This past week, a timepiece was released by a brand called Brellum that you would absolutely be forgiven for being totally unaware of. The brand itself is incredibly young (founded only a few years ago), but they’ve developed a slight reputation in the industry for producing incredible value-for-money timepieces. Their first model, the Duobox, seems on the surface to be a relatively no nonsense chronograph in steel. The unexpected and potentially perspective-shifting element is that Brellum has taken the base caliber Valjoux 7750 and refined it with COSC-certification.
Brellum Duobox Chronograph
But we’re not here to talk about the original. No, today, we’re going to look at the new Duobox Classic LE.3, a COSC-Certified triple calendar chronograph with moonphase. When we hit on the price, that’s when the value bit is going to click, promise.
Brellum Duobox Classic LE.3
Source: Worn & Wound
So here’s what we have: an anthracite gray dial, featuring applied steel Roman numerals, faceted stick hands at center, a pointer for the date, and the calendar functions integrated directly into the chronograph subdials. The case measures in at 41.8mm in diameter, with a thickness of 16.2mm. That thickness, it stands to reason, is the result of the Brellum BR751 movement (essentially a modified and COSC-Certified Valjoux 7751). One final thing of note: it is limited to only 13 pieces, which does make discussion of the price significantly more interesting. Let’s get to the damage!
Brellum Duobox Classic LE.3 – $3,217 USD
Let’s look at this watch from 3 angles – construction quality, design quality, and price.
On construction, Brellum has placed a solid movement in beautifully brushed steel and I have no real qualms about it besides the thickness which, at 16mm is almost absurdly thick. In terms of the movement, there’s really no debating the prowess and trustworthiness of a Valjoux. They’re some of the oldest and most reliable in the industry. On top of that, it packs several impressive functions – a triple calendar, chronograph, and moonphase. Brellum has cut no corners in terms of a base movement and further modification.
That brings us to design – the soft blue (a favorite we’re familiar with most often on vintage Rolex Datejusts) is bright without being overbearing. It fits extremely well in a more formal setting, but its beefy size and steel case paired with matching hands and markers can also easily pass as both casual and sporty.
The robust nature of this massive complication can easily appear cluttered or messy. In this case, Brellum has managed to fit several elements inside each other on the dial (see the day and month in the 30-minute subdial), pushed others to the background (like the soft outer ring of the date) and the end result is balanced and symmetrical. In my opinion, for a triple calendar chronograph, the design is just enough and not a bit too much.
Finally, the price – for around $3,300 this watch is a steal. No, you’re surely not buying the name – Brellum is not boastful of status, at least in mainstream markets. The Triple Calendar Moonphase Chronograph from the Longines Master Collection is direct competition – at nearly the same price. The Longines is a definitely sportier, and a little more busy on design, in my opinion. But there is certainly more history in the Longines name.
Nevertheless, if you’re in the market for a jam-packed, well-constructed, thoughtfully designed chronograph from an honest and careful independent watchmaker, this watch is for you – or would have been, before the 13 models sold out. Maybe you can catch one on eBay in ten years.