Baselworld 2014: Pita Barcelona Introduces The Roadster - A Chronograph With An Edgy Look
Watches are probably what doesn’t come to mind when you think about Spain, yet an very extraordinary watch brand calls it home. Pita Barcelona was founded by master-watchmaker Aniceto Jiménez Pita, who became a candidate member of AHCI in 2004 and was accepted as a full member in 2006. Pita’s style isn’t about overly complicated watches: the focus is more on pure ingenuity, something that one might consider even more difficult to accomplish. He has developed smart and very useful mechanisms over the years like the Pita-TSM (Time Setting Mechanism), a patented system that allows the winding and setting of the watch by rotating the back of the watch, thus removing the need for a crown. This year Pita brings us the Roadster, a unusual chronograph that, on looks alone, is clearly inspired by the world of racing.
A bold, black dial with red accents draws you into the world of high speed cars tuned to perfection. Legibility is ensured by featuring all the numbers and time indicators in white, with red accenting their function. What is unusual here is that all the chronograph functions start running from a six o’clock position. This really coheres with the idea that you are looking at the dashboard of a high performance sports car with it’s meters revving up when taking off. To not confuse the functions, the running seconds are displayed by a disc which is partially visible between five and six o’clock and features the seconds in two second increments.
Pita crafts the case of the Roadster from an Aluminum-Lithium alloy. As a result, the 44mm large, and 13mm thick, case weighs only 17 grams, while at the same time being much stronger than a steel counterpart would be. Of course the use of this exotic alloy also emphasises that Pita doesn’t only want to connect his watch to the world of racing, but also to live it. To strengthen this association even more is the fact that the watch is a “bull head” chronograph. This means that the crown and chronograph pushers are located at the top of the watch, creating a resemblance of a bull. Only….the roadster doesn’t look like a bull. This is because Pita has recessed the crown into the case and also integrated the chronograph pushers in the case, letting them follow the curve of the case. With a width of 12mm, the pushers are generously sized, allowing for easy operation, enhanced by the grooves incorporated in the pushers, resembling the pedals of a high end sports car. The asymmetric lugs of the case ensure wearing comfort, so that when you are enjoying your Roadster in a high end sports car, it will stay secure around your wrist, not matter how fast you go into that turn.
The Roadster is powered by a modified Valgrange movement. This automatic movement might not be an exclusive manufacture movement, but it does give Pita a strong and reliable base on which he can work his magic. Also, the use of this movement reflects very positively on the price Pita is charging for the Roadster, but more about that later. When ordering the Roadster you have the option for either a closed or an open case back, with the former engraved with the Roadster logo and the watch serial number.
Pita knows what makes a watch functional, and that details matter. Of course the Roadster is fitted with a sapphire crystal. With an anti-reflective coating the visibility of the dial under all angles in increased but Pita only applies this coating on the inside of the crystal. A deliberate action since coating on the outside of the sapphire crystal tends to wear and can start showing rainbow coluored smudges with the passing of time. Of course the coating can be removed and reapplied, but Pita’s approach is the more sensible one while nearly providing the same optical performance.
The price of a watch usually adds to the perception of it. Indeed in the case of the Roadster, Pita has set the starting price for the collection at 3.195 euro’s (excluding taxes). For this price, you get a watch that is not only crafted, built and timed by Aniceto Jiménez Pita himself, but also numbered and limited to only 99 pieces a year. For a watch that is crafted with so much manual labor, and by an AHCI member, this can almost be considered to be a bargain and most certainly be food-for-thought when evaluating other watches that carry similar price tags, but do not even come close in terms of features or exclusivity.
But that is not all. Being a small manufacture, Pita can offer countless options to modify the Roadster to meet personal tastes and preferences. These options range from PVD-coated cases to different colours used on the dial, to even the use of precious metals, all the way up to the hard to work with platinum. And that makes the Roadster all the more tempting.