In our latest edition of Watches & Cars, we’re going to look at a watch that won’t break the bank. Most of the watches we put on here aren’t very cheap. There’s reason for that, though, as we’re looking at watches that will fit well with BMWs and BMWs aren’t cheap. Simple. But not everyone who likes or owns BMW’s has a brand new M6. Some BMW enthusiasts have much older models and can’t afford a $10,000 Rolex. So let’s look at a watch that’s a bit easier on the wallet yet still has enough style and quality to match a Bavarian automobile.
Autodromo is a company we’ve talked about a bit before. We mentioned its driving gloves in a previous article. Autodromo, an automotive inspired company, makes gloves, sunglasses and watches. There have been a few watches by Autodromo, but the one we’re going to look at today is the Prototipo. The Prototipo, meaning “Prototype” in Italian, is a chronograph designed to look like automotive watches of a bygone era, like the Heuer Autavia. The case measures 48mm, though it wears a bit smaller thanks to its “pillowcase” case design.
The Prototipo is powered by a Seiko VK64 Chronograph Hybrid Meca-Quartz Movement, which uses a normal quartz movement, but has an automatic style chronograph function. Instead of ticking along one second at a time, like most quartz chronographs, the timer clicks along five times a second, like automatic watches. It also snaps back to zero when stopped, instead of sweeping around like most quartz chronos. So while this is a quartz movement, and therefore not as seemingly premium as something from Tag Heuer, Omega or Rolex, it’s a fine movement and incredibly accurate for timing laps around your favorite track.
The watch also looks really nice, with hidden lugs, a brushed aluminum pillowed case, two subdials and a tachymeter. It definitely looks like a motorsport inspired watch. It is available in several different color schemes, with different leather bands, including a blue face with white subdials and white face with black subdials. The hands are either orange, red or blue and it can be had with any of those color straps to match.
The Prototipo also comes in a Brian Redman edition, who once drove the iconic BMW CSL racer, which comes in either a stainless steel or 18k gold case. The Brian Redman edition also comes with an extra subdial for seconds and is adorned in white, red and green, to honor Redman’s famous Porsche 908 with which he used to beat Ferrari at the Nurburgring in 1969. It also comes with a nod to Redman and the Nurburgring win on the caseback. But, one of the cooler things about the Brian Redman edition is that it comes with a 42 page booklet, signed by Redman himself.
The Brian Redman edition is the cooler of the two, but any Prototipo is a cool looking watch, made with a high quality movement, for a fraction of what the big watch company pieces cost. At $625 for the standard Prototipo and $775 for the stainless steel Redman edition, this is practically a bargain. Admittedly, the 18k gold Redman edition costs $1,200, but that still isn’t bad for an 18k gold cased watch. Overall, the Prototipo is an excellent choice, regardless of which one, for any gearhead lacking the funds to buy something from Switzerland, but has the style and taste for quality timepieces.