As a brand, Reservoir is interesting because many of its watches are inspired by the dials or meters of other objects, like cars and measuring instruments. Such is the case with the brand’s latest, the Sonomaster Chronograph. For our audiophile friends, the source of inspiration should be obvious. The Sonomaster Chronograph takes its cues from the VU meters of vintage hi-fi amplifiers.
The Sonomaster Chronograph features a 43mm case made from 316L stainless steel. The case has a brushed finish, and it looks to have fairly long lugs; water resistance is rated at 50 meters. According to Reservoir, the crown and pushers were inspired by the control buttons and knobs found on vintage amplifiers. The pushers, in particular, were made to mimic the look of bass and treble control knobs.
The Sonomaster Chronograph will be available in two dial variants: black and beige, and silver and black. Unfortunately, we only have photos of the former, at press time. What immediately captures one’s attention are the two large cutouts on the dial. On the black dial variant, these cutouts are rendered in a vintage-looking cream color. Reservoir says it got the inspiration from the legendary Luxman M10 MkII power amplifier, which had two large VU meters.
The one on the left is actually a retrograde display of the seconds, while the one on the right is a retrograde display of the date. The chronograph 30-minute and 12-hour counters are displayed using traditional counters at 12 and 6 o’clock. This configuration gives the dial a symmetrical and harmonious look. Crucially, it retains the useful date complication without having a nasty window cutout that some watch lovers absolutely abhor.
The movement within is the Calibre RSV-Bi120, which is visible through a display caseback. It employs a manufacture bi-retrograde module on top of a La Joux Perret base movement, and it beats at 4Hz with a power reserve of 60 hours. Though we’ll have to confirm in the metal, the movement looks to be decently finished with blued screws and perlage on the bridges and plates.
The Sonomaster Chronograph showcases what Reservoir does very well, and that is to take design notes from other hobbies and incorporate them in meaningful ways into its watches. The design of the Sonomaster Chronograph faithfully mimics the look of VU meters, and I think the color and font choices are especially spot-on. My only concern is that it’s a little on the large side, given the 43mm sizing, lugs that look long, and the modular movement. Otherwise, I think this is a watch that audiophiles will find especially charming. The Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph is $6,100 USD. For more information, visit Reservoir’s website.