MICRO MONDAYS: The Nezumi Voiture is a milestone chronograph model for the Swedish brandTime+Tide
There is a crucial moment in the existence of an independent brand when it adds mechanical movements to their core collections. This change seems to be as important as removing the training wheels from a kid’s bicycle, or getting that first job after college. This is important because mechanical movements are trickier to use and maintain, and they cost more than a simple quartz-powered calibre. Using a mechanical movement, furthermore, means potentially more after-sales service and higher repair costs for the brand. This brings us to Nezumi and the Voiture VM1S Mechanical Chronograph, a milestone release from the Swedish brand founded in 2011 by David Campo, a Stockholm-based designer, vintage sports cars and watch enthusiast.
The brand laid out the building blocks of its reputation by releasing a series of popular mechaquartz chronographs called the Voiture, Corbeau, and Tonnerre – “car,” “raven,” and “thunder”, respectively. These three models have been popular because of their reasonable, sub-US$500 price tags, combined with good looks and strong retro vibes. Put together, Nezumi offered something many watch enthusiasts couldn’t just ignore. To celebrate 10 years of dedicated work of bringing something unique and different to the world of horology, in 2021 Nezumi released the Voiture VM1S chronograph powered by a manually wound Sellita SW510MB calibre.
Immediately, the case of the Voiture VM1S displays a lot of character, especially when looking at it from the side. It’s beefy without being over the top, and showcases what appears to be a multi-step construction. The mid-case looks rather thin thanks to polished chamfers and a brushed outer section, which contrasts nicely with the polished edges of the caseback and the underside of the bezel which slopes down towards the case. It looks as if Nezumi made the mid-case just tall enough to accommodate the large crown and smaller, mushroom-shaped chronograph pushers. Looking at the watch from above, the case profile disappears underneath the edges of the fixed bezel.
From a design perspective, the two stars of the show here are the lugs and dial, the latter we’ll discuss momentarily. The shape of the lugs is reminiscent to those of the famous Speedmaster lyre lugs, meaning they curve inward with the polished outer metamorphosising into a chamfer which runs alongside the entirety of the case. Furthermore, the case turns down dramatically towards the wrist and has a claw-like appearance, becoming an immediate trademark of this model in my eyes.
The unique case design paired with universally great dimensions – 40mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, and 14.5mm in height including the crystal – make the VM1S a fully fledged mechanical chronograph that is actually very comfortable to wear. The watch wearing comfort, I would add, is akin that of a vintage watch which the VM1S looks like, although it is built like a modern timepiece.
The VM1S comes in three dial variants. The ref. VM1S.601 is the one you see in this article with a black-on-cream and white-on-black variations also available, though all sporting the same three-register layout. The VM1S has a clean design given the baton-style hour and minute hands, and how well they pair with the short, rectangular applied hour markers. Reading the time is a breeze in any light condition thanks to a reasonable application of C1 SuperLuminova on the hands and markers. Having such a clean arrangement means Nezumi clearly separated the two functions of the VM1S – reading the time and timing an event.
The register at three o’clock is a 30-minute totaliser, the one at the six a 12-hour totalizer, and the one at the nine shows the running seconds. The hands of all sub-registers have a simple, yet legible design, showcasing a square base above the pinion and sword-shaped tips. Nezumi went as far as contrasting the hands to each sub-register. In other words, the chronograph hands are easy to read as they look different from the hour and minute hands, while being kept playful thanks to subtle orange accents.
Looking at the dial from afar, it reminds me of vintage racing chronographs which pilots and crew members would wear in the pits. As mentioned in the introduction, Nezumi’s founder is as much into vintage cars as he is into watches, a fact that becomes clear when looking at the vintage-inspired dial design and case profile of the VM1S. If you take a closer look at the brand’s complete catalogue, you’ll immediately notice that Nezumi leans heavily into vintage designs. With that said, the brand endows each model with a little something special, which is instantly recognisable to someone familiar with the brand’s offering.
The VM1S comes on a Jubilee-style bracelet with solid end-links, sporting a fold-over clasp with four holes of micro-adjustment, as well as pins to adjust the bracelet. The bracelet is comfortable to wear and its 1960s and `70s vibe matches that of the old-school looking dial of the VM1S.
Powering the VM1S is the manually wound Sellita SW510MB which beats at 28,800 vph and comes with 58 hours of power reserve. The relatively high power reserve makes sense given the fact that the SW510 is a manual movement, so you won’t have to wind it every day to keep it going and giving it that ever-attractive weekend-proofness.
The Nezumi Voiture VM1S pricing and availability
|Case Dimensions||40mm (D) x 14.5mm (T) x 47mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||50 metres|
|Dial||Blue with cream chrono registers|
|Strap||Jubilee-style stainless steel|
|Movement||Sellita SW510MB, manual, chronograph|
|Power Reserve||58 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph|