You longtime HODINKEE readers might remember the original Autodromo Monoposto, which debuted back in 2012. It was the company’s first automatic watch and was a limited edition of 500 numbered pieces. They’ve all been sold out for a long time now, but for the fifth anniversary of the brand, founder Bradley Price wanted to bring the Monoposto back in some way. So, he went out and found a quality chronograph movement, adapted the original design, and brought us the watch we have here today. The new Monoposto Chronograph is not a straight reissue, but rather the next member of a family.
Here you can see all three colors of the Monoposto Chronograph, black, azzuro, and silver.
And now there’s this watch. The Monoposto Chronograph is a three-register chronograph, with 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers (at nine and six o’clock, respectively), plus a running seconds register at three o’clock. Its stainless steel case is 43mm across and 14.8mm thick.
I did find the thickness of the watch to be difficult to get used to during the time I spent with the watch. I’m sure some people won’t find this to be an issue, but if you’ve got small wrists it could be a problem. There are three colorways available, with the traditional black and silver being joined by a more jaunty “azzuro” that has a light blue ground and yellow hands and accents.
The “redline” crystal is this watch’s most distinctive design trait.
You’ve no doubt noticed the Monoposto Chronograph’s most distinctive design trait by now: the “redline” crystal. This is carried over from the original Monoposto and consists of a tapered red line painted on the underside of the domed sapphire crystal at 10:30. It’s meant to simulate the redline that would be painted on or taped to a racer’s rev counter to make sure he didn’t blow up his engine in the days before electronic limiters. If you’re a racing fan, you’ll probably love it. If you’re not, it might leave you feeling confused.
Powering the Monoposto Chronograph is a Seiko NE88 automatic chronograph movement, with both column wheel and vertical clutch.
At 14.8mm thick, there’s no getting around the Monoposto Chronograph being a hefty watch.
Inside the Monoposto Chronograph is a Seiko NE88 movement, which is a Japanese-made automatic chronograph caliber. It has both a column wheel and a vertical clutch, going beyond the basics of a standard workhorse movement. The chrono functions are operated with the pair of flat pushers set into the side of the case. They remind me a bit of pushers from 1950s racing chronographs (an intentional reference, no doubt) and the movement’s actuation is crisp and sharp.
The caliber NE88 is manufactured by SII (Seiko Instruments, Inc.) and it’s become an interesting alternative choice for manufacturers looking for an entry-level, self-winding mechanical chronograph movement. It’s roughly comparable in size to the ETA 7750, at 28.6mm x 7.62mm (vs. 30mm x 7.90mm for the ETA caliber). From the back, the movement looks pretty much identical to the workhorse caliber 7S26, modified to allow hand-winding (caliber 7S26 is a shake-to-wind movement). The chronograph plate’s under the dial, which means the pushers are set low on the flank of the case (in a traditional chronograph, the chrono mechanism’s on the back), but that’s a small price to pay for a bona fide, self-winding, column-wheel-and-vertical-clutch chronograph. Power reserve is about 45+ hours.
The Azzuro colorway is definitely the boldest of the three models.
The silver is probably the most classic of the three watches.
My personal favorite Monoposto Chronograph is the black version.
My favorite thing about the Monoposto Chronograph is the same thing I love about all of Autodromo’s products: Every little detail has been carefully considered and it comes through in the overall impression you get from the watch. The grooves on the bezel, the taper of the case, and the relationship between the shape of the hands and the typography are all spot-on.
The Monoposto chronograph is a limited edition of 500 pieces, with 200 each in black and silver and 100 in azzuro. All colorways are priced at $1,800 and are available directly from Autodromo. For more, visit Autodromo online.