Founded in 1867 by Emmanuel Lipmann, the Lip factory has always claimed a certain passion for motor sports. This, from 1945, the year in which Fred Lip, worthy heir of the bisontine house, took control of the company. A fan of innovations and motor racing, he had cars manufactured, on his instructions, by the greatest manufacturers of the time, Ferrari and Lamborghini in the lead. The strong man of the Besançon firm is also at the origin of many now iconic references, such as the Nautic-Ski – famous diver signed Lip – or the line called “Rallye”, smelling good engine roar and the smell of asphalt.
A Panda Bi-Compax chronograph (two sub-counters) which, quietly, has been driving counters – and collectors of pilot’s timepieces – crazy since the 1970s by paying homage to various legendary vehicles, such as the Ferrari 410 SuperAmerica from 1956. Today, Lip is climbing the depths of the rankings to take a position on the starting grid of historic reissues by presenting a new variation of its watch inspired by the automotive world: the Rallye Chrono Automatic 42 mm. A tribute piece to another legendary car from Fred Lip’s collection: the 1969 Lamborghini Miura with its beautiful green bodywork – as Fred Lip wished – like the dark green sunburst dial of the new Rallye. Now let’s lift the hood.
The box of this new Rallye is classically adorned with shiny silver 316L stainless steel. Lip has chosen to enlarge the case of its new frame with a 42 mm diameter case – and 16 mm thick, curved glass included – unlike the latest 38 mm editions, which are smaller and reminiscent of watch cases. of vintage pilot. A piece that is therefore more imposing on the wrist, but which remains within modern standards while maintaining a solid identity as well as an elegant and discreet style, in particular thanks to the thin plunging lugs which also offer a comfortable fit. Moreover, with its fluted crown and round pushers, the case pays homage to the characteristics of watches from the seventies. The solid steel back is screwed, which ensures a (small) water resistance to 50 meters and the chronograph pushers are placed respectively at 2 and 4 o’clock. Finally, on the back, there is an engraving representing the famous Lamborghini Miura “of the boss”.
On the dial side, the Besançon watchmaker keeps the traditional codes of those of the “racing” type, drawing inspiration from the dashboards of automobiles from the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the dial with a vintage and sporty look is adorned with a green hue dark sunny. A color that is strongly reminiscent of old English cars from the 1920s, such as Aston Martin, Bentley or Jaguar, all using “British Racing Green”. But above all, it evokes the color of the Lamborghini Miura commissioned by Fred Lip, the source of inspiration for Lip’s new racing reference. A dial that is complemented by two white sub-dials for an aesthetically very successful “panda” appearance, one displaying the small seconds at 3 o’clock and the other, at 9 o’clock, the chronograph minutes. In addition, the dial is surrounded by a white bezel with a black tachymeter scale – like any self-respecting pilot’s watch – allowing speed measurement at a glance once the user is seated behind the wheel. The central second of the chronograph is materialized by a silver and red second hand, accentuating the sporty and “racing” side of the watch. There are also silver stick indexes and luminescent hands for optimal readability as well as a date window at 6 o’clock on a white background, as on the period models. Finally, note that the dial is covered with a domed sapphire crystal, echoing the Plexiglas – much less resistant – of vintage pilot’s watches. A healthy choice.
Lip equipped its reference with an automatic column-wheel chronograph caliber unlike the models of the 1970s which were powered by hand-wound movements. His choice fell on the Seiko NE86, a robust, precise and reliable caliber which gives the watch a power reserve of 45 hours. A caliber nevertheless hidden by the solid back on which the aforementioned engraving is exposed. A movement which is certainly not Swiss, but which allows Lip to offer its aficionados a beautiful automatic watch at a relatively reasonable price.
The Rallye is finally dressed in a fine perforated fawn cowhide leather strap, a tribute to the luxury of “supercar” upholstery and the drivers’ gloves of the late 1960s. A chic and retro spirit that remains faithful to the origins of the model, linked since its creation to motor racing.
To conclude, the perception of this new watch is on the whole positive. Note, however, the low waterproofness of the Rallye and a slightly thick build that could displease the thinnest wrists. However, once worn, the watch keeps all its promises and the charm operates. Its retrovintage look will reassure any pilot’s chronograph collector. With an affordable price of 1,490 euros, the new Rallye from Lip is an unpretentious watch, but with a great history that is sure to appeal to lovers of beautiful cogs and vintage cars.