It kind of feels unreal that an independent brand would celebrate its 10th anniversary. I’m at a point in my knowledge and understanding of the world of independent/micro/young/craft brands (however they want to be called) where most of the ones I know have been around for just five years on average. So it’s even more impressive that a brand would release a 10th anniversary commemorative timepiece that is better than anything it has produced thus far. Even more so when it comes with a Swiss Made, hand-wound mechanical chronograph movement and impeccable finish and proportions.
Nezumi is a brand I’ve heard of before but that I had never experienced in the metal. That was until two weeks ago when I received the Voiture Mechanical VM1S.601. The Voiture Mechanical is the successor to the Voiture meca-quartz model that has been very popular with the watch community. It’s also the model through which I came to know of the brand on Instagram. This new release comes in three dial variations: white on black, black on white, and the blue on blue we are reviewing here. So let’s grab a pair of leather gloves and talk about the VM1S!
The Voiture comes with a case diameter of 40mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm, a thickness of 14.5mm and a lug width of 20mm. So far, so good. Right? Dimensions matter a lot for any watch at any price point. So I like to start talking about specifications by first mentioning the watch’s dimensions. Because let’s face it: if you don’t like them, you wouldn’t want to keep on reading. Besides having great dimensions, the VM1S.601 comes with a manual-wound Sellita SW510 movement that beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and offers 58 hours of power reserve. I love the fact that Nezumi went with a Swiss Made caliber from a reputable movement manufacturer.
It shows they went an extra step getting the right movement for this milestone release.
The entire case and bracelet are made of stainless steel. Both parts display a balanced mix of brushed and polished surfaces in that the top of the twisted lugs are polished and that Nezumi created a delicate visual continuity in adding a polished line that runs all along the top of the mid-case. Polished surfaces can also be found on the bezel top and sides as well as in the metal ring that sits between the bezel and crystal. Lastly, we see it again in the middle links of the jubilee bracelet. All other surfaces are adorned with a statin brushed finish that is as delicate to the touch as it is to the eye.
Besides being a pretty watch, the VM1S is also a robust one. It comes with a domed sapphire crystal, a reasonable 50 meters of water resistance, screwed-on caseback, and a satin-finished bezel insert. Another element that makes the Voiture a sturdy timepiece is also the bracelet it comes with. Although a jubilee looks good, it also is comfortable to wear all day and that to me contributes to making the watch robust and comfortable. (I would be curious to know what you think of jubilee bracelets on chronographs, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.)
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Caseback
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed Sapphire Crystal|
|Movement||Sellita SW510 Chronograph|
58-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Jubilee|
As we already know, the VM1S was specifically created to commemorate Nezumi’s 10th anniversary. That’s no small milestone for a young brand to celebrate, and I can’t think of any other brand I know of that have gone so many extra miles to commemorate this success. This actually reminds me of the ways in which people celebrate their own personal or professional successes by buying a better watch than the one they previously had. I honestly can’t think of another independent brand that has celebrated this milestone in this way. (In the introduction I mentioned that I don’t know many microbrands that have made it to their 10th birthday. But we’ll see.)
Nezumi has therefore put a lot of its eggs in one basket—one release. It’s the first time the brand uses a mechanical chronograph movement and the first time it offers a watch whose price tag surpasses the $1,000-mark. This is significant because people who follow a brand generally only feel comfortable spending a certain amount on a watch. And brands typically stick to the same price brackets. So jumping from a sub-$500 timepiece to a $1,348 one is a big deal for Nezumi and its fan base. By all accounts, it seems this was the right move to make.
Speaking of eggs in a basket: Nezumi founder’s David Campo Cardenes wanted to add a little something special to the Voiture Mechanical in that he incorporated hand-drawn Arabic numerals into the tachymeter scale. David did this to create a more vintage look reminiscent of a screen printed bezel inserts and one looking at the bezel with a loupe will notice that no two numerals are actually the same. This is a cool little detail that only someone with great passion for his work would add, and it makes this special release even more significant for the brand.
You know me, I don’t like the quibble about things. But quibble I must and I would direct you to the lume. I know that chronographs rarely come with diver-quality lume so this quibble is more directed toward the entire watch industry rather than Nezumi alone. The lume does not come in generous quantities. Or should I say: it doesn’t occupy significant real estate on the dial. The lume is actually quite bright but it would be easier to read time at night if the markers would have been longer.
The explanation for this is quite logical, actually: a full-fledged chronograph like the Voiture displays a lot of information. And in order to keep the dial visually un-cluttered and functional, the markers had to be made short. I’m not trying to skirt my responsibility to be objective here; I’m just looking at the concept of lume on a chronograph as being generally problematic. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a great lume shot of an Omega Speedmaster.)
You know this feeling when you build high expectations for something and that more often than not you end up feeling disappointed? Or even better still: you have no expectations and you actually get positively surprised? Well, I sit in the middle with the Voiture. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed! Ever since I learned about the Omega Speedmaster many years ago and understood what a full-fledged chronograph looks like—you know, having sub-registers that indicate the running seconds and 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers—I didn’t think I would ever see this in a sub $2,000 timepiece.
With the VM1S, Nezumi managed to inscribe itself on the short register of independent brands that release outstanding collections and that promise to release better ones in the future. This register is short because it takes a certain type of visionary to create such a brand, and it seems that David and his team have been on the right track ever since they founded the brand in 2011. I can’t wait to see what Nezumi will release next. Perhaps a GMT diver, or a pilot’s watch? (I actually have no idea but I’m just hoping.)
For more information, please visit the brand website.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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