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Zenith Caliber 146 vs 143-6

  1. DTMwatch Mar 20, 2021

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    I am considering buying a vintage Zenith chronograph at some point and started looking around. Beautiful watches. I’ve done some research on-line to learn about Zenith chronograph movements caliber 143-6 (Excelsior Park) and 146 (Martel). Both column wheel hand wound chronograph movements seem well regarded. However, I haven’t found any comparison between the two. If anyone is knowledgeable about these two calibers to offer a comparison, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. Oku Mar 22, 2021

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    Both are great movements. You don't do anything wrong buying either.

    I own several watches with Martel as well as EP movements. I cannot provide an in-depth technical comparison. However, there are some obvious differences:
    When you wind the EP movement and set the time, it feels more mechanically as described also here: https://www.fratellowatches.com/tbt-the-excelsior-park-tuxedo-dial-chronograph/ Nothing wrong with that, just another feeling.

    Using the chrono and resetting it, the EP movement immediately sets the hand to zero when the pusher is touched. Resetting the chrono on the Martel movement, you need to press the pusher till the end.

    So instead of focusing much on the movement, I would focus on the condition of the watches and which one you like better.

    But most important:
    3589i4D6F248E53684B05.jpg
     
  3. Dan S Mar 22, 2021

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    Both are movements, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy a watch with either one, or with any movement from either series for that matter. Is there something specific you wanted to know? From a collectible standpoint, you want to focus on overall condition and various stylistic aspects of the watch: dial, hands, case, etc.
     
  4. fibonacci Mar 22, 2021

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    Good to see someone unafraid to take a stand ;)
     
    Mark020 and cristos71 like this.
  5. Dan S Mar 22, 2021

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    Haha. Looks like I omitted "good".
     
  6. DTMwatch Mar 22, 2021

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    Thanks, everyone. The watches I’m looking at have cases that look relatively sharp given their ages, dials with minimal sign of wear, and clean looking movements. That has led me to look to see if there are any differences in the movements worth considering, which prompted this post.
     
  7. Oku Mar 22, 2021

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    ::confused2::
     
  8. Dan S Mar 22, 2021

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    If you'd like feedback, post plenty of photos, asking prices, etc. If not, post a wristshot of the one you buy. :thumbsup:
     
    wristpirate likes this.
  9. amcclell Mar 22, 2021

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    As others have stated, both are excellent movements. Zenith did not make chronograph movements until they purchased Martel, and acquired that capacity. They began with UG in the early days, then sourced from Excelsior Park, and finally Martel. All of these are good and the condition will be the most influential factor in desirability. I am a big fan of the 1960's styles, so I lean more toward the Martel era chronos but that is simply a matter of personal preference.
     
    Dan S likes this.
  10. DanT Mar 22, 2021

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    @amcclell summarised it well.
    Excelsior Park began making stopwatches in 1866 and went on to specialise in chronograph watches. From what I've read, its movements used an unconventional layout compared to other chronograph manufacturers (with the crown wheel positioned directly above the balance) but I have no idea how this affected the performance.
    Martel developed the 281-7 Chronograph calibres for Universal Geneve and when they were bought by Zenith in 1960 this calibre was renamed 146.
    Both are I believe considered high grade movements made by specialists, so as others have said I dont think you can go wrong with either - in terms of dial layout they appear very similar and are great examples from the heyday of manual chronographs.
    Condition and service history should be a factor in your decision - spare parts for the 146 movement are reportedly available, not sure about the 143-6 - these were used by Zenith in the 1940s so depending on the watch could be quite a bit older than the 146 with commensurate wear,
     
  11. DTMwatch Apr 16, 2021

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    I appreciate everyone’s help. Unfortunately, the two watches I was interested in sold before I could pull the trigger. (I am waiting for some money.) The search continues... which includes some modern Zenith chronograph as well.
     
  12. DTMwatch Sun. 5:08pm

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    I ended up going with a brand new Zenith but with a vintage look: Revival A385. It is a beautiful watch.
     
    0C7A5A8D-021C-4644-A367-E3621C7F465D.jpeg
  13. amcclell Sun. 5:19pm

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    Beautiful choice. Congratulations!
     
  14. DanT Sun. 5:24pm

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    Looks fantastic - glad you're happy with your choice and hope you get many years' enjoyment