MICRO MONDAYS: The Zero West TT-58 gets revved up with Aston Martin’s panacheZach Blass
We recently covered up-and-coming British manufacturer Zero West, and their Spitfire S4-P9427 aviation watch. But pilot’s watches are not the only horological ace up their sleeve, they also encapsulate great moments in British history on land and sea. Across all three lines, one common theme they share are distinctive cases and aesthetics that can only be construed as Zero West. Founders Andrew Brabyn (designer) and Graham Collins (ex-black ops military engineer) truly work to make creations that stand out from the norm and rework heritage inspirations in fresh forms. Today, let’s dig in to one of their British automotive-inspired timepieces, the Zero West TT-58.
The Zero West TT-58 was inspired by the sixth and final round of the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy held in West Sussex. Renowned as the world’s oldest continuous motor race, the event drew competitors from all over the globe. The drivers behind the Aston Martin cars, Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, were dominant from the start and soon established a sizeable lead over their fellow racers.
According to Zero West, “The race was frantic and saw some accidents and mechanical failures. Multiple pit stops ensued but the David Brown Aston Martins finished 1-2-3, separated by only a few seconds and having covered 148 laps at an average speed of 88.324mph, a full four laps ahead of the fourth placed Porsche.” Zero West honour this moment in British racing history with the TT-58, named after the Aston Martin 1958 TT cars that swept the winner’s circle.
The case and movement
The 44m stainless-steel case is uniform in tone and majority of its finish, with a sporty satin brush executed throughout. The only high polished elements of the case are found on its caseback and DSL lugs, which provide a hint of elegant contrast to the watch. The Zero West TT-58 has lug-to-lug measurements of 49.6mm to make it a very wrist-manageable 44m watch, with a case thickness of 14.1mm. Water resistance of 100m is secured by its screw lock and sprung crown with matt silver knurling for ease of grip and triple seal technology to ensure it holds up to its depth rating.
The caseback is true to theme, engraved with a spoked DR1 wheel design reminiscent of cars from the era – including the Aston Martin 1958 TT it draws inspiration from. It also has aspects of the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy race engraved, noting the average speed of the three Aston Martins, two of the driver’s names, and the race title. It presents a more aesthetically pleasing rear than the ETA 2824 movement beating beneath ever could. Considering the ample thickness of the watch, the sapphire crystal of an exhibition back would only add height to the offering. Without any high horology embellishments to have on display, I am with Zero West on this one – the engraved caseback is a better move and far easier on the eye.
The dial is fashioned in black enamel, giving it a rich and vintage tone throughout. It has a matte texture, instead of the more reflective and less legible gloss, which is in line with the sporting nature of the watch. Legibility is further increased by its AR coated sapphire crystal that will mute the amount of light reflection on the black dial. The outer ring of the dial has a railroad track to display the minutes, but breaks between the five and seven baton hour markers to display text crucial to the inspiration of the TT-58. It notes the date the Trophy Club race was held, as well as the coordinates of the track’s location.
Above the text are two flags printed on the dial: the UK flag to represent Britain and a chequered flag to symbolise racing (thus a British racing watch). The majority of the hours are noted by the aforementioned baton markers, but the 12th, third, and ninth hours are reflected by Arabic numerals. The 12th hour marker differs from the other two by its print in black within a white circle, reminiscent of the car number format found on race cars such as the Aston Martin 1958 TT.
A killer value-add from all Zero West productions are their custom handmade leather straps. Founder Graham Collins was too often disappointed with the off-the-shelf leather straps he was presented with and, as a result, he spent an entire year learning how to make them himself – by hand. The strap found on the Zero West TT-58 is a British racing green leather, with yellow accents in its stitching. This colour scheme perfectly matches the exterior and interior of its Aston Martin 1958 TT namesake and once again proves Zero West is all about the details.
Zero West have cooked up something truly original here. While bold and fresh in form and feel, they also manage to leverage the familiar love of heritage-inspired design. It creates a package that you emotionally connect with, but in a build that is unexpected. Its larger 44mm design may seem like a deal-breaker for some, but it is well mitigated by a 49.6mm lug to lug that the majority of wrists can safely enjoy.
Zero West TT-58 pricing and availability:
The Zero West TT-58 is available now for purchase at the Zero West website. Price: £2200