I picked up a Mondaine Sportline Alarm watch in black recently. I’d known about the “Swiss Railways” watch company before, but never took the opportunity to own one. They have an appearance similar to Xemex watches, which I tend to really like (I do own a Xemex Offroad with Arabic numerals). Both watches have what they like to think of as being minimalist designs focusing on legibility and what I see as friendliness. Enjoying my Xemex, I thought I would finally try out a Mondaine. I picked up a Sportline Alarm with the black face (Model # 94205). I’d not owned too many analog alarm watches, and this one appeared very simple to use.
The Sportline Alarm is a medium size watch in my opinion at 41mm, but feels right on my wrist. I’d never posit that it is a large watch, but it is well noticed on my arm, and I can always see it. The face is pinnacle of clarity honestly. the hour and minute hands are very legible and feel sized just right. This is an issue actually as I feel that many watches come with hands which are too short. This frustrates me, but not on this watch. One of the best features of the face is the amount of luminant, at least on the black faced version with the white hands. The hand and indexes really glow well. I am not totally convinced about the seconds hand with the red ball at the end. It is a Mondaine icon, and it does not detract from the watch, but I think it looks better than it is functional (I sometimes think the seconds hand is placed on backwards when I look at it), just a thought.
Being an alarm watch, I needed to test this function out a few times. You’ll notice on the watch a smaller outline of a hand with a red tip. This is the alarm hand. You basically have 12 hours to work with, or the alarm will go off twice a day. Pull out the upper crown and you activate the alarm and listen to a little charming alert. The lower crown (in addition to setting the time and date) adjusts the alarm hand but unfortunately only moves in one direction. You can’t set it with to the minute accuracy, but it serves most purposes. If you keep the upper crown pulled out, the alarm is “on,” otherwise the alarm won’t sound. The alarm noise itself is a charming little jingle that is better than just a few beeps. I’d become so accustomed to the typical beeping alarm from being around Casio watches so much, that I was surprised to hear a different type of alarm. The volume of the alarm is not very high. If you are outside in a crowd or in the car, you might not hear it, though the alarm last for at least a few seconds. I think the idea was not to annoy the wearer with an alarm noise that quickly became abrasive.
The Mondaine Sportline series has always been very inexpensive for a Swiss watch. They are all $200 or under, and represent an excellent value for the money. The case is well made and solid using thick steel. You can tell that the case is made up from 3 pieces with a screw down back. I am not too happy that the crystal is mineral glass. I obviously prefer the durability and scratch resistance of sapphire crystals, but those are more expensive. As the Mondaine Sportline Alarm is going for about $150 many places, there really isn’t that much for me to complain about.
Overall, you get a nicely made and designed watch for the money. The design is symmetrical, and inside a Swiss ETA quartz. You aren’t going to get a decent mechanical movement based watch for this price. I have been happy with this Mondaine and would likely be happy with others. I suggest that if you like the looks of the watch (as I do) you should have no qualms about getting one.
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