Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight Review - A Watch With Must See Party Tricks

Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight Review - A Watch With Must See Party Tricks

9 min read
Tim Vaux




Tim Vaux




10 for 10 Episode 10: We rounded up your new collection with something fun, a review of the Mondaine Stop2Go Backlight!

Welcome back to the final episode of 10 for 10. This is a series from WatchGecko that sets out to inform you, the reader of 10 watches branching over 10 different categories that combined offer an extremely versatile, enjoyable and rounded collection. All together coming in at a value less than £10,000.

Some watches maybe more expensive, some may be extremely affordable but together they will all come in less than £10,000. Stay tuned to the WG Online Magazine as well as our YouTube channel for plenty more series and episodes just like this.

Something Fun

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight -

Now we're in a position where our collection is pretty much complete. We have every popular watch genre covered in what we believe to be a rounded enough collection offering good versatility and enjoyment. However, sometimes as watch enthusiasts, we just want something a bit different to wear. Something which doesn't really slot into any genre specifically, but is just, well, fun. Something that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Something that if people glance to your wrist and say 'nice watch!' you have plenty of interesting, fun facts about it you can throw at them...

The Mondaine Stop2go Backlight - A short history lesson

A Mondaine Railway Clock at Zurich Train Station. - Image credit Mondaine Press

The simple, quite quirky design of the Mondaine actually pre-dates Mondaine themselves dating back to 1944 and a gentleman called Hans Hilfiker. He was a Swiss engineer and designer who created a clock design which has become known as the Official Swiss Railways Clock. At the time, he was an employee of the Federal Swiss Railways and his new clock design went on to become relatively popular.

Mr Hans Hilfiker himself with the original clock design - Image Credit Mondaine Press

9 years later, Hilfiker added the large red seconds hand to the clock which not only is very distinct and clear, it also replicates the same red batons used by train dispatch staff.

It should come as no surprise to you to hear that the Swiss quite like a few key things.

  1. Precision
  2. Accuracy
  3. Purpose

These three things can also easily summerise the Swiss Railways Clock which probably explains why it's gone on to become an icon in both the design world and Switzerland. It's not just the design of the watch which caught the attention of the world but also its mechanical workings.

In Switzerland, the concept of trains leaving 20 seconds past a minute doesn't exist.

Both clock and watch in action... - Image credit Mondaine Press

All trains leave bang on the minute. This means a centralised synchronisation happens which results in the seconds hand on the clock stopping for 2 seconds at 12, allowing the minute hand to jump forward a minute and then the seconds hand begins again. Very cool stuff for us watch enthusiasts.

Fortunately, Mondaine came along in the 80s and turned Hilfiker's design into a watch. Fast forward 30 odd years and in 2013, Mondaine releases the stop2go technology.

A Mondaine watch during the manufacturing process - Image credit Mondaine Press

This replicates the same procedure found in the clocks, paying homage to Hilfiker's design, the Swiss railway service across the country and generally resulting in a watch which is incredibly fun to wear.

The Mondaine in more detail...

The round case of the Mondaine Stop2Go -

The stop2go BackLight with us today comes in 41mm wide, 12mm thick, with a lug to lug of 46mm and a lug width of 20mm. As you can tell, the watch case itself is very round in design with only the short lugs disrupting the perfect roundness. Over the years, Mondaine watches have been seen fitted in many different cases, however, you can clearly see this watches case is very true to the original clock.

The case of the Mondaine is finished in a brushed finish -

The case is also stainless steel complete in a fully brushed finish, and of course, we find a flat anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. A screw down crown can also be found on the watch which feels more like a lever or switch than a conventional crown. This is once again where the Mondaines earns a few more 'cool' points.

The crown on the Mondaine is very unique to the brand -

When you pull the crown out, the seconds hand turns around the dial stopping back at 12. Once you turn and hold the crown in either the up or down position, the minute hand will begin to move and eventually will pick up momentum and will move at a manageable speed for time changing. Push the crown back in, and the watch sets off once again.

This feels like a perfect time to explain the movement behind the watch in a little more detail.

The caseback on the Mondaine bares the Swiss Federal Railways branding -

The movement in this watch is the Mondaine stop2go cal. 58-02 quartz movement. As mentioned previously, this quartz movement is very different to a standard quartz. Much like the original clock, this movement ticks around the dial for 58 seconds.

It then stops at 12 for two seconds which allows the minute hand to jump forward to the next minute marker and the cycle continues. If you're heavily invested in the passion behind watchmaking and horology this is something you need to see. This addictive, quite relaxing watchmaking is a complete switch up from the rest of the watches in our new collection, making it a perfect fit.

However, there is more, this specific Mondaine has one more party trick up its sleeve to truly making it the best option for 'Something Fun'.

BackLight Technology

The Mondaine's final party trick in action... -

This watch features strong luminescence on the dial to ensure you can tell the time no matter how dark it gets. On the surface, this statement doesn't look like it belongs in this review because clearly there is no lume visible on top of the hands or indices. However, turn either the watch to the side, or the lights down and all will be revealed.

Thin long layers of luminescence can be seen attached to the bottom of the Mondaine's hands meaning a few things.

A detailed look at the luminescence under the minute hand -

Firstly, well you can use the watch once it gets dark. Secondly, the lume creates a backlight with the hands as well as reflecting off the dial, and finally, the ingenious approach of adding this lume behind the hands means the iconic instantly recognisably design straight from Hilfiker's mind remains unchanged, still enjoyable in normal daylight.

Now, if all of these features don't make a watch cool, I don't know what does...

How does the Mondaine wears on the wrist?

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight on wrist -

The lugs on the Mondaine almost blur and wrap around the case of the watch meaning it's framed very nicely on the wrist. The watches 12mm thickness is relatively noticeably when wearing the watch, however not enough to disrupt wearability. Of course, the watch is very legible with dark bold black indices, hands and markers sitting on that bright white dial.

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight -

Throw in that distinctive red seconds hand and clean aesthetic and you can't help but enjoy the watches overall quirkiness. A design that embraces confident, obvious uniqueness is seldom found in the world of horology which commonly feels like it takes itself rather seriously (Unless you're Richard Mille of course. where marshmellow watches are the norm).

The instantly recognisable seconds hand of the Mondaine -

Obviously, the most noticeable feature of the watch happens every 58 seconds, when the seconds hand takes a break for a moment. I found myself glancing down at my wrist a lot more than normal just to see everything stop for a brief moment before the minute hand took over, and then everything went back to normal. The same can be said for the Backlight feature as well.

When it became darker I would regularly find myself staring at the dial to see the slow glow bouncing off the dial making the hands of the watch stand out. Small unique, fun quirks along with the watches design make the Mondaine feel like a genuinely interesting watch to strap to the wrist.

Time for some replacement watch straps

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight on wrist -

The watch comes on a genuine black leather watch strap with black matching stitching. This strap works really well with the watch because of its simple design matched with the watches very dominant visuals. Let's see which 20mm wide straps from our range look to compliment this strong design DNA...

Geckota Jonathan GP 298 Pro Strap in Black and Red

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight fitted to the Jonathan GP 298 Pro Strap available here!

This strap is the epitome of 'simple yet effective'. This watch strap uses Italian black calf leather along with coloured lining. The lining matches the stitching colour of the strap, and in this case it's red. This combo really takes what the standard Mondaine strap does yet is a step above with increased continuity of the watches design. A classic Geckota watch strap that really acts to lift the watches appeal.

Order the Geckota Jonathan GP 298 Pro Strap here!

Geckota Horkstow Milanese Mesh

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight fitted to the Geckota Horkstow Milanese Mesh available here!

Once again a mesh strap features on this series and completely transforms another watch. This time it's the Horkstow Mesh which combines simple clean design, with even more simplicity in the form of a butterfly buckle. Both strap and buckle really suit the Mondaine watch mainly because of three are clean, simple and neat. The bracelet also comes in at 3.5mm thick, making it ideal for the 12mm thick Mondaine case.

Order the Geckota Horkstow Milanese Mesh bracelet here!

Geckota Kington Vintage Style Dress in Camel

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight fitted to the Geckota Vintage Highley available here!

Finally, to wrap up these strap suggestions we have something very different. Here the Kington Dress in the Camel colour option really changes the dynamic of the watch. The lighter brown option works to add emphasis to the distinctive colours on the dial of the Mondaine. The strap has a thin layer of padding which making it ridiculously comfortable.

Order the Geckota Vintage Highley here!

What we would improve

For as fun as this watch is, there is only one change I'd like to see, and its something which can be solved with Mondaine's other offerings...

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight fitted to the Geckota Horkstow Milanese Mesh available here!

The Stop2Go movement w/ backlight in a smaller size - Yes once again there's another watch which I wish was available in a smaller size. Granted you can purchase smaller sized options from Mondaine which keep the same instantly recognisable design, but unfortunately, the stop2go technology is only available in this 41mm size.

As mentioned earlier, the watch genuinely wears well, but for me, I'd love to see the movement sit in one of there 36mm or 40mm cases.

Experience the watch for yourself!

As always, you can check out our channel to see the Mondaine in action:

Why this watch?

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight fitted to the Jonathan GP 298 Pro Strap available here!

Well this watch for me is a no brainer for the 'Something Fun' category. This watch doesn't take itself too seriously with its funky round case, bold dial configuration, switch-like crown, backlight technology and hypnotic movement. If you want something to rock up to your next watch GTG with and be sure no one else in the room will be wearing one, the Mondaine Stop2Go Backlight is the watch for you...

The Mondaine stop2go Backlight is currently available online for £499 to find out more and explore whole Mondaine line up, check out their site here.

What can we expect in the next series?

Firstly, the whole WatchGecko team and I would like to take this moment to say thank you to everyone who has followed along with this series. It has been an incredible first series to have ran both here on the online mag as well as on the YouTube channel.

The Mondaine Stop2Go BackLight on wrist -

The positive response has been amazing and something we just can't ignore. Thank you to all the brands involved who sent us watches to be featured in the series. With this in mind, it's fair to say you can expect a lot more series and more coverage of the watch world into coming months. We have lots of exciting plans we can't wait to share with you.

All I can say for now is stay tuned for a lot more for 2019. If you want to stay updated the best ways are to follow us on Instagram and Facebook, subscribe to the YouTube channel and most importantly sign up to the newsletter, for all new content and new straps right as they happen.

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Tim Vaux

About the Author: Tim Vaux

I don't think I can remember a time in my life when watches weren't in my life. I've been writing about watches online for a handful of years now, enjoying every moment of it. I'm passionate about experiencing the world of watches and translating those experiences via articles and images for the wider audience to consume.

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