To be perfectly honest back in 2004 when I heard that the Malte Chronograph was replacing the iconic Chronographe Historique I almost choked…what??? How can it be? It was like hearing Jay Z and Beyonce were splitting up!! I was nothing short of devastated!
The Malte Chrono to me was “just” a beefed up version of the Chronographe Historique with no legitimacy and interest. It was a watch I wanted to dislike and it seemed easy from the press photos I had seen.
During SIHH 2004 I saw the watch and secretly liked it! The case was very modern, the guillochage on the dial was exquisite, the movement beautifully finished and the pushers a delight to operate. I even started eyeing the model in RG!
However I did not want to loose face and therefore did not express my likings for this watch as loud as my disliking…foolish youth.
As the chronographs started trickling into dealers the more I saw it the more I was attracted to it. Even though a bit on the large side at 41mm the watch was perfectly proportioned, very masculine and yet elegant.
Was this the ultimate high end chronograph?
The question may seem silly but I was comparing to other high end (non sports) chronographs on the market and kept coming back to the Malte Chronograph. It’s a truly lovely piece, both a true technical movement with a beautiful and non conservative design. The Malte Chronograph may not be the most technical out there but houses what many experts consider being one of the best manual wind chronograph movements (call 1141 based on Lemania CH 27).
Basically the more I saw it the more I was convinced that it was the coolest high end chronograph available.
In 2006 I had a revelation when during the Geneva salon I saw the Malte Chronograph in the Excellence Platine collection (limited to 75 pieces): a stunning platinum case with a platinum dial: a piece to die for. The platinum dial has a somewhat sand blasted finish which picks up light in a very particular manner and there and then I knew that the Malte Chronograph in platinum was definitely the most beautiful chronograph. Period. No discussion possible.
It took the gentle persuasion of two 140 kilo (each!) guards to get me to unstrap the watch from my wrist and return it
In a recent trip to Geneva I got to see one of the last models and got to take some photos before it was delivered to its luck owner. Hope you enjoy.