Following up on last year’s inaugural AVERAU Collection, Italian microbrand echo/neutra is launching a second series to honour the 1956 Winter Olympics VII, held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. These games had the largest number of participating countries at the time, 32 nations, and were the first Winter Olympics televised to a multi-national audience. The new vintage-styled collection draws inspiration from 1950s sports watches with Italian design and Swiss hearts. A three-hander and limited edition chronograph bring refinement and maturity that belie their accessible prices and show that this relatively new brand is here to stay.
The Cortina 1956 – 3H (three-hand model) comes with a stainless steel case that’s 40mm in diameter and 11.9mm in height (46mm lug-to-lug). The case is brushed with a polished chamfer spanning the outer edge of the lugs, widening as it reaches the tips – nice attention to detail. The fixed bezel is ceramic with engraved Arabic numerals and marks filled with retro cream paint. There are two choices of box-shaped crystals with anti-reflective coatings, either K1 mineral glass or sapphire, allowing for two different price points. The screw-down crown has the brand’s logo embossed and the watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.
The dial comes in glossy black with Old Radium Super-LumiNova on the indices and thee Arabic numerals for a vintage aesthetic. Blue (with a blue bezel) and khaki dials are also available, with the latter having black indices and numerals. The hands are nearly identical to the AVERAU collection with an arrowhead hour hand and red and white tip on the seconds hand. The hour and minute hands are partially painted with Super-LumiNova. A special 1956 logo is printed at 6 o’clock.
The movement is an automatic Swiss STP 1-11 from Swiss Technology Production, the same as in last year’s collection and a copy of the ETA 2824-2. It has 26 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 44-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and date (not used on this model).
The Cortina 1956 chronograph also sports a 40mm stainless steel case but is a bit thicker at 14.1mm. It features the same brushed finish with polished chamfers and choice of either K1 mineral glass or sapphire crystal. The fixed ceramic bezel features an engraved telemeter with triangular marks at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Standard pushers flank the screw-down crown at 2 and 4 o’clock. The model is a bi-compax chronograph with a small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, and the sub-dials have a matte finish against the glossy main dial. Colours include a Panda white dial with black sub-dials or black dial with cream sub-dials. The 1956 logo is printed in red on both variants at 6 o’clock. The black dial variant has the same Old Radium Super-LumiNova as the three-hander, while the white dial has white lume on the hour and minute hands. This model is also water-resistant to 100 metres.
The chronograph features a hand-wound, Elaboré grade Sellita SW-510M BH b with 27 jewels, 28,800vph (4Hz) and a 58-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds, small seconds at 9 o’clock and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. This hand-wound movement allows for a thinner case than its automatic counterpart.
The Cortina 1956 – 3H is available for pre-order with a starting price of USD 440 (K1 mineral crystal) and future retail price of USD 665. The Cortina 1956 Chronograph is limited to 100 pieces with a preorder price of USD 1,005 (K1 mineral crystal) and future retail price of USD 1,563 (approx.). The sapphire crystal bumps the price up by USD 70 for the three-hander and USD 75 for the chronograph. Both models come with 20mm fabric straps with leather or steel Milanese options available, and shipping is expected in November. For more information and to place an order, visit the echo/neutra website here.