Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Preview: Moto Koure MK I

The fellows behind Australian micro brand Moto Koure have a thing for old Jaguars. It is a weakness The Time Bum shares. I have always longed for a vintage Jag, be it an elegant XJ6, the jaunty XK120, or the iconic XKE - the car Road & Track's Henry N. Manny III called "The greatest crumpet collector known to man." They are all delightful, but the best all-around Jaguars may well be the classic MK series. When launched in 1955, the MK1 set the standard for the modern sports sedan with achievements on the street and at the track, topped only by the magnificent MK2 that purred through the swinging 60's, epitomizing Jaguar's values of "grace, space, and pace." Moto Koure drew upon this rich history for their debut watches, and from the early renderings, I think they nailed it.
The MK I is a cushion case chronograph reminiscent of the Heuer Silverstone. The rectangular stainless steel case is 40mm wide, 44mm long, and 13mm thick with rounded corners. A lugless design keeps it compact. It wears an attractive combination of finishes. The stepped bezel is polished and the case sides feature vertical brushing and elongated pushers running its length on either side of the chevon-textured crown. Water resistance is 50m. A drilled leather rally strap completes the picture.
While the case harkens back to a motoring watch, it is the dial that carries the most notable automotive cues. Under the flat sapphire crystal and anti-reflective coating lie rich colors and sunray finishes.  The 9 and 3 o'clock sub dials, and 6 o'clock date window are set into an oblong cutaway that mimics a dashboard, and like a luxury car, it features a tasteful accent in the form of pebble grain, diamond plate, or wood grain texture. A dash plate on top bears the Moto Koure brand and logo. "Old Radium" color SuperLuminova on the baton hands and markers is the finishing touch. It's a gorgeous design offering a taste of automobilia without becoming a caricature. 
A friend with an XJ12 once told me, "Part of the mystique of owning a Jag is knowing you can afford to fix it." I suspect this is one Jaguar trait the MK I will not emulate. Moto Koure offers two engine options: a Seiko VK MechaQuartz and a NE88 column-wheel automatic. Both are reliable units and buyers can choose the one that best fits their taste and budget. 

Full retail will be $635 AUD ($444 USD) for the MechaQuartz and $1,400 AUD ($976 USD) for the automatic; however, early buyers can get in for as low as $375 AUD ($261 USD) and $1110 AUD ($774 USD). Those prices will rise as more units are sold. 

Granted, I have not laid hands on a MK I yet, but this watch has all the right elements to lure me in. Look for a full, hands-on review soon. For more information check out motokoure.com.

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