For all the flair and finishing of the case, it’s obvious that the dial is the heart of the P-51’s design. The dial is where this watch goes from aspirational to the real deal, the moment where all those Mustang cues and callbacks take real concrete significance. It’s all down to that scratched and rusted steel top dial- the physical legacy of the 1966 Ford Mustang, identified by the dial-mounted VIN plate as 6F87CT85151. Each piece of sheet metal is unique, with its own markings and imperfections, so no two P-51s will ever be exactly alike. The way that light plays across that raw steel, going from harsh reflection to mottled grays, dappled with spots of rust and streaked with reflective scratches, is incredible, and something that I catch myself staring at constantly.
The contrast between that surface and the rhodium edges to the sub-dials, with their soft, even reflectiveness much like bead-blasted steel, adds even more dynamism. The sub-dials themselves continue to follow REC’s design philosophy of evocation rather than exact replication. There’s almost zero direct copying here, but everything immediately reads “Mustang”. That’s an impressive achievement in its own right. The dashboard inspiration is obvious, with the main dial, date indicator, and power reserve sub-dial clearly riffing on a speedometer, odometer, and fuel gauge, respectively. Both are recessed, giving the watch a ton of visual depth and deepening the gauge connection, but are not so deep that they can’t be read easily from an angle.
The 40-hour power reserve is the less stylized of the two, with Mustang elements from the orange indicator-needle hand to the spacing of the markings, but with a few changes to suit its shift in purpose. The sweep has been turned upside down to accommodate the Miyota 9130’s layout, the “F/E” markings have been changed to “F/L” for full and low, and the sub-dial is labeled with a bold, and rather wordy, “POWER RESERVE”. This text takes up a lot of real estate on the dial, and in the interest of cleanliness it would have been nice to see simply “POWER” or even “FUEL” instead.
The main dial is more of a blend of elements but manages to bring them together nicely. The orange needle minute hand, like the power reserve hand, is the closest thing to a direct Mustang copy here. The hour hand, however, is a skeletonized white triangle that feels almost like a 60’s radio dial needle, and the second hand is a simple orange-tipped gray stick. It’s a mix that shouldn’t work, but it’s instantly legible and communicates a lot of muscle-car feel in a small space.
The dial itself is gloss black, with a deep groove inside the numerals and right at the edge of the hour hand’s sweep, helping both to emphasize the hour hand and drive home the gauge aesthetic. Around the edge of the dial is a slightly elevated minutes track, and just inside are tall, thin numerals that would feel right at home on the speedo of a Mustang. At 6, however, is an inverted orange triangle pointing to the wide cutout date window. The whole assembly is small, only 20mm wide, but it’s still easily readable even at a glance. Except, that is, in the dark. There’s no lume here. This could be a deal breaker for some, but adding lume inserts to the handset, in my opinion, would have hurt the look badly.