Monoposto is a word that describes open-wheel, single-seater racing cars, and stretches from modern Formula 1 all the way back to the heyday of the pre-war Silver Arrows, the Bugatti Type 37 or the Alfetta 159. Indeed, it is the latter that has been the source of inspiration for Bradley Price, Founder of Officine Autodromo, which has recently released the Autodromo Monoposto. The Monoposto is the first automatic watch from Autodromo, with whom I was very impressed when I met them a few months ago. This watch is powered by the Citizen Watch-produced Miyota 821A, a 21 Jewel, 21,600 bph self-winding movement that has been used by a large number of suppliers since 2009. The 821A winds counter-clockwise and can be hand-wound, and seems an ideal choice for Autodromo's first mechanical watch, being a robust three-hander with date.
The Autodromo Monoposto
As we've come to expect from Autodromo, the design of the watch is retro-modern, borrowing from 50s single-seater racers, as well as early wristwatches, while looking bang up-to-date. The dial itself is large (the watch is 43mm across) and extends right to the edge of the case, culminating in a railroad-style minute track and triangle markers, that breaks nicely at 12. The dial is very similar to those seen the Alfa Romeo 158/159 "Alfetta", a little car with an incredible history of Grand Prix wins (and most famously driven by Fangio). Autodromo have positioned the date at 6, where it seems to blend in slightly with the dial, perhaps getting a little lost. On the other hand, it's a change from the slew of big dates that are currently all the rage. The old school wire lugs on the Monoposto remind me of another #watchnerd favourite, the Type 1001 from our friends at Ressence.
Of course, the most striking feature is not the incredibly elegant, black-tipped hour hand, nor the overlong minute hand, nor even the Alfa-coloured seconds hand, but the superimposed "redline" that has been applied to the underside of the subtly domed crystal. It's playful without being superfluous.
When I saw this in September, I was immediately struck by the tachometer-like simplicity and legibility of the watch, but also the superb attention to detail that Price brings to each of his models - an attention to detail that flows through every aspect of the brand, whether it's the gorgeous full grain leather straps, the wonderfully tactile roller buckle, or even the hand-printed cards and envelopes used in their packaging. Even their business cards are beautiful (see opposite). As you may have gathered, I'm rather taken with this indvidually numbered 500 piece limited edition, which is only available to pre-order through Page and Cooper in the UK at £585 (or $875 in the US).