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Kobold Comanche - initial impressions

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  • Kobold Comanche - initial impressions

    The brief for this watch purchase was simple - it has to be able to be worn anywhere at any time including travel to far-flung places where brand-name bling on the wrist is simply an invitation to be robbed or scammed.

    I decided a pilot chrono was the way to go. I find the chrono complication genuinely useful and these watches, designed for low-reflectivity in a cockpit, are the opposite of bling with beadblasting and matt dials. They tend to be around the 40 to 42mm size which makes them more suitable for extended wear than large diving chronos but still have decent WR and are designed to take a beating. In short they are a do-anything watch.

    The main contenders were all based around the Valjoux 7750 : Sinn 103, 757 or EZM13 (a military mission timer with 60 minute chrono using Sinn-modded 7750). The Damasko DC66 got a serious look in - packed with tech and ice-hardened steel it almost got the thumbs up...
    But then this rarely-seen Kobold Comanche came up secondhand and a difficult decision suddenly became simple. Compared to the Comanche those other watches suddenly seemed fussy and overcrowded with numerals and white lines. Buying watches is partly a gut feeling, an emotional reaction to seeing something you really like. Anyway it is to me – careful planning and research cheerfully abandoned !

    The Comanche is a watch where I think they have got everything pretty much right.
    It has a beautifully understated dial in deep black with very discrete sunburst subdials and commendable simplicity. The lack of numerals or large indices makes the dial very clean and personally I don't miss them.
    Im surprised that the attractive flieger sword handset never made it to later Kobolds - I find them vastly preferable to the stick hands they are so keen on. They give the watch its pilot feel and being blacked at their inner ends they float against the black dial, as do the fine white central seconds-elapsed and subdial hands. It is a success in terms of readability – very easy to tell the time at a glance. The chrono hands are hardly noticeable until you look for them, then they stand out boldly against the black and are easily legible.
    Kobold like their “stealthy” watches such as the Phantom Chrono. The Comanche is even more stealthy with its lack of white borders for the subdials, part of what makes the face so clean.

    Fit and finish is very good. Fricker case nicely blasted and the bezel has zero play and a good tight action. Dial markings and hand set are finely executed and overall this feels and looks like a quality watch - apart from a somewhat wobbly crown.

    Downsides I can see so far : Not great lume. The bezel pip is poor. The hands and indices are just ok - not helped by the small size of the indices. Newer Kobolds look to be far more lume-endowed, but at the expense of dial aesthetics imho.
    Not great AR. Nice domed sapphire but there are not many angles it totally disappears. Given the beautiful black lustre of the dial that is a shame – with a really top AR crystal the hands and subdials would hang in space even better.

    Overall : 7750-based bona fide toolwatch chrono with a lot to commend it. Perhaps not as high tech or purely practical as the German brands I was looking at but Kobold watches have certainly proven themselves in the kind of environments I hope to never encounter. Also the Comanche has a feel of its own, rarity value, and a certain something that really appeals to me.

    Summary : Kobold Comanche is Kool 8-)

    Comanche Chronograph
    Ref. KD 922361

    Case: surgical-grade (316L) stainless steel; matte finish

    41.3 mm diameter (bezel end to bezel end)
    45.8 mm diameter overall (bezel end to crown end
    50.8 mm length overall (lug end to lug end)
    20 mm lug width
    15.3 mm height overall

    crystal synthetic sapphire; domed, anti-reflective (inside only); super-thick
    crown screw-locked; signed
    push pieces protected
    bezel rotating, uni-directional; count-upminute scale; ratcheted
    back solid stainless steel; plane; screw-locked
    waterproof (20 atm/660 ft with crown and push pieces locked);
    (3 atm/100 ft with crown unlocked)
    antimagnetic; shock-resistant; pressure-proof to 20 atmospheres

    Movement: ETA 7750; Swiss-made; chronograph mechanism winding automatic mechanism jewels 25
    balance Glucydur
    mainspring Nivarox 1
    decoration Geneva stripes, perlage, beveled edges, polished screws; engraved, skeletonized, gold-plated winding rotor with Geneva stripes finish functions hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph hours, minutes, seconds; day, date other 42 hours power reserve

    Attached files

    My karma ran over your dogma

  • #2
    When your ready to flip it Jake
    'I hope, when i die, my wife doesn't sell my watches for what I told her I paid for them.'


    • #3
      Very nice indeed Jake Any brand of watch good enough for Ranulph fiennes is good enough for me and I would still crawl ten km over broken glass to get the Langley, but with the Seal dial and hands :thumbup: Thanks for taking the time with the review
      Preparation and planning prevent piss poor performance


      • #4
        Very very cool piece Jake, missed by the previous owner I am sure. The setting out of the dial is beautifully balanced, something not all chronos manage. Great review as well.
        “I want to touch base on how we’ll synergize the pivot going forward”


        • #5
          I think I will see how this one sits on the wrist for a while Pauloz !

          And thanks for kind comments all...
          A watch I have always admired and stoked to get to try one
          My karma ran over your dogma


          • #6
            Great review, thanks.