Vintage Eye for the Modern Guy: Nezumi Voiture

For any good modern-watch aficionado, Instagram has become an essential tool for learning about new watches and brands. It has kept me up to date with some of the biggest releases of the past couple years, from eye-popping, elaborate pieces from MB&F to the new Rolex Daytonas introduced at this year’s earlier Baselworld. The app is undoubtedly one of the best tools in my research arsenal for discovering new watches. With that said, not only is it fantastic for learning about long-established horological brands; it’s also great for learning about some of the up-and-coming players in the watch market, such as the independent brand Nezumi’s Voiture, which I discovered this week.

Nezumi Voiture - 3 watches

The Voiture, which means “car” in French, is a piece inspired by the racing ethos of the Swedish Nezumi brand. With plenty of flairs from 1960s and ‘70s racing chronographs —among them Universal Genève’s Tricompax, Rolex’s “Paul Newman” Daytona, Omega’s Speedmaster, and Tudor’s Montecarlo — Nezumi set out to create a modern, unique design with a heavy backing of time-tested, artistic success. Further supported by Nezumi’s founding of a group called the “Roughneck Brigade,” which is a growing group of vintage Porsche collectors now expanding to six different nations — the Voiture is a watch that caters to the history of the racing spirit, both in concept and build.

Nezumi Voiture - reclining

Jumping right into the watch’s specifications, it features a 40-mm steel case with a sandwiched, black tachymetric scale for the bezel. On the dial, there are the color options of navy blue, white, and black. It features three subdials: running seconds at the 6 o’clock position, a 24-hour indicator at 3 o’clock, and 60-minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock. Each of the color options have their own distinct look about them with the black and white options featuring a “panda” or “reverse panda” dial, and the navy blue version featuring other subtle color accents in lighter blue and white. The short, applied hour markers use an aged-radium look for the luminescence, as do the baton-style hour and minute hands sweeping over the dial. Finally, throughout the watch are orange accents — especially noticeable on the chronograph’s seconds counter with Nezumi’s logo at its bottom. Currently available for pre-order, the watch is available for about $380, including the European VAT tax, and about $342 without it; however, these prices will likely increase after the watch’s official release in early December.

Nezumi Voiture - side

As this watch is not a historical re-creation or interpretation of any particular watch that preceded it, it’s still interesting to point out the origins of many of its design inspirations. With its 40-mm case, the watch is meant to wear similarly to the smaller vintage chronographs of yesteryear; along with its basic pushers and molded, sturdy crown, the watch gives the impression of a more utilitarian racing piece from the ‘60s (at least in comparison to more extravagant pieces seen in the early ‘70s and more recently). The case’s general shape and black tachymetric-scale bezel pays an honorable homage to the sculpted cases of early Speedmasters and vintage Universal Genèves, with the bezel’s look possibly derived from early Rolex Daytonas. On the dial, design details come from a number of sources; again, credit the Universal Genève Tri-Compax and Tudor Monte Carlo for the unusual shapes and colors surrounding the subdials. Along similar lines are the outer minute ring surrounding the dial, and the short, applied hour markers with the old-radium coloring — both of which can be found in some manner on the aforementioned vintage pieces.

Nezumi Voiture - caseback

Where this watch takes modern liberties—and where it distinguishes itself as Nezumi’s very own, independent piece — is in the accents, combinations, and movement. The orange accents and chronograph seconds hand are unique to the brand, as are the combination of so many different details and inspirations into a single piece. Many of the smaller independents work to reproduce almost exactly watches produced years ago, but Nezumi takes a different, more individual road of finding design elements from the past and using them in pursuit of a more modern, distinctive-looking timepiece. Finally, the watch uses a Seiko VK63 Mecha-Quartz movement, which is a sturdy movement that will keep time excellently; certainly, no chronograph watch was using a quartz mechanism 40 or 50 years ago. However, some of you — those for whom a Seiko quartz movement is a deal-breaker for buying a vintage-inspired piece — might be interested to know that the brand does have plans to introduce a mechanical movement in the future.

Nezumi Voiture - flat

Overall, while the Nezumi Voiture series does not have a direct vintage bloodline, it could certainly be considered a cousin to a few. It pays homage to an era of watchmaking that is a favorite of many vintage watch aficionados, and works hard to remain faithful to the relationship between racing and watches. Nezumi has made a splash with this second edition of their racing chronograph, and with the Swedish brand looking to release three more models in the coming months — a diver, a GMT, and another chronograph — I’m excited to see where it will go next.

For our most recent article, in which I look at the historical inspirations for the modern Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955, click here.

Caleb Anderson is a freelance writer with a primary focus on vintage watches. Since first learning about horology, he has garnered extensive knowledge in the field, and spends much of his time sharing his opinions among other writers, collectors, and dealers. Currently located near New York City, he is a persistent student in all things historical, a writer on many topics, and a casual runner.

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