Exclusive Hands-On Review Of The Bohematic Aerodynamic
It was nicknamed “Icebreaker,” and allegedly, even Ferdinand Porsche himself admired it. The Wikov 35 was the world’s first aerodynamic car, and it is the inspiration for the latest watch release from a young Czech independent brand. Meet the Bohematic Aerodynamic.
Archives say there weren’t more than three to five examples of the Wikov 35 ever produced. It was shown to the world in late 1931 at the Prague Motor Show, two and half years earlier than the Tatra 77, which is officially recognized as the world’s first serially produced car with an aerodynamic body. Wikov 35 never actually took off, as the manufacturers forgot about one important detail — covering the chassis. Leaving it uncovered allowed air to flow in, causing resistance and slowing the car.
From the grille to the dial
Fast or not, the design of this 90-year-old vehicle is breathtaking. It reminds me of a submarine, a nuclear head, shark gills, or a sound echo — you choose. In reality, the shape of the Wikov 35 was inspired by a falling drop with the least air resistance. Its signature circular cuts in the front nose signify aviation and make this car design unmistakably unusual. This bold design trait also became the key visual element on the dial of the Bohematic Aerodynamic.
Daring aerodynamic scars
I saw the sketch of the Aerodynamic watch months before I saw the real piece. I liked the idea of “ribs” on the dial, but I couldn’t really imagine the execution. The final result surprised me for the better. It’s not disturbing at all and it doesn’t compete with the two sub-registers. The radial cuts are perfectly symmetric and precise, as is the relief structure. It seems simple, but it’s pretty fascinating under a loupe. I had to ask how it was manufactured. “The dial plates are made in the traditional way — by embossing. The base material is a brass sheet, which is then blasted and galvanically plated,” explains Bohematic project manager Renata Eichlerova.
When I compare the Bohematic Aerodynamic to the brand’s previous release, the Bohematic Minor Chronograph, I find the Aerodynamic more coherent and elegant. Instead of a chronograph, the Aerodynamic utilizes two sub-registers for small seconds and a power reserve indicator. Some people find a power reserve useless, but it always had a spell over me. The power reserve hand is the only striking red detail in the otherwise strict, tuxedo-like dress code. I like the implementation of the Bohematic logo, but after a few days, I found the POWER RESERVE” text both redundant and slightly disturbing. The “8 DAYS” description would be just about enough, and it wouldn’t steal focus from the beautiful, red, drop-shaped hand.
Grainy, black, and shiny
I often write down notes before I start writing a review. When I was trying to decode the uniformity and fluidity of this design, I broke it down to a careful combination of matte and satisfyingly micro-grained sandblasting, with a black counterbalance and highly polished accents for the scales and frames. These last elements, as Renata explained, are “made of copper using electroplating. The copper semi-finished product is then bicolor-plated in galvanic baths,” giving the final result you can see in detail in the photo above.
This finishing has quite a deceiving and illusory effect. Your eyes see steel and reflective, mirror-like glass, but at the same time, you know that it’s neither of those. I supposed that’s what Bohematic wanted to achieve after all.
When I hear the terms “sub-seconds” or “small seconds,” I categorically expect a watch with a classy dress design. Well, as an old Slovak saying goes, “an exception confirms the rule.” The Aerodynamic has quite a sporty look, and after four days on my wrist, the small seconds became one of my favorite details on this watch. It wasn’t the beloved power reserve, nor the pleasant 39.5mm diameter. It wasn’t even the guarded onion crown. Rather, it was the small seconds sub-dial, with its expressive, long indexes reminiscent of notched gears that truly grew on me. The unusual number placement and really delicate date window integration also struck a nice chord.
Where did Bohematic get its 8-day movement?
The caliber inside is from La Joux-Perret. It is visible through the exhibition case back and reveals radial holes that mimic the nose of the Wikov 35. Critics of power-reserve watches often object to the complication in an automatic watch. Thumbs up to Bohematic for the decision to use a manual movement. Eight days of running power when fully wound is pretty powerful indeed. But if we consider the €7,000 pricing, it seems about right.
Bohematic decided to find the elusive sweet spot between a sporty and elegant watch. And the brand succeeded. The Aerodynamic is not unnecessarily big, and it is quite sleek. It has a story to tell and a design to boast about. Bohematic decided to hide all the stamping inside the case, movement and between the lugs, so you get a pretty clean and artsy experience when looking at the Aerodynamic from the bottom. The titanium case with short lugs was designed specifically for this watch, and you can feel how it flows with the dial design. You have a pretty wide selection when it comes to this price range, so I am really curious to see how successful this ambitious watch project from Czechia will be.
To find out more about Bohematic and pre-order the Aerodynamic, check out the brand’s official site.