DAVOSA Vintage Rally Pilot Chronograph

Swiss watchmaker DAVOSA has launched its first “Pilot” chronograph to mark the centenary of the Wright brothers’ historic flight in 2003. In 2013 the popular model celebrated its own anniversary: ten years of the DAVOSA Pilot chronograph.

DAVOSA celebrates the occasion with the release of a Vintage model series. Although the watches’ technical functions are based on those of the first Pilot model, they also feature a dial design with telemeter and tachymeter scale which is over a century old. The three Vintage Pilot models are available to purchase from specialist watch retailers from November 2013 for 1,598 Euros. Customers can select either a black or white dial.

Intelligent co-pilot for aviators and rally drivers
Chronographs can gauge more than time alone. Provided that the correct scale is shown on the dial, they can also help wearers determine speeds and distances, thus eliminating the need for complex calculations involving physical constants and formulas. These features were once essential characteristics of a watch, particularly for pilots and rally drivers, be it to ascertain the proximity of a storm (telemeter) or the average speed of a race (tachymeter). The DAVOSA Vintage Rally Pilot can do both – the inner bezel features a telemeter scale, while the totaliser area, with subsidiary dials, boasts a triple tachymeter scale.

Telemeter and tachymeter – sonic speed and milestones
A telemeter scale enables the calculation of the distance between an acoustic signal and its own position. Or, put more simply, it can be used to determine the proximity of a storm. To do this, the chronograph is started when lightning strikes and stopped at the first clap of thunder. It is then possible to gauge how far away the storm is by reading the telemeter scale and using the second hand as a counter.

The scale is based on the well-known sonic speed value (343 m/s or 1,235 km/h), and was originally employed in a military context. It was used to determine the enemy’s position via muzzle flashes and cannon fire.

The tachymeter scale, which chiefly benefited rally drivers, is based on a similar principle. It works by starting the chronograph at a wayside milestone and stopping it when the next one is passed. The second hand then displays the average speed on the scale. The colour coding principle is used to distinguish the tachymeter scale on the Vintage Rally Pilot; marked in red or blue, it contrasts with the dial, depending on the model in question.

Characteristic – onion crown and manually-blued hands
Pilots and racing drivers used to wear gloves. As a result, their timepieces were equipped with large, convenient crowns – so-called onion crowns, to ensure they could wind up and operate their watches while flying and driving. The first Pilot model boasted this special feature.

The DAVOSA Vintage Rally Pilot’s antique, manually-blued hands are a further homage to bygone days. They are heated over a naked flame until they develop the desired shade of blue. Although these hands are now industrially mass-produced, DAVOSA opted for the manually-blued, considerably more elaborate handiwork.

A linchpin proven over decades
The drive isn’t just crucial for aircraft and racing cars – it also plays a central role in watchmaking. The quality of a chronograph largely depends on the precision of its movement. All DAVOSA Pilot models incorporate an automatic chronograph movement which has been proving its worth for decades – the Valjoux 7750.

This classic mechanism has been used, with minimal modification, in high-quality chronographs since 1973. Connoisseurs appreciate its compact, precise and robust design. DAVOSA also grants wearers a special view of the watches’ interior. The glass underside provides a glimpse of the elaborately finished movement: Côtes de Genève on the rotor, circular-grained bridges, rhodium plating and blued screws.

Technical details
Model:  Vintage Rally Pilot Chronograph
Reference:  161.008.56 (black/red), 161.008.46 (white/blue)
Case:  stainless steel with sapphire glass and screwed back, water resistant to 10 ATM
Strap:   leather strap with holes, contrast stitching and buckle
Movement: mechanical automatic movement, Valjoux 7750 (ETA), nicely embellished
Dimensions:  diameter: 42.0 mm, height: 15.6 mm
Priced at 1,598 Euros

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