Today, I will be introducing the “Racing One Chronograph”, a watch that is about to be launched on Kickstarter. It is designed and promoted by Tempore Lux, a micro brand led by David Ramírez based out of Mallorca, this being an aspect that makes us particularly proud. It is an attractive watch inspired by 1960s world of motor racing.
The watch will be assembled locally in Mallorca by Miguel A. Martínez (@shoradesrellotge), a magnificent local watchmaker who also happens to contribute to this website.
The Racing One Chronograph is David’s second project, following the successful launch of the V ONE diver in 2019, including chronograph editions. The Racing One represents for now his most ambitious project, in which he has contributed all his prior experience in the industry to take part in the design of practically all the components used in the watch, aiming to deliver a high-quality and unique design.
The Racing One will be offered in four colour variants that are shown below.
We have been able to enjoy two of the colour variants of the Racing One for this review, the blue dial one and the panda.
I will be interspersing images of both in this article.
The watch is presented in a striking 41 mm wide machined cushion case. It is 14 mm high (this measurement is from the base of the lugs to the highest part of the crystal). On the wrist, the height of the case is just 10.7mm, excluding the glass and the case back, so it appears somewhat thinner on the wrist. That said, it is a solid looking case, and the watch has presence when worn; it is unlikely to go unnoticed. The Racing One has a lug-to-lug measurement of 49 mm and a standard width between lugs of 20 mm.
It combines an elegant mix of finishes. The case sides and the lugs have a mirror polish finish, while the upper part of the case is brushed with a delicate radial pattern. The lugs have a nice drop, making for great comfort when the watch is worn. I also love the small step down to the top of the lugs where they join the case. It is a design element that leads to a perfect fit when using the bracelet, as we shall see later. The back of the case and the screwed exhibition case back are also polished. The case back is fitted with a sapphire crystal.
The crown at 3 o’clock has a ribbed finish and bears the signature “TL” engraved on its end. The crown is 6.5 mm in diameter, a good size allowing for easy handling of the movement. One of the images in the carrousel above showed the back of the watch, revealing a small notch beneath the crown to facilitate its extraction. Mind you, do not bite your nails, because you are likely to need them to remove it. The crown has a single setting position, as the watch uses a manually-wound caliber with no date complication. The watch also has the required pushers to operate the chronograph complication. They have a very visible radial arrangement, which I find incredibly attractive.
The case is topped by a domed sapphire crystal with a highly effective anti-reflective treatment. Again, one of the images in the carousel shows its bevelled edge, protruding slightly where it meets the case.
All the colour variants have a sunburst effect dial, albeit it is very subtle and in interior lighting it requires magnification to be seen.
The dial, in all instances, is exceptionally clean. I think the tachymeter scale being so peripheral helps a lot. In fact, it is located on the concave chapter ring. The printed markings on the scale use a relatively large font that is also nicely contrasted.
The common elements (although with chromatic variations) across the versions are the polished applied hour markers, equipped with a small luminescent area (Super-LumiNova C3) at their outer edges. The marker at the 12 o’clock position is doubled up, to serve as orientation. The markers at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock are omitted to accommodate the small seconds sub-dial and the 30-minute chronograph counter, respectively. Framing the applied markers is a printed track to indicate the minutes and seconds of the chronograph central seconds hand.
Markings on the dial include the logo and brand name at 12 o’clock and three lines of text at 6 o’clock (“MECHANICHAL”, “CRONOGRAPH” AND “100 M”). The latter impressions use a particularly small font and are not intrusive at all. The third line of text is shown in the same colour as the chrono seconds hand. In the panda version, which you can see below, orange is used for colour detailing.
In the previous image you can also appreciate the lume, which is of great quality, albeit it is applied rather minimally to markers and hands. For lume fans, I have no doubt that it will be somewhat disappointing, but I consider it to be in keeping with the desired aesthetic for the watch. The fine stick-like hands support the clean lines of the dial but obviously do not allow a copious application of luminescent material (again Super-LumiNova C3).
The watch will be equipped as standard with a stainless-steel bracelet with a “Racing” aesthetic. It is 20 mm wide without any tapering towards the clasp. It is pleasing on the eye, with solid end links and a very precise encounter with the case, in perfect harmony with the polished step-down lugs.
The articulated bracelet has two fastening points per spring bar. It includes large circular holes between the links, down to the fourth one on either side, emulating those found on “Racing” themed leather straps. The finish is fully polished, matching the lugs and sides of the case. Perhaps this choice makes it susceptible to being scratched over the long term. It has a double safety folding clasp, with side release pushers and a safety tab. The latter has a double signature, with the brand logo its name. The inside deploying parts have a sandblasted finish, offering long-term protection against scratches. The operation of the clasp is perfectly adequate, without being remarkable in any way.
In addition, during the launch campaign on Kickstarter, the brand will offer access to artisanal leather straps made in Spain by Jacobstraps. We understand these will be made available as extras but at discounted prices. This is welcome as they are relatively luxurious products.
You have been able to see these straps in most of the images that are shown in this article. I can only say that, in my humble opinion, they are exquisite. They have two keepers, the first of them fixed. Both are perfectly sized, neither too tight nor too loose, offering a great wear experience. The straps are thick but the patinated leather is soft and gentle to the touch. In addition, I think that the selected colours combine perfectly with the different chromatic versions of Racing One.
The straps have a stainless-steel butterfly-style folding clasp, comfortable and practical. It felt very secure, while providing a very responsive and quick release. Without a shadow of a doubt, my predilection would be to dress the watch with this type of strap.
In the following image you can see more details of the cognac Jacobstraps strap. I think that either this one or the black one will combine particularly well with the panda version of the watch.
Powering the Racing One Chronograph is the Seagull caliber ST1901.
It is the 2006 reincarnation of the historic Venus 175, as we described in detail in our article Review Seagull 1963 Air Force Chronograph.
It is a manually wound column wheel chronographic caliber with a small seconds complication (at 9 o’clock). The chronograph uses a central seconds hand and adds a 30-minute counter (at 3 o’clock). The movement beats at 21,600 vph (3 Hz), boasts 21 jewels and offers a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.
I should emphasize that the caliber does not have a hacking function. That said, in my experience, the caliber starts ticking after very few turns of the crown, maybe four or five. Therefore, synchronizing it with a time signal when starting it and setting the time is not terribly complicated. It is merely a matter of starting to wind the watch a few seconds ahead of whatever is indicated by the small seconds hand when stopped.
The Seagull factory versions of the ST1901 (note that there are many clones) come highly decorated and well finished, as can be seen through the exhibition case back of the watch.
One peculiarity of these calibers is that the actuation of the chronograph requires a very firm press of the pushers, so firm, in fact, that it may surprise those used to more modern mechanical calibers. We must remember that the design was considered obsolete at the end of the 1950s, although I do not want this fact to detract from your possible interest. I consider it to be a great caliber, without a doubt the best and possibly the only entry-level one into the mechanical chronograph segment.
In addition, as mentioned above, the movements will be inspected by the Swatch Group and Citizen authorised service centre run by Miguel Á. Martínez, this factor being a strong assurance in terms of quality.
Although I mentioned it in passing when describing the impressions on the dial, it is worth noting that the water resistance of the watch is an impressive 100 m. Although the crown is not screwed, it has a double gasket and, in my experience, it is exceedingly difficult to accidentally extract it. Truth be told, it is even difficult to extract it intentionally. Therefore, it should withstand a shower and a dip in water without any kind of problem.
One last important consideration is that Tempore Lux will present the watch in a beautiful wooden box.
Last, but not least, let us see it on the wrist. I have opted to show the panda version because I have a weakness for these types of dials.
My impression is that it looks great, and I was surprised by how versatile it is thanks to its contained lug-to-lug length and the curvature of the lower part of its lugs. Had it not been fitted with a display case back it might have been even more versatile. I imagine it would have worn somewhat lower on the wrist, again adding versatility. But hey, it is shown as it is.
The project website currently indicates the watch will have a retail price of €599. Sponsors through Kickstarter will be able to enjoy attractive discounts. Specifically, the first 29 sponsors will enjoy €200 off, to €399. The next 49 will enjoy a discount of €100 (to €499). Others will be able to purchase this piece for €529 during the campaign, that is €70 less than the retail price. Considering the specs of the watch, its attractive design, the beautiful detailing, and the high level of the finishing, I consider it an enticing price.
If you are interested in the watch, do not hesitate to subscribe to the project website to receive notices and updates.
The Man Behind The Brand
Today I have the pleasure of being able to interview David Ramirez, the “alma mater” at Tempore Lux. The excuse, of course, is the premiere review that we have been fortunate to be able to pen about the “Racing One Chronograph”, which will be launched imminently.
I recall that when the local watch club in Mallorca (the seed of what is nowadays safonagastrocrono.club) used to be able to meet up, some of the club members showed models of the V-ONE diver from a brand that was completely unknown to me. I was struck by how well built they were, but my surprise was even greater when I was told that the brand behind them (Tempore Lux) was based in Mallorca. I could hardly believe it.
David, if you allow me… How and why did a watch enthusiast come up with the idea of creating his own brand?
About 15 years ago, I started to dedicate myself professionally to this great hobby of ours and set up my own watch store. Over time, I felt that I needed to change the course of my career as the sale of watches had become somewhat monotonous. At this time of inner crisis, a strong desire arose within me to create my own brand to be able to design and manufacture my own watches. The idea filled me with excitement, something that I had lost along the way. Thus, I left everything behind to dedicate myself fully to Tempore Lux Watches.
I imagine that it was not easy at all… How were the beginnings and what problems did you have to deal with to move forward with Tempore Lux?
The beginnings for all new ventures can be difficult, you tend to invest a lot of time and money for no reward. However, when I presented my first collection, the V ONE and V ONE CHRONOGRAPH, things changed. The feedback was so positive that I was encouraged to continue with the project.
The main obstacle encountered was raising the funds to make the very first watches. Building high quality watches entails costs that are difficult to meet for a small watch project like Tempore Lux. Fortunately, crowdfunding appeared, especially platforms like Kickstarter, which have allowed us to see through our projects thanks to the support obtained from enthusiasts from all over the world.
A quick look at the “Racing One Chronograph” suggests a passion for vintage watches. What sources have you drawn from to come up with this design? Any special models?
Indeed, I am passionate about vintage watches, although I like modern watches too. At Tempore Lux I try to blend both styles, although in the case of the Racing One the vintage side is perhaps dominant.
I generally took inspiration from “Racing” watches of the late 1960s. I cannot point to one, rather, several models left an impression: the Breitling Datora and the Herma Lemans, for example.
What do you offer your potential customers with the “Racing One Chronograph”?
The Racing One Chronograph offers, above all, exclusivity, since practically all the components of the watch have been designed by us. We have selected the highest quality materials, such as the mechanical caliber ST1901, a direct descendant of the legendary Swiss Venus 175 movement. The premium quality leather straps from Jacobstraps are a true delight, handcrafted in Spain. In addition, all these ingredients will pass through the hands of a master watchmaker who will assemble them in a traditional way. And like all our watches, we offer a 3-year warranty.
The inclusion of Miguel Ángel from S’hora del Rellotge in the project seems a great “intangible” that true fans will undoubtedly value. Can you tell us something about your working relationship?
I started working with Miguel A. Martínez back in 2019, when he dealt with V ONE series watches. I was very pleasantly surprised by the way he worked. He is a very approachable person who explained everything that he did and whose work is simply top class. I was minded that we should assemble Tempore Lux watches in the EU or Switzerland, so when I started designing the Racing One, I proposed to him the collaboration, which he accepted. It makes me feel extremely fortunate.
The micro brand segment is increasingly specialised and competitive. What are your expectations for this segment?
Going ahead, Tempore Lux will follow the path set by the Racing One, i.e., elaborate, and detailed designs so that each watch is exclusive and unique. We will pursue quality above all, without prices skyrocketing, a somewhat complicated equation… And, of course, we will continue assembling here. My idea is to make three or four runs of each collection and not to repeat it, as was the case with the V ONE series that will not be produced any more.
From safonagastrocrono.club we wish you great success in this new venture, although the “Racing One Chronograph” credentials that we have explored in this review make it a sure thing. Thank you for the time and trust to make us part of this great launch born on our island.
Many thanks to you for the time and space safonagastrocrono.club grants micro brands like Tempore Lux.