Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that retro is running wild when it comes to watches, and many brands are doing retro or heritage brands. Enter the Titoni Heritage Chronograph, with this particular version based on a 1950s Felca Chronograph, which just happens to be the original brand name of Titoni. There are a few versions of this chronograph, but the one that most closely resembles the original is the one I have here and is using a Sellita movement based on the Valjoux 7750, with a bi-compax retro cream-colored dial with blued hands and just a great overall look. These new models start at $2400 though, which isn’t cheap, so this review will go over everything you need to know.
The Titoni Heritage Chronograph ( a lot of brands naming their lineups heritage these days aren’t they?) is a throwback to a 1950s Felca Chronograph, specifically this model, which you can see on Titonis website, but I will put a picture down below. The version I have in hand is the closest to that model, as there are two other models available, but they are listed as “modern retro” and have panda dials and completely different dials actually, so if this copy of the 50s model doesn’t do it for you but you still would like a bi-compax chronograph, you’ll want to check out Titoni’s website for the two other versions. When you do, you will notice the other versions are available with bracelets, but this one is not. I will talk about that a little more when we get to the strap section.
Original Felca Chronograph from the 1950s
I looked online and tried to do as much research as I could, but I could not find the exact size of the original Felca, most chronographs like this from that time period were in the 38-39mm range, and I imagine this was the same. Titoni modernized this heritage model and bumped up the size to 41mm, which is not a large watch at all, but I can understand if some vintage watch enthusiasts were hoping for something smaller in size. These days, small watches are in, but I can understand a brand wanting to appeal to as many customers as possible and I am sure it is always a hard decision as to what case size to go with, especially with these vintage interpretations in the modern world. Personally, I think the size is perfect, and while the crown and pushers do give some extra width, it never felt like I was wearing a very large watch, and with a 48mm lug to lug, the proportions are still on the smaller side.
The entire case of the Titoni Heritage Chronograph is beautifully high polished, but with this case finish comes a lot of fingerprint smudges and dust, but that is the price you pay for a finish like this. I am not a big fan of a polished case, but even I cannot deny that it works for this style of watch, and with the facets on the lugs, it really shows off the simple but beautiful lines of the case, and also allows this watch to double as a dress watch if one was so inclined (though I think these days you can probably wear any watch when dressed up as most seem to wear their Apple Watch with suits, that’s a rant for another day). The push-pull crown is larger and more bulbous than its vintage counterpart, which makes it easier to grip, but very similar pump-style pushers are present and with that, it is simple to use the chronograph and keeps it close to the original. Look close and you will see Plum Blossom, Titoni’s trademark symbol, beautifully etched onto the crown.
Before we get to the case back and movement, we should probably discuss this dial, which many find to be the main selling point of this retro model, myself included. This dial is as retro as it gets, and Titoni did a great job replicating the original model, though I think they could have gone with a slightly darker cream color, as most of the time this dial does look more white than cream, especially with how the light hits it and of course, the view through the curved sapphire crystal. Beyond that though, my only other gripe would be how the numbers get cut off from the subdials, but again, this was the same on the vintage model, and Titoni is far from the only brand to do this, and it apparently doesn’t bother as many people as I think.
The hour, minute, and subdial hands are blued, and the chronograph seconds hand is red, and this all matches the tachymeter and telemeter scale in the chapter ring, and with the green C3 paint (for some reasons on the website they refer to it as Old Radium lume, which this is clearly not) it does give it a slightly funky vibe, but I do like how it all works together. Another nice detail is the one line of text on the dial, in this case, automatic, and on the original, it said Incabloc as it was a Landeron manual wind movement), but I like how they tried to stay as true to the original model as possible.
Moving around to the case back and you will see this has been modernized with a modern automatic movement, this time in the form of the Sellita SW510BHa. What is interesting is Sellita does make this same movement with a manual wind, which would have been truer to the original Fecla model, but I am guessing Titoni thought maybe that was too vintage for most folks, though I would think it would have given it that extra little charm. I believe this is my first time with this movement. It is listed as 27 jewels and as you can see here, you do have a decorated rotor Titoni lists the power reserve at 58 hours but most spec sheets online list it at 62. Either way, it is a decent power reserve, and as far as function, it pretty much feels like a 7750, so there should be no learning curve nor any issues with the dependability as Sellita movements have proven to be very reliable over the years now.
For the most part, I think this is a great re-issue from Titoni, and do think this is quite an attractive watch, especially with this dial configuration. That said, I do have one major issue, and it is the strap. Simply said, (and I go into this in a lot more detail in the video review), I don’t think this taupe leather strap in this matte finish compliments this dial at all, a dark brown would have looked so much better. Even a pebbled dark blue would have looked great. Okay, looks are subjective of course, but the bigger issue is with the clasp.
This has a deployant clasp that is hard to put on initially, leaves a big crease in the strap, and more importantly, is very uncomfortable on my wrist. The part of the butterfly closure that sits against the wrist, coupled with the way the underside of the buckle is not flat, left me wanting to take the strap off my wrist in less than a few minutes. Honestly, it was not comfortable for me at all. If the strap was longer, or I had a smaller wrist, maybe it wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but quite simply, I do not like much about this strap or buckle.
A bracelet is available on the other models, but not shown with this dial on the Titoni website. Not sure why, but there is what seems to be a gorgeous bracelet for the other models which I now wish I had checked out, and avoided this strap altogether.
Bracelet on alternate versions
Strap issues aside, (and I would hope you can choose the above bracelet for this specific Titoni Heritage Chronograph), I think this is a faithful recreation of the Felca, and overall a pretty good price for all it offers. Some have expressed concern with the price being a little too high as they are not very familiar with Titoni, as they have not been marketed in the states until more recently, but for those reading this-Titoni is not a microbrand and has a long history and beyond what they have done in the past, they are doing a lot of great things in the present, like this heritage series as well as the Seascoper 600, my favorite release from Titoni so far.
This Titoni Heritage is an attractive piece, very vintage style but given all the modern touches (including the lume) and at well under $3,000 is a compelling option compared to the big boys like Breitling and Omega.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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