To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Autodromo — a Brooklyn, New York-based purveyor of motoring accessories — is issuing a reinterpretation of its first mechanical watch.
Initially, the brand’s Autodromo watch lineup consisted entirely of quartz-powered pieces, with a mechanical piece coming out a year later in the form of the Monoposto. It was a limited 500-unit release that set the future direction of Autodromo’s timepieces, culminating in the wider release of the automatic Autodromo Stradale two years later.
Now, the Monoposto is back, albeit with a cluster of dial registers. Where the original Monoposto was the brand’s first automatic, this is its first automatic chronograph, a rather significant step for an independent brand. Also significant is the use of the relatively new Seiko NE88 movement, a departure from the brand’s use of Miyota (Citizen) movements in the Stradale and Group B.
The Seiko NE88 is a strong choice for an affordable chronograph, incorporating Seiko’s legendary reliability and stout construction with a cutting-edge design that wouldn’t be out-of-place on higher-end movements. Notably, the NE88’s chronograph module functions through Seiko’s use of a vertical clutch and column wheel components, resulting in less stress on the movement when the chronograph function is used and a more satisfying operation than a movement without this design.
Visually, the new Monoposto is right on track with the original time/date design of the 2012 edition. Thin and nearly equal-length minute and hour hands indicate time around a skinny chapter ring designed to channel a vintage, pre-war racing gauge, contrasting well with the long red second hand. The three subdials are as clean and straightforward as they come, clustered tightly around the center of the dial. In pictures, the watch appears large, but the claimed 43mm case size belies this. In part, the circular case is likely to blame for the size distortion.
See that red line just above the 10-hour mark? That’s an homage to the preferred method of redline indication for vintage racers. Cars of yore didn’t have rev limiters or engine cut-offs, so mechanics and drivers would often paint (or tape) a red line on the dial or the crystal to denote the end of the range. In this case, the line is painted on the inside of the sapphire crystal.
The 2016 Monoposto is offered in three different colors, each with their own limited run. The classic silver and black configurations will each enjoy a 200-unit run each, while only 100 of the unique blue-on-yellow Azzuro scheme will be available.
Each Monoposto Chronograph arrives in its own collector box, with numbered plaque and unique brochure design. All three colorways will set you back $1,800, so choose wisely. If you’re interested, head over to Autodromo.com to pick one up before they’re gone.