In the spectacular world of horology there are numerous different types of watches to choose from. One of my favourite genres is motor sport inspired timepieces. These watches are created to be the passionate drivers perfect accompaniment. Brands have cleverly tapped into this lucrative market by creating some extraordinary timepieces. Some of them have even forged partnerships with high profile automobile manufacturers. Two of the most sophisticated designs have come from Chopard (Mille Miglia), Meccaniche Veloci (Quattro Valvole), Hublot (MP-05 Laferrari) and Parmigiani Fleurier (Bugatti Super Sport). Another great example is the small independent French Watchmaker B.R.M (Bernard Richards Manufacture).
I have been a great admirer of B.R.M watches for many, many years. I absolutely love their timepieces and meticulous attention to detail. These attributes have gained them an enormous amount of respect in the watch industry. Just the other day I was speaking to Christophe Hoppe the owner/designer of Australian Watch label Bausele. He was humble and honest enough to say that the distinctive aesthetic of B.R.M timepiece has inspired some of his creations. Even though the two brands market their watches at different price points they both produce exquisite watches.
A few weeks ago Melbourne based online retailer/distributor Watchpartners (http://www.watchpartners.com.au) were kind enough to send me B.R.M’s phenomenal R50 TN for review. Although I love all of their timepieces this particular model is one of my personal favourites. Ultimately this is because of its supersized dimensions, which measure 50mm x 17mm. Clearly the proportions of this watch won’t appeal to the faint hearted but I feel it suits the design. I also think this is one of the most comfortable and lightweight timepieces I have ever worn. Primarily this is down to the refined case design and choice of high performance titanium in production. For that reason this watch would be a practical option for daily usage.
Visually the R50 TN has an incredibly high quality three-dimensional appearance. What makes this watch so extraordinary is the mesmerizing open worked dial. This wonderful characteristic was devised by Bernard Richards and is inspired by the engine of a motorbike. The movement is delicately mounted on three carbon fiber triangles. It not only looks spectacular but also acts as an efficient shock absorber. Other striking features include the vibrant lightweight yellow hands/power reserve indication, distinctive lugs and trademark checkerboard pattern on the side of the case. Overall the composition is brilliant and the attention to detail is first rate.
At the heart of the watch is a Swiss made ETA A07161 (Valgranges) self-winding movement. B.R.M have employed the expertise of French watchmaker Jean-Paul Crabbe to make the significant modifications required. The Caliber comprises 24-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This sensational mechanism including the rotor is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the R50 TN features hours, minutes, seconds and a 48-hour power reserve indication. The timepiece also is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The R50 TN (as tested) has a durable black rubber strap with matching titanium buckle.
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.brm-manufacture.com