Model # MD100-03SLSL-MB
Brand/Model: Momo Design Race Master Automatic Chronograph GMT
Movement: Swiss automatic
Material: titanium case and bracelet
Complications: date display, independently adjustable 24-hour GMT hand, chronograph timing up to 12 hours in 1/5 second increments
Price: MSRP $5,595 USD
Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Momo Design watches are unsung heroes of the watch collecting world. I’ve owned four Momo Design watches over the years and the model reviewed here is the best one yet. Don’t think for a minute that just because the watch says ‘Momo Design’ that it is at best, a fashion watch. Yes, the company is known for creating some sleek, fashionable designs with many items, but their watches are serious timepieces good enough for many a discriminating collector.
The Race Master model under review here is a great looking, clean, modern design with true functionality. It carries a full 12-hour chronograph, an independently adjustable 24-hour GMT hand, a bi-directional 24-hour bezel and a world cities chapter ring, so you can track the time in 24 different locations around the globe and also keep track of three time zones simultaneously. Add in lightweight titanium construction, a robust and extremely accurate Swiss automatic movement and very good build quality and you have one helluva watch!
I admit that I have a penchant for GMT watches. Not that I really use the GMT tracking function that often, but having this third hand always makes a handy a.m./p.m. indicator at the very least. I also love chronographs and when a company decides to combine a GMT function and a chronograph into one watch, you have my attention. Momo has successfully combined these complications into a watch that serves up equal doses of form and function.
The Race Master Chronograph GMT starts with a satin finish titanium case which gives the watch a subdued grey tone that only titanium can impart. The case measures 44mm without the black signed screwdown crown; 48mm crown included. And please be aware, this watch does not wear large in any way, due to the design of the lugs.
Case thickness is 15.2mm, ‘lug’ width is approximately 22.5mm. I say ‘approximately’ because this watch does not have conventional lugs, it has curved end pieces screwed into the case that secure the bracelet to the case and the measurement at the bracelet side of the end piece is 25mm, tapering to the 22.5mm measurement cited above where the bracelet begins. I will have more on this great design in a moment.
The case back is titanium and is satin finish like the rest of the watch. It is secured by four small screws and is a display type, showing off the nicely decorated movement and Momo Design signed rotor.
The crown, as mentioned above, is black and screws down. The chronograph pushers are also black and are asymmetrical rectangles; the wider edge of each pusher is the edge near the crown, and the pushers taper slightly to the sides of the case. A small, but nifty styling touch. Please see the photo to understand what I am talking about.
Overall fit and finish on the Race Master is very good, with no sharp edges or mis-aligned case pieces, although the limited edition plaque on the dial is ever so slightly crooked and the date wheel could be aligned slightly better. These are relatively small complaints and don’t detract from the joy of wearing and using this watch. Momo Design assembles these watches in Italy, using Swiss Made movements.
The case also features a bi-directional 24-hour bezel, with hour markings for each even hour (02, 04, etc.) and small dots for the odd hours (although the odd hours are represented on the chapter ring). See? It’s all about the details!
The markings on the bezel are black and the bezel also has square cutouts above each odd hour dot, for both style and to aid in gripping the bezel. Not that the bezel is hard to turn; on the contrary, the bezel moves very easily in either direction through 120-clicks.
I was initially worried that the bezel would rotate itself while the watch was being worn, but this has proved to not be the case, so no worries. Although having a 24-hour GMT bezel with so many clicks is a bit awkward, it should rotate through only 24 clicks for ease of use and precision, but this is a small nit to pick.
The dial on the Race Master might appear to be very busy to some, and I admit it is a bit cluttered, but not in a garish or nonsensical way. What I mean is there is no extraneous writing or overly designed elements that make it busy, it’s all function while retaining that Momo Design style.
The dial is a light silver, almost white color and is clear and easy to read, especially since the hands are black and white striped, which provides good contrast. The dial has a very fine waffle pattern and minimal printing. The name ‘MomoDesign’ is emblazoned in small type at the 3 position, with ‘Race Master’ and the watch serial number immediately below the brand name (limited edition of 500). Momo also snuck in ‘Automatico’ on the edge of the seconds hand subdial. It’s so subtle, you almost don’t know it’s there.
The hour and minute hands are black and white striped with inset lume. There are also black rectangular markers on the outer edge of the chapter ring at each five minute mark. These markers are also luminous, but lume quality on the Race Master is rather weak.
The hands are also a bit too short for my tastes, but have been made this way to allow for the GMT hand to be easily read when it’s near the minute hand on the dial, so this is an acceptable compromise to me.
The GMT hand is black with a red arrow tip. The chronograph seconds hand is red, with the subdial hands being black with red tips. The subdial at 12 is the 30-minute chronograph totalizer; the subdial at 6 is the 12-hour chronograph totalizer and the subdial at 9 is the watch seconds hand.
The subdials are artfully surrounded by a grey metal stamping that is made to mimic a race track. The surround gives the subdials a slight inset look and each subdial also has a circular patterning to it. Depending on which subdial you’re looking at, the markings are either all black or a combination of black and red.
The chapter ring is a bit of a deep dish design and carries the luminous markers, minute and 1/5 second hash marks on the top edge. The top side of the chapter ring also has the odd numbered hours for use with the GMT hand.
On the inside edge of the chapter ring are the world cities to allow for world timing. ‘GMT’ is in red at the top of the ring at the 12 spot, with other cities listed in black. At the 9 position, the grey surround that encircles the subdials also carries three city names in white on its far left edge, another unique and useful detail.
There is one part of the cities ring I don’t quite understand. The last two positions on the ring between the 11 and 12 positions have ‘-2H’ and ‘-1H’ instead of a city name. I’m sure this is to aid in checking time elsewhere, but I have never seen this listed on a world timer before.
A white on black date wheel is at the 4 position and alignment of the wheel within the window could be a bit better, as the top edge of the date numeral is close to the edge of the window. The date is quickset by rotating the crown (in its first-click setting position) in a clockwise direction and the GMT hand is set by rotating the crown in the counter-clockwise direction. This is a quirk of Valjoux 77xx-based chrono GMT movements, as non-chrono ETA GMT movements set their dates and GMT hands opposite of this.
Capping the dial is a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal that in certain positions, makes it appear as if there is no crystal on the watch at all. There is a slight bluish cast to the anti-reflective coating at certain angles, but nothing too distracting.
The Race Master chronograph GMT is factory rated for a typical 100 meters of water resistance.
Inside the Race Master, Momo Design installs a Swiss Made Valjoux 7754 automatic chronograph GMT movement. This workhorse of an engine has 25 jewels and beats at 28,800 vph (4 hz). This movement is highly finished and shows off blued screws, polished pieces and perlage, so you know it’s a quality unit. I applaud Momo Design for equipping the Race Master with such a fine movement, especially since these watches can be found heavily discounted, making them an outstanding value.
My Race Master has performed outstandingly well both on and off the wrist. Timekeeping is at the top of my collection, measuring no more than two seconds a day fast; most times it runs at +1/24 hours. Exceptional! Power reserve is also no slouch, clocking in at a solid 54.5 hours.
All functions of the watch, from standard time and date setting, to manual winding, to setting the GMT hand work as they should. The chrono pushers click with authority and all the chrono hands reset crisply to zero. Absolutely no complaints on the mechanical end of things with the Race Master.
The place where the Race Master really shows its Italian design heritage is in the bracelet department. It combines style, ingenuity and comfort to create a look that helps set this watch apart from the crowd. Even though the bracelet is what would be considered an integrated design, it hugs the wrist beautifully.
Where the bracelet attaches to the end link on the case side, the design of the end link allows the bracelet to pivot freely, therefore giving a nice, wrist-hugging fit. As I stated early on, this watch does not wear like a 44mm watch, due in large part to the design of the bracelet. A big thumbs up from me.
The bracelet is a solid link, all titanium affair with beautifully sculpted cutouts on each link, giving the bracelet a unique look and one that does not pull any hairs. The bracelet measures about 22.5mm at the case where it attaches to the end links that are screwed directly into the case and 22mm at the pushbutton butterfly clasp, which is also titanium.
Since the clasp is a hidden type, one of the links at the end of the clasp is signed with the MomoDesign script. The links themselves are rather small, measuring only 6.7mm wide, so be prepared to remove plenty of links when sizing the bracelet.
The links are held together with standard split pins and Momo provides half links to make sure a proper fit is achieved.
The only negative to this bracelet design is that it precludes installing a rubber or leather strap on this watch. You’re pretty much stuck with the bracelet, but it’s not a bad place to be.
Presentation is via an enormous box inside a two piece cardboard box. The inner box has a large silver ‘MomoDesign’ logo on it and has a black piano lacquer type finish. The box is really too big, but it is impressive nonetheless.
To put the Momo Design Race Master automatic chronograph GMT into perspective means that this one watch can do double or triple duty for many people. For those that value style above all else, this one has it in spades. For those that want multi-functionality, this is a powerhouse. And for those that want comfort and lightweight, the Race Master come through as well.
Momo Design has a real winner here and if you look hard enough, you can get a great price on this watch and be confident in knowing that you have an exclusive, well-designed, well-made automatic timepiece that is stylish to boot. A great job all-around!
Pros: multi-functional with useful complications, lightweight titanium construction, high-quality and extremely accurate Swiss automatic movement, great Italian style, lots of nice details, great bracelet design
Cons: weak and sparse lume, hands a bit short, 24-hour bezel rotates too easily and has too many clicks, dial a bit too busy for some, hard to read small print on city chapter ring
Verdict: a super all-around watch that has looks and features you won’t find every day, especially when bought at a discount
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.