Vintro chose to remove the seconds subdial. Not only does it give the dial some breathing space and a better symmetry, but you also can’t tell it’s a quartz watch (the chronograph hand ticks at 2.5hz if my counting is correct). 

The hands are also elegantly executed. The hour and minute hands are lovely dauphiné hands with a sharp double bevel angle running down the middle. This ensure they play well with the light at least twice as often! 

The other hands are painted in a dark blue paint that matches the one used on the tachymeter scale (the rest is black or red). The chronograph seconds hand has a nice little teardrop tail and extends all the way out to the edge of the dial.

The proportions of this dial are just perfect! The hour hand stop right before the hours indices, the minute hand’s tip rest comfortably at the edge of the minute track and the chronograph seconds hands takes up all of it!  With all this information on the dial, Vintro has managed to create something that is far from cluttered, elegant and legible.


The straps

This watch can be bought with a myriad of straps, but I recommend the blue vintage leather strap (although the cognac strap looks nice too). It matches the blue on the hands and the tachymeter scale, and blue plays so well with yellow ! 

The vintage leather strap is an ok strap for this price. It looks slightly used, has a nice feel to it and is very soft and supple. But don’t expect it to last long, as these “cheaper” straps rarely do. You can always buy a better strap for it in the future.

The nato strap is a nice little bonus and makes to watch wear more sportier than with the previous strap. It is however a little too short in my opinion. On my 17cm wrist, the tip of the strap just passes through the last buckle, meaning I can’t fold it down over itself to block it.


The movement

On this watch, the movement plays a much more intriguing role in defining its character. The Seiko VK64A hybrid movement consists of a quartz module that keeps time and a mechanical chronograph module on top of that. What this means is that you get a mechanical feel to the chrono pushers and a hand that ticks like a mechanical chronograph would. When you reset the chronograph, the hands fly back instantly to their starting position (not to be confused with a flyback function). That’s pretty cool! 

I have heard some bad things about the previous VK63A movement, but I assume Seiko has fixed those issues. I haven’t had any so far, and trust me, i love to use the chronograph for no reason. They state a 3 year battery life, assuming you don’t let the chronograph run all the time.


What could have been better

There are a few minor flaws on this watch which can only be expected on a watch this affordable. I do however feel the need to point them out, but I still wholeheartedly believe you get a good watch for the money.

The crown is not completely aligned with the crown stem, but if you turn it then you can find one position where it does sit parallel to the case. This might not be a recurrent problem, but still worth mentioning. 

The dial in not completely aligned with the center of the case, but it’s off my half a degree. This is only something you see after staring a long time at the watch, and also something i see on much more expensive watches.


The price

I think the price is very fair

The quartz model goes for 269 Euros (300 USD) and you really get a lot for you money here! Even the full mechanical automatic version is only 599 Euros, but it does feature a seagull movement which may or may not have questionable quality (I have zero experience with those, so you have to do your own research). 

If you want to comapre with similar VK64A vintage inspired chronographs, take a look at Geckota watches (around same price) or Corniche watches (more expensive).


Conclusion

The Vintro Le Mans 1952 offers something new and unique, yet retro and vintage looking. It doesn’t blatantly rip off the design of an old watch, but blends in the different elements of vintage chronograph dress watches in a modern way. This watch is a perfectly good way of honoring the past, while staying grounded in the present and in the average consumer’s budget.

This watch might be the watch that gets you into collecting vintage watches, or be a fun addition to the already seasoned collector. It’s really hard not to like the design of this watch and I can’t help but stare at all the scales on the dial even though i might never use them. Functional beauty mixed with elegant aesthetics really does pan out well, especially when you goal is to create a sporty dresswatch.

2 Comments

Johan 28/02/2020 - 17:44

If this watch was equipped with a Sea-gull ST1901 movement, it would be very tempting! I love the vintage inspired design (and of course, the Seiko movement is solid, but a bit boring).

Reply
Frederik Drost 01/03/2020 - 13:56

Hello Johan,

They do have a version with a Seagull movement! Go check their website 😉

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