We might be living in the golden age of the automotive-inspired microbrand. In the past few years, all sorts of efforts from Autodromo to Nezumi to REC have created attractive, unique designs with a vintage petrol-powered soul. These pieces have spiritual forebears as diverse as the watches themselves, from the all-American Ford Mustang to world champion Ferrari single seaters, and now a new brand looks to share their take on the great British sporting tradition.
Moto Koure brings to the table a blend of sportiness with old-school luxury that could only come from one place- Jaguar. The Moto Koure MK I is the first effort from the new brand, blending together the feel of the Jaguar Mark I and Mark II with design cues from the Heuer Silverstone, another icon of sporty luxury. It’s a combination that works attractively, and one that’s brought to the table with a choice of automatic or mecaquartz movements and a splash of Moto Koure’s own flair.
The 40X44mm case shape takes the Silverstone’s lugless rounded-square profile and elongates it to a polished rectangle, and this elongated theme is continued to the MK I’s pusher design. The dial design, however, is where Moto Koure’s new piece really comes into its own, with brilliant sunburst patterns in blue, champagne, brown, and best of all a rich British Racing Green for the automatic while the meca-quartz version is available in silver, burgundy, and black. Everything here from the applied indices to the handset and the steeply angled chapter rings are all handsome enough, but the real standout element for the automatic is the polished wooden layer stretching from 3 to 9 and containing the two contrasting white chrono subdials.
It’s a combination that simultaneously brings to mind the Bulova “surfboard” chronographs of the 70s and the polished wooden dash of a classic British sports car, and one that’s repeated on a smaller scale for the 6 o’ clock date window. The meca-quartz version has this same layer, but swaps out the wood for a choice of either diamond-plate steel or pebble grain leather. This lower layer design choice is wonderfully subtle, bringing out the automotive feel of the overall package without shouting it with garish tachometer dials or other blatant language that sidetracks so many car-inspired watches. It’s simply a great-looking watch first and foremost, and the Jaguar-inspired touches are allowed to simply accent that rather than dictate the entire process.
The MK I will be available with a choice of two different movements- a limited run of automatics powered by the column-wheel Seiko NE88, and the main line with the increasingly popular Seiko VK series meca-quartz hybrid. The limited edition automatic is expected at around $750 when preorders become available Monday, January 11, and the meca-quartz available slightly later at around $250.
Overall the Moto Koure MK I is a fascinating package, and one we can’t wait to get our hands on to review more in-depth.