Watches: from around the time of Group B, CAR+ December 2015

Published: 05 November 2015

► Watches from the Group B era
► Bradley Price, founder of Autodromo
Inspiration comes from road and rally cars 

You would like Bradley Price, founder of Autodromo. He is one of us. He won’t thank me for telling you this, but as a geeky 14-year-old from Evanston, Illinois, he visited London in 1994 and wore a cap with ‘MANSELL’ emblazoned across it in the Union Jack for the entire trip. By chance, he met Sir Stirling Moss in a model shop, and asked him to autograph the cap, despite it bearing another racing legend’s name. Moss obliged, telling him that Schumacher would ‘make mincemeat’ of Mansell. Bradley still has the hat.

The company he founded in New York in 2011 makes watches inspired solely by cars. But it is plainly not because a marketing study told him to, or a car company paid him to. It’s because like us, he spends more time thinking about cars and racing than is healthy, and has channelled that into a business.

His products, which include driving gloves and sunglasses, are thus pitch-perfect and super-credible. They are also affordable. Until now, his watches have largely been inspired by sports cars and watches of the ’50s and ’60s, but the latest is very different to anything from any other brand. The Autodromo Group B pays tribute to rallying’s wildest era; one marked by insane performance, technological advancement, and tragedy. 

No other watchmaker has yet attempted a retro ’80s watch, but Bradley has got it right first time. The Group B’s high-contrast dial is inspired by those in a Lancia 037 and comes in red, blue, yellow or white. Each watch comes in an aluminium box with two nylon straps: one grey, and one to match the dial, each with an Autodromo label inside which echoes those on a racing harness. The clever case design means the straps can be swapped without tools. They thread through a solid steel chassis, which holds a titanium capsule shielding the high-end Japanese Miyota automatic movement. The titanium is a tribute to Group B’s advances in materials: it also makes this watch the lightest Autodromo has made.

Bradley launched the watch at this month’s Salon QP watch show in London to a crowd pleased to have a watch that commemorates an era they can remember. Autodromo’s designs often sell out quickly: like Group B itself, these might not last long.

Autodromo Group B

Price: £690
www.pageandcooper.com
www.autodromo.com

By Ben Oliver

Contributing editor, watch connoisseur, purveyor of fine features

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