What do you get by putting the love of Italian Motorsport and Swiss Watchmaking together? The Meccaniche Veloci QuattroValvole Nardi Edition fits quite nicely in the middle of them both.
The timepiece has evolved from a partnership between Meccaniche Velochi, a Swiss watchmaking company with Italian roots and Nardi, the well known Italian manufacturer of traditional steering wheels.
The passion that the two brands share for the world of beautiful vehicles, as well as attention to detail is apparent, both drawing from their Italian roots, Meccaniche Veloci – Genève and Nardi Personal have a joint philosophy – to produce high-quality creations through the use of select materials, specific production processes and unique style and design.
Cesare Cerrito, CEO of Meccaniche Veloci – Genève, explains the story behind the idea of the Limited Edition timepiece:
The engineer Enrico Nardi was an extraordinary character, one of the men who made automotive history in Italy together with personalities of the calibre of Carlo Abarth, Vincenzo and Gianni Lancia, and Enzo Ferrari. The racing car driver, trainer and designer of everything car-related first became a test pilot for Ferrari in the 1940s, then Enzo Ferrari’s right hand man. For Ferrari, in the late 1950s he designed and produced his first steering wheel made of precious wood. Ever since, Nardi steering wheels have been fitted in the fastest, most beautiful and victorious vehicles in the motor racing world, including the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO. It is a great privilege for me to tell the story of this brand, which remains truly extraordinary to this day, through our watches. We share its entirely Italian passion for finding beauty in functional things, as well, of course, as its roots in the extraordinary world of engines.”
Face & case
At 49mm, the titanium case appears fairly large; the shape clearly inspired by the design of a piston.
The side of the case has a narrow, dark, hardwood insert around it, very similar to mahogany in appearance; with beautiful veinings – the choice of wood has great resistance, also a reason Nardi used hard wood in many of his steering wheel designs.
Beneath the sapphire crystal, 4 small dials peer out from an opaque surface with a delicate diagonal guilloché weave; one dial in each corner, splitting the face both horizontally and vertically. The dials are all surrounded with light blue edges (in tribute to Nardi’s colours) with white minute markers. Each of the four dials has a substantial crown positioned adjacent to it, allowing each of the 4 time zones to be individually adjusted. The date can be seen through a circular aperture within the top right dial.
All the hour and minute hands are coated with SuperLuminova and the seconds function is fulfilled by the small red hand at the bottom right of the dial.
The two brands’ logos appear together in the centre and the words “Italian Design” sit at 12 o’clock and “Swiss Made” at 6 o’clock, further strengthening the concept of the collaboration between Mecchaniche Veloci and Nardi.
Just as much thought seems to have gone into the caseback. It is solid looking, with a few industrial looking black fixing bolts and various engravings around the rim. The centre is what you really notice though – the rotor appears to be a very familiar alloy wheel design within the MV Rotor Logo and the heart of the timepiece.
One of the engravings on the back states the watch is water resistant to 5ATM, which is around 50m deep, safely allowing you to wear in the shower, or splash about in the pool (if you wanted to).
The movement is a mechanical, unidirectional self-winding caliber, which is made in-house (MV8802) and features the incabloc shock protection system.
Consisting of 328 parts, including 33 jewels, the watch runs at a frequency of 28,800 oscillations per hour.
You should expect around 48 hours of power reserve once fully wound.
Made from black leather, with light blue/green stitching, the strap has been created to resemble the spokes of a steering wheel, with long apertures down the centre.
The strap of the QuattroValvole Nardi, attaches directly into the case via an ingenious system that does not require lugs or fiddly spring bars.
The strap is fixed with a steel folding clasp, which has the MV cog logo embossed onto the centre.
Nardi-Personal SpA was founded in Turin in 1921 by Enrico Nardi and over the years the manufacturers brands have been chosen by the biggest names in the automotive industry such as Ferrari, Lancia, Audi, Maserati, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Lotus, TVR, McLaren, Volkswagen, Abarth and BMW.
Created for racing cars, Nardi steering wheels were later used on Gran Turismos and high-end vehicles, bringing all the advantages of racing cars such as lightness, durability and simplicity.
Nardi steering wheels are still available today, for brands and owners who aim to showcase that their cars are both technically perfect, as well as highly elegant.
I have to be honest, when I first saw the Mecchaniche Veloci series in person, I thought they were just too big and cumbersome looking, but once I put it on, it fitted so well, was well weighted and didn’t really feel as awkward as it looks.
It is a very unique looking design with the location of the sub dials at the 4 corners and the fact I’m a bit of a car nut, meant the motor heritage link with Nardi meant I was immediately a fan.
The Meccaniche Veloci QuattroValvoli Nardi Edition will be limited to 50 pieces, which is a bit of a shame really, as at only €11,000 each, it seems a bit of a steal for an Italian designed Swiss watch.
I suppose those that manage to get their hands on one, will always have a conversation starter when wearing one!!