Vintage is dead, modern is the new vintage!.. Now that I have your attention, it’s no small secret that vintage watches have a certain charm and appeal that is often lacking in modern timepieces. From more modest sizing to more adventurous designs to simply more variety in movements, the catalog of watches from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s are a treasure trove of great timepieces. And, everyone apparently knows this… In the last few years the vintage market has boomed, and many timepieces that were once obtainable have become pieces to save for, while the pieces we used to want to save for have become out of reach. And those that were out of reach?.. Well now they are now stratospheric.
While it’s great to see some watches get the credit they deserve, and to know that many collectors have watches that have gained value tremendously, I can’t help but be disappointed in knowing that some watches will just never grace my collection or my wrist. Whether this is because they simply cost too much or because they now just don’t feel quite worth it (i.e. $1,500 for a watch that was $600 a year ago) they result is the same. I, and I’m sure many of you, don’t just by watches as investments. We buy watches to wear them and enjoy them, because their aesthetics appeal to us and they reinforce our personal styles. The more valuable a watch becomes, the less it’s about that enjoyment, to me at least.
So, what’s a collector to do? Well, it’s pretty obvious, look to modern watches. As the vintage market boomed, so has the trend to take cues from the past and build them into modern pieces. In the industry at large, this has been piece by piece, with many a watch getting close to that vintage charm, but not quite hitting it. Luckily, micro brands with their bolder design decisions and greater ability to respond to trends have made great strides. And this brings me to the actual topic of this review, the Nezumi Voiture.
We first introduced Nezumi Studios just a touch over a year ago, as they were preparing to launch on kickstarter. Fast forward, they succeeded, and their first run of 350 watches, broken into 3 colorways, is all but gone. The watch, the Voiture, had an immediate appeal to vintage chronograph appreciators. It spoke to some classic designs, namely that of the Omega Speedmaster and the Universal Geneve Compax, while still having its own style. It was sized well for a modern throwback at 40mm, featured the now-more-common Seiko Meca-Quartz VK63 movement, a sapphire crystal and an extremely reasonable price tag. Now, Nezumi is launching their second edition of the Voiture, which includes some minor changes. The pre-order price, including VAT, is 295 euros with a final price of 395 euros, which come to about
$260* $290 and $360 $400 w/o VAT respectively.
I’d been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to try one out, so when the “blue” model arrived, I was very excited. The watch delivers in many ways, starting with the packaging. Around the protective inner box is a paper sleeve with a gorgeous vintage styled illustration of the watch on a burnt orange background, bringing to mind the boxes of old Heuer. The watch itself is striking, truly calling to mind some of my favorite vintage watches, without aping them or feeling derivative.