Last November, the car-inspired watch brand Autodromo released the Group B â a cool stainless-steel watch inspired by 1980s rally racers, featuring a stainless-steel chassis and titanium case. Well, this was not enough for founder and creator Bradley Price â he has taken it one step further with the Group B Evoluzione, a limited series of 200 pieces (available in blue and yellow) featuring a larger case and an aluminum chassis.
The original Group B was inspired by lightweight racing cars classified under the Group B classification by the FIA (FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de l’Automobile), which also regulates Formula 1. Group B cars were some of the fastest and most powerful rally cars ever, and during their heyday in the 1980s they were incredibly popular â but their speed and power made them accident prone, and the classification was shut down in 1986.
The new Group B Evoluzione watches continue to draw on these “golden age of rallying” cars for inspiration. The original Group B watches were made of two pieces â the hand-finished stainless-steel chassis that holds the movement and the titanium case with fixed-bar lugs. The watch measures 39 mm in diameter and weighs 52 grams. The new Evoluzione is built on the same concept â however the chassis is made of CNC-milled aluminum with a 42 mm titanium case, and weighs only 45 grams.
Additionally, unlike its predecessor, the Evoluzione is deliberately not hand-finished. The Evoluzione aluminum cases are “taken straight from the CNC machine” according to Autodromo; and the result is a texture reflecting the machining process. It’s a deliberately raw approach that’s produced a very different kind of watch â one that is light, easy to wear, and very industrial in look and feel; Autodromo says the intention was to “achieve an aesthetic that is both beautiful, and honest to the manufacturing process.”
Inside the Evoluzione, you will find the same Japanese-made Miyota caliber 9015 automatic movement that is found in the original Group B. Furthermore, the watches come with a handmade aluminum collectors box with four team-colored nylon racing straps that feature the same cross-stitching as the seat-belts found in Group B-era racing cars.
The watches retail for $1,100 and are available in a limited series of 200 pieces. For more information on Autodromo, visit the website here.
Photos: Will Holloway