From his atelier in the rather unusual ‘canton’ of Barcelona comes AHCI member and master watchmaker Aniceto Jiménez Pita to present what would be one of the most talked about – favourably – pieces at the Baselworld show.
Immediately the Pita Roadster arrests the eye. It has been designed from scratch and themed with the sports car dashboard as it’s primary influence and everywhere there are suggestions of this. Yet what is it about it ? It’s somehow different; not ‘normal’. The case seems bereft of a crown or pushers, yet the dial can only be that of a chronograph, but even that doesn’t make sense at first glance.
Of course once the eye has had a chance to take in all before it, it doesn’t take too long to see why Pita’s interpretation of the chronograph has confused at first. Everything is there alright, except that the red chronograph indicators have been seated upside down, and that instead of centering back to rest pointing upwards at the 12 o’clock position which is typical of the chronograph, the seconds, minutes and hour indicators reset to point straight down to a zero – which is much more typical of the needles you’d find displaying the RPM and speed on the dashboard of a sports car!
Set against the near black dial with lumed white detail, the contrasting red printed chronograph ‘subdials’ too appear misleading as their numerals do not make a full circle and on top of that, the minutes aren’t marked out in the traditional 5, 10, 15 minute format, opting instead for a wacky 0, 30, 60, 90… up to a baffling 210 which is only three quarters of the way around the minutes subdial. The hours too are set out in even numerals only, hitting their peak at 8, but both hands do go on round, beyond their ‘limits’ to reach and pass the zero before setting off once more.
Again, it takes a moment to make sense of these peculiar markings, as in reality the aforementioned 30, 60, and 90 equate to 3, 6 and 9 minutes, up to and through to an unmarked 30, a complete revolution taking 30 minutes, with the same principle applying for the 12 hour chrono counter. It is really effective idea which works well, and sacrifices none of the automotive influence, instead making the observer have to do a little mental legwork.
Elsewhere on the dial, the hour and minutes hands are lightweight semi solid with luminous tips, the constant seconds take the form of a disc on which the numerals pass in a trip meter or odometer fashion into and out of sight through a curved window just off the 5 o’clock position. Nearby the date window completes the layout.
The Pita Roadster’s sports car theme is further in evidence away from the dial too with the use of the superleggera (sorry, couldn’t resist) aluminium-lithium alloy for the 44mm case, which features assymetric lugs for comfort and ease of reference and which also houses the hidden crown and chronograph pushers in bullhead fashion beneath the raked upper portion of the case. The push in crown sits flush with the lines of the case at the 12 o’clock position and on either side of it, the pushers are designed to evoke the look and feel of a car’s foot pedals.
With the case coming in at a mere 17 grams its lightest variant has a solid caseback, although a transparent sapphire crystal option is available – in fact come to think about it, Aniceto Jiménez Pita will happily customise the Roadster to the clients instruction, offering a multitude of metal options to form the case and a probably limitless choice of colour for the dial and detail.
Using a modified Valgranges movement instead of an in-house manufacture option, Pita has also managed to squeeze another alluring aspect to the Roadster chronograph, and that is in the cost to the customer. With pricing starting out at €3,195 for the standard piece, of which only 99 examples will be produced each year, the Pita Roadster chronograph represents the exclusivity of a true AHCI talent at an unusually accessible entry point.
¡Olé! Señor Pita.