Swiss Mondaine returns with a newly updated version of the “Official SBB Swiss Railways” NEO Chronograph in a handsome 41mm wide case and a few style options. Today, I go hands-on with the “panda dial” white face with black subdials version known as the reference MSD.41410.LBV. Mondaine also makes a reverse-colored version with a black face and white subdials, as well as a version of the NEO Chronograph with an all-white face. Which you choose is really a matter of personal taste.

These sensibly-priced mainstream watches are an attractive extension of the enduring appeal of the Swiss Railways dial that Mondaine has been producing in various forms for many years. Most of the SBB Railways watches have time-only dials, which makes “complicated” versions like this chronograph less common. Mondaine makes watches like this to allow people to enjoy the core Swiss Railways dial but with sportier looks such as a chronograph complication. The iconic circle-tipped red seconds hand becomes the chronograph second hand for this particular dial design. The date window is kept more or less out of the way at the 4 o’clock position on the dial.

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The brushed steel case of the NEO Chronograph is sensibly sized, being 41mm wide and about 10mm thick. The case has a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial and is water-resistant to 50 meters. Inside the watch is a Swiss Made Ronda caliber 5030 quartz 12-hour chronograph + date movement. The resulting watch is a handsome and elegant (albeit simple) wearing experience. All I would really amend in the overall design is to suggest giving the dial a bit more added depth with recessed subdials. Thankfully the dial is not entirely flat, as the hour markers are slightly raised and there is slight recessing, but it is difficult to notice with the naked eye. The watch is handsome, but some extra dial embellishment would have made it even better. Still, with the high contrast of the dial, it is hard not to enjoy reading it.

Watches like this NEO Chronograph are great for casual timepiece wearers who want something conservative, but with a bit more sportiness than a standard three-hand Mondaine watch dial. It is not a collector’s watch by design, but rather a casual-wearing mainstream watch that an enthusiast can easily recommend. The NEO Chronograph comes paired with a comfortable black faux leather (made out of grape apparently) 20mm wide strap that comes on quick-release spring bars. That reminds me that a watch like this would look very cool on a matching red (to the colors on the dial) strap. Price for the Mondaine “Official Swiss Railways Watch” NEO Chronograph (Ref. MSD.41410.LBV) is $525 USD. Learn more at the Mondaine website.

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