For Bonneville Speed Week, SevenFriday is launching a limited-edition watch decorated with details that recall some of the iconic parts of hot rod cars. The SevenFriday P3C/01 Hot Rod watch stands out in a crowded field of car- and racing-inspired watches due to a combination of good design and the fact that a SevenFriday watch is going to stand out from the crowd anyway.
My favorite racing is Bonneville. No TV, no corporate sponsors, no spectators, home-built cars, and the only objective is speed. SevenFriday’s partnership with a hod rodder out to break a world speed record resonates with me in all the right ways.
The SevenFriday P3C/01 Hot Rod is limited to 450 pieces worldwide, 150 of which will be sold in the United States. The minute hand is mounted on a wire wheel rim, and the seconds subdial is a disc mounted on a frame inspired by the wire rim wheel of a Hot Rod car. The rest of the dial references an early radiator grille, and the side of the case is grooved with lines that look to me like the fins on a flathead V8 cylinder head. They call this grooved rubber side case and crown guard an “animation ring.” The crown also bears a wire wheel on its end to complete the theme. The case is the familiar 47mm-wide body that you’ll find in other P-series watches.
The back of the SevenFriday P3C/01 Hot Rod denotes where the watch was designed and where the parts are sourced from, and encourages the owner to visit the SevenFriday website. The watch also has an NFC (near-field communication) chip in it which can be programmed with the owner’s information using SevenFriday’s smartphone app. Over time, SevenFriday expects to introduce other features to the owner for registering the watch.
The “engine” from Japan mentioned on the caseback is the Miyota 82S5. It operates at 21,600vph and has a power reserve of 40 hours. It’s a no fuss, but quality movement that will do the job. Remember, SevenFriday occupies a tricky price point in the low-$1,000s area. It’s loudly obvious but maybe deserves repeating that it’s a design-oriented brand, and to keep the price where it is, you might have to make a (perceived, to be fair) sacrifice with the movement.
SevenFriday’s founder, Daniel Niederer, was a little tired of the typically stuffy and rigid way the watch business approached layout, in addition to how it marketed watches. A former luxury watch distributor, Niederer shared with me that he sensed some of the watch industry’s margins on their goods were out of line with production expenses, as well as consumer expectations. He also hated how the manufacturers he helped sell were stuck (literally) the same old designs and marketing practices. Seeing tons of space for change and advancement, for Daniel, the only solution was take action himself.Starting SevenFriday–since it is to start any new company–was a bet. SevenFriday noticed that lots of the traditional Swiss watch manufacturers had totally abandoned this price segment, which makes it available for others, such as the Japanese to enter. The Japanese did enter it, but many of the high-end (but not the highest-end) Japanese watches have been strangely designed, despite being of a high quality and a fantastic value for its money.SevenFriday for a watch company was actually about having an experiment of if one could successfully combine the efficiency of Japanese movements and Asian manufacturing together with the refinement of European design. With such a polarizing industrial look, the debut SevenFriday collection might have been a success or a total failure. What SevenFriday was intent on doing was combining a traditional wholesale business model together with the ability for customers to purchase directly from the brand online.
To launch the SevenFriday P3C/01 Hot Rod watch, SevenFriday is joining Speed Week with a heavily modified Hot Rod, looking to break a speed world record. Håkan Karlen, an experienced speed racer, will be driving the car and hopefully will bring home a new world record for SevenFriday. Price is $1,350.sevenfriday.com