Originally designed and launched in 2013, Autodromo’s modern classic Prototipo Chronograph draws aesthetic inspiration from vintage racing chronographs of the late ’60s and early ’70s, but with clean, minimalist detailing at every turn. The 42mm wide stainless steel case has gentle curves and integrated lugs, recalling the curved body shapes of the so-called “Prototype” cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s (“Prototipo” is Italian for Prototype).
Among the earliest watches to be powered by an innovative Seiko hybrid quartz chronograph movement (also known as a meca-quartz), the Prototipo features a 1/5 second sweep hand and instant chronograph reset thanks to internal mechanical linkages shared with Seiko’s celebrated in-house automatic movements. Encircling the dial are both a Tachymeter scale to calculate average speed and a Pulsometer scale to calculate heart rate. At 6 o’clock is a date window that is at once easy to read, yet unobtrusive.
In the days before digital timing, everyone from hobbyists to professional drivers timed their laps with analog stopwatches and wrist-worn chronographs. The watch was more than an accessory – it was an all-important tool for the serious racer. The 1960s and 1970s produced some of the most iconic cars and legendary drivers, and the Autodromo Prototipo pays homage to the watches worn by the greats in the cockpit during this golden age.
The Protoype Era in racing was a time when legendary drivers competed in equally legendary machines. Fast, colorful and dangerous, Prototype cars ushered in the modern technological age of endurance racing, and wrote the final chapter in the long tradition of open road racing in Europe.
Note to collectors: This latest re-issue of the Prototipo has flathead caseback screws, replacing the hex screws of the original series.