Autodromo has been a staple brand in the pages of Worn & Wound since the very beginning, and their latest release (which made its debut at the recent Windup Watch Fair in Chicago) is something of a tribute to the earliest days of the brand. It’s hard to believe that Autodromo is now ten years old, but what’s really amazing is to look back on their earliest releases and notice the confidence and level of detail and taste that were apparent even in those first watches. Brand founder Bradley Price has evolved what Autodromo can be over the years, but the vision has been remarkably clear from the beginning. That’s apparent with the brand’s latest release, a new version of their very first watch, the sleek Vallelunga. It’s received a few tasteful upgrades and refinements, but its similarity to the original is a testament to just how strong a watch it’s always been.
The original Vallelunga was a 42mm quartz watch in a circular case that suggested a certain amount of aerodynamic agility. The new watch is similar aesthetically, but has been sized down to 40mm and now features an automatic movement, which is certainly more in line with what many enthusiasts will be looking for at this price point (it’s $695), and is likely an easier feature to deliver now, ten years later, than in the earliest days of the brand. The watch shares a name with a famous race course outside of Rome, and there’s definitely an Italian breeziness and flair to this watch. It’s casual but has a hint of elegance to it, largely thanks to the sleek circular case shape without any visible lugs.
There are three dials available as part of this release: black, gray, and white. All have the same format, which features an outer track inspired by old tachometer gauges from classic 1960s race cars. There’s a bolder and thicker hashmark at each hour, making telling the time more intuitive than you’d expect given the lack of numerals or any type of traditional timing scale. The space between 4:00 and 6:00 is left blank in the spirit of the design of the gauge, and while some might complain about a lack of timing precision in this stretch of the dial, I think the style and execution here outweighs the need for any additional text or markings in this space. As is, there’s an appealing idiosyncrasy to the dial that makes it clear where its aesthetic is derived from. Any additional markers or type in this area would muddy the impact.
If you’ve been along for the ride with Autodromo over the past ten years (or even just a slice of the last decade) it’s fairly easy to understand what this release means to Bradley and for the larger community around his watches. Autodromo, like just about every brand in the space, started from the humblest beginnings, but through a combination of impeccable timing, thoughtful releases, and just plain old good design, they’ve become one of a small handful of old-school micro brand standard bearers. Seeing the original Vallelunga alongside the new one, as well as the growth represented in the rest of the catalog, certainly has us feeling like the next ten years have a lot of great things in store.
In terms of specs, the 40mm case is just 12mm thick, which makes for a great, compact wearing experience. The movement is a Miyota 8315, and the watch is water resistant to 50 meters. The new Vallelunga is available via Autodromo’s website and is expected to begin shipping on July 25. Also, be sure to watch this space and subscribe to the Worn & Wound podcast, because we had a chat with Bradley over Windup weekend that you’ll definitely want to hear. Autodromo