The Depancel Serie-R 80s revels in neon brashnessFergus Nash
The styles of the 1980s are possibly the most revered through rose-tinted glasses, with nostalgia contributing to the global success of shows like Stranger Things and endless Sci-Fi franchises. It’s also a praised era of motorsports, with turbocharged cars heralding heroes like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. As a brand with racing in their DNA, Depancel have launched a special edition of their square-shaped best-seller to celebrate the decade. The new Depancel Serie-R 80s opts for a bolder look, revelling in neon brashness.
Straight away, you will notice that the case of the Depancel Serie-R 80s isn’t like much else out there. The top is arched and the bottom remains square to evoke the shape of a vintage car’s grille, similar to the Depancel Logo which was taken from the French Facel Vega from 1954. That shield shape is also etched into the top of the case, freeing up some room on the dial for the important stuff. The majority of the case is vertically brushed for enhanced sportiness, and allows the few polished edges to really sing. On the left-hand edge of the case, there is a polished plaque denoting the model name and limited edition number out of 250.
The dimensions of the Depancel Serie-R 80s are a little strange on paper, although they do make sense once they’re on wrist. A 36mm diameter sounds small while the 50mm lug-to-lug sounds large, but square shapes don’t wear the same as circular cases. The main length of the case is 43mm, which will give the watch a solid wrist presence without feeling overbearing. The 13mm thickness is not too bloated either, but the 50m water resistance might leave a little bit to be desired.
If you’ve read this far into the article without realising that this watch isn’t a chronograph, I can’t blame you. The Depancel Serie-R design really taps into every aspect of racing watches, including faux-pushers on the right hand side of the case. The subdials actually provide a 24-hour hand at the 6′ position, a weekday indicator at 9′, and a power reserve gauge at 12′. There’s also a traditional date window at the 3′ position, next to the stylised 80s graphic printed in white luminous paint.
Most of the dial is presented in a high-contrast neon orange and a black background, although the textures change drastically. The square section has horizontal lines and the circular section is brushed, and the subdials have concentric guilloché. The specific shade of red-orange is inspired by the Ferrari Testarossa dashboard. That’s particularly obvious in the needle-like seconds hand, however the hour and minute hands are highlighted with a white border for better legibility. All of the printed numerals and lettering except for the Depancel logo are stylised as though they’re on an LED screen.
Powering the Depancel Serie-R 80s is the Japanese Miyota calibre 9110. Belonging to their premium range of movements, the 9110 is certainly a bang-for-buck choice. It helps to keep prices down while remaining reliable and easily serviceable throughout the years. The second hand sweeps at a smooth 4Hz, and unlike a chronograph it will be running constantly. The power reserve is 40 hours, as indicated on the dial via an indicator at the 12′ position, with automatic winding. The screw-on caseback has a sapphire window for viewing the movement which has some basic decoration, and the winding rotor which has been laser-engraved with the Depancel logo and grille pattern.
The Depancel Serie-R 80s comes with two straps, and the leather strap is particularly impressive. The pointed ends of the stitching echo the design of the Depancel logo, and the contrasting colours compliment the dial nicely. It’s also fitted with quick-release spring bars for easy strap swapping. The other option is an 80s-style flexible steel bracelet, with an all-brushed finish. The lug width is 22mm, giving plenty of opportunity to experiment with aftermarket options as well.
While some may be quick to draw comparisons to the racing watch legend that is the TAG Heuer Monaco, the Depancel Sere-R 80s distinct take on the squared racing watch lends its design enough credibility to stand apart – especially with the quirk of it looking like a chronograph without actually being one. While odd, it interestingly makes the most of the register real estate with day, power reserve, and 24 hour indications.
The Depancel Serie-R 80s pricing and availability
The Depancel Serie-R 80s is limited to 250 pieces, and will open for pre-order on September 26th 2023. Delivery begins at the end of November. Price: AU$1,350
|Case Dimensions||36mm (D) x 13mm (T) x 50mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Dial||Black and orange|
|Strap||Leather strap and steel bracelet|
|Power Reserve||40 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, power reserve, 24-hour indicator|
|Availability||Available for pre-order|