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For years, Crafter Blue has been a name to know for watch collectors interested in upgrading the look and feel of their watch collections. A purveyor of high-quality straps purpose-built for use with some of the most popular models on the market today, the brand developed a reputation for pairing quality and fair pricing that appealed to a large market of luxury watch buyers. Before long, the brand forayed into the world of watchmaking with automatic dive watches like the Mechanic Ocean and Hyperion Ocean. Two years since the panda-dial Bon Voyage chronograph arrived, Crafter Blue has introduced the next edition of its non-mechanical sports watch, the vintage-inspired Macaron Super Chrono. Adventure-ready and wallet-friendly, the brand’s latest release pairs classic appeal with proven meca-quartz technology to great results.

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The dial of the Macaron Super Chrono stands out immediately for its compelling use of vintage color. A pale blue 60-minute totalizer at 9 o’clock captures the most visual attention and stands in contrast with its opposite pair, the 24-hour complication. Considered by some to be VK64 movement’s weakest point, the 24-hour indication can actually be quite useful in converting the present a.m./p.m. hour into the military time scale. Have trouble remembering how to denote 4:00 p.m. in Europe? The subdial is an easy reminder that it’s 16:00. In addition to the functional aspects of the dial, Crafter Blue has succeeded in color-matching the rest of the dial elements, giving a cohesive look to the watch. The use of Swiss Super-LumiNova in the neo-vintage-looking Old Radium variety gives the hands and markers a heritage appeal and nicely matches the non-lumed parts of the face: the subdials, text, rehaut, and branding. Across all of it, a ruggedly patterned dark blue connects everything, giving what might otherwise be an old-school timepiece a more modern appeal.

Surrounding the dial, the Macaron Super Chrono’s bi-directional bezel offers helpful functionality. Printed with a 12-hour scale, it can be used to track an extra timezone. Formed from stainless steel to match the rest of the case’s construction, at first glance it appears the bezel’s tick marks are redundant to those on the rehaut beneath the sapphire crystal. But closer inspection reveals three tick marks between the numbers, not four. This aids in tracking quarter-hour segments, highly useful when using the bezel to follow the time across the world. Instead of cross-referencing the hour hand’s indication on the bezel with the position of the minute hand to determine world time, the hour hand alone can give an approximation with the bezel markers representing 15-minute intervals. So a glance at the hour hand in the photo above would show it’s a little past 10:00, but not yet 10:15. Beyond the bezel, the case features a mix of polished and brushed surfaces, giving dynamism to an already eye-catching design. Prominent pushers accompany the screw-down crown and make operating the watch’s functions a breeze.

Inside the Macaron Super Chrono lies Seiko’s famous meca-quartz technology. A widespread caliber found inside some of the most popular entry-level chronographs on the market today, the VK64 blends quartz technology for the main timekeeping functions while engaging a mechanical module for the chronograph. This best-of-both-worlds hybrid means that there is no outward indication that this is a battery-powered watch. With the absence of running seconds the Macaron Super Chrono could — at a glance — appear to be fully mechanical. Even with the chronograph seconds engaged, the smooth sweep of the central seconds hand gives off a refined air that belies the quartz movement inside. This androgynous look gives the watch a broad appeal — all the benefits of quartz accuracy, reliability, and repairability while appearing to be mechanical. Another benefit of the VK64 that collectors will love is the symmetrical and modern placement of the date window at 6 o’clock. Maintaining the overall balance of the dial, the framed date window is color-matched to the dial, fitting in perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the watch. Finally, the VK64’s biggest benefit is likely the sheer functionality of a chronograph. Useful for timing everything from espresso pulls to air races, it’s simply one of the most helpful complications available on watches today.

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As a brand with its origins in strap-making, the attachment for the Macaron Super Chrono is, not surprisingly, of high quality. The genuine Italian leather is malleable, and the smooth, tanned surface continues the theme of classic aesthetics. This is accentuated by the side stitching that’s color-matched to the baby blue subdial. A steel pin buckle ensures a snug, adjustable fit, and quick-release pins help make strap changes easy. It all contributes toward the Macaron Super Chrono’s most impressive aspect: the price tag. As a value proposition, it’s an impressive achievement to combine this many collector-favorite aspects in one watch for just $255 USD. A sapphire crystal plus Super-LumiNova and a bespoke design make this a compelling piece that competes with timepieces priced far beyond this tier. Learn more at the brand’s website.

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Brand: Crafter Blue
Model: Macaron Super Chrono
Reference: BVSS002.M
Case: Stainless steel. 42mm diameter, 13.4mm thick, 20mm lug width
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Strap: Genuine Italian leather
Movement: Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement (date, center hour/minute/chrono seconds. 60-minute and 24-hour subdials)
Bezel: Bi-directional rotating with 12 hour indications
Price & Availability: $255 USD via Crafter Blue

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