Out Of Order Automatico

I recently executed a watch trade that included a new Out Of Order Automatico. Had it not been part of a package deal, I likely never would have had one of these watches through my door. I enjoy vintage watches, appreciate wabi-sabi, dig patina, and have no problem whatsoever with design cues on new watches that mimic aged products like Old Radium lume or mottled dials. I don't use the term "fauxtina" derisively. Still, I must admit that I found Out Of Order's (OOO) pre-distressed ethos to be over the top and maybe too gimmicky for this Horological Hobo's tastes. Now that I have had one on my wrist, I have changed my tune. OOO is having a bit of a laugh, and now I get the joke. It is witty enough to purchase? Well, read on.

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

This model is a White Automatico 9K, a limited edition that is now sold out; however, others in series are still for sale and share the same style. OOO describes the dial as "white sandblasted and sunburnt." I'd call it closer to an ombré bronze or gold than white with a pronounced gritty texture. Regardless, it is quite attractive, combining cut-a-ways with applied markers for maximum dimension. Along with the usual dial text is the OOO catchphrase, "Damaged in Italy."

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

As you might have gathered by now, OOO prides itself on not being pristine. The Submariner-style brushed stainless steel case is treated using a proprietary technique that leaves it discolored in random, exciting ways. Where other OOO models have shipped with intentional scuffs and marks, the Automatico I received is very much an undamaged watch with some accelerated aging for decoration. The finish is quite unlike the natural patina you get with brass or bronze, yet not obviously artificial like some antiqued PVD finishes. The result appears to be organic decay, not unlike a ghost bezel or tropical dial. Moreover, it plays on the fact that certain watch fans get all misty over this stuff and then and then pay a premium for it. I freely admit that I love that kind of thing too, although I draw the line at paying extra because I'm just too damn cheap for that.

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

I would have expected Old Radium lume on a pre-aged watch. Instead, OOO went with C3 SuperLuminova, generously dabbing it on the hour markers, hands, and every engraving on the bezel. It makes perfect sense, given the color scheme, and it lights up nice and bright. My only gripe is that the broad arrow hour hand is only lumed at the tip. A channel down its length would have gone a long way. Still, I had no problem picking it out when the lights got low. 

Out Of Order Automatico 9k lume

The rehaut is aged just like the rest of the watch and engraved with the message, "Do not cook spaghetti for more than 8 minutes." The engraving is painted gold. "Why," you may ask? "Why the hell not," I'd reply. It is a perfectly ridiculous thing to write on a watch, and yet, as I contemplated how other watches have festooned their rings with such worthless information as "helium release valve" or just "Rolex" repeated ad nauseam, I realized that the spaghetti advice is by far, the most useful phrase ever engraved in that obscure area.  

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

I balked at the watch's 44mm width, fearing it would be an oversized brute on the wrist, but this was not the case. As is 51mm long and 13mm thick, the watch isn't small but it manages to stay within the confines of my 6.75" wrist. At a glance, I would have guessed it was closer to 42mm wide. I certainly had no problem wearing it, especially given that it is a very casual piece. 

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

I applaud OOO for giving the same treatment to the bezel insert and bracelet, although I must subtract points for the color mismatch between the two. While the case and insert have a distinctly bluish cast with some red highlights, the 22mm bracelet is unquestionably brown. This is a drag because I like the way the 5-link jubilee style wears and really appreciate the low-profile deployant clasp, but the nitpicker in me couldn't get past the two-tone effect. I suspect the vagaries of the patina process are to blame, and you either embrace it or you don't. I don't.

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

Similarly, there are some other odd finish choices at play here. The signed, screw-down crown is not patinated at all but has a black PVD edge and a clean head. I suspect this may be to avoid the same kind of mismatch that occurred between the case and bracelet (I assume that these parts are finished separately in large batches), but if that is the reason, I'd have preferred it if they blacked out the whole crown. It is not a big deal, but it does make me scratch my head. PVD black also shows up on the inside of the clasp and the case back ring surrounding the exhibition window.

Out Of Order Automatico 9k case back

There isn't really much to look at out back, as the Miyota 9015 inside (28.8k bph, 24-jewel, hacking, hand-winding) is not highly decorated. OOO livens things up by printing the logo, "Damaged in Italy" catchphrase, and a message to the owner, "please, treat me bad" all in fittingly submissive lowercase italics. You bet I will, you naughty little minx. The safe word is "escapement." I'm quite sure the Automatico will take its share of abuse, not only because the case already looks like it was rode hard and put away wet, but because it is rated for 100m water resistance and fitted with an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. Bezel action is light, but secure enough as it steps through its 120 clicks. It wouldn't be my first choice for scuba diving, but considering that I don't scuba dive and never will, it is more than sufficiently equipped to handle any outdoor activity I might throw at it.   

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

In the end, I really only had two issues with the watch. The first was "Made in Italy" engraved on the side of the case. It would be more than necessary on any watch, but OOO already mentions its nationality on the dial and case back. We get it, you are Italian. Even if we missed it before, the spaghetti reference might have tipped us off. We didn't need it here too. The second issue was that I liked the feel of the bracelet more than the look. I fixed this by swapping it for a light gray-brown leather strap that complemented both the gold in the dial and the blue of the bezel. Of course, I don't have a buckle that would even remotely match the case, but I think I can work one up over an open flame.  

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white

I didn't think I would enjoy the OOO Automatico, but enjoy it, I did. This is a watch that pokes its finger in the eye of watch snobbery and gives precisely zero fucks in the process. Now about that price...

The Automatico 9k sold for $640 new. The very similar Swiss Automatico, which uses an STP 1-11 instead of the Miyota, goes for $690. Is that fair for a unique and humorous watch, or is it OOO's final joke? Right now, the brand is running a 20% sale on all orders while it waits out the Coronavirus shut down, bringing the Swiss Automatico to a much more palatable $552. That is still on the high side, but some will find it easier to justify given its Swiss innards. Me? I'm quite happy I got it in a trade, thank you.

If the OOO Automatico's handsomely grizzled looks and cheeky attitude have won you over, head on over to OutOfOrderWatches.com, check them out for yourself, and remember to always cook your spaghetti al dente. ⬩

Out Of Order Automatico 9k white
Out Of Order Automatico 9k white bracelet



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