Also available in: Deutsch
With the TITONI Heritage, the Swiss traditional manufacturer recalls the 1950s, when the watches of the legendary Felca brand wore this beautiful chronograph design. Now the watch is back under a new name. I found out if it also evokes the vintage feeling of that time.
The rebirth of Felca
In 1919, just over 100 years ago, Swiss watchmaker Fritz Schluep founded the Felca brand in Grenchen, initially under the name Felco. Among the numerous watchmakers based there, Fritz Schluep’s company slowly but surely developed into an export hit. The hand-assembled timepieces were successfully sold abroad. Felca watches were soon found on the wrists of customers in Germany, America and even Japan. In the next step, Felca expanded to the Middle East. Various special models were launched in the local markets in the 1950s. In the following years, Felca increasingly disappeared from the scene.
What has become of the traditional company? Today, the company, still run by the Schluep family, is known under a different name. Parallel to the production of Felca watches, another brand name was established at the beginning of the 1950s: TITONI. At about the same time, business with China was intensified. The historical logo, which is adorned with a flower motif, is a reminder of this. The plum blossom has a strong meaning in Chinese culture.
And while the Felca name is no longer found on modern wristwatches today, its sister brand enjoys great popularity in the Middle and Far East in particular. With the work invested, TITONI has been able to build a strong sales market in these countries, which has been booming again since the end of the quartz crisis.
Can TITONI bring back the vintage feeling?
However, this does not mean that Felca is dead. The legend is alive – at least, again. TITONI recently added two Bicompax chronographs to its Heritage series, embodying the DNA of the 1950 and heralding a (short-lived) comeback of Felca. You guessed it: this series relies on a vintage feel, meant to awaken the memories of loyal fans from back in the day. Even though most (if already born) may have been too young in the 1950s to wear a full-blown men’s chronograph on their wrist, many people associate something special with Felca. Maybe because their own father, uncle or grandfather wore such a watch. Maybe because it has been lost over the decades…
Whatever applies to you. Probably the question is burning under your nails, whether the in-house homage can tie to the glorious times. A successful new edition or just a lukewarm rehash? Find out whether the TITONI Heritage is worth the money in this watch review.
The packaging of the Heritage is quite different from the ones I knew from the Seascoper models so far. Inside a white cardboard box is an olive green glossy box. The pencil case, where you can keep your warranty card, is also in the chic hue.
The TITONI Heritage on the wrist
Right from the start, the compact diameter of 41 millimeters is appealing. Usually, you’re used to larger ones, even more so when you wear chronographs. The TITONI Heritage wears with such a lightness and lightheartedness that it is simply fun to wear. This may also be due to the white dial, which looks fresh and unspent. With its red and light blue accents, I think this chronograph is perfect for spring or summer. And although the design, which is now a good 70 years old, has been adopted almost 1:1 from the great model, the new Heritage makes a timeless impression despite a multitude of vintage elements. The hands in the so-called cathedral style, the beige indices and the rustic leather strap are among them. They give the watch class, maturity and elegance.
A TITONI Heritage may not exactly fit urban street style. But as soon as it becomes a little more classic – for example, in the office, at dinner or festivities, the chronograph plays to its strengths. In my opinion, it never wears thick. In places, the watch reminds me of a historical pilot chronograph with its large Arabic indices.
Fine materials, good workmanship
The surface treatment of the case speaks against this categorization. TITONI uses high-quality stainless steel and has not skimped on a generous polish. The case finish makes an excellent impression, even if you have to be on your guard against scratches. In general – the TITONI Heritage is not necessarily the chronograph for demanding outdoor activities. However, hardly anyone would have thought of that. Here, everything is approached a touch more calmly. Its water resistance of 5 bar does not make the chronograph suitable for swimming. Water splashes are still okay, though.
Even more vintage feel comes from the watch glass, whose curvature on both sides is characteristic of the 1950s. Thanks to the anti-reflective coating, it ensures a clear and low-reflection view of the dial. TITONI uses high-quality sapphire, which is to be expected in the premium segment at this price. There is also a built-in glass window on the back, through which you get an impressive view of the complex movement with all its facets.
Swiss craftsmanship through and through
Inside the case, a Swiss SW510BHa automatic movement from Sellita is working. Like the SW 200-1, it is based on a replica of an ETA movement – in this case, the famous Valjoux 7750. In addition to minute, second, hour and date complications, it covers the typical Bicompax chronograph functions. At 3 o’clock, there is a minute totalizer, and at 9 o’clock, there is a seconds totalizer.
While operating the TITONI Heritage, the two pushers protruding from the side of the case catch the eye. In this design, they are characteristic of historic chronographs of the 50s. Their haptic feedback is great.
Details of the dial
The dial is adorned with the historic TITONI logo, which returns to the flourish that modern models like the TITONI Seascoper 600 CarbonTech no longer have. Thanks to the pilot watch-like Arabic numerals and the generally reduced design, the dial is easy to read. In daylight, you can see the beige hue of the indices and hands. It comes from the SuperLuminova luminous coating. This is kept in the “Old Radium Style”, which additionally enhances the retro charm. The dial is framed by a tachymeter. Using the light blue digits, you can measure the average speed at which you’re traveling on a route of a known length.
I’m still a big fan of TITONI’s solution of equipping leather straps with a folding clasp. Usually, most watches with leather straps have a pin buckle. In my opinion, the folding clasp sits better on the wrist, and it also doesn’t wear out as quickly. The folding clasp is adjustable in length, which allows it to be optimally adapted to individual needs. The leather strap itself impresses with its quality and the associated excellent wearing comfort. Well chosen, in my opinion, is the discreet color scheme, which does not clash with the pastel-toned dial.
My conclusion about the TITONI Heritage
TITONI has revived another design from times past with the new Heritage 94019 S-ST-682. That the chronograph with the white dial will find its followers and buyers is certain. Despite or perhaps because of the retro design, the Felca homage still makes a fresh and timeless impression in 2023. A functional design like this simply doesn’t age. I would even go so far and consider the 94019 S-ST-682 as the most successful throw of the collection so far. Furthermore, the Swiss manufacturer knows its craft. Qualitatively, the chronograph is a premium watch of the first class, which does not afford any mistakes and is worth its price of 2,200.00 euros in any case.
All other important links to the watch, the collection and chronographs can be found below.
More about TITONI and the Heritage 94019 S-ST-682
Here you can find the watch in the store
The entire Heritage collection at a glance
All TITONI watches on WATCHDAVID.com
More chronograph reviews in my blog