While the brand’s inaugural timepiece that first debuted two years ago was a stainless steel integrated bracelet watch, Retter has taken things in a noticeably more dressy direction as its follow-up release for 2024. While Retter’s original model was loosely based on the design of the Vacheron Constantin 222, the brand’s second release looks to the historic Swiss manufacturer’s famous Corne de Vache dress watches from the 1950s for its aesthetic inspiration. Making a debut appearance in three different colorways, the new Retter Mistral offers a refined and elegant profile, and it features a slim multi-component case paired with a highly structural dial and a manual-wind Swiss movement.

Crafted from stainless steel, the case of the Retter Mistral features sculpted Corne de Vache-style lugs, although to achieve the appearance and finishing that Retter desired, the lugs had to be separately attached components instead of being machined from the same block of metal as the middle case. While the standard method would be to weld the lugs onto the case, the Retter Mistral opts for a two-part middle case, where the lugs are part of a middle section that is surrounded by a ring-shaped outer component that forms the sides of the case. The bezel and caseback are then mounted to either side of the watch to hold the two middle case parts together and hide all of the connection points, and this approach permits contrasting styles of finishing and crisp transitions that would not be possible with a single-component case construction. The sides of the case are brushed, while the upper surfaces and bezel are polished, and thin bevels that measure just 0.2mm wide run down the edges of the horn-shaped lugs.

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In terms of dimensions, the case of the Retter Mistral measures 38mm wide by 6.8mm thick, and its sculpted lugs are set 20mm apart and extend to create an overall lug-to-lug profile of 42.4mm (or approximately 45mm if you include the pointed tips of the lugs). Once you factor in the double-domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that slightly protrudes above the rim of the bezel, the total height of the watch comes in at 7.4mm, while the reverse side is fitted with a screw-on display caseback that preserves its notably thin profile. A signed winding crown sits at the 3 o’clock location, water resistance comes in at 100 meters (which is highly respectable for a dress watch), and the downward curvature of the Mistral’s horn-shaped lugs helps to promote an incredibly flat and comfortable on-wrist experience. One important detail is that while the lugs are set a standard 20mm apart, the placement of the springbar holes is fairly close to the case to promote aesthetics and comfort; however, this means that you will need to use curved springbars if you plan on exploring third-party strap options.

At the time of launch, the Retter Mistral is available in three different colorways that include gold, silver, and the green version featured here. Aside from the colors of their dials, hands, and straps, the three models are otherwise identical, and they are fitted with the same style of multi-layered textured dial. A central section with deep vertical grooves occupies the middle of the display, with a raised section surrounding it that contains the applied hour markers. A contrasting angled rehaut with a printed minute track is mounted on top of the dial around the periphery of its display, while a running seconds sub-dial with a grain-textured finish sits at the 6 o’clock location and is recessed into the center section of the dial, slightly cutting into the elevated ring and the applied index at the bottom of the display. Although the majority of the dial is green on this particular version of the Mistral, its contrasting minute track ring is silver, and this complements the various polished elements that appear in the form of its hands, hour markers, applied logo, and the thin circular frame for the running seconds sub-dial that occupies the lower half of the display.

The Retter Mistral features two partially skeletonized alpha hands at the center of its dial for displaying the time, while a smaller alpha-shaped seconds hand sits within the recessed sub-dial at 6 o’clock. I personally find that this style of vintage-themed handset works very well with the refined old-world aesthetic of the Mistral, although my only real nitpick with the design of the watch has to do with the proportions of its minute hand. Although the difference in size between the hour and minute hand is sufficient to avoid legibility issues, I ultimately wish that the minute hand was a bit longer so that its tip would be closer to the corresponding markers of the minute track. While the Retter Mistral is definitively a rather dressy timepiece, it still offers luminous elements to aid with low-light visibility, and all of the hands and hour markers receive an application of X1 Super-LumiNova to provide them with a blue-colored glow in the dark.

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Powering the Retter Mistral is the brand’s Caliber 2105 manual-wind movement, which is based upon the core architecture of the ETA 7001. While the Retter Cal. 2105 still runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours, its bridges have been completely reworked and finished in a significantly more elaborate manner. Bead-blasted skeletonized bridges are mounted on top of a rhodium-finished mainplate, with perlage visible underneath the balance wheel, and all of the upper bridges are secured by heat-blued screws, with the entire movement visible through the flat sapphire window in the caseback. Just like the ETA 7001 that serves as its foundation, the Retter Cal. 2015 doesn’t offer the convenience of a hacking seconds mechanism, although it is regulated beyond the standards of a top-grade ETA 7001 to -/+10 seconds per day, and the brand explicitly states that most watches will keep time far better than their on-paper parameters.

Fitted to the lugs of the Retter Mistral is a custom two-piece strap produced for the brand by the French manufacturer Jean-Rousseau. The straps are made from dyed goat leather with an Alcantara lining, and they feature a tapered structure to match the profile of the lugs. In addition to tapering from 20mm at the case to 16mm where they connect to their signed stainless steel pin buckles, the padding in the strap also tapers from 3.5mm to 2.5mm thick, and the two sides connect to the case with a set of curved quick-release springbars that are integrated into the ends of the strap. The straps for the Retter Mistral collection are color-matched to the dials of the watches, and the soft goat leather creates an incredibly comfortable on-wrist experience. Additionally, while I wear the standard-length strap on its smallest sizing hole for my 6.5 to 6.75-inch wrist, Retter also offers a short-length version of the strap that customers can select when they place their orders.

I typically gravitate towards casual and utilitarian timepieces, although I have a deep appreciation for dress watches, as I find it fascinating to see what brands create when they do not need to worry about providing dive-worthy depth ratings or maximum levels of resilience. With that in mind, many of my favorite dress watches are far out of budget, and since the majority of the affordable independent brands have historically placed their focus on sport and tool watches, prospective buyers don’t have quite the same range of options when it comes to attainable pieces that offer refined and dressy designs. With an official retail price of $1,595 USD, the Retter Mistral isn’t exactly in the realm of budget-friendly horological novelties, although it costs a fraction of what is required to purchase a dress watch from the big-name luxury brands. Additionally, given its svelte profile, multi-component case, and aesthetically pleasing manual-wind movement, the Retter Mistral ultimately represents a highly compelling offering that provides quite a lot of visual intrigue in a very well-considered overall package. For more information on the Retter Mistral, please visit the brand’s website.

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