With a name like Sonomaster Black Thunder, it feels only appropriate that I give you a few moments to go and put on some AC/DC before you continue reading. With the music and atmosphere set, let’s get into it. This is the latest version of Reservoir’s bi-retrograde chronograph, inspired by the instrument panels on vintage VU meters from analogue stereo amplifiers.
The Sonomaster collection is entirely new for 2022, first introduced in April, and the new Black Thunder edition has the same core structure. A 43mm diameter stainless steel case provides a wide area for the signature bi-retrograde counters and vertically stacked bicompax chronograph subdials. However, the new version has a black PVD coating, making it a lot darker than its forebears. That’s because Black Thunder is a rock and roll watch and decade upon decade black has proven to be the ultimate rock colour.
That’s also true of the Sonomaster’s dial, which features tone-on-tone subdials and retrograde displays, all in black. It makes the bright white numerals and hands stand out, as well as emphasising the vivid red accents. While the previous editions leaned more heavily into the vintage instrument vibe with sepia/white colours, I like the intense attitude of the all-black design. It almost gives the piece a Flieger aesthetic like the IWC Mark Series, albeit one with a busier dial than normal.
Although, calling the Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder dial busy is perhaps a small disservice. There is a lot of information to be sure, but it’s all displayed clearly in an easily legible fashion. The most exotic features are the retrograde counters for the seconds and date. A retrograde counter functions in the same manner as any other scale except for the fact that instead of being circular, it’s linear and the hand hops back to the start when it reaches the end – creating the impression of the moving needle on an amp.
Bringing the bass is the manufacture Calibre RSV-Bi120, a great movement with a 60-hour power reserve. Pretty impressive considering the novelty of a bi-retrograde display on top of powering a conventional chronograph.
The Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder is available for £5,300, the same price as the models that came earlier this year. While this watch might not be ‘back’ in black, its arrival is just as notable and it will certainly leave many collectors thunderstruck at its characterful design. And with those puns out of my system, I’ll let the music play me out.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph Black Thunder
- Ref: RSV04.SN/136.BT
- Case/dial: 43mm diameter, PVD black stainless steel case, black dial
- Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
- Movement: Swiss Made calibre RSV-Bi120, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 60h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, bi-retrograde date
- Strap: Black leather with black stitching and stainless steel butterfly folding clasp
- Price/availability: £5,300