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From time to time it’s fun to discuss something a bit different as far as watches are concerned. Today, so many watches are just a dime a dozen and quite simply look and function like every other watch on the market. Reviewing a watch is even more enjoyable when you get to take a closer look at a watch brand that some may have never heard of or knew very little for the most part. I’m one of those that fall into that category, knowing very little when it came to Mondaine. I had seen them but outside of the unusual second hand really didn’t know much else. Quite frankly, I found the brand a bit uninteresting. The Mondaine Stop2Go model, however, caught my attention as it isn’t your typical watch. The Mondaine Stop2Go model comes in three different variations so if the black IP version reviewed doesn’t suite your tastes check out the others at the link below. The silver stainless versions retail for $675. The Mondaine Official Swiss Railways watch is based on the design created by Hans Hilfiker in 1944. The Swiss engineer, designer and an employee of the Federal Swiss Railways created a clock for railway usage which has since became known as the “Official Swiss Railways Clock”. Mondaine utilized the design of the Railway Clock and created a watch collection.
Movement – MONDAINE Stop2go cal. 58-02 Quartz
Case size/diameter (mm) – 41.00
Case material – IP black plated
Case back – Case back with Screws
Crown – Regular Gasket
Crystal/Glass material – Sapphire anti-reflective coated
Water resistance – 3 ATM
Strap/Bracelet material – Silicon
Strap width at lug (mm) – 20.00
Retail Price – $725
Let’s start with the design of the Mondaine Stop2Go, as it would make any Bauhaus design enthusiast feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Everything about this watch screams minimalist from the incredibly simple design down to the rather sterile dial.The 41mm case is composed of multiple parts with a cylindrical center and case back sandwiching a central component which extends outward forming the short stubby lugs resulting in a very modest 47mm lug tip to lug tip length. The IP plating on the black model is evenly applied throughout with no visual imperfections. It’s always refreshing to find a plated watch without a blemish here or there, of course at $725 the plating better be perfect, right?
The case is finished off with a sapphire crystal which isn’t always standard with Mondaine watches. Good choice going with sapphire and also providing a quality anti-reflective coating keeping glare to a minimum. As one might expect the viewing area on this modest 41mm cased watch is an even more modest 35mm. Like I mentioned earlier, the dial is just as simple in design as the case. All versions have black matte dials, large almost stick-like hands, and brite white markers around the perimeter. Of course the Mondaine Stop2Go has the trademark red second hand like all the Railway Clocks and collection watches. I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed with so much surface area on the markers and hands that the Stop2Go has zero luminous properties. Of course this sort of watch doesn’t need lume but still slightly disappointing. Again, everything about the case and the dial is about as simple in appearance as it gets. Overall, I really like the look of the case and dial. I also like the fact the watch is just under 12mm in overall thickness, allowing it to fit under a dress shirt cuff, which is important for this style of watch in my book.
Next, and one of the most interesting features of the Mondaine Stop2Go is the unique crown. The crown isn’t a standard round push/pull found on many watches. Instead, I consider the crown on this watch to be more of a switch kind of like the switch used in winding an alarm clock or a timer is the best example I can think of quickly. When the crown is engaged (push/pull), the switch is tilted left or right and the movement activates the minute or second hand depending on the crown position and also on what the wearer is attempting to calibrate. Depending on how long you hold the tilt of the crown in either direction results in either incremental changes or a longer gliding change of whichever complication the wearer is calibrating/setting. The process is similar to what many of us I am sure have seen on well know Swiss chronograph movements when various complications may need adjustment.
The case back is held in place by four screws and is rather unremarkable in my book. Basic specification information is noted around the perimeter and the central portion. The only feature of note is the entire central portion of the case back is painted red like the big red dot on the second hand. Keeping it simple yet again!
Moving on to the strap, I have to admit I am a little frustrated but have grown accustom to mid-range Swiss Made watches short changing the consumer in this area. The strap is the only feature about the Mondaine Stop2Go that I have truly have beef with. Why do companies insist on either leather straps that are not long enough or rubber straps that have to be cut? Maybe it keeps cost down, I don’t know but it really needs to stop. The solution is simple, longer leather straps or in this case a different clasp system possibly. Increasing the size of the clasp ever so slightly allowing for more micro-adjustments would go a long way toward making a rubber strap that has to be cut sufficient. The stamped clasp overall is rather cheap in my book but the IP plating is just as nicely applied as the plating on the case. Step up the strap game, please!
Finally, the main event which in this instance on the Mondaine Stop2Go is the movement. I need to discuss the history of the Swiss Railway clock a bit. If you look closely at a clock on a train platform in Switzerland you will notice that once the seconds hand reaches the top, it will pause. After 2 seconds the minute hand will launch forward and then the seconds hand begins its trek around the dial once again. It isn’t a malfunction in the railway clock system, I promise. The second hand is accelerated to complete the trek around the dial in 58 seconds. Why? The design assures synchronization across all rail station clocks and trains. What a great way to try to maintain order and timeliness. The Mondaine Stop2Go movement replicates the actual design of the Swiss Railway Clock system. So what’s inside? A quartz movement with two engines, the first for the seconds hand and the other for the minute and hour hands providing a certain level of uniqueness. All of the hand movements are regulated by a specialized circuit so that the movement can retain a superior level of timekeeping. One of the symptoms of the movement that I really like a lot is how it impacts the motion of the seconds hand. It doesn’t tick!! I’m not a fan of quartz for the most part and definitely do not like ticks or erratic seconds hands. The seconds hand, in this case, sweeps similar to what is seen with an automatic movement. I’m a big fan of this movement overall. The movement is powered by a lithium battery and the wearer should anticipate about 3 years worth of life before needing a new one.
7 3/4 inch wrist
While the Mondaine Stop2Go really isn’t my cup of tea, it is a great looking minimalist watch that utilizes a unique movement providing the wearer with a different kind of overall experience. Quite simply, no pun intended, the Mondaine Stop2Go is fun to wear. Outside of the movement and simple design, the watch isn’t going to disappoint with its other solid features such as superior IP plating and sapphire crystal. While I really didn’t care much for the strap or clasp the rubber strap is solid quality and is comfortable on the wrist. At $725, the price is probably going to be considered by many a bit of a reach for a quartz powered watch, however, the level of uniqueness and how much conversation can be had about the watch may make that price point a bit more palatable.