A clean appearance

It was whilst holding the U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) that I was reminded of an episode in my youth. This handsome watch, which I have been lucky enough to wear of late, is a model of clarity and has the most profoundly clean appearance.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on



I have reached a stage in life where, along with several of my friends, I have experienced a mid-life crisis. This was exampled with behaviour which was “text-book stuff” for those men who have reached “that certain age”.


Age stealthily creeps up on your blind side. There is a realisation that you are no longer the immature youth with naive dreams. Days of being patronised by one’s elders have ceased. I have become part of the establishment which I rebelled against in my former years. I now find myself reading the investment section of the Sunday newspapers.


My children are soon to fly the nest and there is a realisation that this is as good as it gets.


A few years ago I remember sitting on a couch, reliving my childhood experiences to a medical professional and openly disclosing my inner thoughts. There is something cathartic about unburdening yourself of the detritus of negative experiences which unduly way heavy upon your psyche.


It was whilst holding the U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) that I was reminded of an episode in my youth. This handsome watch, which I have been lucky enough to wear of late, is a model of clarity and has the most profoundly clean appearance.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


It reminds me of the fragrant girls who were praised by “Miss”, at my junior school. They never did anything wrong. Their spellings were perfect. Their writing was neat and tidy, unlike my illegible scrawl. I remember their gingham dresses and shiny shoes. Their appearance was spotless and pristine.


Conversely, like many junior school boys, my shoes were always scuffed from kicking a football around the school playing field. My knee-length shorts were creased and grubby. But, most of all there was my indelibly blackened calves and ankles which I still vividly recall. They were no stranger to nestling on muddy plains.


I recall my mother being frustrated that, despite her best efforts to dress me in lovely clothes, I always ended up appearing dishevelled and mucky. In a moment of rage she vowed to enhance my appearance and achieve a new found brilliance I had never known since birth. She dampened a cloth, with a portion of spit, and applied scouring powder to my knees with unbridled vigour. As my knees resembled halogen lightbulbs, illuminating the path ahead of me, she migrated to my plaque coated teeth, removing any shred of enamel. It was after this episode I experienced a sense of foreboding, worried that my brilliant-like appearance may act as a beacon for low flying planes above.


There is a rationale to my extended pre-amble. Cleanliness is considered desirable. The absence of extraneous matter prevents distraction from the important and sometimes critical. In terms of horology, cleanliness aids interpretation of time. An absence of the superfluous enhances legibility and ease of understanding. It is for these reasons that I have much respect for this masculine timepiece presented in stainless steel.


The dial

The black dial provides the perfect contrast to the white and green details presented.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


The hour and minute hands are white along the majority of their form, except near their fulcrum where they employ black, stealthily merging with the black dial.


White Arabic numerals appear at 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 o’clock. The remaining hours are marked with double white batons. The font used is modern in character, partly thanks to the “split” characters and conspires with other details to bestow a modern, clean cut appearance.


At 3 o’clock a subdial resides. It displays the subsidiary seconds and is the largest of the three subdials featured. A black seconds hand, tipped in green, traverses the subdial. Each 20 second interval is marked with a green line. The majority of the seconds hand is barely visible against the adjacent black background. The result is that the tip stands out, enhancing read-off. The subdial is framed with an openworked circlet, residing on a grey layer below and marked with Arabic numerals and white strokes.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


Located at 6 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph counter. It is the smallest of the three subdials. A black hand, tipped in white, interfaces with a scale presented on a grey coloured circlet as before.


A date aperture is located at 9 o’clock. The date is presented in white font on a black disc wheel. The contrast is superb, affording peerless legibility, even for my ageing eyes.


At noon, a 12-hour chronograph hand is located. It is framed with a delicate white outline but otherwise repeats the design language of the aforementioned 30-minute chronograph counter.


The case

The watch is presented in stainless steel. The bezel and the vertical flanks of the caseback are highly polished. This finish is repeated for some surfaces of the lugs, the bolts, which span the caseband, and the pushers located at 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock. The other surfaces employ a satin brushed finish. The resultant ensemble is balanced, striking a charming contrast between brushed and polished surfaces.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


The crown features the robust crown protection device I have admired on other U-Boat timepieces. At first it appears utilitarian, but with increasing familiarity it feels honest and “grows on you”. Locating the crown and pushers on the left hand side of the case is pure genius. Flexed hands, do not result in painful gouging of the skin typical of some watches which have a crown on the right hand side of the case.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on

U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


This is a substantial watch measuring 46 mm in diameter, with a case height of 17 mm. However, whilst large, it is incredibly comfortable to wear. This is primarily due to the short lugs which allow the strap to cosset the wrist with a compassionate embrace.


A further sense of nostalgia is provided with the strap. It has circular cut outs reminiscent of the driving gloves that my father wore in the 1970s.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


Reverse the watch and admire the caseback. It makes reference to its Italian origin but also the Swiss movement residing within. The movement is visible courtesy of a sapphire crystal glass.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


The watch is a limited series of 300 pieces and the plaque on the caseband informs the wearer of this with the unique model number from the series.


The movement

The movement is self-winding and includes a beautiful oscillating weight. It is made of Sterling silver, denoted by the number “925”. The rotor is open-worked and features blued screws, reminding the wearer that there is quality to underpin the handsome aesthetics.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on

U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


Traditionalists will appreciate the Côtes de Genève motif, presented in circular form on the bridge beneath the rotor, as well as the perlage on the main plate and oscillating weight.


The movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and features 25 jewels. The power reserve is 44 hours.



There is much that is laudable about the U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495). It is handsome with a chiselled appearance. It is comfortable to wear and its construction confers quality and robust reliability.


U-Boat U-51 Chimera (6495) - hands on


However, there is one aspect of this watch which distinguishes it from many timepieces. It is incredibly legible and simple to read. Indeed, it is the clean appearance which offers much virtue to this reformed school boy with anaemic knees and radioactive teeth that continue to illuminate his path.


This is a clean watch and no scouring powder was used in its creation.

Technical Specification

  • Model: U-Boat U-51 Chimera
  • Reference: 6495
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 46.00 mm; height 17.00 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; chronograph.
  • Movement: Self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 25 jewels; 44 hours power reserve
  • Strap: Black alligator leather strap presented on steel pin buckle.



Images kindly provided by © Euan Davies 2013

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