Review: Minerva Athena II

by

Wayne Lee, Ph.D.

Penang, Malaysia

Sometime ago, I was browsing through the internet for newly introduced watch models when I came across the Watchbizz website (http://www.watchbizz.com). I checked through the Minerva model they listed on the website and saw this very fine looking Minerva Athena II for the first time. It looks similar to the original Minerva Athena, except that it is in 925 sterling silver. Since then, I had been trying to locate the availability of this model through many websites in USA and Europe, but was not successful.

About a month ago, I came across a German jeweller website (Ralf Haffner Juwelier - http://www.uhrenhaeffner.de) and discovered that they sell Minerva watches. To my surprise, they listed this model, but did not provide a scan. I wasn't sure whether the watch is still available. Thus, I email them, and I was so delighted when I received the email from Fr. Kopp that the watch is available. The price was also within what I can afford (<US$1500.00) and after the VAT deduction and addition of FedEX charges, it was about US1100.00. Without my wife's knowledge, I faxed my credit card information to Germany and ordered a piece. It took about 3 days before I received another email from Fr. Kopp saying that she will be shipping the watch out to me the following day. The watch arrived within 4 working days and I must praised Ralf Haffner Juwelier for their excellent packaging. They also provided me with their collection catalogue.

Just like my Minerva Pythagore Aviation, the Athena II was nicely placed in a blue leather Minerva box. The box was very finely made and the Minerva logo was emblemed on the cover. The watch case is relatively similar to a 1929 model produced by Minerva (can be found in the Minerva's website), except that it is a 925 sterling silver case. Just like any other Minerva watches, it is finely made and polished. The see-through caseback (sapphire glass) exposed the Valjoux 7750 movement with the word 'Minerva Watch Co.' engraved on the rotor. There is a number of blue-colored screws on the movement which increases its appeal to viewing it from close.

I was a bit disappointed to find that the crown was not signed, but I guess the original Athena was not signed either. The peripheral side of the case is classic-looking, reminding me of the vintage wristwatches from the early era. The watch comes with a navy-blue colored ostrich leather strap with highly polished Minerva buckle. It is very comfortable when worn.

My wife was excited when she saw the watch (thank God!). I guess she knows this is a value-for-money buy. She was amazed with the fine craftmanship adopted by Minerva on the works on the dial.

As with any other watches that I bought, one of my main concern is its accuracy. I managed to struggle through with a short study for the past two weeks. The watch was worn on average of 12 hours daily with watch placed to the positions below when not worn. Each test was repeated for 3X and their average results are as followed:

Dial up: + 6 sec/day Dial down: +5 sec/day Crown up: + 5 sec/day

Crown down: +2 sec/day

 

Here are some specifications on the Minerva Athena II:

Case: 925 Sterling Silver

Case diameter: 37 mm (without crown)

Case thickness: 12.5 mm

Glass: Sapphire (both top and back)

Movement: Valjoux 7750 (unmodified)

Others: 3 registers chronograph, date at 3 o'clock, ostrich leather strap on Minerva buckle.

 

In summary, the Minerva Athena II is a wonderful vintage looking watch that is value-for-money with chronograph feature. I would like to highly recommend it to everyone who are looking for a chronograph below $1500.00 with an affection vintage looking wristwatch. I believe there are now available in limited numbers only. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me (my email: roachman@tm.net.my).