An Everyday Mecaquartz Chronograph
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Medini Sovereign, the first of two models from the Dubai-based micro-brand. The Sovereign is the type of watch that anyone can wear and that makes good horology attainable to all. It is an elegant time + date everyday watch that Ahsan Merchant, the founder of Medini, created to make this genre of watch available for those of us with smaller watch budgets–or bigger life priorities. While the Sovereign ticks many of the boxes for a good everyday watch, what if you were more into chronographs? More specifically, well-made and elegant ones?
Well, this is where this review comes in. In this article, we are going to take a look at Medini’s Celeritas, the brand’s first mecaquartz chronograph and second model. Just like the Sovereign, the Celeritas is elegant and qualifies as an everyday timepiece too, at least in my horological book. It has reasonable dimensions, an attractive price tag, and unique design—which is somewhat of an accomplishment given the fact that the market is saturated with mecaquartz chronographs. And while I know that value is relative, I believe that the Celeritas offers a compelling price/specifications ratio.
P.S. Do not mind the stickers on the crown and pushers. I didn’t have the heart to remove them from a review unit.
I have a 6.25”/16cm wrist and a watch has to have certain dimensions in order to fit my wrist comfortably. Not only that, but it must be light and more or less fit under a cuff, although I don’t wear shirts that come with these anymore. But you catch my drift. In that spirit, the Celeritas comes with a case diameter of 38mm, a lug-to-lug of 45mm, a thickness of 14mm, and a lug width of 20mm. I know what you’re going to say: 14mm in thickness seems like a lot for a mecaquartz chronograph, but saying this would mean ignoring what this type of movement is: a hybrid between a mechanical chronograph movement and a quartz movement. This means there are still many parts that need to fit under the hood.
The movement in question is the Seiko VK64 which has a frequency of 32,768 Hz and a battery life of 3 years. The VK64 has a 60-minute chronograph sub-register and a 24-hour indicator; no running seconds. Being a mecaquartz, the chronograph hand sweeps smoothly around the dial, not as one can see on a high-end Swiss luxury chronograph, however the sweeping action is nevertheless satisfying to look at. The pusher at the 2 o’clock starts and stops the chronograph while the pusher at the 4 o’clock resets it. One can actually reset the chronograph without having to stop it in the first place, a neat little advantage of mecaquartz movements.
As an everyday chronograph, the Celeritas comes with a couple of features that guarantee that it can take a beating or two. For example a dome sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating, to ensure that reading the time can be done easily. It also comes with 50 meters of water resistance, I know, nothing that will make it possible for you to dive the Great Barrier Reef with, however 50 meters is plenty for everyday use. (Read: it can withstand splashes and washing your hands.) Last but not least, the leather strap comes with a double-pusher deployment class and quick-release spring bars, making it easy to swap it for something else.
The Celeritas can be had in one of three colors: Black, Gold, and Tuxedo. The model shown here is the Tuxedo one, named after the juxtaposition of black and gray on the dial. Normally, tuxedo-themed watches display a black and white contrast, however Medini opted for a more subdued contrast using colors that are closer to each other than plain black and stark white. I do like this choice as it makes the Celeritas stay on the down low, something that is important to me. (I do not want to flash anyone with my wrist jewelry.) With that said, the Gold variant will definitely bring more attention onto itself, however now you know that you have options.
Looking at the dial, all markers except for the 3 and 9 are present, polished, and applied. The ones at the 12 and 6 are highlighted with Arabic numerals that are tall and wide, while the others are of the baton-style variety. All in all, a classic look that also makes reading the time easy. Furthermore, the hands are fully polished, including the seconds hand, the latter being adorned with a circular element as its counter-balance. All of these polished elements contrast nicely with the matte dark gray dial, adding a gentle light play when moving the watch at different angles.
Being a chronograph, the Celeritas has two sub-registers: a 60-minute counter at the 9 o’clock and a 24-hour indicator at the 3 o’clock. The latter is, to be honest, not the most useful, however that’s how these movements are built. While the brand logo is printed in capital letters above the pinion, the word “Celeritas” is subtly written with a script typeface and nestled above the 6 o’clock. The tachymeter scale is printed in black against a dark gray background on the outer part of the dial. The background color matches that of the sub-registers, creating visual harmony.
The other element which contributes to making the Celeritas an everyday watch is the case finish. It displays satin brushed surfaces on the case sides and top of the lugs, while the fixed bezel and curved edge of the case-back are polished. In other words, half of the polished surfaces are hidden below which is a neat thing since the hands and applied markers are polished. There is indeed such a thing as having many polished surfaces on watches which could have made the Celeritas look shiny, and therefore, not as versatile as it actually is.
The Heart of the Matter
At the heart of the matter is the fact that Medini managed to create a great one-watch collection timepiece that is good-looking, well-spec’d, and attainable. Yes, I do insist on the attainable part—in other words referring to its price tag which I will discuss below—as it is a key element for making a watch an everyday watch for many watch enthusiasts. I for one do not wear watches outside my house that would cost several thousands of dollars because I would be afraid of getting it stolen. While I do wear watches that cost between $500 and $1,500, they do not have the visual identity of Swiss luxury timepieces that make the news in the not the best matter of things.
Moreover, while there are many brands that make homages to popular and iconic models which sell for a few hundred dollars, one can turn to a brand such as Medini to get something original. Because let’s face it, those who buy homage watches do so because they cannot afford to spend more on the original, and because they want to have access to a certain type of horological experience. i.e. “I like the Rolex Submariner so I’ll buy a $100 homage because I can’t or don’t want to buy the real thing.” The point I’m trying to make here is this: instead of buying an homage, go buy a quality Medini that will set you off a few hundred bucks and that has a lot to show for.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are many mecaquartz chronographs available on the market today. Many. And more often than not, they come with a VK64 movement or another version of it. So you can already imagine how many brands Medini must compete with, which brings us to a key point which plays in the favor of the Celeritas. It’s price tag. Roughly $350 based on today’s conversion rate with the AED, or United Arab Emirates Dirham. While there are cheaper mecaquartz chronographs out there, they often do not come with a sapphire crystal and applied, polished indices. What’s more is that each Celeritas is delivered with an extra silicone strap to change the style of the watch.
So when you look at the whole package, it’s quite an attractive one. And with a few exceptions, most mecaquartz chronograph movements available on the market today lean more toward the sporty side of things while the Celeritas most certainly inscribed itself with the register of everyday watches. That is not to say that it cannot be used outside the board room or a fancy restaurant, quite the contrary since the brand provides a silicone strap. It therefore begs to be taken on light adventures, travels, and perhaps even a little more. That is a lot that can be done with a watch retailing for $350, again a sum that seems quite reasonable for what you get.
Writing about the Medini Celeritas has forced me to brush up on my knowledge of chronographs. Or lack thereof. This type of watch is quite interesting to me as I find it to be functional. I’m more of a dive-type of person and use a dive bezel to time all sorts of useful and not-so-useful things. However, and more often than not, a diver looks like a tool watch, especially when sticking to the sub-$500 price range. Using a chronograph to time events (or how long you’ve been playing with your dog or scrolling on social media) is neat and different. Pushing buttons is satisfying, even on a VK64 movement. It changes the way I perceive timing and how it can be done using a watch.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I suggest you take a look at the Celeritas more closely, as well as the Sovereign. Medini managed to make solid everyday watches attainable—a word I have used multiple times in this review to show you how important it is—which is something that I would like to see more independent brands do. To know more about Medini and its collections, I suggest checking out their website here.
Thanks for reading.