The idea of ‘adding lightness’ is famously attributed to Lotus founder Colin Chapman but now the concept has been adopted by BRM. We’re not talking about British Racing Motors; it’s the French automotive- inspired watch brand Bernard Richards
Manufacture, which has recently enhanced its ever- expanding range of car and motorcycle-themed chronographs and three-hand models with the remarkable MK44 Makrolon watch that’s claimed to be the lightest automatic chronograph in the world.
BRM makes the thermoplastic Makrolon sound ultra- exotic by describing it as the stuff used to make the side windows of the most advanced race cars, helmet visors and fighter-plane cockpit canopies, and there’s no denying that it is a tough, versatile and incredibly light heat- resistant material. But this particular type of polycarbonate is also in use all around us in everything from medical equipment to car-headlamp covers and spectacles to greenhouse glazing.
Taking advantage of its highly mouldable nature, inherent strength and featherweight density, BRM has used Makrolon to create the entire upper case of the new MK44, making for a transparent look previously seen mainly on high-end watches made from sapphire crystal, such as those by Richard Mille and Hublot.
The lugs, buckle, crown and pushpieces are also of an almost imperceptible weight due to being made from hollowed-out titanium, while a light aluminium called Fortal HR has been chosen for the case back. Add a highly skeletonised dial, drilled hands, a half-weight automatic winding rotor and a strap that is made from gossamer-thin technical fabric incorporating ‘memory’ fibres, and the result is a fully-functioning chronograph that weighs a scarcely believable 48.8 grams. Like a Formula 1 racer, every bit of extraneous weight was removed.
If a see-through watch isn’t for you, however, BRM has dozens of other models to choose from, many of which are infinitely customisable using the brand’s decidedly engrossing online configurator, which enables buyers (or time-wasters) to design a personalised watch by choosing from a vast range of colours for dials, hands, chronograph counters and so on, different case and lug finishes and several types of strap.
Since BRM launched in 2002, its watches have become a common sight in pit lanes and team garages at race circuits around the world, helped by the fact that the brand sponsors numerous drivers in everything from WEC to rallycross, backs Lotus and Porsche marque championships and various historic races, and is the official timing partner at several French race tracks, including the Circuit du Val de Vienne near Tours.