Scotland’s contribution to international automotive racing is not to be underestimated; all I need is the evidence of my old Playstation steering wheel, bought specifically for Colin McRae Rally, circa 1998, gathering dust in the corner. Apparently, there’s something north of the border (hopefully not the whisky) that makes racers out of the Scots, from land speed record setter Richard Noble to David Coulthard to the legendary Sir Jackie Stewart. There are worse countries of inspiration for Omologato’s first automatic watch, the Omologato Classic Timer Écosse.
Omologato are… an interesting watch brand. They have possibly one of the strongest identities this side of the big Swiss watchmakers (stronger than some of those in fact) with a racing grid full of automotive inspired timepieces across the aesthetic decades. And there are a lot of them. Traversing ten different collections, there are a host of different references paying homage to cars, racers, and drivers from every type of motorsport. What they don’t include however, is an automatic watch.
Quartz has been the horological name of Omologato’s game, for solid reasons. It makes their watches affordable, it makes them easier to produce and the movements themselves are more reliable than an automatic version. For the kind of collectors their aiming at – collectors who may be coming to the brand from cars, rather than watches – they’ve all been major benefits. But it’s always been a shame to see pieces like the painfully cool, 1970s flavoured Panamericana stick solely to battery power.
However, there’s hope as Omologato have now introduced an automatic movement into their Classic Timer Collection. A series of six eye-catching timepieces each devoted to a different aspect of racing, marking a big step up for the brand. There’s the cool, grey Mille Miglia 722 (named after Sir Stirling Moss’s car that raced the Mille Miglia in 1955 and averaged 98.53mph), the pistaccio green Heritage 75, Maranello ’61 in red and yellow, of course, and The Swimming Pool and Reims in aqua blue and salmon, respectively.
The one we have here however is the Classic Timer Écosse (French for Scotland) and is the most pared-back of the Classic Timer collection. Not that it’s dull; the combination of versatile dark blue reverse panda bi-compax dial, complete with St. Andrew’s Cross at six o’clock is lovely in a typical, racing chronograph sort of fashion. The thing is, it’s not actually a racing chronograph at all.
The white subdial at three o’clock is actually months, while its partner across the way displays days. The date is in a window at six o’clock, meaning that what you would have assumed was a standard racing chrono is instead a complete calendar. The lack of a moon phase (which isn’t strictly necessary for any calendar) might throw some people as much as the layout, but that’s what it is. And I’m here for it. Oh and the monopusher at two o’clock? That’s a quick change for the month.
There are plenty of racing chronographs out there, all with the same tachymeter, and all with the same petrolhead shorthand. Seeing those same aesthetics used for a completely different – and in an everyday way, far more useful – complication is pretty damn cool. It’s hiding in plain sight. This might be Omologato’s first automatic movement, but they’ve definitely hit the ground running with it.
While we’re on it, the specific movement in question is the Miyota 9122, an ever-reliable Japanese number with a 41-hour power reserve. It’s generally not extraordinarily finished, but that doesn’t matter here as the Classic Timer Écosse has a solid caseback, engraved with the Scottish flag and limited-edition number out of 75.
On the wrist there’s not a huge amount to say. At 40mm of stainless steel with a 46mm lug-to-lug measurement, it’s a decent diameter somewhere in the goldilocks zone. It is however a little chunkier than the measurements suggest – not uncomfortably so – but in a way that hammers home its sportier archetype. It feels like you’d expect it to, perforated leather bracelet and all. It’s not something I’d wear to a formal dinner, but fits the bill for everyday wear.
What’s less expected is the price. Omologato have previously danced around the £300 mark for their quartz pieces and could likely have taken the opportunity to shift the goal posts. Instead, this is a complete calendar, nicely executed and with a fun racing twist, for just £600.
While I’d personally prefer to spend that on one of the funkier colours (The Swimming Pool, for example), there’s more than enough to love in the Classic Timer Écosse. It’s also the most wearable of the lot, with its dark blue a chameleonic colour when it comes to matching to your own style. For the money and as a watch in its own right, the Écosse is pretty fantastic. I just won’t be buying it until the Panamericana also has an automatic. I need to protest somehow.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Omologato Classic Timer Écosse
- Ref: CTECO
- Case/dial: 40mm diameter, stainless steel case, sunray Scottish racing blue dial with white highlights, raised hour indexes with superluminova
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: Miyota calibre 9122, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 41h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day of the week, month, date
- Strap: Black Italian rally leather with contrast stitching
- Price/availability: £600, limited to 75 pieces