Armin Racing, a joint venture between the Swiss watch brand Armin Strom and its UK based distributor Linder Luxury, has recently revealed its new baby: the energetic Armin Racing Chronograph automatic watch that bears the colors of the relatively young Marussia Virgin Racing F1 team.
Please note: The article was updated at a later time to reflect a slightly changed dial of the “production” version of the limited edition watch (see below.)
It’s been less than four months since the Russian luxury sports car manufacturer Marussia has taken over the British F1 racing team.
Well, perhaps I am bending reality here a little -at least, with the “manufacturer” part- since the Russian brand that was established by a local celebrity and showman is yet to actually manufacture and -what’s even more important- sell a single real sports car by the time of me writing this brief review (or, rather, overview since the watch is still in its prototyping phase and we don’t anything more impressive than a couple of rather crude 3D renderings) and their brands have a long history of selling all kinds of vaporware only to abandon it in favor of something even more impressive that, too, never comes into a form of a real product. Still, Marussia’s PR department ensures us that the first Marussia B1 “super car” will go on sale in Great Britain this Summer.
To pump some extra steam into soon-to-depart hype train, Marussia has apparently partnered with a fairly young niche watchmaker Armin Strom that is going to manufacture a special limited edition automatic chronograph wristwatch. Predictably flying the F1 temas black, red and white colors, the watch will feature a rather large -but still bearable- black PVD-treated titanium case 44.40 mm in diameter and 13.85 mm in height.
With its generic shape and standard controls, the gadget doesn’t brake any new proverbial ground here, but, well, at least it looks like a potentially comfortable thing to wear with all of its parts being rounded or faceted. The lugs look like a bit too long -people with narrow wrists will probably hate it-, but otherwise it’s okay.
Powered by a standard-issue ETA Valjoux 7750 natural-born chronograph movement, the watch offers the usual functionality of a traditional chronograph: if you expected something flashy like a flyback or a monopusher (ability to control the chronograph with just one push-piece,) you are clearly out of luck, but the time-proven mechanism is still one of the best engines you can find in a reasonably priced luxury timekeeper (this one, however, doesn’t seem to be priced reasonably, so there is a good chance that you may stop reading this review right now and check out this gorgeous Breitling for Bentley GT Ice Chronograph: powered by the same ETA 7750, it is almost a grand less expensive and, what’s more important, easier to flip in case of a rainy day.)
Its guilloche black dial sports a standard tri-compax layout with its central chronograph hand and the totalizer rims painted in bright red.
The lume on the hour and minute hands, the Marussia Virgin Racing logo, and the background of the calendar wheel, which is visible through a round aperture at 9 o’clock, are painted white.
Although certainly neither a masterpiece, nor a trendsetter, this is a nice sporty watch for those fascinated with the world of Formula One races.
Limited to only 400 pieces, the watch will soon be offered at a mind-blowing price of $8800 US dollars.
Update: As you can see on the wrist shot below, the production version of the watch features a slightly different dial. While the original layout was preserved intact (after all, it was dictated by the construction of the mechanism that seems to come without any serious modification sans the branded oscillating weight,) the logos are arranged in a different way. Can’t say whether they actually look better than the original design: after all, it’s all very subjective. Yet, I am still surprised in a pleasant way that the watch was released at all.
Photos: Armin Racing
Armin Racing “Marussia/Virgin” Chronograph automatic watch specification
Price: $8800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Titanium, black PVD
Bezel material: Titanium, black PVD
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 44.40 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 13.85 mm
Dial: Black, with white and red accents
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather or black/red rubber with black PVD coated titanium Ardillon buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire