Straton Watch Review: Legera Bullhead Chronograph

By: Kaz Mirza

I don’t know why but ever since I started getting familiar with microbrand watches, Straton Watch Co. has always been attractive to me. The first piece I ever saw online was the Vintage Driver Chrono. Then later down the line it was the Syncro. There was something so appealing about a vintage inspired driver that took a fun approach to colors and textures. That’s what I think really drove me towards the brand’s aesthetics. I don’t really have knowledge of passion for cars, but I do love me some fun vintage-inspired timepieces.

But until recently I never had the opportunity to actually handle a Straton Watch Co. piece. Then the brand reached out and asked if I would like to spend time with a prototype of the most recent Straton Watch Legera Bullhead Chrono. Obviously the answer was yes. Did my first impression live up to my long time expectations?

How’s The Legera Bullhead Case?

I was sent two case versions of the Legera Chrono: the standard Legera and the Bullhead configuration. I chose to focus on the Bullhead for this review because I figured you fine folks would be more interested in information on this version.

Unfortunately my first impression of this watch stuck with me throughout my whole experience – this thing is pretty goddamn big. I mean, I understand there are dimension concessions to be made with a bullhead chronograph, but the Straton Watch Co. Bullhead Chrono feels pretty unwearable for someone with my wrist-size (6.75″). Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say that it just doesn’t fall into a size that I normally wear.

With the case diameter at 42mm and lug to lug measurements at 49mm, those two dimensions are standard enough. But the position of the movement to accommodate the bullhead chronograph style creates a thick-to-“less-thick” wedge shaped slope on the case’s profile. On the “less-thick” side of the spectrum the Straton Watch Chronograph is approx. 16mm thick – at its most thick (towards the crown and pushers) it’s approx. 19mm. It creates a very odd, top-heavy wearing experience while on wrist.

The Straton Watch Co Legera Bullhead Chronograph seems to try account for this top-heavy impact by being incredibly comfortable against the wrist. The back of the case is machined incredibly well and contours very ergonomically to the back of my wrist. In fact, the construction of the entire case is done to a very high degree. The actual profile is quite simple but that just means the few design flourishes that exist must be executed extremely well, which is certainly the case. What’s worth noting is the high polished bevel at the juncture of the case side and case top. The entire case is brushed except for this high polished line and I found myself incredibly impressed with the detailing.

The actual “Bullhead” configuration of the Straton Watch Co. Legera is a strong x-factor here, but as I mentioned earlier it’s also a potential impediment for wearers with a smaller wrist size (like me). The Bullhead configuration allows for incredibly easy access to the buttons. Starting, stopping, and resetting the chronograph requires as little movement from your fingers and wrists as possible.


 
 

The button choices are simple rectangular shapes with sloping surfaces that match the curvature of the case. They’re incredibly fun to push. The odd choice here though is the crown. It’s an onion crown, which I wouldn’t necessarily connote with a vintage racing chronograph. It’s more of a pocket watch or flieger style element. On the plus side it does screw down; although (and ironically for an onion crown) it’s admittedly a bit difficult to grip and turn due to its squat profile and slippery high polished finish.

Switching gears, the Straton Watch Co. Legera’s 120-click bezel is incredibly satisfying to grip and turn. The spacial relationship between the bezel and the case leaves enough room for you to properly get a solid grip on the bezel and turn that sucker with ease. The bezel insert is a domed sapphire which adds a very fun and dynamic element that a traditional bezel wouldn’t necessarily impart.

Focusing on The Straton Dial

The dial on the Straton Watch Co. Legera Bullhead captures everything that attracted me to the brand – it’s simply fun! A brushed chapter ring is finished in a particular light blue hue that becomes the theme of the chrono. Admittedly the blue makes it difficult to see the black text of the tachymeter, but that’s not a deal breaker for me since I don’t really ever use that anyway (I don’t know anyone that does).

Step down from the chapter ring and we’re now at the orange minute/seconds track. You’ll notice a very cool styled pattern that brings a fun flair to the piece. However, even though it looks cool I’m a bit confused on it’s function. Originally I thought they were hashes/ticks for the chronograph seconds sweep or the minute hand. but the pattern doesn’t correspond to that. So it seems like the hashes are only stylized (in that they don’t serve a function), which isn’t a big deal for me. But I just wanted to flag that for folks.

Next we’re at the black dial with applied markers. The orange ring on the outside really pops against the black. In addition to that, the rounded off square chronograph registers are also accentuated perfectly. They are wrapped in the same blue color that we found on the chapter ring. Plus the interior parts of the subdials are slightly sunken in and feature a concentric circle texture. For me the subdials are the stars of the watch.

For the chronograph hands we start from the top and working our way down, the chronograh seconds hand features the same orange color we see on the dial ring. I very much enjoy the shape of the hand but I’m unable to describe it in any other way than a conductor’s baton. The hour and minute hands are bars with a slight taper towards the end – the length of these hands is appropriate since they reach where they should on the watch (although the hour hand is ever-so slightly shy of the markers).

The chronograph subdial hands are awesome – they look like little high polished arrow heads. The ultra pointy nature of their shape brings a real sense of precision to the dial’s readout. The hands and other dial elements feature BGW9 lume (as does the bezel insert).

Weighing In On The 22m Strap

First the good – the choice of a rally style strap for the Straton Legera is obviously appropriate. The quality of the craftsmanship and stitching is good as well. I think the choice and usage of colors helps the Legera retain its element of authentic lightheartedness. The top side is black with orange stitching while the underside is orange. The width of the buckle is also appropriate for a watch with these dimensions and of this weight. It’s wide and can support something a bit top-heavy like the Legera Bullhead.

The not-so-good – for some reason my wrist size just doesn’t seem to be accommodated by any of the Straton Watch Co pieces I received. My wrist size usually hovers around 6.75 inches and the strap hole that should have been there on the strap was missing. I had to concede and just stick the buckle pin in one of the strap’s rally holes. Honestly it just seems like they’re accounting for wearer’s with wrists larger than mine.

This has made the wearing experience odd for me since I had to either wear the watch too tight or wear it too loose. I opted for the watch to be too tight since nothing drives me up the wall more than a loose watch. If you’re a similar wrist size to me please be aware of this feature with the strap.

The Legera Bullhead Movement

Now here’s the other factor contributing to the extreme thickness of the Legera Bullhead Chronograph. It’s being powered by the Valjoux 7750, a very reliable and well-received automatic chronograph movement. The Valjoux 7750 movement alone is approx. 7.9mm thick as compared to the automatic Miyota 9015 at 3.9mm. Obviously the Valjoux needs to be thicker because it’s an automatic chronograph and it needs to accommodate all the appropriate complications and features.

Whenever the Valjoux 7750 shows up in a watch most people are prepared for a 15mm or 16mm thick timepiece. But the confluence of the Bullhead chrono configuration along with the thickness of the Valjoux 7750 makes the watch quite thick and top heavy. I do appreciate the use of an mechanical chronograph movement. It’s great when microbrands offer the option to people. But using the Bullhead Chronograph style with the Valjoux 7750 may not have been the best choice. A manual wind chronograph movement would have helped shaved off some millimeters for sure.

Valjoux 7750 Sub-Dial Layout:

  • 3 O’clock: 12-hour counter
  • 6 O’clock: Running seconds
  • 9 O’clock: 30-minute counter

What is interesting is that if you are considering in this watch and the thickness is the only hurdle you’re facing, the Bullhead-style chrono is also offered with a meca-quartz movement (VK63) that shaves off a few millimeters (measuring in at 13mm at it’s thinnest and 16mm at it’s thickest).

Overall Thoughts on The Straton Legera

Is the watch made well? Absolutely. Did I have a good experience with it? Not really. The size of the watch and my difficulties having the strap fit on my 6.75″ wrist made it a pretty tough wearing experience for me. I’m still totally on-board with the Straton Watch design aesthetic, but the Legera Chronograph isn’t the piece for me. I enjoyed the color combinations and the piece’s overall fun take on the vintage-style Chronograph look, but it’s hard for those elements to really sing when the watch feels clunky on the wrist.

Please also note that the Legera is available in a non-Bullhead style chrono layout (pictured above). This version certainly wore better since it wasn’t top-heavy or anything. But it’s still on the thicker side at an even 16mm – plus I still had the strap issue.

The Straton Legera Chronograph is operating in a pretty competitive price range. For the Automatic version the current sticker price is $1,200 USD ($999 pre-order) while the meca-quartz version is $499 USD ($399 pre-order). Check out more info at the Straton Watches Site.


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