This was on the drawing board for a long time, in fact since 2012. It's taken so long because I was determined that this would have a quality movement and these are not easy to find or readily available. I initially wanted to use the Valjoux 72 but I could only find a handful and these were priced at $900 each. I was then offered some Lemania 1863 (Omega 861) but these also were $900 and, as old movements, they would need stripping, checking and lubricating which would have added further to the cost.
Step in the Seiko Instruments NE88 (Seiko 8R28), a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch for smooth operation and the chronograph can be left running for extended periods of time without fear of undue wear to gear teeth.
There's no disguising the design influences but this is bigger, heavier, has a solid link bracelet with solid end links, sapphire crystal instead of plexi and a sapphire view back. Unless you're fortunate enough to afford an original at tens of thousands, this is as close as you're going to get at a fraction of the price without compromising on quality.
You probably expected a big wooden box but I decided to supply it in a Peli-style case, which will have many other uses when the watch is on your wrist.
The Smiths Vanguard is guaranteed for 24 months.
• 316L stainless steel, polished sides and brushed top
• Diameter 40mm across excluding crown, 44mm including crown
• Lug to lug height 48mm
• Thickness 16mm to the top of the bombé crystal
• Lug spacing 20mm
• Anti-magnetic 4800 A/m
• Water resistance 100 metres
• Weight 190 grammes with bracelet
• Screw view back with sapphire crystal, screw down crown and pushers
• Choice of semi-matte black or white
• Semi-circle of BGW9 luminous below all indices
• Polished steel, luminous filled
• Luminous: BGW9
• Bombé sapphire 32mm x 1.6mm
Seiko Instruments NE88 34 jewel column wheel automatic chronograph
• Solid link screwed bracelet with solid end links and extending clasp