It’s hard to find a well-made automatic watch under $1000, let alone one that packs as much punch as Autodromo‘s latest: the Group B. Across three vibrant colors (and one black and white option), there’s a pronounced design that’s worth inspecting even further. Autodromo Founder and Creative Director Bradley Price drew inspiration from 1980s Group B rally racing cars—a romanticized period of technical innovation and exotic flourishes that he sought to incorporate. From a material advancement standpoint, the Group B series features a two-part lightweight 39mm capsule hewn from titanium and set within a stainless steel chassis (forming the case). All of these elements make the timepieces light and bright. The palette on the dial (which itself calls to mind the Lancia 037) harks back to the DayGlo colors used on instruments in automobiles from this turbo era of racing. And there’s a black dot printed at the center of the crystal, on the inside, which references gauges from those same cars. Altogether, the watch has a retro look with future-forward materials.
Price chose not to use anti-reflective coating on the sapphire crystal—while this makes the watch harder to photograph, the watch is very readable. His motivation for this steps into a more ephemeral direction. “There are a number of disparate memories or emotional ideas that form the background for something to gel together,” Price explains to CH. “On the one hand, here, you have the ’80s rally inspiration and on the other hand you have the material story, which also ties back to history. From an aesthetic point of view, I was looking at the whole time period that was the early ’80s, when I was a kid, and I remember watching “Back to the Future” when it came out. That scene where you first see the DeLorean come out of the truck and drive across the parking lot, it’s a wet parking lot at night—the way the car shimmers in the dim light is so seductive that I wanted to have the watch speak to that.” Thus, the watch shines brightly in an eye-catching way. Of course, at the core, there’s a highly efficient Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement, but the fact that this is a smaller watch with a lot of personality makes these pieces so stellar.
Autodromo’s Group B watches can be purchased online for $925.
Images by Cool Hunting