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Vandaag Schallmauer Automatik

Vandaag upgrades its chronograph with automatic Swiss movement.

Originally released as a quartz-powered chronograph, the Schallmauer (German for “sound barrier”) was an affordable option for those just getting into watches. Perhaps in an effort to push upmarket and reposition itself, or perhaps answering calls from its existing customer base, Vandaag has decided to swap the quartz for an automatic Sellita chronograph movement to create the Schallmauer Automatik. Let’s see if the upgrade is worth it.

On the Wrist

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The Vandaag Schallmauer Automatik isn’t breaking the mold. It’s a standard two-register chronograph with pump pushers. It does everything well, though. The dial and bezel combine several finishes to the same blue for a bit of variety, the red provides a pleasant pop of color, and the stark white hands and markings make legibility exceptional.

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There’s no getting around the size of the Schallmauer, one of the downsides of upgrading to an automatic movement. Despite dimensions that would only be ideal for the large-wristed, the watch manages to not feel too big on the wrist. The case is well-finished and the curved lugs help to mitigate the bulk. The strap is flexible enough and shouldn’t require any break-in period, which is always preferrable.

Dial Details

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It’s a blue bonanza, here. Legibility is solid given the high contrast, and the layout is beyond reproach. The differing finishes and materials make for three different qualities of the same blue, which adds a dynamic look.

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Complementing the red date is an equal shock of color to the chronograph hand. The ‘N’ in the brand name is oddly attractive to me. Note the divots in the bezel, in lieu of filled or printed hashes. I think it’s a nice touch and something a little different; I had no issues seeing them while using the bezel, as they catch light easily.

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The subdials actually feature two finishes: circular brushing along the hashes and radial grooving in the center. Both play with light differently, and the effect against the matte blue of the main dial is pleasing. Add to that the smooth blue of the ceramic bezel and, baby, you got a stew going.

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The date placement is on point, though I wish there had been more effort into the design of the window itself. The red date appeared on the Tiefsee and the previous Schallmauer, so I’d go as far to so it’s a Vandaag tool watch feature (the brand’s other offerings have color-matched date wheels). I rather like the font, especially the ‘4’.

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The lume was surprisingly good. On the Tiefsee I had, it was a bit wanting, but this lumed up very nicely—bright and even—with just a few moments of outdoor time. The bezel pip could use more generous dosing, but it’s visible.

Case and Strap

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This is a pretty sharp case, if a bit thick. The nice ribbon chamfer along the lugs breaks things up a bit, and all the finishing is crisp. The crown screws down for added security, and the pump pushers offer a no-fuss practical aesthetic, which is exactly how they function. The bezel operates well, with solid tension and 120 satisfying clicks.

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The custom black rotor with striping is a nice touch, though this is an otherwise ho-hum looking movement. For a watch nerd like myself, I don’t need to see it, but I understand the decision to use a sapphire caseback to appeal to a broader market.

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The strap on the Vandaag Schallmauer Automatik is just fine. Quick-release leather with a perforated backing, ostensibly for better ventilation. I also enjoyed it on a few other straps and found it equally comfortable. I would discourage NATOs, however, as they make the watch unreasonably tall on the wrist.

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Final Thoughts

The Vandaag Schallmauer Automatik is an excellent illustration of the cost of upgrading a model from quartz to automatic: size. There simply isn’t a way to have an automatic chronograph with a thin case without spending an outrageous amount of money—and that’s not Vandaag’s fault. The watch is solid for what it is and has an engaging array of blue in the dial. While it sits on the edge of ungainliness, it never topples over to the wrong side, managing to remain wearable. A bigger obstacle than the size may be convincing buyers to pay almost 4x what the next most expensive model in the catalog costs. But these are part of the growing pains of a brand looking to establish itself and remain relevant.

Check out more chronograph reviews on The Watch Clicker

Check out the Vandaag website

Vandaag Schallmauer Specs

Case Width

42.5mm

Thickness
16.3mm

Lug-to-Lug
50mm

Wrist-to-Crystal*
15.4mm

Lug Width
22mm

Weight
114g

Crystal
Sapphire

Strap

Bracelet

Water Resistance
100m

Lume
Super-LumiNova BGW9

Movement

Sellita 510BHa

Price
~$1861

*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal

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