Today we are bringing your attention to a new brand for MONOCHROME Watches, a brand that has been around for over a decade but hasn’t solely focused on watches since it was founded. Late last year, we were contacted by Nezumi Studios, a Swedish watchmaking company that was celebrating its tenth anniversary. Named the Voiture, this sharp-looking retro chronograph is the first model in Nezumi’s portfolio to use a Swiss mechanical movement. While not entirely new as a design, it was previously powered by a Seiko mecha-quartz movement. Now that it has moved a step up the ladder, it was the perfect opportunity to go hands-on with one of Nezumi’s watches, in this case, the Voiture VM1S.101.
The name Nezumi comes from the Japanese folk hero Nezumi Kozo. Stealing from wealthy Samurai to give to the poor, similar to Robin Hood, Nezumi Kozo met a gruesome death when he was arrested for his crimes. Nevertheless, upon learning what he did with his stolen fortunes, his story became a popular cultural legend. The driving force behind Nezumi Studios is Swedish designer, vintage car and watch lover David Campo Cardenes. And in the spirit of Nezumi Kozo, David gives back to several charities through his company.
After working in the fashion industry for most of his life, Nezumi Studios was David’s way of exercising total creative freedom regarding all the things he is passionate about. The company’s first product, launched in 2011, was a pair of limited-edition jeans that sold out quickly. The first-ever Nezumi watch launched in 2015 was called the Voiture. Since then, several mecha-quartz-powered watches were introduced before making the jump to full mechanical with the Baleine dive watch. This Voiture VM1S.101 is the very first one with a Swiss-made mechanical heart.
sports car looks
The most notable feature of the Nezumi is undoubtedly the design of the case and dial (as it should be with any watch, really). To start with the exterior first, the Voiture VM1S.101 has a 40mm diameter and a thickness of 12.6mm (excluding the crystal). The lug-to-lug distance is also very acceptable at 47mm from end to end. Regarding weight, which is not often mentioned in reviews, the Voiture tips the scales at 149 grams in total (on the bracelet).
The design is slightly reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster, with the way the bezel sits on top of the middle case, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What’s interesting is the fact that the bezel insert has a tachymeter scale that’s drawn by hand by company founder David Campo before scaling and vectorising it to create an authentic, vintage look. Simple pump-style pushers and a pull-out crown are used to wind, set the movement, and manipulate the chronograph.
The design of the matte off-white dial also stands out despite showing a very familiar 3/6/9 chronograph layout. The distinctive matte graphite sections surrounding the running seconds and chronograph 30-minute sub-dials give it a unique look. The result is something that could be found in a vintage car, which makes perfect sense given Nezumi’s origins. Quite fun and original! This is matched with a matte graphite 12-hour chronograph counter and minute track on the outer edge.
The applied hour indices have a touch of Super-LumiNova, although it could have benefited the Voiture VM1S.101 if it had a little more lume. The hour and minute hands are straight, simple and effective, with a contrasting orange chronograph seconds hand with a Nezumi ‘N’ as a counterweight. The dial is covered by a domed sapphire crystal that bumps up the total height of the watch to 14.5mm.
A Swiss Heart
The Voiture VM1S.101 marks the first model for Nezumi Studios to use a Swiss-made mechanical movement instead of mechanical or mecha-quartz movements by Seiko used before this. Nezumi has opted for the Sellita SW 510-Mb manual-wound chronograph, which is a solid and reliable choice. The fact it’s a hand-wound movement also ties in with the overall look and feel of the Voiture. The movement runs at a rate of 28,800vph and offers 58 hours of power reserve. It’s hidden from view by the solid caseback, adorned with the Nezumi logo in relief.
The Nezumi Studios Voiture VM1S.101 comes in a nice, compact leather box with a graphic outer box. It comes on a Jubilee-style metal bracelet with polished and brushed links, but I imagine this would look just as good, if not better, on a very cool leather strap. The watch retails for EUR 1,587, which seems like an odd number, but given the fact Nezumi is Swedish, this is down to a currency difference between Sweden and the rest of Europe. Alternatively, there’s a reverse version of this specific dial and a blue and off-white dial with a matching blue tachymeter scale. Each colour is limited to 100 pieces.
I was happily impressed with the Nezumi Studios Voiture VM1S.101, even though you can easily spot the inspiration from various icons. Overall, it looks and feels very good; everything feels robust, the finishing is nicely done, it sits well on the wrist (albeit a touch on the heavy side), and it’s competitively priced. But speaking about competition, it has a tough job ahead going head-to-head with watches like the Baltic Tricompax. Nevertheless, the Nezumi deserves your consideration if you’re looking for a good retro-chic chronograph with a Swiss mechanical movement for less than EUR 2,000.
For more information and to order your Nezumi Voiture, please visit NezumiStudios.com.