A brown Alfasud
What’s that got to do with the Nezumi Voiture watch? It was my first car and it was a truly hideous brown colour. Amazing fun to drive, with its fantastic sounding boxer engine that loved a good rev, but awful looking. A female friend of mine told me it looked like an ‘east block’ car. I think having to constantly defend it made me love it even more and I could go on about its quirks and strengths forever, but the reason it features here is due to its mustard yellow, stained, seats. The combination of black dashboard, wooden gear knob and the yellow seats worked surprisingly well.
I came across the Nezumi brand, researching what good Swedish watch brands are around, and it was absolutely love at first sight. Here’s a brand that make neo-vintage race car watches and also runs a private Porsche club. Quite a quirky name too, Nezumi is the nickname of Nakamura Jirokichi, a Japanese thief and folk hero who’s nickname roughly translates to ‘rat kid’.
Now that’s something that’s easy to get behind, David Campo clearly likes sticking his chin out which is something I relate to.
Every single watch they make are gorgeous, their short video clips spoke to me and I just knew the credit card had to be made to suffer once again (although, at very reasonable prices due to the movements used, the suffering was short lived).
So which one to choose? Enter the Voiture Ref VQ2.501, with a dial colour seemingly exactly like my old Alfa’s mustard seats, and in combination with the black details and the two black dials centred (very Alfa), just perfect. It also seemed to be one of the least popular ones since all video reviews/articles in my research phase concentrated on the various panda versions and even a Pink Panther one which apparently started as an April fool’s joke!
Again, much like that time finding the Alfasud in a fairly dodgy old card yard on the outskirts of Helsingborg, love at first sight…or at least at first drive. Nothing beats that personal connection with an object and every watch I own long term must mean something to me.
My impressions after a few months of owning & wearing the watch
So choosing the colour combination and model was easy but despite the connection to the watch, it was extremely difficult to not order 2 or 3. Particularly the Lowes Ref. LQ2.101 is also very attractive and not everyone around me concurred with the mustard combination (I’m looking at you, wife).
The included FedEx shipment had the watch delivered to me here in Australia in about one week, and it rarely left my wrist in the following weeks. It’s most definitely an attention grabber with strangers glancing at it when out and about.
It looks like nothing else with its racing inspired watch band and awesome looking ‘masked bandit’ dial and again, I’ve had a few people comment on it, which has never happened with any of my other watches – at least from non watch people.
I appreciate good packaging. I understand others feel differently since at the end of the day, those boxes go in storage or recycling pretty quickly, but to me it’s still part of the experience and I’d take the big Omega Speedmaster suitcase box any day. The experience is quite different here, where the watch is delivered in a cardboard box that opens a bit like a box of chocolates (yes yes, ‘life is like…’).
All the specs are printed on the back of the box and there are no instruction booklets or any of that. Normally that wouldn’t be my cup of tea exactly…but, surely intentional, the box looks very much like the old branded spark plug boxes, at least how I recall them looking. It definitely looks like it could contain some old car related part from the 70’s and it’s difficult to imagine something more appropriate than that, for a brand that makes racing inspired gear.
Strapping the watch on my wrist….and wow. It’s difficult to describe how incredibly cool it looks. With my most excited face, I show my wife and get a blank look and a ‘well, so long as you’re happy’…so ok, maybe not everyone feels the same. But, to me, the gilded tachymeter on the fixed, satin black bezel, the black leather band and the lovely curved lugs is just something special.
Further to this, the Seiko meca-quartz movement that is the engine here offers these lovely, tactile buttons for the timing functionality that is just perfect for the watch, but more on the movement later.
You have the option of black or brown leather straps with all Nezumi watches and the black one just fits this watch so incredibly well. Unlike my other watches where I seem to replace the watch band almost immediately, I can’t imagine a better option here.
Perhaps if you were really against the race like band, a black leather strap would also look good. The band has no quick release springs nor are the lugs drilled. Normally a bit annoying, but not so here since you already have the best option attached. The buckle has a slightly protruding Nezumi logo which is a nice touch.
On to the watch itself and let’s start with the back. It is engraved with the Nezumi logo and a couple of little details such as self explanatory ‘est 11’ and ‘STHLM SWE’.
Also on the dial, in large text, ‘Creating Bonds’. I’d have gone with another message there personally since bonds are forged through personal connections or time spent with an object, rather than through a company ethos. But my bond with this object is firmly established so not sure why I’m complaining!
Next, the dial. It’s truly special. There is a lot going on here and it does remind me a bit of the classic dial setup of a 911, or even the old Alfa GTV with it’s rev counter positioned front and centre as if that’s all you should really care about (in a perfect world) Just underneath the 12 position, you have the logo, brand name, Stockholm Sweden and the model name, Voiture.
The three sub dials are, seconds centred, a 24 hour counter on the right and minutes counter on the left for the timing functionality. Some of the finishing of those black hands are a little rough but not to the naked eye, you’ll have go full macro. Will I ever use this watch to time anything, ever? Nope, but it’s fun to fiddle with. The only movement of the watch that is noticeable is the seconds counter just above the 6 position. There are lumed applied indices on all hour markers except the ones that are taken up by the subdials. Beautiful in daylight, but here it comes…the inevitable niggle.
VK63 Hybrid mechanical quartz movement
Made by Seiko
First, here’s a quick story. A few months ago, I went up to Sydney for a company conference. This always involves a few drinks with our awesome team of about 100 great colleagues, so there were plenty of refreshing beverages consumed in Sydney’s bars and pubs.
On the second evening, we spent a rather long time at a place called Frankie’s Pizza. This is a place that should be experienced in person since it’s like stepping straight in to my child hood with poodle haired staff members and patrons, pinball machines and a décor that would have been right at home in Guns N’ Roses recording studio. Also, the music on offer was a greatest hits collection to this 80s child, of Metallica, Gunners, Def Leppard (yup), the list of, in many cases best forgotten songs, go on.
So anyway, a number of hours were spent here and I clearly remember attempting to work out what time it was, in the bar, on the dance floor, playing pin ball etc. It was freakin’ impossible! The legibility of the watch is a tad challenging in daylight and in night time, you can absolutely forget it. The little bit of lume does not last particularly long and the dials and silver hands are very hard to make out in the dark. Does that matter to me? Not really, this is man jewellery and there are any number of Seikos in this price range that will blind you at night, and I suppose you probably also have a smart phone in your pocket that does indeed tell time I’m told.
Finally, I should mention that the movement failed after a couple of months. The large hand that counts seconds wouldn’t reset to the 12 o’clock position, but rather somewhere near 12, but always in a new spot just to rub more salt in the wounds. I contacted Nezumi and a replacement was organised immediately with friendly and accommodating service. It was mentioned to me that the large seconds hand is not recommended to be set to run indefinitely on this movement. I had not done that in this case, but if you think you might, there’s a warning to you. It did make me ponder the longevity of all the many watches out there that use the Seiko Mecha Quartz movement.
This is one of the most beautiful watches I own and I can’t imagine ever ‘flipping’ it. The quartz movement makes it a perfect ‘grab and go’ and it absolutely looks the part. If you’re into vintage looking racing watches, there’s no way you can go past Nezumi’s offerings without a purchase. I’ve come across people online that literally have one of each so fair warning…
I’d say this is not a dress nor an office watch. Where it fits with me is when I take my dark grey Toyota 86 out for a spin, with its boxer engine, centred RPM dial and awesome manual gear box (and no brown in sight). It takes me back to 18 year old me. It may be a pretend Porsche but I love it. Driving whilst glancing at the Nezumi Voiture with its mustard coloured dial on my wrist, I feel like the circle is complete and the smile on my dial is not going anywhere.
The Nezumi Voiture, my very own ERS.
Did you enjoy this review? Coffee fuels my night time ponderings.