Nezumi Voiture Review

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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.

nezumi_voiture_pack_1

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.

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$360

Nezumi Voiture Review

Case
Steel
Movement
Seiko VK63
Dial
Blue
Lume
Yes
Lens
Domed Sapphire
Strap
Leather
Water Resistance
50M
Dimensions
40 x 47mm
Thickness
12.7mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Push/Pull
Warranty
Yes
Price
$360

Case

The story starts with the case, which features many cool details that suck you in. Coming in at 40 x 47 x 12.6mm (to the top of the domed sapphire), it’s a great size for a chronograph, new or old, with an external tachymetre bezel. 40mm puts it between the UG Compax and a classic Speedy Pro. Having tried on the UG Compax before, they are quite petite, which has its charm, but likely less mass appeal. Speedies come in at 42mm, surprisingly large for the era.

nezumi_voiture_case_12

Looking from the top down, a few things jump out. First is the wide tachy bezel, which features an aluminum insert in a steel rim. I’m a sucker for external tachys as they visually pull the dial out to the edge of the watch, creating an overall bolder design. Next is the twisting/bombé lugs, which give the whole case a sense of motion and tension. It’s as though the bezel is pushing the steel of the mid-case until it rolls over. Twisting lugs are a beautiful, sculptural detail that aren’t used often enough.

Looking at the case from the side, you get a better sense of the complexity of the design as well as the quality of the finishing. The case has been cleverly broken up with some strong undercuts and lines where parts meet, which helps the case seem thinner. The bezel is particularly stunning. It’s a saucer shape with a huge undercut that clearly speaks to the construction of some vintage pieces. The insert angles up and flows into the domed sapphire, which has a somewhat more modern feel to it, but finishes the case off nicely.

The mid-case is a plank of metal that turns down at the end creating lugs. The upper edge has a wide chamfer, which curls over, creating part of the twisting effect. The case sides are brushed horizontally with a slightly coarse grain which is contrasted by the polished chamfer. The nook that is created on the inside corner of the lugs by the twisting design is brushed as well. For the price, this play back and forth of finishing is really great, especially since it’s well executed.

On the right side of the case are pushers at 2 and 4 and a crown at three. The pushers are a classic design with a broad cylinder connecting to a narrower one, just before entering the case. The crown is then a simple push/pull design with a toothed edge for grip and a Nezumi “N” logo on its outer face. Flipping the watch over, you have a solid case back with a deep etched area featuring some graphics. On the second generation version, this will be moulded.

Dial

The dial of Voiture closely pulls from the UG Compax watches, but has some unique twists that give it its own personality. There are three models, two of the Panda variety and the blue one seen here. I found this one particularly appealing as the use of two, muted blues is quite unique, and the use of color, in general, was a bit more exciting. The main surface consists of a dark blue and light blue, both matte. Both have a desaturated, calm quality to them, which is a nice contrast from some of the louder blue dials that have come out in the last few years.

nezumi_voiture_dial_9

The lighter blue runs along the perimeter of the dial and then criss-crosses the center of the dial. This is a particularly interesting detail of the dial, as it speaks to some of the stranger chronograph designs, such as the Bulova Surfboard or Yema Rallygraf, which had odd shapes connecting the chronograph sub-dials. On the Voiture, the faceted hour-glass shape creates almost a mask across the dial, emphasizing the sub-dials at 3 and 9. This graphic in particular gives the Voiture a different look and feel, keeping it from being an homage to something specific rather than an era.

Getting into the details, on the dark blue area you’ll find the primary index of small, but tall applied blocks at the hour, save 3, 6 and 9. Each marker is polished and has a cream-colored lume filling that is slightly off center. On the light blue area is a minute/chronograph seconds index consisting of burnt orange lines at intervals of 5 with off-white lines per minute/second and smaller liners per 1/5th second. It has a classic racing watch look that speaks to Heuers as well the Compaxes. The burnt orange used was a perfect choice. Often orange is used to be loud, but here it’s far more subtle, contrasting the blue without overpowering it.

At 3, 6 and 9 are sub-dials for the 24-hr hand, active seconds and 60-minute counter, respectively. Obviously, this layout differs from the vintage norms, which would have had a 30-minute counter and a 12-hour counter. The sub-dials appear very deep, because they are actually a layer beneath the top surface, sandwich-dial style. This creates a very sharp and dramatic step down that makes the sub-dials really pop. Each sub-dial consists of an off-white surface with a mix of black markers and numerals, all encircled with a black line. They are cool looking, for sure, with a more bold take on the sub-dial than what would have been found on vintage chronos.

On the dark blue surface is some text. At 12 is a Nezumi “N” logo, followed by the brand name, “Stockholm Sweden” and then “Voiture”. It’s a decent amount of text, but the layout and positioning makes it work. Above the sub-seconds dial, in arching text vis-a-vis “Daytona” you have in orange “Mecha-Quarts”, yes, there was a typo at the factory, and they switched the z to an s. This caused a small stir, but was overweighed by the fact that it’s almost entirely unnoticeable and it doesn’t effect the watch itself. It’s also one of those details that, while annoying when new, becomes an enjoyable quirk. Regardless, it will be corrected on the second edition.

nezumi_voiture_dial_8

For the hour and minute hands, Nezumi went with straight rectangles with mixed finishing, that have a solid, bold look. The minute is long and the hour is short and a bit wider, as to be expected. Both have polished lines and a lume strip down their centers with matte on either side. It’s a nice amount of detailing that adds to their look, and once again great to find on such an affordable piece. The chronograph seconds hand is a thin stick in burnt orange with a lumed diamond toward one end and a Nezumi “N” logo as the counterweight. Logos as counterweights can sometimes be too ornate, but this didn’t bother me. It’s very thin and doesn’t seem overly decorative.

The sub-dials all feature blocky sword hands. These are a fun departure from the norm, having an almost pixelated look to them. Sword hands are generally any straight hand with a pointed tip, but these also have handles and guards. Another fun detail that adds to the watch’s personality.

One last thing; no date. There is no annoying date window cutting through the wrong place, breaking the symmetry of the dial and interrupting the blue surface. I feel like I’m always making excuses for date windows or trying to picture a watch without one… Nezumi must have gotten the memo that not every watch needs one.

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Straps and Wearability

The Voiture first edition came mounted to a 20mm black leather strap with straight cut sides and a constant taper that leads to a blunted tip. It’s about 3mm thick and made of seemingly decent leather. It’s not a bad strap at all, better than many I’ve seen on a watch under $500, though it’s not the most exciting thing on earth. That said, it looks fine with the watch. For the second edition, however, they are switching to a rally strap, which is the obvious right choice for a watch this style. The buckle here was also generic, but will be upgraded to a custom design as well.

If the Voiture is sexy on the table, it’s downright gorgeous on the wrist. This is where the whole vintage/modern conversation comes back. If you’re looking for an aesthetic over investment and provenance, but still want a good watch, this gets the job done. I’ve worn the Voiture quite a bit and it’s wonderful to wear. It’s sized and proportioned very well. As I said, 40mm is an ideal diameter for a watch with an external tachymeter bezel, as is compresses the dial a bit, making the watch appear smaller, while still having edge-to-edge graphics for presence. In this instance, it gives just the right amount of real estate for the sub-dials to feel balanced. Nothing is worse than when the sub-dials feel to close to the center of a watch.

nezumi_voiture_wrist_1

The 47mm lug-to-lug then makes sure it wears proper on top of the wrist, while the split up side makes it seem thinner. Since it’s quartz, it’s also fairly light, making it all around a very comfortable and easy watch to wear. Aesthetically, it gets across that vintage-cool that is quickly become less obtainable from actual vintage. The mix of colors on the dial with the added texture from the sunken sub-dials and applied markers mixed with the twisting lugs and big bezel… it gets it all right. It’s one of those watches you keep staring at and playing with throughout the day. And it looks amazing with jeans, boots, etc… and could be dressed up or down within limit. All around very versatile and extremely stylish.

Conclusion

nezumi_voiture_vintage_1

So yeah, I really like the Nezumi Voiture. For people who are looking for vintage style without vintage prices, it’s one of the best to date. And for the price, around $260 $290 preordered, $360 $400 regular, it’s astounding. It’s great looking and clearly not made of catalog parts, with finishing and a general level of complexity that make it look like a more expensive piece. The more I think about it, the crazier the price seems, considering it has a domed sapphire as well. This watch could easily be $500 and I’d have the same reaction to it. It’s the little things that make a huge difference and with the Voiture, it’s simply good design. From the proportions to the dial colors, it’s all finessed just right. Looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the future.

*updated with correct USD pricing w/o VAT

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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  • YYY1

    Why must you torture me with pics of the Hamilton Chrono-Matic panda!?!? Damn I love that watch!

    This Nezumi Voiture is pretty much everything I’m looking for in a modern chrono. If only it had a manual wind mechanical movement. But then the price would probably jump by a grand at least. Oh well. As a relative newbie in watch collecting, I’m really thinking this mecha-quartz thing might be a logical next step.

  • brew108

    Great size, stick a NE88 seiko in there and i’d buy it

    • While I agree an NE88 would be fun to have, it would change the cost tremendously and force the watch to become much thicker.

      • brew108

        The SDGZ013 (8r28 mvmt, same as ne88) is 14.7mm thick while Nezumi is 12.77mm. Much thicker, no. Stuckx sells their NE88 based chrono for 825 euro. Tremendously more, no.

        • 14.7 wears very different from 12.7 and your making a lot of assumptions as to how the case would have to change to make it work, it could be more than that, but yes, it’s a difference of millimeters. 825 Euros is still twice the price of the current, so that to me counts as a big change, and that’s still a very low margin. Most NE88 watches will be $1500 at least. The movement itself costs about as much as a 7750 to buy.

          • brew108

            Of course the case would have to change to accommodate an ne88. Point is, there are a plethora of the meca-quartz chronos being offered and few auto chrono’s below $1k. The 40mm size is the sweet spot for most people and this would be a gem as an automatic. Heck, remake the 6138-8020 with no date.

  • Никита

    Awesome watch, I didn’t expect a new micro-brand to start with such sophisticated model. The only thing I doubt are the hands – they get a bit lost on colorful dial. Anyway, I will recommend this to friends looking for their first chrono.

  • Terrance Steiner

    Now my only decision is white or blue…I am leaning to the white dial. Honestly I have thinking about buying this watch since you posted about it’s Kickstarter last year. Now that I can get it and save $100 I might have to bite the bullet.

    • Terrance Steiner

      Damn, now the black dial looks good to me too. Decisions, decisions.

      • Fabian Berends

        I currently own the white one and my god it’s stunning. When you’re outside you can clearly see that it is an off-white that usually only comes with aging. It really is like this watch has a very subtle and even patina on the dial. Still can’t stop looking at it. For me white wins this competition hands-down. Just my two cents of course…

  • Terrance Steiner

    I’d love to see this watch on a bracelet.

  • AntiWhiteKnight

    Cannot believe you guys are glossing over how Nezumi screwed over their Kickstarter backers by shipping every first edition watch with Mecha-Quartz misspelled as Mecha-Quarts, and then lied to everyone and tried to blame their manufacturers even after several backers pointed out that the prototype in the pics they used on the KS AND their website had the same misspelling. Nezumi screwed up, NOT the manufacturer. To make things “right”, Nezumi offered a 20% off Nezumi products coupon to everyone. Of course, rage amongst the backers erupted at this insult, so Nezumi then offers free Nezumi-branded keychains, so everyone can advertise the same company that ripped them off by not delivering a properly QC-d product and lying about it. They flat out refused to offer refunds to anyone who was really upset and didn’t want to walk around with a watch sporting a typo on the face. I was one of the backers. I would never buy anything from this company again. They do not stand by their products in any way, shape, or form. They conducted themselves shamefully on Kickstarter.

    • Thomas E. Körp

      Eh, typos happen—and, given the number of eyes on the renders, prototypes, and pre-production

      • AntiWhiteKnight

        Dude, I have one. It’s extremely easy to see. A mistake is one thing, but the way Nezumi handled it was unreal.

        • Thomas E. Körp

          As do I, and it’s a complete non-issue.

          In point of fact, David & co. made a good faith effort to address the issue in a reasonable fashion and to the best of their ability, even going so far as to investigate providing replacement dials to those who wanted them, only to determine that the lead-time to manufacture them—*plus* replacement hands—would have been upwards of 4 months. Not to mention the onerous cost to a small business to “repair” what is, effectively, a near-insignificant cosmetic flaw.

          Quibblers corrections:

          ● The pre-production render is spelled correctly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcsDVAXv6nE
          ● Ditto the preview panda model that David & Co. had been promoting via social media: https://www.instagram.com/p/-Kf-c5l3wA/

          • AntiWhiteKnight

            Absolutely not true. They have updated all the pictures now to reflect the correct spelling, but everything on their site, as posted to the kickstarter comments, showed that this error was there all along and they didn’t notice it. I have them saved somewhere. I’ll find them and post.

            And if you choose to accept Davi’s lies, excuses, and pandering, you are free to do so. Many of us, who expected a certain level of quality and QC in a watch, and a professional level of customer service and guarantee felt differently, as clearly demonstrated by the many, many others left fuming that David and Nezumi burned. David did not make a good faith effort in any way. He decided to screw us over -well, those of us that cared about having a watch with a noticeable typo on the face- and cut his losses, hoping it would blow over. His decisions were not those of someone who does business with integrity at all. If you think they are, you’ve really been dealing with the wrong people.

          • AntiWhiteKnight

            From Nezumi’s own Facebook page promoting the Kickstarter drive. Looks like they couldn’t find them all, eh? Note the dates before the close ups. Those are from 2015, well before launch.

            Like I said – no integrity.

          • Thomas E. Körp

            Rather: Those photos are of the production samples (i.e., not the final production version), and date from February 2016. Please note the timestamps below the post text, bearing in mind that the KS campaign was launched in September 2015. The above-posted preview video (with 3D render and proper “quartz” spelling) dates from August 2015; the attendant photo, from November 2015. Note also that the full production shipment did not arrive until early May 2016, that printing, assembly, and initial QC checks were all handled remotely, and that there had been a re-printing of the dials as recently as March 2016 to address unspecified imperfections.

            By contrast, this photo of the prototype dials (see below) dates from September 2015, and clearly shows “quartz” spelled properly with a zed, which belies the assertion that the misprint was present during the design and prototyping stages, or that David & co. had gone back and tampered with months’ worth of images to remove evidence of an error in the original design. (Occam and his razor might have something to say about that conspiratorial line of thinking…)

            That the misprint occurred is beyond question; that it is the sole fault of David & co., or that Nezumi Studios made any attempt to conceal the error after the fact, has so far remained unproven speculation. (And, in some corners, metastasized into petulant grousing.)

            Without venturing too far into the reeds here, there is also the underlying question as to how the text on the dials was printed—whether, say, a CNC stamp was generated from a Nezumi-provided design file, in which case the error is the result of a lapse in proofing. Or, if incidental, non-logotype dial text was re-set by the dial manufacturer (using linotype or some such hands-on process), in which case the misprint could be chalked up to an ESL malapropism during actual production. Reasonable doubt need not apply in the court of public opinion, but still.

            In either case, the expectation of white glove, “yes, sir, sorry, sir, anything you want, sir” treatment from a boutique, non-manufacture brand offering an otherwise excellent product at (what one would assume to be) minimal markup is, simply put, unrealistic. The profit margin for the pre-order seems small enough already; given the high cost and long time frame associated with reprinting an entire series of dials (and, per David & co., ordering new hand sets besides), then potentially recalling and re-casing the seemingly very few orders requesting such an excessive correction—or, in the more likely scenario, leaving customers to their own potentially disastrous devices to replace the dial—the decision to “cut their loses” and offer a polite apology and a reasonable make-good discount on the second edition (plus a bit of merch besides to whomever wanted it) makes perfectly sound business sense. A replacement of the dial was unfeasible; a full refund (implicitly sans the return of the product in question) well-nigh extortionist. Given their options, they made the right choice.

            tl;dr: Shit happens, caveat emptor.

            https://www.facebook.com/NezumiStudios/photos/a.245602372191686.60366.221269781291612/878174935601090/?type=1&theater

          • AntiWhiteKnight

            You’re really willing to go this far to defend a guy lying to the people who made his product launch possible by offering a non-solution of his choice instead of trying actually, you know, working with his backers to find an acceptable solution? I’m starting to think you’re associated with David. You’d have to be either the world’s greatest punching bag or his pal to adopt this absurd “shit happens” stance. If this happened at any other at launch they’d be humiliated and finished if the CEO responded like David did, and anyone with a modicum of business acumen knows it. You’re position is nonsensical. Shit happens? Really?

            Back to the typos – pal, there were dozens more photos of the white dial (which have been conveniently cropped out of the group shots of the three options on Facebook, if you care to notice) with the typo that they took down and we both know it. There were photos with the typo dated months INTO the KS drive. They’re all posted in the KS. This is well covered territory. Stop lying to cover for David, man. It’s embarrassing. When “shit happens” in business, it gets made right, and it’s got nothing with the bullshit white glove treatment you talk about. It business 101 – we all know we’re not at Rolex here. What you do it bite the bullet and make it right with people who are reasonable. I simply said “no thank you”, asked for my money back and for them to not ship it so they could resell it on their site. David told me fuck myself. I don’t think that qualifies as a “white glove / yes sir no sir” request, do you? Ridiculous.

            Finally, typos don’t just “happen” all the time like you’re inferring. They’ve happened a handful of time in the history of watchmaking for a good reason – in an accuracy and precision business they are the ultimate embarrassment. I don’t know why you’re pretending like this is some normal thing that just kinda happens with watch. Uh, no it doesn’t. Nezumi was a failure. They still are.

          • SamwiseGanja

            This whole debacle is pathetic on the nezumi side. Visit their kickstarter drive comments page and scan for a few minutes. The angry backers are in no way out of line. Campos burned them all. He didn’t even try to meet anyone halfway.

          • AntiWhiteKnight

            And here’s a photo of the white dial sample posted to Instagram 2/2016 when production was halted for Chinese New Year. This is not the prototype you keep referencing. Production did not resume until mid March 2016.

          • Thomas E. Körp

            Eh, no allegiance to Nezumi as a brand, just a pronounced antipathy towards whingers and chiselers who masquerade as consumer rights’ advocates, and who take every available opportunity to vent their spleens on the sidelines. (Apologies for resorting to ad hominems, but a response in kind seemed warranted.)

            Refer to the above-mentioned KS emails re: the reprinting of dials in March 2016 and the final delivery of the production models in May 2016. Per this timeline, the watch seen in the above photo from February 2016 would be a production sample made before said dial reprint. In design parlance, we call this a proof; tweaks are still being made (to wit: the change in lume on the indices from this version to the final; refer to David & co.’s KS email from April 12th), and the presence of an error at this point does not guarantee that it will appear in the final production model. And, yeah, typos do happen, and are all the more common with small teams working on tight deadlines across language barriers. Unfortunate, but hardly unheard of. (You should take a look at the instruction manual for Obris Morgan’s Explorer II.)

            More to the point: Given the extant render and prototype samples from August/September 2015, there is clear evidence that the typo in question was neither present nor intended from the outset. The allegation being made is that David & co. knew that the typo existed on the final production model and lied about it, an allegation complicated (if not outright disproved) by the fact that the above sample is (1) not a final production model and therefore subject to change, (2) there were numerous documented hiccups in the production cycle (e.g., the February 2016 delay), (3) David & co. scrapped and re-ordered 400 dials between February and March 2016, and (4) the bulk production order did not arrive until May 2016. (Again, refer to KS emails from those months.) One can argue carelessness during production and final QC, but outright fraud? The available evidence doesn’t support it, and depths of the rabbit holes one must plumb to find even an iota of intentional wrongdoing are littered with tinfoil hats and personal grievances. That dog doesn’t hunt, sir.

            Maybe it’s overly generous, but it’s not unreasonable to accept that, calamity of calamities though it may be for the grimacing perfectionists amongst the WIS commentariat, this was and remains an honest mistake, and that the proposed “solution” of a mass recall or dial reprint was both impractical and untenable for such a small business, particularly as, absent the (again, arguably insignificant) typo in question, the product functions exactly as intended.

            That, and, as stated above and elsewhere: Kickstarter. “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”

            Incidental typos and message board melodrama aside, the Voiture is a damned solid watch for a boutique brand’s first time out. No complaints here, and best of luck to David & co. in the future. (Just make sure to triple-check your proofs.)

          • SamwiseGanja

            LOL – so you work for nezumi?