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Momentum Sea Quartz 30
In 1980, Magnum PI hit the airwaves and for the first 3 seasons, Tom Selleck as Magnum wore a Chronosport Sea Quartz 30. Some fans will remember him wearing a Rolex Pepsi GMT, which is true as that is what he wore for 5 seasons and thus is much more memorable to the fans of the show. But true fans remember the original and even though the Chronosport is no longer around, technically its predecessor is. They have released a reproduction of that original piece, the Momentum Sea Quartz 30. And this has been quite the release, and the response has been crazy. Momentum put out the first preorder in January, for $198, the original price of the 1980 Chronosport, and that batch sold out very quickly. They released a second preorder for May delivery and those are sold out, and the website states you can sign up to be notified when the third preorder will go live. Here we are at the end of February and this watch is not currently in stock, and may not be until the third or fourth quarter of the year, based on how things are going. Why is it so popular? Is it price? The design? Nostalgia? We will discuss it all here today.
- 42mm Stainless Steel Case
- 47mm Lug to Lug
- 11.3mm Thick
- 20mm Lug Width
- 93 grams in weight
- Screw Down Crown
- 300m Water Resistance
- Sapphire Crystal and Bezel Insert
- Ronda 507 Quartz Movement
- Tropic Rubber Strap
- Made in China, Assembled in Vancouver
Price $259 USD
So for those not aware, Chronosport started in the 1970s (or apparently in the 60s and sold to a North American company in the 70s) and the owner of Momentum, Simon, owned that brand with his brother. Now, between 1980 and today, there is a lot that happened, and instead of rehashing a lot of what I talked about in the video and also getting way off track as there is a long history there, I will just say Chronosport ceased operations in the mid-80s to 90s, and Simon went on to continue operating St. Moritz, which is a company out of Canada that has made watches for countless brands and did start their own brand as well, Momentum, which really started to pick up steam in the 2000s. Chronosport in Europe, in the 90s, had nothing to do with this Chronosport. And beyond this Sea Quartz 30, Chronosport made a lot of cool watches, including more versions of the Sea Quartz, the UDT famously worn by Stallone in Rambo First Blood Part II, and countless others. So if you want to see a lot of what they produce, go ahead and google Chronosport.
We can talk about history all day, but instead, let’s talk about what you get with this new Momentum Sea Quartz 30. I am told actual vintage Chronosport models were sent to China (yes it is produced in China, assembled in Vancouver) to be able to make this reproduction, and without being able to handle a real Chronopsort in hand, I can only go by images and say it looks pretty close, but I am sure watch historians could find differences or pick it apart, part by part, but to my eye, it looks like they did a good job. And one thing to mention, no these were not Monnin cases (who made CWC and the Heuer model), as many believed they were. The original models were made by Swiss MRP, in Switzerland, and did a little research, I also saw Le Jour watches used this case made by MRP back in the day as well. One thing that is the same is the 42mm stainless steel case, and one thing that is changed is now instead of a bakelite bezel insert, it is now sapphire.
Looking at images online, it seems to be a pretty faithful recreation, and because this case design has been done by so many brands, it is truly iconic. The top of the Momentum Sea Quartz 30 case is brushed but the rest of the case is highly polished, but I like how they transition from brushed to polished with a large chamfer. The crown is highly polished as well as the bezel, and while my experience with the crown operation has been positive, I can’t say the same for the bezel. The bezel is really tight and hard to grip, possibly due to the high polishing, possibly due to the mechanism, but either way, I don’t find the bezel action to be great, but I do realize this is also a $259 watch, so I can’t expect perfection either.
Momentum did a good job recreating the dial, the paddle-style hands, the printed markers with raised SuperLuminova applied to it, and the day/date (Chronosport did make a date only as well, I think it was the Sea Quartz 1000). I also like how they replicated the logo and brand name on the dial, with a Momentum M logo and the name underneath. At this time this is the only dial color available, the matte black dial with the orange minute hand. Some of the images you see online may show the color of the indices and the bezel numbers to be more of a yellow or patina lume color, but it is in fact C3 green color. Above the dial, between the rehuat (flange) and the sapphire crystal, you will see there is a pretty thick white O ring seal. That bezel insert is sapphire as well, and that is one of the reasons that Momentum said they didn’t go with the original manufacturer, saying they couldn’t do the sapphire bezel insert. Not sure why they couldn’t, or if that is just a line they are giving to justify having it made in China. I don’t think many will care, and I assumed having it made in China kept the cost way down, which is good for the consumer.
On my 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrist, this really is great to wear. The 42mm size is my sweet spot and the short lug to lug keeps it from overhanging my wrist coupled with the flat and really plain case back, this is comfortable, but also solid feeling watch on the wrist. The strap is also long enough to fit my wrist with about a half inch to spare.
But there are a few things to discuss. The case back of the Momentnum Sea Quartz 30 as you see below is plain, pretty much like the original would have been, and I don’t mind that at all, but the all-high polished back, including the lugs and such, is just asking for scratches, especially when you do strap changes, or use this watch as a beater, which I’m sure many will do. The Tropic Rubber strap does have quick-change pins, so if you keep these straps or use other quick-release ones, you can mitigate the possibility of scratches but let’s have a word about these pins.
They are, from my experience with them over the past few weeks, not exactly very robust. Numerous times I found just a little bit of pressure can knock them out of place, and that was on every color of strap I have here, so it wasn’t limited to just one. Speaking of colors, yes, it comes with either a black or orange tropic, (you can choose which color on the website at checkout) but Momentum also offers other colors in the strap section, and I have them send a long green as well, as I thought it would be a good combo. But back to those pins. Yes, they are convenient and I did not notice the straps coming off while actually on the wrist, but they just don’t feel that secure to me. At the very least, something to be aware of.
Lastly, we take a look at the lume, and to make this easy, I’ll just give it a grade of B-. Initially charged it is nice and bright, but the bezel will be the first to fade, rather quickly I might add, and the dial will pretty much fade completely after 2-3 hours. So no, this is not Seiko or Citizen lume, but it does glow nicely and doesn’t just fade within seconds either.
For years I saw people saying they would love a homage to the Chronosport, and now with this Momentum Sea Quartz 30, they get more than an homage, as it is being made under the helm of the original owner of the 80s icon. I think the pricing is very good for what it is, and hopefully, it stays that way as $259 is a very affordable price for a good, solid watch, especially these days. Yes, it is quartz, I mean, it says it right on the dial, as was the original, and like many quartz, that second-hand doesn’t always hit the marker dead on, but who knows, if there is demand, maybe we will get an auto version of these one day.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how long it takes until these are in stock on the Momentum website and are not only available for preorder. The watch may not be perfect, but no $259 watch is, and honestly, with the nostalgia that surrounds these, they probably could have even charged more and still keep selling out. Don’t forget, if you do get one, you should grow a mustache and stop by the thrift store and grab a Hawaiian shirt. I didn’t, but you should.
More info: https://momentumwatch.com/products/sea-quartz-30-42mm-black
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