Some of Azimuth’s offerings have been accused to look very similar to brands like Urwerk and MB&F. The Azimuth Twin Turbo is no exception. In this case, the Twin Turbo appears to be inspired by the MB&F HM4 Thunderbolt. However, the creators state that Twin Turbo takes its inspiration from automobiles. Not surprising, as Max Büsser does the same for the HM4 and many other MB&F creations. This design inspiration manifests itself in the rather unusual case shape – two dials mounted on streamlined barrels over a base. A cursory inspection does give the impression of the dashboard of a car – a speedometer and by its side a tachometer on the wrist. On the Twin Turbo, this gives two timezones.
The Twin Turbo uses two watch faces to display time for two timezones. While this aesthetic design concept is perhaps keenly tuned on the design of the HM4, the movement powering the watch is totally from different worlds. The Twin Turbo is simpler. It uses two small movements to indicate two timezones, while the HM4 is a purpose built, haute horologie movement designed to show a power reserve on the left dial and the time on the right. So other than the generic shape of the case, the similarities end there. Perhaps a clear case of the sincerest form of flattery. However, at a price point which is way below that of the MB&F, following closely to tried and true design cues is perhaps forgivable.
Azimuth Twin Turbo
The case, dial and hands
The case of the watch has a smooth matt finish and it is made of 316L stainless steel. Unlike the HM4, there are no transparent parts to allow one to see into the watch movement. The case hinges at the “hood” made of anodised aluminium. The hood has a range of motion and is lifted to allow the owner to wind the movements and set the time. The hood seems to be a cosmetic element, although it does add to the automotive feel of the watch. The construction is nicely done, opening and closing it has a nice positive feel, just the right amount of resistance. It stays in place when the watch is being worn.
We do have some reservations on the way Azimuth attempted to make the dial look more like a speedometer. While achieving the look of a tachometer and a speedometer of a dashboard admirably, the hour hand takes on a stylized circle with a pointer. This has an effect which makes the minute hand look more prominent, but reduces the overall legibility. We must add, however, the visual aesthetics remain beautiful.
The Azimuth Twin Turbo is powered by two independent movements placed directly behind the dials, and tilted at a 60° angle, unlike the HM4 which is built on a specially designed single movement. There is also no power reserve indicator and each dial only displays hours and minutes. The crowns are partially covered by the hood and protrude slightly out of pierced openings on the hood.
Azimuth used two vintage ETA 2512-2 movements from circa 1960s. These movements are small enough to fit into the two windows of the watch and inclined to fit the aesthetics. Consequentially, there is a limited number of Twin Turbos that they can produce because of the number of such movements they can acquire.
Because two movements are used, the two timezones can be set independently.
Unlike other driving watches which offer a dial which is perpendicular to the wrist, the Twin Turbo’s angled dials make the watch a bit less bulky, and the gently sloping aerodynamic silhouette of the case helps with the visuals. All making it more wearable on a daily basis, as the time be read comfortably while driving and also on occasions when one is not on the wheel.
Even so, this is a big watch and it does not fit comfortably under a regular shirt sleeve. So it is perhaps more suitable with casual attire.
One criticism is that Azimuth perhaps tries too hard with the Twin Turbo. The watch has many elements inspired by automobiles and is aesthetically pleasing. It is nicely made, and feels good on the wrist, if a bit large and bulky. And feels nice to the touch. But it also leans too much towards the design concept already made by MB&F. Stopping only at the movement where the HM4 takes the high road of a purpose built movement, and the Twin Turbo chooses the easy way out by using two standard movements. On the flip side, perhaps this might be seen as a good and gentle introduction to the charisma, eccentricity and creativity of independent brands. You make the call.
Azimuth Twin Turbo: Technical Specifications and Price
Price: S$8,100 inclusive of GST
Case: 316L stainless steel body, aluminum bonnet anodized
Dimensions: 54 mm (L) x 50 mm (W)
Features: Twin movement – 2 time zones
Movement: Two vintage calibre ETA 2512-2
Strap: Calf leather strap with stitching and folding clasp
Water Resistance: 3 ATM
Limited Edition: The Twin Turbo is a limited edition series in Yellow, Anthracite and Silver colours. These three variants come in 88 pieces each. A further special boutique edition in Sporty Red, also known as the TT Portfolio is limited to 50 pieces only. (Retails S$8,500, but sold out)
Editor’s Note: Jin begins with Deployant as a contributor with this article. Many years ago, a watch with retrograde seconds was given to Jin Sun while he was in secondary school, and that started his interest in mechanical watches. It then developed into an interest to those with many complications and create displays of time. To Jin, the art of fine watchmaking has many parallels with his chosen field of Dentistry. He marvels in the similarities in aesthetics, materials, fine work, precision and engineering. He particularly likes independent brands and bespoke watchmaking.