A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Autodromo Prototipos. These 70’s inspired racing chronographs really struck a chord for me, with their excellent styling, superb detailing and reasonable prices. On top of that, they used Seiko Mecha-Quartz movements, which combine the affordability and accuracy of a quartz, with the functionality of a mechanical chronograph. These are movements that I’m a big fan of, and are grossly underused in the industry, so I was really excited to see them in such a cool watch.
Recently, Autodromo added two more models to the Prototipo collection, bringing the total number of styles to 4 (well, technically 5 including the Vic Elford limited edition, but that is long sold out). The new models round out the series, adding a silver dialed version with orange accents for a retro palette, and a PVD model with yellow highlights for something more aggressive. Needless to say, I had to spend some time with the new versions after being smitten with the originals.
The silver dial model, as the name suggests, has a pale silver surface. In some light, it looks white, in other light, more of a metallic grey. It features black, grained sub-dials for a “Panda” layout, akin to the white dial model. The chronograph and 24hr hands, as well as the highlights on the dial are all a gorgeous, burnt “pumpkin” orange that shouts 70’s. Further emphasizing this is the use of a matching orange rally strap. It’s a great hue, as it’s not as bright as a warning or day-glow orange, thus integrating better with casual clothes.
Next to the white dial version, with its blue highlights, the silver is warmer overall and perhaps more 70’s. The metallic surface adds some depth, where the white is more stark and graphic. I personally like both and think the decision would come down one’s personal preference for blue or orange. One design feature on the new silver model I quite like is that the hour and minute hands are black, contrasting with the other functions.
The Nero model stands out as it is the only with a black PVD case. Inside, the surface is matte black with black sub-dials, white markers and bright yellow accents. The black dial actually makes the applied lume markers stand out a lot more than the white or silver dials, making this one extra legible. The yellow and black pairing is spot on, as it maintains a 70’s feel yet increases the fierce personality brought on by the black case/dial combo. Further building on the Nero’s attitude, it comes on a matte black leather big-hole rally strap, which is simply really cool. If the white or silver dial versions speak to cars on the track, the Nero feels like the muscle car that tears through a quiet neighborhood.
All 4 models of the Prototipo run $625. I was glad to see that the Nero didn’t get a price boost, which PVD models typically do. As far as which model to go for…well that’s very tough. No matter which you choose you’re getting a great watch with killer style. That said, since the new colors have been in my possession, I’ve been wearing the Nero a disproportionate amount of the time. The mix of the 70’s barrel case and PVD coating makes it feel very different from other PVD watches, perhaps a bit more wearable and fashionable.
Should you happen to be in NYC today through sunday (May 9th – 11th) stop by the Pop-Up-Flea to check out Autodromo’s goods, including these Prototipos, in person!
by Zach Weiss