A Scientist’s Chrono: Wittnauer 242T Matte Dial
If you have ever wanted a more unique Speedmaster, a less-common Daytona, or a dial drenched in yellow tritium, heaven has smiled upon you. Wittnauer is not a name you know unless you’ve spent some real time in vintage. Later absorbed by Bulova and Longines, they used to make some beautiful chronographs. Although not confirmed, this 242T is said to have been one of the three watches selected by NASA to be flight-qualified for thee moon mission. We know, Omega now owns that crown (they don’t let us forget). But alternate history has never been more charming than this lume-heavy, very-precise period chronograph.
The 242T was introduced at the start of the 1960s. Some have said the tritium-dotted dial was designed to be reminiscent of the planetary system, I think that’s likely heresy. I’m willing to believe NASA may have tested it. Any design correlation seems very unlikely. It also features beautifully glossy, sunken subdials to rival any Speedy. The chronograph is powered by a Valjoux 72, a legendary workhorse. What we do know is that the chronograph seconds measurement was designed around a scale of tenths rather than 60ths. This was geared toward scientific research to sync better with metric measurements. If you look closely at the dial’s outer scale, you’ll see what I mean. I find it rather charming.
This example is simply beautiful. The generous serving of tritium is evenly golden across the dial and handset. The other dial markings are unfaded, a common issue with these. The steel 40mm case is strong with its original signed crown and chronograph pushers. The Valjoux 72 has been recently serviced. It comes from a very well-reputed retailer.
Find this 242T here from Bulang & Sons for 8400 EUR.