Nezumi Voiture Chronographs On The Wrist The Stockholm-based design studios original and, some would say, best model by Rob Nudds June 22, 2020 MIN READNezumi Voiture Chronographs On The Wrist
For a while, when I was a kid, I think I was the teacher’s pet. I’m not entirely sure how comfortable I am with acknowledging that, but in hindsight I’m sure it must be true. I hadn’t realized how easy I’d had it until I started to analyze the position of the (three) Nezumi Voiture watches in my collection. At last. I’ve found my kindred spirit…
Everybody has things in their lives that don’t make much sense when stacked next to the rest of one’s existence. These little erraticisms make us interesting. They are very often the best bits of us. The weird streaks of madness that make our otherwise beige existences pop with color. From outside the industry looking in, it would be understandable to suggest that an obsession with watches was my “thing”. Except in present company that goes without saying. In fact, if you’re not obsessed with watches why are you still reading this overlong intro?
…why not experiment with this new fangled phenomenon known as meca-quartz?
Hi. I’m assuming you’re still with me because you, like me, are hooked on horology. If you’ve read any of my articles before, you’ll know I see “acceptable” watchmaking as a pretty broad church. I like to judge watches on their individual merits. Comparing everything to Submariners and Speedmasters is pointless. It’s like saying there is only one good painting, or one champion of “sports”. Variety is key. And what does variety give us? Room to experiment, that’s what. And when you’re feeling particularly mischievous, why not experiment with this new fangled phenomenon known as meca-quartz? I did. And I certainly don’t regret it…
Nezumi Voiture Chronograph
The Nezumi Voiture Chronograph was the first watch made by Nezumi Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. It emerged on Kickstarter back in 2016. 243 backers brought the project to life and, if the other 242 backers feel the same as me, they will be glad they did. The 40mm case (excluding crown) has a lug-to-lug length of 47mm. Originally, the Voiture was 11.5mm thick including the domed sapphire crystal, but now, if you mine through the specs on the official website, you will see the current version is listed as 11.5mm thick excluding the sapphire.
It is constantly evolving…
How has that happened, you may wonder? Well, the crystal profile, among other small details, has been updated. In fact, these small updates (which include changes to the logo used on the dial and the accompanying text) are one of the things I really like about this watch. It is constantly evolving as David Campo Cárdenes, the founder, and his team revisit and improve their design.
While the Voiture is not limited, it could be classified as a “batch production” watch. Quite a few of the small brands I’m interested in — particularly Schofield watches of Sussex, England — take this approach. It is a sign of a company on the move. Although many brands release a design and live by it, these smaller, more artisanal brands seek out ways to better their wares constantly. And the cool thing for a customer is that your watch, whenever you purchase it, will be a time capsule forevermore.
Perhaps the first thing one should mention when it comes to the Nezumi Voiture is its wearability. We are seeing an industry-wide interest in smaller watches. The Voiture, which has one of the crispest dial layouts for a chronograph I’ve ever seen, is an example of how to do this well. It benefits, of course, from the petite meca-quartz movement within. To get this kind of vintage look powered by a mechanical movement, you’d need a manually-wound caliber.
…significantly more challenging to implement without alienating an audience that is accustomed to a certain price point
That’s something I’m sure a lot of you would love to see for a design like this. Unsurprisingly, that thought has not evaded the minds of the powers that be at Nezumi. However, such an undertaking takes time and a lot of planning when it comes to maintaining a concise and understandable brand message.
The company is, thus far, best-known for its meca-quartz. And while a simple, time-only mechanical has made its way into the lineup (the Baleine model), a chronograph is significantly more challenging to implement without alienating an audience that is accustomed to a certain price point.
And when it comes to watches like the Nezumi Voiture, price point is crucial. As soon as you step outside of the fashion watch realm (and go above a couple of hundred Euros) you’re entering interesting territory. You’re too expensive for a non-watch lover to buy and, perhaps, not expensive enough to land on the radar of luxury watch fanatics.
Tougher still to overcome is the fact that in this sphere — the €300-500 bracket — you have the option of a lot of basic automatics. Some of those autos even feature Swiss-made movements. That’s probably going to be rarer with the spike in prices for available calibers from ETA or Sellita, for example, but it’s still true in some cases.
For EU customers, the Nezumi Voiture current retails at €366.75. In my opinion, it hits the nail on the head as a carefree weekend wear for watch lovers that don’t want to risk their four or five figure timepieces while roughing it on a beach, on their bike, or in the hills, but still want something cool and credible strapped to their wrist to keep them company. I say this from personal experience. I even mentioned it in my recent article on the Nezumi Corbeau. These are the watches I wear when I’m doing something active that doesn’t require extreme water resistance. And, quite importantly to me, they are the watches I recommend for people just getting into the hobby.
A good starting point
Why do I do that? You would think I might recommend anyone who wants to buy their first “good” watch to buy a Speedmaster. And while that’s a solid investment, it would be mad of me to assume anyone who has never spent a significant amount of money on a wristwatch would feel comfortable diving into that realm. It is so important to constantly remind oneself what we — an experienced watch buying group — deem an insignificant investment might seem totally crazy to someone that wants to dip their toes in this bottomless pool for the first time.
…knows when to fire and when to keep its powder dry.
And so I go back to a brand that does what it set out to do very well — to emphasize design and high functionality at a reasonable price. Sure, it is more expensive than a Daniel Wellington, but it has so much more about it. It is an uncompromising ode to the past that knows when to fire and when to keep its powder dry.
A host of options
As you can see from the photos, I have the latest blue-dialed version and a slightly older black-dialed version with the gold bezel and pushers. The latter is not on the website right now as it is currently sold out, but it hasn’t been discontinued and is slated to return with some tweaks to bring it into line with the current offering. If you look closely, you will see the black-dialed model has the old crystal profile. The new one is heavily chamfered at the edges, giving it a taller stance and a more vintage aesthetic. Rumor is, an even larger crystal step is being considered for the next generation. I’m excited to see that alongside these two existing options.
The very first model I bought was the white dial version. The current reference for that unpictured model is VQ2.101. I omitted it from this write-up because it has so many different elements it isn’t at all representative of the current model. The logo, the dial printing, the crystal, the buckle, and (I think) even the lume are different. It might pop-up at a later date in a 52Mondayz article if the Fratelli seem interested in hearing more about it…
…with a combined retail of under €500 a strong look I would stand by
Additionally, the Voiture is a strap monster. You can see that I’ve flipped my gold/steel version onto a nice brown shell cordovan having worn the strap it came on to dust. I also experimented with the blue dial on a Forstner JB Komfit band, which I now have on the original white dial (and wear at least twice a week). It is a glorious combo, and with a combined retail of under €500 a strong look I would stand by.
I’ve bought a lot of watches. During my time working as a watch journalist, I’ve had the chance to wear and review hundreds more. I’m in a very fortunate position for someone that eats, breaths, and sleeps this craft. My assessment of how good something is rarely comes immediately. Generally, an opinion emerges over time. I like to spend months dipping in and out of wearing a watch before I settle on a takeaway.
After four years of owning Nezumi Voiture watches I can say this: I am not disappointed. In fact, in terms of satisfaction, they rank very highly in my collection. They out-punch many far “better” watches with far higher prices and far greater name recognition simply because of their value proposition. And I’m not saying for a moment that any of these watches will make you money. But, I believe, they will make you happy. And for less than 400 Euros, you can’t say much fairer than that. Learn more here.
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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