Autodromo Pays Homage to Bloodiest Era in Rally Racing

Latest timepiece from our favorite racing-themed watchmaker recalls the glory of Group B.

Autodromo

In the brief and glorious life of Group B rally racing, death and mayhem chased innovation. Scores of drivers and spectators were killed, many more were maimed. The machines were fast-evolving, thin-skinned and high on horsepower, outpacing the drivers’ physical limitations. From 1982 to 1986, the Group B Era, speed and mortality were intimately linked.

Sure, there was lots of carnage, but this was also one of the most fascinating times in motorsport. The same vague rules that made the cars so damn fast also made the action riveting. What’s all that have to do with a watch? I’m not sure, but I applaud Autodromo, the racing-themed accessories maker, for building a timepiece—called, fittingly, Group B—that at least tries to capture the ambition of mid-Eighties rally.

The movement is a Miyota 9015, the casing a bimetallic construction, meant to pay homage to the advanced materials used in Group B cars. It’s made mostly of titanium, with a flash of stainless steel. The finished product, capped with a sapphire crystal and a gray and black nylon strap, results in a watch that weighs just 52 grams—the lightest in Autodromo’s portfolio. The face is simple, a chrono inspired by racing tachometers, and it’s equipped with a self-winding mechanism—a nod to the “space-age” technology in Group B racing. And, at $925, it’s a lot cheaper than a real piece of the turbocharged rock.