We see a lot of car-inspired watches, don’t we? What about watches inspired in part by motorcycles? Not as much. Well, the Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider watch offers a very literal interpretation of that design theme. It claims inspiration from the winding interstates of the U.S. highway system, and if you can’t tell by the name, the Crazy Rider also harkens back to the beloved classic film Easy Rider. Azimuth is known for thinking out of the box when it comes to their designs, and this piece fits right in with their portfolio: quirky, fun, and sure to get you a lot of looks and questions – exactly what you’d expect from Azimuth.
The Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider is crafted to imitate the engine of a motorcycle and, at first glance, I think they pulled it off. Housed in a big 55mm x 38mm x 16mm stainless steel case, the Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider is offered with either a brown or black PVD-coated mid-case. In line with the rugged elements of the watch, the case features exposed screws along the winding bezel. The piece certainly emotes a rawness due in no small part to the dial.
The chain is where things get really interesting, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. Yes, that is a chain you see. Modeled after a sprocket brake drive system, the two wheels on either end rotate the chain and it actually serves a purpose – because inserting a decorative, stationary chain would just not cut it. While functionally not related at all, those that have longed for a high-end fusee & chain driven watch (as Zenith has been known to make) may be tided over by the chain’s visual resemblance until their winning lottery ticket comes in.
While the minute hand is faceted in a fixed position at the right, the chain rotates around the dial as time passes and carries with it the 24-hour hand in the process. There is some intricate work that goes on behind the scenes to make this occur, and the result is at least interesting. Note that the minute hand protrudes through the center of the sprocket-like wheel that must turn at a different speed in order to drive the hours. Speaking of which, it seems like Azimuth, unfortunately, could not find a way to integrate a scale for the minutes between 35 and 55, supporting the idea that function has been once again sacrificed to form.
The whole Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider might seem like a lot of trouble just to tell the time, but watches today are already way beyond that. Something like this ultimately transcends being just a watch and becomes a conversation piece, and that is really the whole point for many Azimuth designs. Azimuth is known for making pieces like their SP-1 King Casino watch which you can read a giveaway winner review of here. Oh, and in the same vein of “vehicles,” so to speak, there is the tank-inspired Landship watch (reviewed here). So, the Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider is right in line with the “fun-ness” of an Azimuth.
Back to the dial, Azimuth does well to include the retro red and yellow markers here, as they really add to the nostalgic/biker vibe they have going on. Something duller and monochromatic may have been a little too boring for a funky piece like this, and this little bit of flare is a welcome addition while staying away from being too loud in terms of color. Out of everything going on with this piece, I think it is a wise decision to leave out any date window. The case is rated for 3 ATM water resistance though I don’t anticipate taking this one for a dip any time soon. This baby was born for the open road.
The Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider runs on a modified ETA that is visible through the case back because, for one, they want to maintain the impression you’re looking into a motor – and you are. It’s a modified ETA rather a hand-finished in-house movement, but designs this avant-garde are rarely found outside of haute horology and associated pricing, and Azimuth deserves credit for keeping prices in reach of more buyers looking for something out of the ordinary. Mysteriously, the caseback features Russian, we believe, for “25 jewels” and “stainless steel,” along with the logo of Russian Nika watches on the movement.
The Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider might have come across as overly kitschy if any other brand had made it. There are plenty of automobile-inspired watches out there, like the Christopher Ward Limited Edition C9 D-Type that take their inspiration almost solely from the speedometer of the vehicle at hand. Azimuth looks at a motorcycle and completely next-levels any kind of skin-deep inspiration and goes straight to the engine block. It’s unpretentious and light-hearted without being desperate or dumb. How many watches do you see with rotating bike chains on the dial? Obviously, the Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider isn’t for everyone, but for the watch fan seeking a loud piece with an affinity for motorcycles or really any kind of auto excursions, a watch like this serves a niche role quite nicely.
The Azimuth SP-1 Crazy Rider Watch comes in either a brown or black PVD-coated case paired with a brown or black leather strap that features bold, colorful stitching to add to the palette. Pricing is CHF 5,250. azimuthwatch.com