It seems like you can’t move for chronographs powered by Seiko mecaquartz engines nowadays. One tried and tested route to stand out is by giving your new line of watches a whiff of the pit lane with a link to some aspect of petrolheadery. It can sometimes feel a little contrived, but when the bloke who designs the watches has an air-cooled 911 parked in front of his office desk and Porsche posters plastering the walls, there’s going to be a lot more integrity to the deal.
Stockholm-based watch designer and Porschehead David Campo Cárdenes is a sufficiently nailed-on enthusiast that he runs his own invitation-only ‘Roughneck Brigade’ club for fellow Stuttgart air-cooled addicts. So it’s not a surprise that he’s collaborated with Alois and Estonia from Porsche holy-of-holies RUF to produce the new, 200 limited edition mecaquartz Nezumi VQ2S.901.
Part of his Voiture series of racing-influenced chronographs (originally a Kickstarter back in 2016), the VQ2S.901 continues the same tri-compax theme. The minute and 24-hour subdials are on a contrasting panda-style arrow-shaped colour from the rest of the dial with the running seconds sitting in turn on its own separate cream background.
Despite being a visually complicated dial, it’s easy to read at a glance – not always the case with mecaquartz-powered watches. It’s helped by contrasting sub-dials and hands. The black minute and 24 hour dials get white hands whereas the cream-backed running seconds stands out with a black hand. Legibility is further helped by stick time and sword chrono subdial hands that are clear and unfussy – apart from the “N” flourish on the tail of the central chrono seconds hand that adds to, rather than detracts from, the overall simplicity.
The rest of the dial is old-school RUF green with the RUF logo picked out in yellow just below 12.
Once you know that Cárdenes is a fan of early 1960s chronos from Heuer and Universal Geneve, the design cues make sense. This is a chrono that would look right in place hacking sideways round Raidillon in a Lotus 74 in 1973.
Behind the solid, screw-down, RUF-motif caseback you’ll find a Seiko VK63 mecaquartz movement. In a watch that sells for well under $400, that gives you the best of all worlds. You get the properly snicky feel of a mechanical chronograph as you set and re-set and the chrono second hand snaps smartly back to 12 rather than sweeping. That’s because the chronograph part of the movement actually is mechanical. At the same time, there’s no faff with winding and setting as the quartz part of the engine looks after timekeeping.
The 40mm case is made from 316L stainless, with 20mm lugs, so if you don’t like the proper brown stitched leather strap the watch comes on (no reason you shouldn’t, mind), it’ll be easy to fit an alternative. And at around $840,600 cheaper than a 710 bhp RUF CTR, it’s positively cracking good value. More from Nezumi.