Today we are gonna talk about a cool new watch out of Russia, and no it isn’t a Vostok or anything like that, this one is really special and looks, killer! The company is called PaceMasters which is based in Russia (Moscow) and founded by Evgeny Cherdantsev. He is a fan of motorsport and a watch enthusiast from Moscow who has built up a small team of a watch and car designers from New York, Berlin, Istanbul, and Zurich, who draw inspiration from motorsports and Formula 1. I actually got to meet him in January and we had a nice talk about watches and I learned many new things about how hard is building a watch company and making a watch with your own design which isn’t just taken from factory catalogue. Making a watch and launching from Kickstarter sounds like not a big deal, but we don’t usually know the things behind the brand before it launches. Evgeny told me that the prototype order process is very hard as he wants the watch perfect and each time a prototype was ordered there were some small things that needed to be changed for the watch to work right or look better! So if you will get this watch in the future when they ship out, you will know that it is perfect and won’t have any issues! The project is already funded on Kickstarter with 72 backers who pledged more than 24000$! And they also launched the same watch on Indiegogo and right now they are also fully backed and have 26 days left (at the time of writing this article). I just can’t wait to see the final watch in flesh, hopefully, I will get my hands on a finished watch and see how it will compare to the prototype that we have here and right now you can pre-order them for 40% off retail price through Indiegogo. Evgeny has dedicated everything for this to become a reality and is really passionate about this project!
The Paddock Chronograph is the first timepiece from the racing-inspired collection of PaceMasters. The Paddock name comes from the limited access enclosed area on the racing circuit behind the pits in which the teams keep their motorhomes and where all the behind-the-curtains racing life happens. There is no public admission to this area and one should have a special Paddock Club Admission to get there, which makes the Paddock Chronograph feel like a privileged pass to the world of racing. When I got to meet Evgeny he took all the models with himself as you can see in the pictures that I took when we met. And my first impressions were wow! They already looked good from the pictures I saw on their Instagram, but it looks even better in real life. The shape of the case kind of reminds me of Hublot/Tag-Heuer. The watches are inspired by F1 and you can really see that with that carbon part of the dial and with other small and very cool details that are taken from F1 racing. Anycase Evgeny is very transparent about his company and gives you a very detailed insight into how this watch came to reality from the thought, sketch, prototypes to the final product! You can read his blog here: pace-masters.com/blog
As this is a prototype there won’t be a box or anything like that. But I can be sure that the unboxing experience will be just as fun as the watch. The Paddock Chronograph comes in three versions: Classic steel (stainless steel case), Gunmetal (matte black/grey coated case) and the variant we have here the Black PVD (black PVD coated case with acid yellow tachymeter scale symbols on the bezel). From all the variants I think the one we have here is the most exciting one, and I usually don’t like PVD coated watches as you all know. Before we begin, I must remind you again that this is a prototype and there can be seen some imperfections and as it was tested so much, it also has some wear.
The case of the Paddock Chronograph is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well machined with very sharp and distinctive lines. The case is coated in black PVD coating which is very well applied and seems pretty tough to resist knocks and scratching. The whole case has brushed finishing except the bezel and case edge which has polished finishing. The finishing is also done to the highest level. The case shape is this kind of barrel-shaped case with almost hidden lugs. On the case, there are a lot of nice details and lines. The case width is 42mm (46mm with crown), the thickness is 12,5mm and lengthwise it measures at 48mm. On paper, it could seem big, but in real life, it wears and looks like 40mm case watch and that is due to that case shape. At 3 o’clock we have screw in crown. The crown has a black PVD coated grip and a very nice deeply engraved PaceMasters logo. The crown is very grippy and easy to operate. Also on that side, we have two chronograph pushers which are integrated with the design of the case and they look very cool. I like when companies give attention to design details as some just don’t bother and put pump pushers. I like that the top pusher has that acid yellow writing on the side with text “Start” which is for starting the chronograph. The reset pusher has no writing but has these line engraved for extra grip I guess. As the watch has that meca-quartz movement, the pushers feel very mechanical, especially with this design! Around the dial, we have a tachymeter scale fixed bezel with acid yellow text and symbols. The solid screw-on case back is made of stainless steel and has no coating. The case back has a nice engraving of the PaceMasters logo and some specifications. The water resistance is 100m (10ATM) which is more than enough for a chronograph which you won’t take swimming anyways.
Now the dial is what stunned me the most, there is so much detail, but it is done very well that it doesn’t look cluttered and you can tell time and everything very easily by just looking at it. The first thing is that the dial has many layers (6 in total) and has that very deep look. Around the dial, we have a slanted chapter ring with 60-minute markings in red, blue and acid yellow with another node to motorsport with that “Pole” writing on it referencing to pole position. The second ring is kind of another reference to motorsport with the sectors just like on the racetrack you have sectors. Sector marks are dividing chapter ring into three timing zones, each having its own colour just like a real race circuit scheme. Then we have a 0,4mm real carbon fibre layer which gives the dial really nice look! Then we have a three vertical aligned subdial for the chronograph functions except the one at 6 which is constantly running seconds dial. The subdial at 9 o’clock has a nice chapter ring with a red hand tip. The applied hour markers are in Arabic and they look like they almost float in the air. At 3 o’clock we have a date window with a cool frame over it. The frame is in acid yellow and shows “Laps To Go”. I really like these cool details and references to motorsport and they are done really right! I also like that the date wheel matches the dial colour and the date markings are printed in the same acid yellow colour too. The PaceMasters logo is applied just next to the date window. The partially skeletonized gunmetal hands are bold and pretty visible despite them being in almost the same colour. The hands are lumed, just like the hour markers and subdial hand at 9 o’clock. The second’s hand is in acid yellow. Over the dial, we have a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal.
I have seen a lot of modern racing-inspired watches from many microbrands and even brands like Tag-Heuer and other higher end brand and most of them do it just wrong. Other companies just use the same colour schemes like the Martini or Gulf livery colours and they all are overplayed, but Paddock Chronograph brings something new and unique in my opinion and it is designed very well, each detail is thought out!
The movement driving this watch forward is the widely used Seiko TMI VK67 Meca-quartz movement. That means it has the sweeping seconds hand for the chronograph and it resets back fast. The movement is very widely used in many microbrand chronographs as it has proven its reliability and it works very well in any conditions. I have it in almost all quartz watches I have in my collection and it never let me down! The battery life on these is around 2-3 years.
The strap that goes on this Paddock Chronograph is first in my review writing history. This is real Alcantara strap that is from Italy. Yes, they have their own Italian supplier who delivers them, Alcantara and as Evgeny told me, that was again very difficult to achieve. He was inspired by the Porsche 911 GTS for the Alcantara and that acid yellow stitching. The Alcantara is very soft and great to touch. The strap has this integrated strap design, but you can easily get any 22mm strap there. The stitching is also done pretty good can’t see any loose threads. The underside is lined with a brown and very soft leather which makes the daily wearing very comfortable. The whole strap is very supple so it will wrap your wrist nicely from the first time. with strap, you will also get a butterfly deployment clasp also in the same black PVD coating. The clasp is actually really good, it isn’t flimsy and doesn’t rattle like the cheap ones do. On the top, we have the PaceMasters logo engraved.
Overall I really like this watch! As Evgeny told me he is tired of the same old designs of modern racing watches that many brands come up with and so he wanted to make something unique and new, and I can agree to that. The microbrand market is really full of vintage-inspired racing watches and if there are some modern racing watches, they either are really ugly or cost too much for what they are. This watch really bring a lot of things to the table when it comes to design and quality! This watch really feels like it costs 2-3 times more than the price of it is! So the retail price will be: 449$ which is a steal in my opinion, but right now you can preorder it for just 269$ which is very cheap and I highly suggest you get one if you like it!