An Introduction of EDOX Sportsman Chronographe 140th anniversary

Published on 29 March 2024 at 16:51

Back in 1884, Christian Ruefli-Flury decided to make a nice birthday gift for the 25th birthday of his beloved wife Pauline. He made her a pocket watch. She was delighted and she convinced him to set up his own watch company. Of course he listened to her (don't we all :)) and the new watch company was born. He used the name EDOX, which means "measuring a time" in ancient Greek.

Today, 140 years later, Edox remains one of the few remaining family owned Swiss watchmakers. In the last fifty years Edox was heavily involved in motorsport. From their history one can notice that already back in 1963 Edox was an Official timing partner of Autocross. In the nearest past, Edox was an Official timing partner of the World Rally Championship (Edox is even today known for the series of Chronorally chronograph models, dedicated to this relationship) from 2009-2013, then an Official timing partner of the Dakar Rally (2012-2016), then an Official timing partner of the FIA World Rallycross Championship (2019-2021). From 2016-2017 Edox was also an Official premium partner of the Sauber F1 Team, from 2022 Edox is an Official timing partner of BMW M Motorsport.

Edox is today also well known for its highly water-resistant time pieces. For example I own one Edox Chronooffshore-1 carbon automatic chronograph with 500m water resistance, which is a remarkable resistance for the chronograph watch. Despite all this I must admit that Edox at least in our region is not recognized as a desired brand and I can say that it belongs to one of the most underrated brands. But I will talk about that later.

As this year Edox celebrates its 140th anniversary, a decision for a special limited edition watch - dedicated to this anniversary - was made. Edox decided to issue a watch which would show its close connection to motorsport. Edox decided to reissue the iconic chronograph Sportsman, which was originally developed in the late sixties.     

So, what I have here today is the new Sportsman, issued in March 2024, limited to 600 pieces and in two dial color combinations - gray and blue. For the better comparison, below you can see the picture of the original Sportsman issued in 1972, and official render pictures of both reissued models. As I don't have an original version, I took the first good one found on the internet, so it is not mine. Render pictures were taken from the official Edox web page,

I can say that I needed just one look to decide that this watch should be mine. The great combination of a vintage look with a touch of modern bought me. The only question that I had was of course the dial color.  The very first pick was of course the blue one but with every next look grey was more and more interesting and at the end won! Can't say why as I am very blue oriented..

I don't know how familiar you are with the Edox brand, but it is quite common that there are often big discounts available for its watches around the different distributors. So my first task was to check where the best price can be received. And I was very surprised when I realized that for this watch (for which the original price in EU is 3.600 EUR) almost no discount was offered. The best was 10%.
At the end I contacted Mark from if I can get the watch through them even though they did not have it on their website. He checked at Edox about the availability, and in just a few minutes confirmed that few watches are still available. As at Seriouswatches trade with watches is possible, we very quickly agreed which watches would I sacrifice for the new Edox. I shipped them to the Netherlands and a few days later Edox arrived.

By my experience with Edox, it does not pay much attention to boxing. Usually just a "poor", small plastic box, far from impressive. So I was quite anxious what Edox would do with the anniversary, limited edition watch.

Well, I can't say that they did nothing, but in reality they did almost nothing. The standard plastic box is packed in a bigger cardboard box, where there is a place for additional leather strap. And that is not all - this box also has BMW M official markings and a small booklet which gives basic information about the watch, Edox history and its connection to motorsport. The only real "exclusivity" is the fact that on the booklet the serial number of the watch is also printed. I have an Edox watch winder and it's funny but true, this watch winder was packed in a MUCH better box than this special edition anniversary watch.

Let me now focus on the watch itself. As you can see it comes with a mesh bracelet and racing brown leather strap with deployant clasp. I will be quite honest with you - those are the worst possible combination of bracelet/strap for my taste. As among all bracelet models mesh is by far the least desirable for me. Among all leather straps I would never choose racing models. I hate those holes in the strap. 

The bracelet is quite standard and easy to shorten. And the buckle also has three micro adjustments available. I was surprised that only two links had to be removed for my 19,4cm wrist. So, this watch/bracelet is not factory ready for bigger than 21cm wrists. 

Nowadays when some watches are offered with more than one strap/bracelet it is quite common that bracelets and straps are equipped with quick release lugs or the replacement tool is attached. In this case that is just partially true. The bracelet has standard lugs while the strap has quick release ones. Luckily the mesh bracelet does not have end links and the holes on the bracelet are big so the lugs are easily achievable therefore replacing straps is not a problem. However, as you are for sure aware of, a tool for releasing the bracelet lug is needed and that tool is not included. Small yet important mistakes made by Edox. Does Edox really think that the normal user of this watch will daily go to the local watchmaker to replace the bracelet with the strap and vice versa?
Even though I don't like the mesh nor the racing strap, I admit that both are made excellent, soft, and extremely comfortable. At first I was sure I would need to find some replacement strap options, however after the first week of constant wearing using both options I don't feel any need to do so. Both options were obviously chosen wisely and go well together with the vintage sport design of the watch. I have never imagined that I would ever give such a compliment to those two types of straps! 

If the straps were a surprise to me, what can I say about the dial? I can't describe what is the true color of the dial but it for sure is not a light grey as seen on the render picture. In real life, the color goes from grey to brown, sometimes even almost black. 

As it can be seen, the general outlook of the dial follows the original one in almost any detail. I was able to notice several differences, the most noticeable is the minute totalizer where the original one is circled by consecutive red and white stripes while the new one is circled by three colored stripes dedicated to BMW M motorsport. The second difference can be found above the hour index marking where the reissue has a small spot whereas the original one does not have that. The last one is the "Swiss made" text font and the fact that the original watch has a T marking on both sides of the text, which indicates that Tritium was used for illumination. Of course this is changed on the reissued version.
All hands are remarkably similar, but not the same. The most noticeable difference is the length of the second chronograph hand, which is larger than the original.
For the sake of transparency I must add that a lot of different color combinations were issued in the 1970-1980, also some different modifications (for example tachymeter scale inside or outside of the dial). However the watch I use for the comparison is a good representative of its time and a model which was an inspiration for the reissue.

I know it's hard to see but the dial has a sun ray finish emanating from the center. If you look carefully you can spot how the sunray finish of the dial continues to those on the lightly brushed case finishing. On the inner ring there is a brushed silver tachymeter ring. Everything is done very nicely and pictures can't show the true beauty of those details. When the dial shows itself in a proper grey color and not in such a brown as in this photo, all those sun rays on the dial and on the case looks even more attractive. I tried to take a better photo, but my photo skills are not good enough.

Stainless steel case has the same shape as the original but here we can notice the first important modification - the watch has been increased from 37mm to 41mm. An excellent choice - big enough for the modern times yet small enough to keep the vintage soul. Plastic glass is of course replaced by sapphire one. This glass is doomed (what is a real troublemaker for making the photos). Due to the doomed shape of the glass watch is quite thick - almost 17mm, but as the important part of the thickness comes from the glass, on the hand watch does not look bulky on the wrist.

Crown is of course signed and screwed in. But what is very interesting is the fact that chronograph pushers are not screwed even though the watch has a declared water resistance of 300m! Respectable water resistance even for the diver watch models, let alone chronograph. I have never seen a chronograph with such a water resistance where the pushers are not screwed. But I would still not dare to start chronograph under the water.

A back plate is glass which offers a good view on an automatic bi-compax chronograph movement Sellita SW510 BH, or rebranded to Edox 082. All Selitta SW5xx movements, this one included, are based on Valjoux/Eta 7750 family movements. As I understand, the only difference between SW510 and Edox082 is the rotor engraving. This is technically the biggest difference to the original watch which was powered by Valjoux 7733 hand winding chronograph movement. 

It has to be pointed out that Selitta 510 BH has a date complication at 6, however Sportsman does not have it. Probably for the sake of originality and comparability. I welcome this decision. The side effect is that there is a dummy first position of the crown which would otherwise be used for a date setting.

According to Selitta specifications, movement has a 62h of power reserve, I haven't checked that.

But I did check for accuracy. Watch runs from +2 sec/d (one position), +5 (one position), +8 (one position), +10 (three positions), which gives a +8 sec/d of the overall daily average while being on the wrist 24h/d. Not bad but could be better and offers some improvements for the fine tuning.

All hands and indexes are illuminated. At first glance illumination looks great (first photo), however in reality the second photo gives a more realistic view of what you really see during the night. So, not so perfect. It lasts a long time, but hands are hardly visible (indexes have much better visibility). It seems that hands are just too thin to have enough luminova for brighter lighting.

Now, let's take a look at how this watch fits on my wrist. I already said that the diameter of the case is 41mm without crown and pushers, however I did not reveal the L2L size. It is just 45,5mm! I was afraid this might even be too small for my wrist but it turned out that the watch is very comfortable to wear. I take quite a lot of photos in different light conditions so that by this I can try to give you a better view also on the dial color variations. I used different strap settings, some were even too tight. 

At the end, let me again tackle the price. 3600 EUR in the EU is nowadays a normal price for a Swiss made chronograph. Also the quality of the watch fits into this category. However - for Edox and the general perception of it as a brand (at least in our region) -  this is expensive. I think that this is even the most expensive Edox watch which is at the moment in its regular offer. So the main questions here are can Edox brand as a brand afford itself to sell this watch for 3600 EUR and why has Edox such a low value rating among the watch lovers. Is the "strange" discount policy one of the reasons or one of the consequences of the Edox general image? I am not here to make any statements about it but your comments are more than welcome.

I will for the end rather just say:"Dear Edox Sportsman, welcome to my collection and let your older, bigger brother Chronooffshore-1 Carbon take good care and company to you. You will stay with me for quite a long time!"

And I also have to again thank Mark from Seriouswatches for a quick response and willingness for a trade and by that helping me to improve my collection. 

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