If you were trying to pin down the perfect sports chronograph there are plenty of references you might want to look at… nearly all of which would come under the name Heuer. It’s no surprise then that when Jesse Prawiro was looking for inspiration for his own watch brand, he looked very specifically to the Heuer 1153, Heuer 73464, and Heuer 1163 Viceroy.
It’s these three that first drew the horological entrepreneur into the world of vintage watches and, when it came to launching Soldat, the first watch in his arsenal followed the same lines nicely, particularly that of the Heuer 1153. The result is the Soldat Promessa.
The proportions are similar to the Promessa’s vintage inspiration; yet to make sure its more in line with contemporary tastes, the lozenge-shaped case has been upped from 38mm to a solid 42mm, a substantial increase. The thickness however is the same, keeping things on the elegant side of sporty.
The main mechanical difference between the Promessa and it’s honorary ancestor is the chronograph layout. At a glance you’d assume it’s bi-compax, a two-counter affair thanks to the high contrast subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock. It is, however, tri-compax; look closely and you’ll see another counter at 6 o’clock, made almost invisible by subtle indexes against the same colour as the dial. It’s a nice touch, and pays homage to the kind of panda dials that get vintage lovers’ hearts racing.
It also leaves more room for the stunning dial colours to shine. So far there are three variations in the Promessa collection: Red Comet, Green Forty-Nine and True Blue. Of the three, the green is definitely the winner, especially on the yellow contrast stitched racing strap evoking the livery of the famous Lotus 49 driven by Jim Clarke. Well, the watch has taken its shape from a classic; may as well take the colouring from another.
Inside is the Automatic Column Wheel Chronograph NE88 movement, a solid Japanese-made Seiko number with a 45-hour power reserve. It’s the perfect calibre to suit a racing watch, even if the matched straps (perforated leather for blue and green; nylon for red) weren’t also Japan-made.
Limited to 100 pieces in each colour (I don’t imaging the Green Forty-Nine will last long) the Soldat Promessa is a lovely, modernised homage to the Heuer 1153 and an affordable one at that. The red version on nylon will set you back just $1,150 (just over £880) while the blue and green editions on their leather racing bands another $100 each.
Value, style and aesthetic pedigree; what’s not to love?
Price & Specs:
Model: Soldat Promessa
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 50mm height, stainless steel, red, blue or green dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre SII NE-88, automatic, 35 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 45h
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, chronograph (measures up to 30 minutes and 12 hours)
Strap: NATO style red and white nylon (Red Comet) and blue or green calf leather (True Blue and Green Forty Nine)
Price/availability: $1,150 USD (Red Comet) and $1,250 USD (True Blue and Green Forty Nine), limited to 100 pieces each
More details at Soldat Watch.