Quartz chronograph watches, especially those with a mecha-quartz movement, are becoming one of the most popular type of watches for budget-conscious buyers. Bridging the gap between quartz and mechanical movements, mecha-quartz chronographs are aiming to please all comers.
The Nezumi Voiture has quickly become of the prevailing underground favorites among quartz chronograph microbrand releases. On the surface the Voiture looks great with original styling in a Goldilocks size. Is the Voiture one of the better buys for your next quartz chronograph purchase? Let’s find out.
A Hybrid Movement
For those unfamiliar with a mecha-quartz chronograph movement, get ready to geek out for a minute. A standard quartz chronograph is entirely powered by the quartz crystal inside the movement. To oversimplify it, there is nothing mechanical moving inside the watch in order to drive the timekeeping and chronograph functions. When the chronograph is started on a quartz chronograph, the chronograph hand will tick one time per second, like the seconds hand on a standard quartz movement. When the chronograph hands are reset, they often sweep around the dial until all the registers are back in the 0 position.
A mecha-quartz movement adds an element which is entirely mechanical. The timekeeping on a mecha-quartz is still powered by the quartz crystal; it is the chronograph function that changes in this type of movement. A mechanical component is mounted on top of the quartz movement and provides full mechanical functionality for the chronograph complication.
All of the things enthusiasts love about a mechanical movement are present in the mecha part of a mecha-quartz chronograph. The chronograph hand will smoothly sweep around the dial and when reset, all the hands will quickly snap back to the 0 position. The pushers for the chronograph complication on a mecha-quartz movement will also feel different than their full quartz brothers. Because there is a real mechanical function being actuated by the pushers, there is solid feedback from the pushers. This technology truly blends quartz and mechanical functionality into a watch without breaking the bank.
If you head to Nezumi’s website, you will see that they are called Nezumi Studios, giving the indication that there may be some design talent behind the brand. Your assumption would be correct as the founder has a heavy background in fashion and that background shines through beautifully in the Voiture.
There is a lot to take in on the Nezumi Voiture, in a good way. The Voiture is beautifully designed and remains legible at all times while still looking beautiful. The mustard, black, and off-white dial seemed an odd choice to me, but after spending some time with the Voiture, the color scheme started to make sense and quickly grew on me. The Voiture’s design is meant to bring back the color schemes of the 1970s and vintage car aesthetics and does so perfectly. The sub-dials remind me of an instrument cluster on a classic car and the colors make me think of the deep, earthy colors used in leather interiors on those cars.
The off-white subdials are contrasted with matte black hands and markers, aiding in legibility. The running seconds at 9 o’clock and 24-hour time at 3 o’clock are outlined by matte black boxes that point toward the middle of the dial. This splits the dial up into quarters and maintains a beautiful symmetry on the watch. Printed text and Nezumi’s logo are present at 12 o’clock. The chronograph’s minute totalizer is the sub-dial at 6 o’clock.
The mustard dial is outlined by a black chapter ring that slightly fades away when not needed thanks to the black tachymeter bezel. The markers on the Voiture are all applied and are filled with Super Lumi-Nova. As I said before, there is a lot happening on the dial but it doesn’t feel busy or overcrowded. All the elements of the dial work together seamlessly.
My one gripe on the face of the watch concerns the hour and minute hands. I love the style; the baton hands are filled with lume and highly polished, but they are too skinny for my taste. I found that the hands would almost disappear at certain angles and lighting conditions, making it hard to tell the time at a quick glance. With that said, it is not a huge issue, but I do wish the hands were slightly more prominent. The chronograph hand is beautifully designed with Nezumi’s logo as the counterbalance. I’m a sucker for a good counterbalance and the one presented on the Voiture is perfect.
Case & Crystal
The double-domed sapphire crystal on the Voiture is one of my favorite parts of the watch’s design. The crystal protrudes about 1-2mm above the bezel and has a heavy-handed bevel. Think a Seiko bevel times 2. Not only does this bevel create some interesting effects on the dial at various angles, but it also flows perfectly into the slope of the tachymeter bezel.
The matte black bezel is marked with matching mustard-color numerals to create the tachymeter scale. The bezel is outlined with a polished ring that overhangs the case. The bezel has a gap between it and the case. If you have ever seen the Omega Speedmaster from the side, you will recognize a similar design element.
The sides of the case are brushed and the top of the twisted-lyre lugs are polished, also reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster’s lugs. This is one of my favorite lug styles and I wish it were used more frequently on other vintage-inspired watches. The non-screwdown crown is signed with the Nezumi logo. The pushers and crown are all polished. The screw-in caseback is stamped with Nezumi’s logo, name, and motto.
Proportions need to be balanced well, especially with chronographs. Most fully mechanical chronographs are thick due to the internals. This is where a mecha-quartz movement can save the day. The Voiture is 40mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug and only 11.5mm in height. Combined with a 20mm lug width, the Voiture is very close to being the Goldilocks size for most wearers.
The lugs slope down and hug the wrist so the Voiture feels a tad smaller than the 47mm lug-to-lug distance would suggest. It hugs the wrist and is comfortable to wear.
Either a brown or a black leather rally strap will accompany the Voiture. The straps are thin, flexible, well made and compliment the colors on the Voiture nicely.
Fitted with the Seiko VK63 mecha-quartz hybrid movement, there is little to worry about when operating the Voiture. Because of the quartz timekeeping function of the movement, this is a great grab-andgo watch. There is a ghost click for a non-visible date function, but it shouldn’t pose a problem. The pushers feel great to use and provide that tactile feedback mechanical chronograph users will be familiar with. The hands reset quicker than you can see, and all align perfectly.
With more consumers clamoring for affordable watches, mecha-quartz chronographs are becoming more popular every day. At the time of this writing, I am currently reviewing 2 other quartz chronograph watches. They offer a great compromise for those who want a mechanical watch with the convenience of quartz timekeeping. They will also cost significantly less than their fully mechanical counterparts.
The Nezumi Voiture is one of the stronger offerings in the mecha-quartz chronograph space. It is beautifully designed with a high attention to detail not often seen at this price point. There is very little to snub your nose at and it could easily be a great conversation piece among your watch friends. I haven’t seen too many of these out in the wild but considering Nezumi’s great value proposition and the increasing popularity of mecha-quartz chronographs, I think that is soon to change.
|Lug-to-lug Height||47mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Crystal||Flat Sapphire||Strap||Leather Strap|
|Water Resistance||50 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova®|
More Images of the Nezumi Voiture
Check out the Nezumi website