By clicking on this article, you are well aware of the popularity and value explosion of vintage watches over the last decade. A growing trend over the past few years has been the revival of some hallowed watch brands that, until now only currently lived on in our watch boxes.
Guillaume Laidet, a French entrepreneur and founder of the brand William L. 1985, along with Remi Chabrat, the CEO of the Montrichard Group, had a vision that we all wish we had. They decided to revive past well known, albeit now defunct, vintage brands and recreate some of their classic references as faithfully as possible, updating only some necessities (sapphire crystals instead of acrylic and modern Sellita automatic and manually wound movements, rather than out of production ETA and Valjoux calibers). The first successful revival by the duo was Nivada Grenchen, “refounded” in its original homeland of Switzerland. They also gained rights to the company’s whose watch will be reviewed here, Excelsior Park. Later in the year, Vulcain will be reborn.
Excelsior was a watch movement company founded by Jules-Frederic Jeanneret in 1866. After a series of changes in ownership and acquisitions, Excelsior Park (Park added to appeal to English-speaking markets), emerged as one of the pioneers of the chronograph, registering its first patent in 1891. Excelsior Park (EP) developed its own calibers, producing chronographs and providing movements for other iconic brands such as Girard Perregaux, Gallet, and Zenith.
After succumbing to the quartz crisis in 1983 and closing its doors, Excelsior Park was revived in 2020 and the first preorders are set to ship this month (late March 2022).
The new Excelsior EP95003, one of five different variations of EP’s upcoming chronograph, retails for $2073.20. This reference comes with a very legible black dial, my choice out of the bunch because of its “hooked 7” hour marker in conjunction with a white telemeter and tachymeter scale. The crystal is double-domed sapphire with anti-reflective treatment. This manual winding twin-counter chronograph is equipped with a Swiss Sellita SW510 BH b movement which beats at 4Hz, has 27 jewels, and a maximum power reserve of 48-hours.
Interestingly these are set to ship with both open and closed casebacks and you can request which comes installed. Case size measures 38.9 mm while case thickness is 13 mm with the open caseback and 12.85 mm with the closed. The stainless steel case has both polished and brushed elements and is 100 meters water-resistant. The lug-to-lug length is a pleasant 47.5 mm and the lug width is an accommodating 20 mm. The supplied matte black leather strap is supple and comfortable. The watch on the leather strap weighed in at a light and pleasant 75 grams.
I really liked the new Excelsior Park chronograph model I was able to spend time with. Its size and weight on my sub-7-inch wrist is dead center in my comfort zone and the look and feel like that of a vintage watch was there for me while on the wrist. Details like raised indices and case shapes and sizes very close to their predecessors will not go unnoticed by vintage watch collectors looking for a modern alternative. With five chronograph models using five different color variations of the dial and the last reference utilizing a salmon dial void of the peripheral scales, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find one whose aesthetics please you. Even though the famed movements of the past could not be used with the MSRP where it is, Excelsior Park should continue to excite both modern and vintage watch nerds alike.
The Excelsior EP95003 will be available in late March 2022 for $2073.20.
Learn more at Excelsior Park.
Total Weight: 75 grams
Case Diameter: 38.9 mm
Case Thickness: 12.85 mm (closed caseback) / 13 mm (open caseback)
Lug-to-lug: 47.5 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown Diameter: 7 mm
Glass: Sapphire (domed)
Movement: Sellita SW510 BH b
Depth Rating: 100 meters