PRECISTA PRS-5 VS CWC 1970's REMAKE
I was asked by a couple of enthusiasts to take a quick look at the CWC 1970s remake Chronograph and the Precista PRS-5 which is pretty much identical in appearance. One thing I should point out before anyone says the Precista is a copy of the CWC is that both the CWC and the Precista are based on the original Hamilton which is pictured below. That design in turn was originaly based on Def STAN 66-4 (Parts 1-3) which at the time specified a single pusher (as used on the Lemania at that time) chronograph mechanism. Two pushers was later deemed acceptable and an amendment to the Standard was made. The end result of this is that these watches trace their origins back to the 1970s and are therefore a very historic design.
the CWC and Precista look similar they are in fact very different but
both are of excellent quality. The CWC uses a 29 jewel Mechanical hand-wind, Valjoux ETA 7760 with modification. The Precista uses a
Seagull ST-19 movement. The ST-19 is a 19 jewel column-wheel chronograph movement and is very much tried and tested. As far as case finish I think the Precista has the edge, where this gets interesting is when we come to price. This is because the Precista at just £210 is something of a bargain when compared to the CWC at £799. In my opinion CWC is really pushing it at £799 but I guess it is a case of what the market will stand. To confirm that they are more than just visually similar I measured the watches and the Precista seems fractionally thicker at just under 15mm as opposed to 14mm on the CWC the diameter at 41mm including the crown is the same on both watches, as far as the lug to lug measurement the Precista is just over 1mm less than the 47mm measurement of the CWC. The strap size on both is 20mm. I must say that the sand blasted case on the Precista definately has the edge over the polished stainless steel case on the CWC. As far as the action of the movements is concerned both watches operated perfectly and I found both to be very accurate over the time they were on test.
It was interesting that when a watchmaker I know removed the caseback he thought the movement was a Venus 175 calibre movement which was produced between 1940 and the mid 1960's. I am informed that the Chinese bought he original tooling from Venus and that the parts used in the Sea-Gull ST1901 are fully interchangeable. Based on a few parts the watchmaker had in stock he tended to share this view.
This is the spec of the ST1901 Movement
I was asked which I would buy I think it would have to be the Precista
because I prefer the finish and price is obviously a major factor. If
you are interested in a more detailed review of this watch check out
this URL http://www.watcharoo.co.uk/prs5.htm this review is much more
detailed than mine but seems to view the watch just as favourably as I
have. In summary I recommend the Precista PRS-5 watch as being excellent value and a
nice timepiece for frankly very little money.
LEMANIA RAF CHRONOGRAPH
As a point of interest the watch above is the Lemania which we mentioned at the beginning which has a a single pusher chronograph mechanism. These watches were issued in the 1950's and 60's. Lemania was used by the UK forces between 1945 and 1970, during this time the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm were issued with various Lemania chronographs (marked with the the Admiralty arrow on the case back and dial). They were also issued for the Swedish army, South Africa, Australia and probably others too.
The caliber 2220 is the shock-resistant, monopusher version of Lemania’s highly-regarded 15-ligne chronograph movement (used in pocketwatches in the 1930s, especially in military wristwatches).
The direct descendant of the Precista and CWC chronographs which we looked at above was the Hamilton pictured below.This one is from around 1970 and was manufactured for the R.A.F. it used a handwinding, cal. Valjoux 7733 movement. It is virtually identical to the Precista and CWC in case design but i am advise it was slightly smaller at 38,5 mm diameter including the crown.
HAMILTON RAF PILOTS CHRONOGRAPH CIRCA 1970
This is the watch from which the CWC and Precista are directly descended