Crowned as the top sport timepiece at this year’s GPHG, Habring2 Doppel 2.0 timekeeper is an important watch for yet another reason. It is the latest double chronograph created by the man who is behind the first ever affordable split seconds chronograph – Richard Habring. Whilst working for IWC two decades ago, Habring was the maker of IWC Doppelchronograph timekeeper. This year, Habring has presented the next incarnation of a double chronograph which is now produced by his own brand Habring2 which he runs together with his wife Maria Kristina.
Double, Rattrapante or Split Seconds Chronograph
A double chronograph, also known as a split-seconds or rattrapante chronograph, has two central seconds hand. When chrono function is activated, two hands run together, but the second flyback hand can be stopped separately and on another push, it catches up with the main hand. This allows the wearer to keep the track of successive or additional times of events that start at the same time. Making a mechanical movement with a chrono function is complex and naturally, making one with a split-seconds chronograph is even harder. The traditional solution to include this feature was an addition of another column wheel to the movement. It is a very complex procedure that still leaves a lot of room for imperfections of the mechanism (for example, if the pusher is not pressed entirely). More importantly, the price of these watches is extremely high, and up to about two decades ago, it was nearly impossible for a mere mortal to own a watch with this complication.
A Birth of the First Affordable Double Chronograph
Everything changed back in 1991, after the breakthrough of a young watchmaker named Richard Habring who was a protégé of Gunter Blumlein. Habring opted to use one of the most widely used movements – Valjoux 7750 (which is a cams operated chronograph and not a column-wheel one) and supplied it with an innovative lever mechanism that holds rear mounted split-seconds wheel. This is how the first affordable split-seconds chronograph appeared. Since Habring was employed at IWC at that time, the owner of the patented solution was the brand from Schaffhausen and it was first featured in a watch named Doppelchronograph (which is German for double chronograph), and subsequently, few other models.
After the stint in IWC, Habring was working for LMH Group, the owner of several renowned watchmaking brands and then served as a freelance adviser, up until the point when he and his wife Maria Kristina decided to move to Austria and open a small watchmaking brand. The new company was named Habring2 and was envisioned as the brand that will produce small quantities of quality mechanical pieces which will still be affordable. After twenty years, the patent that Habring devised in 1991 expired, and it was the time to make another and improved version of the watch which will ultimately be launched by the name Doppel 2.0.
A New Version with Improved Service Friendliness
For the new watch produced by his own brand, Richard Habring further improved the original design. The new incarnation called A08MR has a simplified bridge layout which makes new version much easier to service (though it is still based on Valjoux 7750). Likewise, the new Doppel 2.0 has some differences that can be noticed even if you are not an expert in mechanical movements, namely the different layout of chrono counters. While its predecessor sported “Valjoux” layout (with subdials at 12, 6 and 9 positions), the new product is made with two larger sub-counters at three and nine o’clock positions.
A08MR movement that was used in the watch is hand-wound and has a power reserve that lasts for two days. Additionally, this mechanical caliber incorporates 23 rubies and 101 components in its design, while it is also equipped with Triovis fine adjustment and shock resistance.
The best sport timepiece of the year is fitted into a round case with the diameter of 42mm. This three-part stainless steel housing is like the rest of cases by Habring2 made by the specialized German manufacturer, Fricker, and its construction guarantees water resistance to 50 meters. On the front side of the watch, we can see a concave sapphire crystal that features anti-glare coating on both sides. On the rear side of the watch, we can notice that it has an exhibition case back that shows off its movement. The independent Austrian watchmaker is offering this model with three choices for the dial: blue, gray and brown galvanized metal with silver hour markers and two Arabic numerals (for six and twelve o’clock positions).
A Limited Edition with a Symbolic Number of Pieces
In order to underline that the new iteration of double chronograph was developed 20 years after the initial one, the watchmaker from the Austrian town of Völkermarkt made this timekeeper in a limited series that includes 20 pieces which is actually more than their usual practice (since the common number of pieces for Habring2 is 12). Each of the Doppel 2.0 watches will be individually numbered between the lugs at the bottom of the case. Once again, the price of a product by Richard Habring is not that steep: the timekeeper costs approximately $7,800 (6000 euros). This can be said especially considering its exclusivity, the fact that it is the second incarnation of the historic model reinterpreted by its inventor, as well as the major award it received.