Precision, Winter 2022

There was never any denying Omologato founder Shami Kalra’s passion for motor sport, but he’s now reinforced it with the creation of a limited edition chronograph that is helping to fund the ongoing restoration of one of Europe’s great historic race venues – the Circuit de Reims-Gueux, better known simply as ‘Reims’.

Situated in the heart of the Champagne region, the circuit dates back to 1926 when it was originally laid out in a triangular shape on existing country roads that incorporated two flat-out straights, each of more than a mile in length.

One of the fastest of all European circuits and the site of many great slipstreaming battles in period, it was modified in 1952 to make it more suitable for Formula 1 cars by incorporating a purpose-built link road connecting the start/finish straight with the Virage de la Hovette.

Other small improvements followed prior to the inauguration of the Reims 12 Hours the following year, with F1 racing continuing until 1966 and motorcycle competition until 1972 – after which competition from other venues and a lack of cash forced the circuit’s closure.

Grandstand at Reims Gueux circuit

Top, A pink dial on the Reims watch references the Champagne region – rosé fizz. Above: Circuit de Reims-Gueux

But the fact that the grandstands and decaying pit garages still remain has inspired fans of the track to form a non-profit organisation, Les Amis du Circuit de Gueux, which is working to preserve the buildings and remaining structures with the aim of instigating the resumption of historic meetings on the 1952 version of the circuit.

According to Kalra, the volunteers need €10,000 (£8800) per month to continue restoration of the site and, to help them, he had the idea of creating a Reims chronograph and donating some of the proceeds from each sale to the cause.

“I originally suggested that we could hit the target in 18 months but, to my amazement, we raised the €10,000 in less than eight weeks,” says Kalra.

“I was blown away by both the generosity of our customers and the discovery that the Circuit de Reims-Gueux continues to be widely remembered and regarded with such affection.”

Kalra also didn’t count on the volunteers appointing him to the board of directors of Les Amis and putting him in charge of fund raising as a result of his success with the Reims chronograph.

Although just 250 of the first edition have been made, some remain available. The 41mm watch features a salmon pink dial (inspired by the rosé champagne produced by the many winemakers in the region) that’s topped with hands and numbers in contrasting French Blue.

Each watch is individually numbered on the back – which also features an engraving of the circuit layout – and is powered by a good quality Miyota quartz movement.

A classic, perforated rally strap completes the look.

Omologato Reims