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Independent watchmaker Anton Suhanov, presents Racer Retro, his wristwatch inspired by vintage cars.
In 2023, Anton Suhanov announces the launch of the Racer Retro watch, inspired by classic cars and the emotions they evoke in fans and collectors. Cars have played an important role in people’s lives for more than a century. No wonder there is a large number of fans and collectors of retro cars, who admire the creativity reflected in the development of numerous designs and technologies. This admiration for automotive civilization is the main motive that led Anton Suhanov to design a new Racer Retro. Without committing to a specific type or era of the automotive industry, he has tried to convey with this watch the image of a retro car that is sure to evoke an emotional response.
In the Racer Retro, the main features of the original Racer Jumping Hour GMT, which were very well received by professionals and the public, are clearly visible. These include an unusual dial design with two retrograde time counters and a discreet display of the additional functions - seconds, date and GMT - a cushion-shaped steel case constructed on the principle of a regular Reuleaux polygon, and a distinctive GMT button that breaks the symmetry of the design and gives the watch an eye-catching character. Watch enthusiasts will have noticed the outstanding esthetic and technical qualities of the Su100.20 caliber, Racer Jumping Hour GMT movement. The only thing that could make you change the design of this watch is the fact that the finely crafted movement of Racer Jumping Hour GMT remained hidden under the dial. That's why Anton Suhanov had a plan ready when this model was introduced. Now that we have the Racer Retro in front of us, this decision seems obvious - to ensure that the excellent caliber is visible through the openings in a skeletonized dial.
For the Racer Retro, Anton Suhanov modified the movement he developed for the Racer Jumping Hour GMT watch. This movement retains its unique character, both in terms of complications and design. The functioning of the movement remains the same. At the beginning of a new hour, the minute hand jumps from the 60-minute to the zero position. This rapid movement, which is barely perceptible to the eye, performs two actions. First, it advances the retrograde hour hand by one hour, and then the hand remains motionless for one hour. Second, at the same moment, the 24-hour digital time zone display in the window at 12 o'clock advances by one hour.
From the caliber SU100.20, the updated movement, which received the designation SU100.25, differs mainly by the use of the black coating of the mainplate and the bridges of the display module.
In addition, Suhanov modified the caliber to open the date ring and, in accordance with his esthetic sensibilities, changed the shape of some bridges. Thus, through the openings of the dial, one can see how the mechanisms of the retrograde hour and minute displays and the 24-hour GMT display work.
When making the parts of the module, the master followed the traditions of fine watchmaking. Each part of the module is treated with the utmost care, with a great investment of time, labor and attention, using traditional techniques. These include hand polishing of the bevels, engraving, polishing of the recesses for screws, pins and jewels, ball burnishing of the shafts of the wheels and pins, perlage, fine straight and circular grinding, sandblasting and rhodium and ruthenium plating. The dial is finished by anodizing, black ruthenium coating and guilloché relief engraving.
Compared to the Racer Jumping Hour GMT, the change in case design of the Racer Retro is minor, but it gives the Racer Retro a new emotional feel. Instead of the smooth, tapered lugs of the Racer Jumping Hour GMT, the steel case of the Racer Retro has been given a new, accentuated lug shape. Its concave sides seem to echo the shape of the case sides, but in reverse. “This change creates a new tempo that makes the Racer Retro’s design even more dynamic. I’m very happy that I managed to find such a design,” says Anton Suhanov.
The black guilloché dial of the Racer Retro has been given four openings, two on the hour and minute dials and two more in the form of bat or pterodactyl wings – or gullwing doors, that sounds fitting for a vintage sports car inspired watch – on the upper part of the dial. Now the owner of the watch has an excellent opportunity to enjoy the view of the exquisite workmanship of the caliber, which has received an impressive black coating.
For the color of the retrograde dials, the master chose an unusual sandy-beige shade. It could be perceived as brushed green gold. However, it could also remind of the wooden rim of a steering wheel, which was very popular in sports cars in the 1960s and 1970s. That's why Anton Suhanov designed new hands for the Racer Retro with accentuated perforations reminiscent of the spokes of a steering wheel – another allusion to the theme of vintage sports cars.
The design of the Racer Retro watch was created by Anton Sukhanov based on the design of vintage sports cars, which can be seen in many details. An attentive connoisseur will probably notice as a clue that the abbreviated name of the watch consists of two letters R. Anton Suhanov explains that this is a pure, unintentional coincidence that has nothing to do with a well-known car brand. The sandy-beige color of the subdials in combination with the perforated hands is supposed to be an allusion to a steering wheel with a wooden rim and spokes with a series of round openings, which was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the master’s perception, but any connoisseur of watchmaking may perceive this design differently. Or you may not even look for allusions, but simply enjoy the excellent workmanship and harmonious shapes, and that will be the best way. The coincidence is also the similarity of the two openings, located in the upper part of the dial, with the shape of the famous gullwing doors. In fact, when creating this design, the master was inspired by the sight of the paired panels of the hood of old cars, which open upwards.
The influence of automotive design should include the shape of the automatic winding rotor. The Racer Retro retains the mysterious design of the full-disc rotor, but instead of the flat rotor of the Racer Jumping Hour GMT, which is reminiscent of the shape of a brake disc, the Racer Retro has a new domed rotor with a fine circular brushing. The watchmaker’s allusion is clear: these are large, domed nickel hubcaps of classic 1950s American cars, the epitome of streamlined modern style with their aerodynamic and curved shapes. The 'stick-on weight' attached to the disc, engraved with the watch number of the limited edition, looks like a relevant joke of the master.