It’s not unusual for a newly-launched microbrand watch to have some sort of background story attached to it, but it is unusual for said story to be as interesting as the one that spawned Trafford Watch Co.’s S.O.E. Roadster chronograph.
At first blush, the watch does not appear to be too dissimilar to the plethora of other vintage racing-inspired mecaquartz-powered chronographs that populate the microbrand space, but it’s the story that sets the S.O.E. Roadster apart. The watch was inspired by three twentieth-century racecar drivers: Britain’s most successful Grand Prix racer, William Grover-Williams, and French Le Mans-winners Jean-Pierre Wimille and Robert Benoist. After WWII broke out, all three men joined the UK’s S.O.E., a secretive organization tasked with conducting espionage and sabotage within Nazi-occupied Europe. The watch was styled after the Bugatti Type 35 and comes in three variants that match the preferred car color of each of the respective drivers turned spies. And since a good story will only take you so far, the watches are well-specced, too, with fully-lumed ceramic bezels, sapphire crystals, and inner steel tachymeters. The Trafford S.O.E. Roadster will launch on Kickstarter in March 2021.