Virtually all of the watches Mondaine produces are visually inspired by the famous clocks that can be found throughout Switzerland’s railway stations, although the Stop2Go model holds a special place in the Swiss brand’s catalog, as it is the only one that actually emulates the unique motion of the clocks’ hands. With that in mind, although Mondaine has been producing wristwatches with this same core design since 1986, the Stop2Go is a more recent addition, with the very first execution appearing only slightly more than a decade ago in 2013. As one of its most noteworthy new releases of 2023, Mondaine announced the return of the quirky yet charming Stop2Go, and one of the major updates to accompany this second generation of the model is that its crown has been entirely eliminated in order to provide the watch with a round profile that more closely mirrors the appearance of the famous Swiss railway clocks.

Originally designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944, the Bauhaus-style clock that serves as Mondaine’s inspiration can be found inside train stations throughout Switzerland, and it was created by Hilfiker specifically for the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Along with their distinct white, black, and red appearance, the Swiss railways clocks are all synchronized to a master clock that is responsible for maintaining their timekeeping, and the individual clocks located at train stations throughout the country all receive a signal each minute to re-sync their time and ensure that they always remain in perfect coordination. In order to allow all of the clocks to receive the timekeeping signal and make any necessary adjustments, the hands on the Swiss railways clocks move in a unique manner, where the bright red seconds hand makes one full rotation of the dial in 58 seconds before taking a two-second pause when it reaches the 12 o’clock marker. During the brief period of time that the seconds hand is at rest, the minute hand will advance from one marker to the next, and then the seconds hand will resume running again.

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The Mondaine Stop2Go watch not only offers the same appearance as the famous Swiss train station clocks, but it also aims to mimic the unusual way that their hands move, with the goal of the watch being to create a wrist-mounted version of the iconic clocks that can be found inside train stations throughout Switzerland. However, rather than using a movement that actually receives a signal from either a satellite or smartphone, the Mondaine Stop2Go relies on a traditional battery-powered quartz movement that has been specifically designed to offer the same type of hand motion that can be found on the Swiss railway clocks. As mentioned in our original news coverage about the launch, the second generation of the Mondaine Stop2Go will be available in two different case sizes (41mm and 34mm), and it will also be available with the option of either black or white dials, although the 41mm white-dial version featured here (ref. MST.4101B.LBV.2SE) is the most traditional option among the collection, and it closely adheres to the appearance of what you might find hanging inside a Swiss train station.

The case of the Mondaine Stop2Go is crafted entirely from brushed stainless steel, and it offers a simple round profile with thin lugs and a slightly recessed bezel. A flat sapphire crystal is fitted to the dial side of the case, while a solid caseback secured by four small screws closes up the reverse side of the watch, and water resistance for the Stop2Go comes in at the minimal standard of 30 meters to protect against daily incidental contact. In terms of dimensions, the case of the full-size version of the Mondaine Stop2Go measures 41mm in diameter by 12mm thick, with a lug width of 20mm and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 47.5mm. While its on-paper dimensions aren’t especially thick, the simple case design offers little curvature to help mitigate its perceived height, and since the bezel is quite thin, the vast majority of the watch’s diameter is occupied by its dial, which makes the 41mm Mondaine Stop2Go wear fairly large compared to other watches with similar on-paper dimensions.

The dial of the Mondaine Stop2Go offers the same Bauhaus-style clock design that unites all of the brand’s models, and while some of Mondaine’s watches thoroughly reimagine this core aesthetic, the Stop2Go series adheres to a very traditional appearance with a time-only display and a dial that is essentially a Mondaine-branded version of what you would find inside a Swiss train station. Along with the bright red lollipop-style seconds hand, a small splash of red appears within the brand’s logo on the upper half of the dial, although the rest of the watch adheres to a completely black and white appearance to create a highly legible display with ample amounts of contrast. The white dial versions of the Mondaine Stop2Go feature the brand’s “BackLight” illumination technique, where the solid matte black hands have luminous material applied to their reverse sides, which reflects against the surface of the dial to illuminate them from behind. Although I was initially somewhat skeptical about how effective this approach might be during real-world use, I was ultimately pleasantly surprised by how much light the reverse side of the hands were able to receive and how legible the display ended up being in low-light conditions.

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While the 41mm version of the Mondaine Stop2Go with a white dial is also available with the option of a stainless steel bracelet, the standard configuration for the series a black two-piece strap that is made from a vegan-friendly leather and completed by a chunky signed stainless steel pin-buckle. Just like many modern high-end vegan leathers, the strap for the Stop2Go is quite supple and comfortable, although it doesn’t taper in any capacity and instead measures the same 20mm width all the way from the lugs to its buckle. While the strap is about as aesthetically straightforward as it gets, it is ultimately fairly well-executed, and it also connects to the case with integrated quick-release springbars to facilitate tool free strap changes. The stainless steel bracelet is only available for the white dial version of the 41mm Mondaine Stop2Go (at least at the time of writing), although I personally feel that the watch looks best when paired with its classic black leather strap. That said, it’s worth noting that the premium for the stainless steel bracelet is only an additional ten bucks, so even if you only have a small interest in actually wearing the Stop2Go on a bracelet, it still might be worth opting for the bracelet version of this particular watch.

To better emulate the completely round profile of the Swiss railway clocks, the crown has been entirely eliminated on this second generation of the Mondaine Stop2Go, and on the 3 o’clock side of the case is a small recessed button that is used to perform all necessary interactions with the internal movement. Not only is this single button responsible for setting all three of the hands, but you can also change the alignment of the hands on the Stop2Go, and this ultimately means that operating the watch is anything but intuitive. Mondaine provides a small metal stylus tool with the Stop2Go in order to help access its recessed button, and setting the watch consists of using the stylus tool to poke the side of the case while counting how long you hold the button and the number of times that you press it. Although the setting process itself isn’t actually all that difficult, it is undeniably rather tedious, and having some type of crown or even adding a couple of extra buttons to the side of the case would likely have gone a long way towards making the Mondaine Stop2Go easier to operate.

After first attempting to set the Mondaine Stop2Go without referencing the owner’s manual, I only managed to further mess up the alignment of the hands, and this resulted in me finally consulting the instructions in order to correct my mistake and set the watch. Even with the assistance of the manual, it still took me almost thirteen minutes to align all of the hands and set the Stop2Go, and I’m fairly certain that I have already forgotten many of the details of the process and would likely need to reference the manual again in order to set it. Eliminating the crown was done in order to make the Mondaine Stop2Go feel more like a wrist-mounted version of a clock; however, since its case still has traditional lugs, the removal of the crown ultimately has a fairly minimal impact on the overall look and feel of the watch. Had the strap been integrated directly into the side of a perfectly round case and the crown was the only protrusion, removing it would have been an easily justifiable decision. However, I can’t help but feel that too much functionality was lost when the crown was eliminated, compared to how much more closely Mondaine was able to make the second generation of the Stop2Go resemble the profile of a clock.

Realistically speaking, what the Mondaine Stop2Go actually needs is either a radio controlled or bluetooth-equipped movement. Not only would this allow the watch to offer the same spot-on precision as Switzerland’s famous railway clocks, but it would also entirely eliminate the need for any type of lengthy or tedious setting process. That said, while these types of high-tech electronic calibers are rather common among the big-name Japanese brands, they aren’t nearly as prevalent within the Swiss watch industry. Once you start talking about receiving satellite signals and bluetooth connectivity, developing this type of movement really falls more into the realm of computer engineering and micro-electronics, rather than anything to do with traditional horology. Since the entire concept of the Mondaine Stop2Go watch is to bring one of Switzerland’s famous train station clocks to the wrist, it really does need to have a Swiss-made movement, and the unusual Swiss quartz caliber used for the Stop2Go series does properly emulate the unique hand motion of the country’s railway clocks.

Aside from wearing a bit thick and suffering from a rather convoluted setting process, the second generation of the Mondaine Stop2Go is actually a rather fun and charming watch. With that in mind, the Stop2Go itself is still a fairly young model, and this second generation very much feels like an evolution of the concept, rather than the final destination for where the brand would ultimately like to take its Stop2Go wristwatch. The tedious setting process certainly isn’t ideal, although the Stop2Go really feels like a watch that should receive its timekeeping signal from an external source in order to make its signature two-second pause functional, and that requires an entirely different level of technology that you don’t typically find inside Swiss watches. With an official retail price of $685 USD for the strap-equipped version of the 41mm model, the Mondaine Stop2Go represents a fairly affordable way to get your hands on something that doesn’t really exist elsewhere within the industry, and for those who truly want to feel like they are wearing one of Switzerland’s famous railway station clocks on their wrist, there really is no replacement for the Stop2Go, even among the other models with similar appearances that also exist within Mondaine’s modern catalog. For more information on the Mondaine Stop2Go Swiss Railways watch, please visit the brand’s website.

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