Remember REC Watches? What…? You don’t? REC is a lovely little Danish brand whose first offering we reviewed over a year ago, and now, meeting popular demand, they are back with their second collection, the REC P-51 Mustang featuring a mechanical movement and recycled components from a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang car.
It feels like it was but a month ago, while actually over a year has passed since I reviewed the first collection from the brand established by two young Danish entrepreneurs, the simple but truly likable REC Mini here. REC’s motto remains “Recover, Recycle, Reclaim,” which they have applied to the REC P-51 Mustang watch as well. While we do cover all major brands, and I am counting the days until SIHH and Baselworld to see their latest releases, I like to keep track of up-and-coming small brands that have an interesting concept – and REC, to me, is such a company. It is good to see that they had the guts to try and do something that surpasses their first, and perhaps a bit simplistic, venture by acquiring and putting more resources into design and manufacturing. Furthermore, this move implies that the basic concept promises to be cool and strong enough not to be just a “one trick pony.”
As such, the centerpiece of the new REC P-51 Mustang watches remains the dial, as the guys at REC have recovered a number of wrecked vintage Ford Mustangs with the help of Mustang Club of America and of Denmark and used the metal from the body panels of those cars to craft the dials. For fans (of which there are many) of this particular car, this already is a fascinating approach, as unlike many other watch-meets-historical-vehicle products, here you can really see a solid and large piece of the namesake vehicle – the whole dial and its unique, rusted, scratched surface is from a 1966 Ford Mustang. With the watch, you get a little plastic card with a QR code and NFC chip on it that allows you to see a video made by REC to tell you the story of your watch and of the car that was used to make it.
The dial has a little plaque in the top left segment telling you the model name and year of manufacturing, as well as the vehicle identification number of the particular car which gave its life (well, body panels) to make up the dial of the watch. Each car will make for 250 watches each, as the bodywork is cut into sheets of metal which are then rolled flat and straightened, only after which the dials can be pressed out from the metal sheets. Finally, each dial is coated with a clear layer of lacquer, “ensuring that the patina does not spread” to other parts of the watch. Whether you like a rugged, scratched-up look as this or not is a matter of taste, but I did grow fond of the unique patterns of the dials found in the two watches I reviewed.
While the original concept behind their Mini watches was cool and unique in the sense that, if I am not mistaken, REC was among the first to offer this idea at a relatively more affordable price point, the execution of the case and the movement inside hardly got the hearts of watch enthusiasts to beat any faster. For the REC P-51 Mustang, though, they have teamed up with Studio Divine, a Switzerland-based design company that is responsible for the unique aesthetics of SevenFriday watches. As a result, the REC P-51 Mustang looks bold on the wrist thanks to its 44-by-44-millimeter-wide, rather square-ish, tonneau-shaped case, and features a number of more interesting design elements.
The new case blows the primitive round case of the first collection out of the water – a considerable and hence impressive evolution. The tonneau shaped case actually has a concave element to it, with the sides of the case falling in towards the crown with the top and bottom edges raised. It is an unusual design element but one that adds some extra depth and aesthetic diversity.
The cases are available in steel or in black PVD-coated steel, with the bezel options including black PVD on the steel, and 4N PVD gold or steel on the black PVD case. My favorite combination is the steel case with the black PVD bezel, as the black bezel looks remarkably close to ceramic thanks to the deep and glossy black surface. Clearly, PVD is inferior to ceramic when it comes to holding up against wear and tear in the long run, but the quality of execution did initially fool me into thinking it was ceramic.
On the wrist, the watch looks as bold as one would expect and wears slightly larger than the claimed 44-millimeter size would suggest, thanks to the thin bezel and the large, round dial – it is about as large as I could possibly pull off wearing on my 6.75 inch wrist. The short lugs and the supple, flexible straps do make for rather great wearing comfort – much more comfortable than this large, chunky watch’s look on the wrist would imply. A solid and indeed rather massive tang buckle holds the straps securely and saves the watch from wobbling around.