Comparison 2:

IWC GST Ti Chrono vs. Ventura Loga, both Valjoux 7750 based

There are two ways to view this comparison. You can either follow the verbose Review or you can skip the reading and jump directly to the Pictorial. Or you could read the verbose Review first and then click through the Pictorial. The pictures are not identical for the verbose Review and the Pictorial. I tried a format that allows a fast-track for those that do not like to read.


Pictorial

Verbose Review

Foreword
Both watches are discontinued. IWC does not produce the GST line anymore. I think there are many watch enthusiasts that regret this as it was a great addition to the IWC collection. And the genius that came up with the idea of the bracelet on the GST, deserves the "watch  bracelet innovation prize". There is no better bracelet out there in my opinion. Read more about in the bracelet paragraph further down.
Ventura has in 2006 decided to focus on electronic watches and to stop their mechanical watch production. Thus also the Loga is a discontinued model. I bought the IWC in ca. 1997 and the Loga in 2006 because I felt it was the last chance to get the watch that has always been on my shortlist. I have been eyeing the Loga since 10 years at least and when I had a chance to buy it at the old price of ca. USD 3300 (the retail price in Thailand has doubled, the watch retails now for USD 6500 here). I had bought the IWC GST Ti Chronograph for a similar price (after a substantial discount) in 1997 from a local watch shop. The retail prices of both watches must have been very similar when they were first released. The fact that both rely on the same movement, albeit modified, the Valjoux 7750 and the fact that both watches feather surface hardened Titanium cases and bracelets makes them ideal candidates for a comparative review. Please use the back button after clicking on a thumbnail to come back here and continue the verbose Review.

First impressions
This picture shows the differences between the surface hardened Ti surfaces. IWC uses nitrogen to harden the Titanium. I am not sure what Ventura uses, but they call their surface hardened Titanium Titanox (possibly hinting that Zirconium Oxide is used). For example, Citizen calls their surface hardening steel and Titanium DURATECT.
Both watches sit very nicely on the wrist. There is not much of a difference in wearing either watch. Something to note is that the first link next to the end link on the IWC does not have the full rotational motion and thus it looks as if the lug to lug distance of the IWC is much bigger then that of the Ventura. The fact is, that the Ventura is only 3.5 mm shorter. However I have found out that you can press down carefully on that first bracelet link to make the IWC bracelet fit smaller wrists perfectly too! You simply and carefully bend the bracelet next to the lugs gripping it with thumb and index and suddenly the gaps between lugs and arm on a 6.5 inch wrist are gone!

C.O.S.C.
I hope you noted the second hands. I took this picture early on a Monday morning. I had set the watches on the previous Saturday morning and this was the very nice view of almost perfect synchronization on Monday morning. Both watches had been laying in my study at average 27 degrees Celsius in the crown-up position (like in the picture). I prefer to store my watches this way. I never place them on their bracelets because I want the case backs to remain unscratched. Interestingly this is also the position which is not tested in C.O.S.C., but SEIKO tests their watches in 6 positions and I assume, crown-up would be the 6th test position. C.O.S.C. tests only positions that are a "natural mix" of wearing the watch. Positions "dial up" (while typing at the computer) and "crown down" (arm hanging, left wrist wearer) are positions that have a big impact on the accuracy.

The IWC is not C.O.S.C. certified. I would however always trust IWC to produce watches well within the C.O.S.C. limits of -3/+6 seconds whether or not a watch has a certificate from the observatory in Neuchatel. The Ventura came with a mini version of the C.O.S.C. certificate. I had not seen those sub compact versions of the certificate before. The good thing is, it fits into the watch box without having to be folded.

Crystals
To find the height being only 1 mm different was the biggest surprise after measuring both watches with the caliper! The Ventura looked much thicker. Of course the domed crystal on the IWC GST (stands for case materials available: Gold, Steel, Titanium) adds ca. 0.5 mm to the height. The Ventura Sapphire is flat. The IWC does not use an anti-reflective coating and thus is really hard to photograph. The Ventura Loga uses an inner AR coating. Thanks to that and thanks to the flat crystal, it feels sometimes as if the Ventura does not have a crystal at all. The Loga is also the only watch in my collection, where the crystal turns with the with the bezel that is used to adjust the slide-ruler.

Dials
At the very first time I saw the GST, I did not like that "International Watch Co." at 12 o'clock. After all, a dominant "IWC" above the day/date window clearly showed that the watch was from Schaffhausen. It seemed that this "International Watch Co." written in a cursive script-like font did not match the otherwise utilitarian looks of the GST. Interestingly, I have gotten used to it today and it does not bother me anymore.
The great thing about the IWC (for my old eyes) is that it uses the maximum diameter possible for the sub dials showing the elapsed seconds, minutes and hours. I can read them without reading glasses. The dial of the IWC is silk matte and the recessed sub dials show a circular turning pattern which makes them stand out depending on the incoming light.
It says "T SWISS MADE T" at 6 o'clock however I noticed that the lume was almost entirely gone after 8 years. Only the hands still glow a bit after having been activated by a strong light source. The hour indices do not glow anymore.
The Loga has to compromise the space on the dial for the slide-rule scales. The hands of the sub dials are very thin and only white towards the tips. This makes it quite hard for me to read the chronograph results without reading glasses. But I need them anyway to operate the slide-ruler.
The Loga dial with slightly recessed sub dials is all matte. This is where my love for this watch comes from. The designer managed to create a legible beautiful and rather discrete dial despite all the information on it.
The lume of the Loga is most likely SuperLuminova and the hands and the eight hour markers still glow nicely. The slide-rule scale does not glow, that would have been too much "firework" in the dark.
Both watches have very well printed and very well made dials and hands.

Cases
Also both watches have very well made watch cases. The grain on the IWC GST is a bit coarser and it gives the watch a shinier look although the grain reminds a bit of sandblasting. The Ventura has a very fine grain and the watch and bracelet appear matte. Unfortunately I have no information at this time what kind of influence the hardening process has on the appearance of the treated metals. Given the really great bracelet, I do not think that the integration of the bracelet is a disadvantage for the IWC. The Ventura could be easily put on a 22 mm strap due to its classic lugs. A unusual feature is that the Ventura case back has no notches at all to position a case opener. It probably takes suction pads to unscrew the case back with display back.

Bracelets
From this view, the thickness of the bracelet is probably the most obvious difference. The bracelet of the IWC is probably the best one ever made! This is such a clever system, I can not think (an engineer's point of view) of a better way to make a bracelet. Every link can be removed by pressing the "release buttons" that are located in the middle of the inside of the links. Once that release button is depressed, the two adjacent link pins can be pushed out. And because the bracelet is also very comfortable and combines this unbelievable ease of adjustment, this must be the best bracelet in my entire collection.
The Ventura v-matic Loga's bracelet uses standard split-pins and not very good ones too. One link pin almost slid out by itself (wearing movement of the bracelet) and I was lucky to detect it early. The Loga bracelet is nicely finished, but it is just average compared to the top class bracelet on the GST. Ventura has clearly put their money into the split case which allows to turn slide-ruler's inner bezel and interestingly, the crystal too.
I am probably spoiled by ever smarter button release clasps during the last years. Kudos go also to Citizen that introduced these great clasps. I have to lead you to the sales page here, because I have none of these super bracelets with hidden extension in my collection yet. But I really want to have one of those new Citizen watches which seem a dream to adjust and open. As a sample, the Citizen Air Diver from the PMWC. This is not a sales pitch, I simply want to show you what Citizen can do on a sub 400 USD watch. In Titanium too!
The IWC has the smart hidden push-button that is located inside next to the "I" of the "IWC" signature on the clasp and this button makes it so easy to open the bracelet. Omega uses a similarly clever system on many of their clasps.
The Ventura has no button clasp, but has a safety lock instead. Ventura's motto is "design on time" and from such a company, one would have expected a better matching clasp to the otherwise very smart Loga. It is in my eyes a slight design inconsistency to equip such a smart watch with such a simple diver's clasp.

Slide Ruler
If you look at the knurled part of the bezel, that is where you turn the outer scale of the protected slide ruler. And that was the main reason for me to buy this watch! This is the only protect slide ruler operated in this way I know of and to me, a quick access to the slide ruler was important. Finding the crown at usually 9 o'clock - like on this SEIKO for example - takes much more time and also the exact control of the scales is much more difficult. I might have to mention that we were "raised" with cicular slide rulers in college. That tells you a bit about my age - year of birth 1956, Apollo landed with the electronic calculator HP-11 on board in 1970 - and might to some extent explain my preference for circular slide rulers over straight slide rulers. Straight slide rulers are of course much easier to carry in the field.
I have already Citizen and Seiko Slide Ruler watches, please check the Citizen and Seiko pages on RWC for samples. And the printing on those Citizen and Seiko slide rulers is pretty small. Now, almost hitting 50, I cannot read the slide rulers without reading glasses. The Loga's slide ruler is printed bigger and clearly. What is often annoying with most small circular slide rulers, is the lack of precision around the whole 360 degrees or on the logarithmic scale of 1 to 10. The Loga's slide ruler is perfect!. There is a no deviation of the markings. When testing the slide ruler's result reading against an electronic pocket calculator, it is amazing how precisely such a simple device can be. And if you are good in guessing the distances between the markers, you can easily read out an additional digit of the result.

How slide rulers work
Fairly simple, a logarithmic scale is used to reduce a multiplication to an addition. If you multiply a * b, you simply add a + b on the logarithmic scale. The formula behind it is log(a*b) = log a + log b. In the same way, a division becomes a subtraction following the formula log (a/b) = log a - log b. And that is basically all you have to remember. Always think of adding or subtracting distances on the scale and then you do not need those 20 pages in the Citizen or Seiko manual. The Loga did not come with a manual explaning slide rule usage. Obviously the folks in Volketswil expect the wearer to have listened carefully in college and remember.

Movements
The IWC call their 7750 based caliber IWC 7922.  Please read this article to see that IWC really does modify the 7750 calibers. There are not too many original parts left. Thus assigning it an IWC caliber number is not just a marketing gag in this case. I did not yet open the GST Ti Chronograph, once I do that, I will add a movement picture.
The Loga 7750 is visible through the display back and one can see the nice decoration on the rotor and plate of the automatic winding system. Also the screws are blued on the Ventura. I do not know whether or what parts of the 7750 have been modified by Ventura.
The bigger push buttons of the Ventura (left) are definitely a great feature. However IWC has refined their 7750 to an extent, that despite the much smaller pushers, the IWC clicks as nicely and defined as the Ventura.
One thing is bothering on the Ventura Loga: the crown. First the crown is not that easy accessible due to the overhanging knurled bezel that controls the slide-ruler. Second, the crown threading is rather coarse and third, once the crown is unscrewed, it wobbles a bit like on those Russian handwind divers (Amphibiya). All this combined, makes it quite hard to easily screw down the crown after setting the time. The IWC in comparison has an immaculate crown thread and the crown does not wobble at all if it is unscrewed. Thus screwing in the IWC crown is a breeze!
After about a year, the Loga started to show a misbehavior. The 12 hour accumulator would not stop anymore and kept running, chronograph function engaged or not. After noticing this, I started to do some research on the Valjoux 7750 movement and found out that a (normally) plastic brake is used to start and stop the 12 hour hand. An interesting design characteristic of the 7750 movement is, that the 12 hour hand is driven directly from the barrel and not from the chronograph mechanism. Also the 12 hour sub dial's resetting is done solely via the resetting button and not via the heart peace. Find a picture of the plastic brake here and the complete excellent article about the functioning of the 7750 from Walt Odet (on TimeZone) here. Today this little defect is not bothering me really. I have gotten used to living with bigger imperfections here in Thailand. Before I use the chronograph function on the Loga, I simply press the reset button and the 12 hour hands resets and the chronograph is ready to be used. I assume that the plastic brake has changed its attributes slightly in the hot climate here and that is no reason for me to have the watch opened before its first service.

Case Backs
Additional shots of the Ventura's and IWC's case backs are on their respective brand pages. The Loga is my first 7750 with a display back and I really enjoy it. It is nice to see the chronograph at work. Although the relatively wide frame around the glass blocks quite a bit of the movement. But I trust the engineers at Ventura, I am sure they had a good reason to make it so wide. If they used a larger diameter crystal, the thickness might have been increased to sustain 100 m static water resistance. And that additional thickness would have contributed to more built height. At 14.8 mm it is surprisingly 0.2 mm thinner then the SEIKO Flightmaster Ti Chrono. 0.2 mm is not much, yet this measurement was my biggest surprise today. Before measuring I thought the IWC would be much thinner and I would have also guessed that the Flightmaster was thinner. The caliper never lies, if you place it and read it correctly.
The Loga needs suction pads to unscrew the case back. The IWC can be opened using rectangular bits. The rectangular Bergeon bits that come with most case openers, fit perfectly and snup. Definitely no coincidence but smart thinking of IWC.

Packagings
Both watches come in adequate boxes, to me this means, not too luxurious. I want to get the "feel good" vibes from the watch and not from the box. The Ventura comes with an outer card box in black with the red logo and a grey back picture of the Loga on it and inside one finds a stiff black card box with a thick rubber sheet to protect the watch. Also in the Ventura box, a smart bracelet resizing tool. Apart from the Ventura logo, it looks identical to the A&F bracelet resizing tool. If you are occasionally buying a new watch, then this tool is a must. We sell a Taiwan made version of this tool here. I really find this tool so useful, that I am placing links to it wherever I see fit. Because I would have loved someone had told me earlier about the existence of this tool. In the box you will also find the owner's manual, the international warranty and the before mentioned C6 sized C.O.S.C. certificate.
The IWC comes in a white outer card box. The inner box is also white and made from artificial leather. The inside of the IWC box is all black. The owner's manual and the international warranty are in the box that I pulled out today to check, whether it had deteriorated in the 11 years since I had bought the watch. Many of my Omega and two JLC boxes had started to become sticky. IWC had a better hand picking the watch supplier it seems. Of course the climate here is hot and aggressive, that is why I today actually prefer card board boxes or genuine leather boxes or pouches.

Dimensions

Dimensions (mm) and Specifications

IWC GST Ti Chronograph:
Movt: IWC 7922 based on Valjoux 7750 (modified)
Case excl. crown: 40
Crystal: 36, domed Sapphire, no AR coating
Visible Dial w/o inner bezel: 28.5
Lug to Lug: 46
Height: 13.8
Lug width: n/a integrated bracelet
Bracelet tapered from 21.5 to 18 at clasp
WR: 120 meters, screwed crown
Weight: 105 grams (bracelet adjusted to 6.5 inch) 
Street Price: ca. USD 3000

Ventura v-matic Ti Loga Slide-Rule Chronograph:
Movt: Valjoux 7750, decorated with blued screws
Case excl. crown: 40.5 (top of case)
Crystal: 38, flat Sapphire with inner AR coating
Visible Dial w/o inner bezel: 25
Lug to Lug: 42.5
Height: 14.8
Lug width: 20 (end-link hollow)
Bracelet not tapered 20
WR: 100 meters, screwed crown
Weight: 117* grams (bracelet adjusted to 6.5 inch) 
Street Price: ca. USD 3000

*coincidentially the SEIKO Flightmaster Ti Chrono weighs also 117 grams resized to my wrist

Click here or click on any of the thumbnails below
Once you are inside, clicking on pictures will walk you through all the photos

Walking tour around both watches

Front

Front Top

Top

Back Top

Case Backs

A really large picture of both watches viewed from the top

Bracelet Pin Loga

Different Case Lengths

Fine Adjusting for smaller Wrists

GST Bracelet Sizing
End of tour
Selected solo pictures of the Loga from the Ventura page with many more pictures
You will have to use the BROWSER back button to come back here

Loga Dial

Slide-Ruler Detail

The Side View

The Movement

On the Wrist
Selected solo pictures of the GST from the IWC page with more pictures
You will have to use the BROWSER back button to come back here

GST Dial

The Side View

Back Detail

On the Wrist

A day at the beach with the GST
(opens in new window)

Conclusion
If you do not need or want a slide-ruler, the IWC is the obvious choice. The operation of the crown and winding is much easier and also the bracelet is easier to open and close. And to resize the bracelet, well, it does not get any better then this. Every single link can be easily removed with out a headache and without tools. Two ballpens or two toothpicks are all you need. This must be the smartest system out there. The chronograph pushers on both watches work great. The Ventura has large pushers and IWC achieves a similar crisp and defined pusher actions most likely with a more refined 7750.
Both watches wear comfortably and both watches are withstanding to daily "abuse" very well thanks to hardened Titanium cases. I fell in love with the Loga when I first saw it in 1995 just having arrived here in Thailand. And I knew, that I had to have a top quality slide-rule watch one day. The looks of the Ventura are great in my eyes and I am still in love with it. This makes it very hard for me to decide, which watch I actually prefer. I think they are both great and I am very happy that I bought both of them. As I said before, if you do not want the slide-ruler, then I think the IWC is the smarter choice. If you want a slide-rule watch, then go for the Ventura. There is hardly a slide-rule chronograph out there with more discrete looks in my eyes.
Also consider this: for about half the money or USD 1500 you get the SEIKO Flightmaster Titanium Chronograph with Power Reserve. The link takes you to the end of the Seiko table where you find pictures of the SEIKO Flightmaster.

Best regards

Reto Castellazzi, February 6th, 2007, Bangkok