Nezumi Studios Voiture 3 Chronograph Review
By: Greg Bedrosian
I’ve always liked fast cars. The feeling of speed and control mixed with a dash of adrenaline is intoxicating. To make a car special it takes more than a simple combination of ingredients. The right vintage car can even take you back in time. This review isn’t about an air-cooled Porsche 911, it’s a watch on my nightstand.
Meet the Nezumi Studios Voiture, a vintage 1960-70s inspired racing style classicchronograph. The Nezumi Studios line of watches and accessories are the creation of Swedish designer David Campo, famous fashion designer and vintage Porsche enthusiast. He drew inspiration for his company’s name from the Japanese Robin Hood-eqsue character Nezumi Kozō. He named this particular watch Voiture, French for “car.”
The Nezumi Voiture takes heavy styling cues from several iconic racing chronographs of yesteryear. The most obvious is the Omega Speedmaster. Other inspired styling elements are a little more subtle paying tribute to mixture of vintage icons: Rolex Daytona, Zenith El Primero, Tudor Monte Carlo, and Heuer Monaco.
An undercut bezel and curved lugs shouts vintage Speedmaster at first glance. The Voiture’s specs claim a 40mm wide diameter and 47mm lug to lug; however, the watch wears slightly smaller. Classic proportions and the curvy lugs effortlessly retain a classic charm on a variety of wrist sizes. The case fits my 6.75” wrist comfortably. A Speedy CK2998 fits my wrist well – while a modern Speedy Pro 42mm does not. The domed sapphire crystal slightly increase the total height over spec to 12.8mm. The Nezumi Voiture is not as tall and bubbly as a Speedmaster. It shouldn’t to get caught on a dress shirt sleeve. If it does, stay calm and consult your local tailor.
The Nezumi Voiture comes in three color combinations that they refer to as simply: 1, 2, and 3. My favorite is the 3. The combination of soft blues on the bow-tie dial reminds me of a 1970s Le Mans livery. The contrast of the black tachymeter and the cream sub dials works together to add to the Voiture’s versatility and vintage feel.
The hands, markers, and chapter ring are reminiscent of the now unobtainable Paul Newman Daytona. However, the hands on the sub dials and other design details are unmistakably Nezumi. The orange chronograph seconds hand bears the Nezumi Studios logoed “N” on the counter balance. I felt that it was redundant as the same logo in a similar size is printed on the dial. Nezumi’s newest field chronograph watch does not share this design feature.
Although the dial creates incredible depth due to the sandwich construction and applied markers, there are a few issues with it. Like most chronographs, the Nezumi Voiture can have legibility issues at a quick glance. There is a lot going on in a compact package.
A scarce amount of luminova is present on the hands and hour markers. It does not glow without some assistance from a flashlight. But this is not another fat-handed dive watch, the Voiture Chronograph is a racing tool. If you are driving a race car in the dark and can’t read the running seconds hand, you might have bigger problems.
The beta version of the watch included a smooth black leather strap. I opted for the brown perforated racing strap (a special request at the time of my order). The brown and blues work well together. Weekend racers used to put holes in everything; seats, gloves, interior panels, etc. in hopes of shaving off another tenth of a second from their lap times.
The “speed holes” didn’t make me go any faster. They did add the little something extra that the Nezumi Voiture needed. More importantly than adding the rally inspired holes for the sake of adding them, the holes are done “right.” Many strap designers don’t get the size, placement, or spacing of the holes correctly for these classic chronographs. The stainless steel buckle is polished; I would have preferred brushed.
The tail on the 20mm leather strap is not too long like many similarly styled $10 eBay specials. Nezumi Studios uses vegetable tanned leather. Besides being a more environmentally friendly process, the leather should develop a unique patina over time. I plan on ordering the black RINDT racing strap once it is available separately. I expected the Nezumi Voiture to be a “strap monster” like the Speedmaster. It was not. The RINDT straps are so well executed that replacing them with some random nylon NATO or generic steel oyster would do a disservice to the overall atheistic.
The Voiture chronograph is powered by the Seiko VK63 mechanical-quartz movement. Yes, I said quartz. Please don’t stop reading. This is no ordinary quartz chronograph. The magic is something that I had to experience to believe. There is no slow and awkward clockwise reset here. The smooth chronograph seconds hand and elapsed minute sub dial instantly “snap back” counterclockwise to zero. The exposed pushers pop and snap with classic tactile feedback.
One drawback of the VK63 is the elapsed hour counter sub dial is replaced with a 24-hour hand. I was very hesitant at first to add a quartz watch to my collection. This is disruptive to classic Southern hemispherical sub dial layout that we are accustomed to in a mechanical watch. After a month of deliberation (and a little research) I came to this conclusion: I would take the Seiko meca-quartz movement of the Nezumi over a Seagull mechanical every time.
My first rule of watches is, “Is it easy to read the time?” The short answer here is “No.” But it doesn’t matter. You aren’t just reading the time. You’re reliving history.
Imagine getting a nostalgic mid-engine sports car for the price of your family sedan. That is what you get with the Nezumi Voiture. This appropriately named microbrand chronograph can survive a wrist-check alongside others that cost five times as much. I’m sure by now you’re already one step ahead of me and just asked Siri to figure out the conversion rate for €360. Look at the entire package, isn’t this what Two Broke Watch Snobs is all about?
Check out my Instagram Feed as well (watch_gb) for more shots of the Nezumi or if you have any additional questions about the watch!
I didn’t see the Nezumi Voiture promotional video until after I received the watch. It perfectly visualized what this piece is all about. The short video still gives me the feels.
Check out the Nezumi Studios Website for more info on the Voiture and their other watches.
Greg is a long-time watch lover based in upstate New York. Greg is a supply chain professional by day and private watch consultant by night. Greg brings his own style to the TBWS website as a contributor by blending bits of humor into technical assessments. You can follow his cycling and snowboarding adventures on Instagram as he pursues the perfect 3-watch collection.