You might think that FitBit and the Apple Watch were the first to corner the market on wristwatch heartrate monitors, but you’d be mistaken. That prize harkens back to the 1920s with the invention of the “pulsograph.”
These early chronographs were marketed to doctors of the era by adding a pulsometer scale to the outside of the dial in the place of a tachymeter, or other more common calibration. Of late, Haim have attempted to breathe new life into the pulsograph with the launch of its Legacy SE Chronograph.
Rendered in 316L stainless steel, this vintage-led design has immaculate dimensions. The Legacy SE measures 39.5mm in diameter and a tidy 47mm lug to lug. For an automatic chronograph, it is also relatively slim at 13mm, including the curved sapphire crystal. With its 20mm lug width, the watch will also accommodate a plethora of aftermarket strap options. In fact, I cheekily swapped out its vintage leather for the Forstner Komfit Mesh the moment it arrived—and I can hardly imagine a more appropriate combination. The classy mirror polish matches the finish and retro design of the mesh to a tee.
That high polish also shines a light on the beautifully designed dial, which is visible in all kinds of lovely distortions thanks to that domed crystal. The Copper River Salmon reference featured here is my favourite from the brand—though it is also available in Midnight black with tasteful rose gold highlights. The radiant, hammered metal, dial finish plays with the light, morphing through a series of colour changes as you turn it—appearing like chocolate one moment, burnished russet the next.
The brand has opted for a touch of the contemporary when it comes to dial text, choosing teal for the railroad minute track around the outside and the watch name above the six. This colour is picked up again in the thermally blued hands, providing a strong and legible, but complementary, contrast.
Unlike early pulsographs, the Legacy SE has the increased functionality of both a tachymeter and a pulsometer scale. The mechanical version under review also has two additional sub-dials: a 60 seconds index, and a 30 minute counter.
The timepiece is rated to 100m of water resistance, but—as a caution—do not actuate the chronograph function while submerged.
As beautiful as the Legacy SE is from above, it is more than worthwhile to flip it over from time to time to gaze through its exhibition case back. There you can marvel at the ST1901 movement (successor to the Swiss Venus 175—and possibly the Russian Poljot 3017). This column-wheel chronograph movement was made famous by Tianjin Watch Factory and Project 304 for the Chinese Airforce. Operating at 3Hz, it has satisfying, almost organic, actuation.
The Legacy SE originally comes on a bespoke Genuine Leather strap that operates on a quick-release system and is available in 2 sizes: the regular (75mm/115mm) and the short (65mm/105mm).
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
47mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Screwed Exhibition Case
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed Sapphire Crystal|
Sunburst Copper Dial
Super-LumiNova on Hour/Minute Hands
|Movement||ST1901 Mechanical Chronograph|
|Strap||Genuine Leather |
/w Quick Release
Haim Legacy SE Chronograph
You might wonder, if you aren’t a doctor, why you would ever need a pulsograph on your wrist. After all, doesn’t your smart watch perform this activity better and with less hassle? However, it might be interesting to note that there is very little evidence out there to suggest that doctors ever used the original pulsographs for their intended purpose in any sustained way, either. Marketing wasn’t invented in the 21st century, after all.
Today, we all know non-divers who wear dive watches. And frankly, there isn’t a diver that I do know, who doesn’t opt or a dive computer, instead. So, consider the pulsograph as another instance of old-world charm from a bygone era.
Besides, I’ve always thought that every watch collection needs a conversation piece. Perhaps this…is that.
Not that I think it of paramount importance on a vintage chronograph design, but the lume on the handset is not very strong. I would also love to see these offered on a bracelet.
The Haim Legacy SE is a sexy timepiece. From its dial layout, to its colour choices, to its superior case finishing, it is sure to turn heads–if any watch can. Up close, the dial is so intricately built with multiple layers, different finishes, and enhanced functionality, that it is difficult to describe in words. You might think that with its two scales, sub-dials, and various indices, that it would end up a complicated mess…and yet, its composition is nothing short of harmonious. Of course, the ST1901 is a highlight as well. There is a certain intimacy that comes with a mechanical chronograph, not just in the feel of its pushers, but also in that you must wind it each morning like a ritual. The history of the movement, coupled with the odd-ball story behind the watch’s pulsometer, make for a perfect paring.
The Haim Legacy SE retails for $524.99USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
About the author
Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.
Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.
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5 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: Haim Legacy SE Chronograph”
I really enjoyed your comments and I have this exact watch and I agree with everything you observed. Thanks so much for reviewing this!
Thanks, Rick. I was really impressed. It’s a beautiful design.
Don’t forget to add that word “not” re water resistance.
Already done, lol
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