When you really want to make a point that you like cars
Introducing the Lorenz Gran Premio
I like cars. I like watches. I like both. I like car-themed watches but I don't necessarily need a watch to be car-themed to love it. And that's why I still haven't decided what I think of the Lorenz Gran Premio. And I guess I'm writing about it because I'm interested to know what you think.
Lorenz was founded in Milan in 1934 by an Italian watch maker called Tullio Bolletta. Mr Bolletta wanted to create a timepiece that would take the best Italian design and combine it with Swiss watch making.
Obviously, Lorenz had to adapt and follow the market over the years, which is why these days some of the watches they produce are powered by Japanese movements, including the Gran Premio line-up, which consists of 23 timepieces and there's a bit of everything for everyone. Some of them are quartz, other watches are automatic, most are chronographs and they all come in cool boxes, including one that's shaped like a helmet.
With the Gran Premio, you get all the usual elements that naturally spring to mind whenever you put the words "cars", "watches" and "racing" in the same sentence. Checkered and/or carbon fibre patterns, red, blue and racing yellow accents, perforated leather straps, chronograph function and tacyhmeter and so and so forth. If I had to pick one, I'd go for the Ref. 030211DD automatic, ditch the rubber strap and replace it with a perforated leather strap or a Nato.
Unfortunately, I haven't had any personal experience with any of these watches and while I do own a Lorenz, it is a very old chronograph from the 1970s so I'm not sure it can compare, for better or worse, with a modern Lorenz. Mind you, I believe I can at least give you a proper preview of what you can expect if you buy one.
First of all, prices in the Gran Premio collection range from €200-249 (£179-225), which is not unreasonable but let's take a look at what you're getting for that money. They're all powered by Japanese movements. You get a Miyota movement in the quartz pieces, and a Seiko NH35 movement in the automatic variants. Now, these movements are solid and reliable, but while €229/249 (rubber strap/stainless steel bracelet) for a Seiko-powered watch sounds okay(ish), 200 euros for a quartz Miyota is leaning toward the expensive side of things.
Water resistance is 50 mt in the quartz chronographs and 100 mt in the automatic models BUT, and this is bad news in my book, all of these pieces, all of them, only come with mineral crystal, which is not scratch resistant. You could do better. But then you could also do worse.
*60% of the manufacturing costs and the essential manufacturing step must occur in Switzerland.