30 mm Chronometer by Eric Lexer — A Book For Every Vintage Omega Fan An amazing publication on a rare, historical watch caliber and its references from Omega by Balazs Ferenczi May 25, 2020 MIN READ30 mm Chronometer by Eric Lexer — A Book For Every Vintage Omega Fan
Vintage watch collecting is a fantastic hobby for many reasons. Firstly, you have an endless number of timepieces from the past. And there’s always more to discover. It’s fun to explore “new” models from time-to-time. Then, there are those neat stories about them. This one was worn by a pilot in World War II. That one was the president’s favorite piece. Perhaps you’ll find a model made famous by a famous wrist? But what I love the most about vintage watches are those beautiful books written about them like “30 mm Chronometer” by Erich Lexer.
I think I heard about this project a while ago from someone. Not sure who it was. Then last year, during lunch after the Speedy Tuesday event in Frankfurt, I coincidentally sat down next to Ingo (@igloe on Instagram). Needless to say, if you know him, you know that the guy is crazy about anything and everything watch-related. He could not stop talking about this book and how wonderful it is. I promised him that I’d look into it. This book review is a result of that lunch. Thanks a lot, Ingo.
30 mm Chronometer is one of the latest in a long line of books written about various Omega timepieces. Notably, the Moon Watch Only books (three editions to date), Flightmaster Only, From Seamaster To Seamaster, or Omega Sports watches, to name but a few. While those publications discuss more known models such as the Speedmaster, this book deals with an equally exciting topic. This subject could seem minuscule at first glance, but I can assure you it is not.
…2019 was the 80th anniversary of this legendary movement…
As a matter of fact, many models from later decades would’ve never been released if it weren’t for the subject of this book. As the name suggests, we are talking about the 30 mm Omega caliber and, more importantly, its chronometer versions. The timing is not coincidental either. 2019, when a 30 mm Chronometer came out, was the 80th anniversary of this legendary movement, Calibre 30.
30 mm history
Before we take a closer look at Erich Lexer’s 30 mm Chronometer, let’s have a look at its “protagonist”. Omega produced the 30 mm caliber from 1939 until 1963. The book deals with this movement’s chronometer-certified version, which had a relatively short lifespan. Omega made these calibers between 1941 and 1954 only. Development of the Calibre 30 began in 1938 following the designs of Mr. Henri Kneuss (assistant technical director at Omega). The finished product was presented in December 1938 and production began as early as February the next year.
Notable examples are the legendary 30T2 or the 265…
The name came from the simple fact that the diameter of the movement was exactly 30 mm. Omega made Chronometer and non-chronometer versions. Throughout the years, many new calibers came out, all based on the original Calibre 30. Notable examples are the legendary 30T2 or the 265.
What to expect?
Although I agree that these watches — and this caliber — are not as significant as the Speedmaster line, the book is still a must for Omega lovers. It is a fascinating topic here. Additionally, it is an astonishingly thorough work on the part of Erich Lexer. The book is structured and paced beautifully, giving you a quick run-down of the 30 mm chronometer references (in the Index) before diving into the topic.
…complex and captivating.
We learn the history of the Calibre 30, its dial variations, different hands, and crowns Omega used. Next, we can read about the various references, including the individual pieces made for the Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin-American or Italian markets. Their history is complex and captivating. Another section in 30mm Chronometer that vintage lovers will undoubtedly enjoy is about military chronometers.
This part is only 45 pages or so but packed with interesting information about various references connected to the military. After this chapter, the book gets more technical. We can read about the Railmaster prototypes, observatory chronometers, and a lot more. Omega, for the first time, allowed Erich Lexer to photograph some never-before-seen prototype calibers from the Omega archives.
Look at it as a buyer’s guide…
We can find a detailed description of each movement with beautiful high-resolution shots of their fronts and backs. Before we reach the book’s last part, we get some tips from Mr. Lexer about what to pay attention to when buying these timepieces. Look at it as a buyer’s guide, if you will. Lastly, no book is complete without a section about accessories such as original vintage boxes, papers, hangtags, and straps. You can read detailed descriptions about buckle types, and even the spring bars Omega used back then.
30 mm Chronometer is over 550 pages and includes more than 1,000 images. Speaking of which, there is a section in the middle of the book called Eye candy. Fifteen pages of wonderfully photographed vintage examples of different Omega chronometers. If you love watch-photography, you will surely enjoy this segment.
This book is a reference volume for these fantastic vintage timepieces that many of us may have overlooked. Well, thanks to 30 mm Chronometer, Calibre 30 will be overlooked no more. 30 mm Chronometer is bilingual, with text in both German and English. The price is a little over €200 (€220 if I’m not mistaken) and I must say, it is worth every cent. 30 mm Chronometer is a must for every vintage Omega collector’s home library. You can get in touch with Erich if you want to order his book via his Instagram.
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About the author
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up… read more
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