Hands-On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the BRM Chronographes V12 Martini Racing.
This detailed review of the BRM Chronographes V12 Martini Racing includes live pictures, specification and pricing.
Martini, the Italian maker of vermouth, has always aligned itself with the motorsport industry. The company’s livery has graced high performance cars since the 1970s when the glamorous firm participated at Le Mans with Porsche. In the 1980s the blue and red stripes graced Lancia rally cars and, later, the Martini moniker took pride of place on touring cars during the 1990s. Today, the name Martini can be seen on the side of the Williams F1 car.
BRM Chronographes is a French company which has close ties with motorsport, sponsoring championships and drivers alike. It crafts timepieces in its atelier near Paris, making its own cases, hands, push-pieces and pin buckles. The movements powering the watches are constructed in France or Switzerland.
Recently, BRM Chronographes unveiled the V12 Martini Racing, a new timepiece sporting the Martini Racing stripe and brimming with motorsport DNA.
BRM Chronographes offer the V12 Martini Racing with a choice of two dials, white or navy blue. My press loan was the latter variant and looked resplendent on my wrist.
Initially, I felt the display was rather ‘busy’, but I soon became accustomed to the topography of the dialscape. The red and pale blue stripes of Martini Racing span the dial from north to south and grab attention with their overt character. The Martini and BRM logos sit centre stage and promise a heady cocktail of performance.
The perforated hands eschew surplus material with their drilled profiles, proffering lightweight characteristics. The hands are broad and communicate the prevailing time effortlessly.
The dial vista features a tri-compax layout, a date display and bold two digit minute markers. At 3 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph register, a 12-hour chronograph register is located at 6 o’clock, while a small seconds display is positioned at 9 o’clock.
While I appreciated the aesthetic appearance of the navy blue dial, I would probably favour the white dial which appears crisper and cleaner.
BRM Chronographes expends much effort crafting the cases of its watches and this soon becomes apparent when cradling one of its timepieces. The lugs affix to the case with screws, while the bezel features a drilled motif along its form. There is a palpable sense of quality with the case construction.
The case is substantial in size measuring a not inconsequential 44mm in diameter. This may alienate some potential purchasers but, personally, the dimensions did not present a problem to me.
Both the push-pieces and crown feature a series of drilled holes, reinforcing the perception of low mass. The crown features the Martini Racing branding on its vertical flank and looks most attractive.
The blue perforated leather strap incorporates a contrasting blue cross-stitch with red accents. The pin buckle is made in-house and, once again, includes drilled sections.
Gracing the dorsal flank of the case is a pane of sapphire crystal granting sight of the Swiss movement within.
The BRM Chronographes V12 Martini Racing contains the calibre ETA 7753. The movement is a proven chronograph, famed for its robustness and reliability. Moreover, the movement is simple to service and repair, a fact reflected with modest maintenance costs.
The movement within this particular watch lacked the sumptuous finishing which engenders smiles of appreciation to appear on my face. The oscillating mass was plain, the bridges lacked Côtes de Genève motif and there was a notable absence of blued screws. It is a shame about these omissions as much effort has clearly been expended on the case, hands and push-pieces.
All too often large corporations align themselves to other similarly sized companies. It is pleasing to see Martini Racing working with a comparatively small watch company, BRM Chronographes.
The French watchmaking concern has produced an interesting timepiece. The dial differs from many other watches on sale today. While initially it looks cluttered it soon proves to be simple to read, lucidly communicating its various indications.
The large hour markers at 4, 8 and 12 o’clock evoke thoughts of racing cars with their prominent numbering. The perforated hands, case, lugs, push-pieces and pin buckle collaborate together, eliciting the notion of low-mass and race-preparedness.
I was disappointed that the movement finishing had not received the same care and attention as the hands, case etc. I hope that future models incorporate some of the heart-warming finishing I hold so dear.
Overall, this is a fascinating watch which is likely to attract the attention of petrol-heads eager to capture some of the passion of wheel to wheel competition. With only 150 examples of each dial configuration, I suspect the BRM Chronographes V12 Martini Racing will readily sell-out therefore would-be buyers should be quick off the mark.
Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44 mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
Movement: ETA 7753; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz)
Strap: Perforated leather strap with pin buckle
Price: £7,200 (RRP as at 21.8.2017)
I would like to thank Jura Watches for kindly providing access to this remarkable timepiece.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.