Review of two chronograph movements :

the Valjoux 7750 vs Lemania 5100


I will try to share with you my experience of two different Chronograph movements : My review is mainly based on the use of the Chronograph function and aesthetics and is not linked to the watch model

The movements I will compare are :The Valjoux 7750 and the Lemania 5100

I chose theses 2 movements because they "power" some of my watches but also because they are pretty common (I do not want to include in this review discontinued models or more expensive models such as the El Primero)

I recently learnt that the Lemania 5100 will be discontinued soon, but it is still available in the range of some watch manufacturers such as Tutima or Sinn


Technical aspects

the 2 movements are 28.800 bph , known to be very reliable both are integrated type chronographs (in opposition with modular movements such as the ETA 2892)

The basic functions of the chronograph are the same : minute and hours reccorder up to 12 hours, all the movements exist with a "date" version

Both automatic mechanism wind only in one direction : the 7750 winds in the clockwise direction and the Lemania 5100 in the anticlockwise direction

Both chronograph mechanisms with cams and swinging pinions (logical option for theses "mid-cost" movements compared to the expensive but prestigious solution of crown wheel and carrying arm)

Let us give a "three points" rating for the 2 movements

Lemania 5100 : 3 points
Valjoux 7750 : 3 points


Inside

Let us open the watch and look at it : when oppening a Lemania powered watch you might be very disappointed : the finish is not very nice and you will notice some plastic parts …. , compared to the Valjoux it looks really "poor" , of course some brands add special finish but even in an Omega finish the Lemania 5100 will really look rough compared to the Valjoux

Lemania 5100 : 1 point
Valjoux 7750 : 3 points

Lemania 5100
Valjoux 7750

 


Feeling

And now … let us USE the Chronograph : the fist important impression is the feeling of the pushers : if you have already experienced a crown wheel chronograph, you must note that using these two needs more strength on the pusher : it is not like pressing in butter ! but : the 7750 needs a hard push … and the Lemania needs … force ! the return to zero function has the same feeling, globally the use of the 7750 pushers are better and smoother, but they could be both improved compared to other movements

Lemania 5100 : 1 point
Valjoux 7750 : 2 points


Noise

The overall noise of the watch might be also taken in consideration …. And the Valjoux 7750 is known to have a "curious" noise : it is a FACT, some might like it but lets say that it may be less noisy. The Lemania is also noisy but with a more traditionnal sound. They are both not very quiet but Lemania beats Valjoux.

Lemania 5100 : 2 points
Valjoux 7750 : 1 point


Readability

Now that we have played with the Chronograph what about the display and the readability : you might think that, of course, it will depend on the dial … but not only ! : of course a Sinn will be easier to read compared to a Breitling Navitimer : but even so the movement might play a great role on the readability

The Lemania 5100 beats them all ! : the display of the minute counter with a large hand is incredibly easy to use : it is the only movement to have such a function (compared to the traditional subdials for the minute counter) and when you have used the Lemania you just ask yourself the question "why are the others different ?"


The Valjoux 7750 is very standard and nothing could be said against it … it just lost the match because of the unique Lemania 5100 function : the long minute hand

Lemania 5100 : 3 points
Valjoux 7750 : 2 points



Precision

Some other factors might influence your choice for a Chronograph such as precision time keeping were the Valjoux is known to be one of the best … the Lemania I have used are also very precise watches I just give one more point to the Valjoux on this topic due to its excellent reputation on this point (more Chronographs with COSC Chronometer certifications have also been issued on the Valjoux 7750) :

Lemania 5100 : 2 points
Valjoux 7750 : 3 points


Shock resistance

robustness might be a key factor when choosing a Chronograph :

The 5100 is the only chronograph movement that, because of its construction, can withstand high shocks without the sweep secondhand stopping, as the chronograph functions are powered directly.
It can withstand vertical acceleration of up to 7 g, without the accuracy decreasing noticeably.

It is the reason why this Chronograph movement has been selected by the Bund Luftwaffe and NATO to equip their pilots (With the Tutima Military Chronograph)


Its robustness is also legendary, the movement accepts hard use and has very few claims for servicing.
Its accuracy is consistent over a long period and the intervals between required servicing are long, 4-7 years are usually quoted where the Valjoux needs more service to keep its accuracy.

Lemania 5100 : 3 points
Valjoux 7750 : 2 points


Overall functions

The 5100 has one feature than the base 7750 : 24-hour military time subdial which you typically only see on 7751 variants of the 7750 and you see more 5100's with the full Day-Date Treatment than you do with 7750's.

In order to make a fair comparison between the two, I decided to compare a 7750 GMT with the 5100 but this is not a "base" function of the 7750 (can be found on Sinn, Breitling ...)

Lemania 5100
Valjoux 7750


Lemania 5100 : 3 points
Valjoux 7750 : 2 points


Total points of the review :

 

 
Lemania 5100
Valjoux 7750

Technical :

3 points
3 points

Inside :

1 point
3 points

Feeling :

1 point
2 points

Noise :

2 points
1 point

Readability :

3 points
2 points

Precision :

2 points
3 points

Shock resistance :

3 points
2 points

Overall functions :

3 points
2 points

Grand total

18 points
18 points

Of course I let you make you own total : some points might be very important for you and some might be minor, I try to give you the simple opinion of one user and hope this point of view might be usefull for you

Results with "importance factors" on the functional point of view :

 
Importance
Lemania 5100
Valjoux 7750

Technical :

X 2
6 points
6 points

Inside :

X 1
1 point
3 points

Feeling :

X 2
2 points
4 points

Noise :

X 1
2 points
1 point

Readability :

X 3
9 points
6 points

Precision :

X 3
6 points
9 points

Shock resistance :

X 3
9 points
6 points

Overall functions :

X 3
9 points
6 points

Grand total

44 points
41 points

 

If you are looking for a heavy duty chronograph where readability and robustness are an issue you should prefer the Lemania 5100, and if you are looking for a "do it all" chronograph with a huge choice of brands and style you will choose the Valjoux 7750.


More pictures of the dials :

Lemania 5100

(Click on picture for larger image)

Valjoux 7750

(Click on picture for larger image)