Even though they’ve been overwhelmed by them lately Multifunction sports watches And in training applications, stopwatches were once an essential part of measuring athletic performance. And we’re not just talking about a large piece of plastic with a digital display – stopwatches were once precision-made machines that rivaled their wristwatch counterparts in style (which makes sense, given that many great watchmakers also produced stopwatches). In the new Tracksmith x Wind Vintage CollectionLaunched last week, stopwatches finally get their due: a collection of 11 vintage mechanical stopwatches displaying the ingenuity of these watches and highlighting their important role in running.
The group came about through a partnership between road maker, the brand best known for college-inspired and vintage-inspired performance apparel, and vintage wind, a company founded by Eric Wind that specializes in the sale and maintenance of high quality antique watches. To create the collection, Wind worked with Tracksmith to select 11 unique vintage stopwatches that highlight the important role timekeeping has played in track and field over the years.
The collection includes items from popular watch brands such as Breitling, Omega, and Heuer, as well as more obscure makers such as Gallet and Favre-Leuba, all produced from the 1950s to the 1980s. Together, they are an excellent representation of the utilitarian style and craftsmanship of mechanical stopwatches – and each selection has a story to tell.
Take Heuer by Abercrombie & Fitch Split-seconds, for example. Produced in Switzerland in the 1960s for Abercrombie & Fitch (at the time, the brand was an outdoor gear retailer), this stopwatch included a “parts-of-seconds” complication that allowed the user to track two runners simultaneously. To this end, it has been made using two seconds hands—one with a half-moon-shaped counterweight, and the other with a teardrop-shaped counterweight—to keep track of two different times. Bold black and red second markers make it easy to read at a glance, and with its large crown, cord loop, and double studs, it’s clear and functional, but also stunningly elegant.
Highlights from the rest of the collection include a stopwatch made for the New York City Board of Education (likely to be put to work in running sessions in gym classes), a military problem stopwatch imprinted with “US Government” on the dial, and a rare Heuer stopwatch that can Keep track of hours with the unique “jumping hour counter” window built into the dial. But for pure elegance points, we love the ’60s Minerva and its clean, open dial design, large red minute hand and bold numerals. It’s an undeniably classic, yet still looks handsome and elegant, even decades after it was made.
There seemed to be a lot of pent-up demand for the old stopwatches; The collection sold out almost immediately after its release. But keep an eye out for sellers—and possibly another Tracksmith and Wind Vintage release in the future.
[Starting at $190; tracksmith.com]
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