Nezumi Studios is known for its big-value chronographs, and despite the rising prices of wristwear, this doesn’t appear to be changing. After 13 years in existence and nine years of creating mid-century-inspired sports watches, the Stockholm-based brand is now an established player on the watch scene.

David Campo, founder and lead designer of the Swedish microbrand Nezumi, has realized that change for the sake of it isn’t always a good thing. Evolution is the name of the wrist game, and alongside offering a field watch and the latest Explorer-cool Aviera GMT, circa-40mm chronographs are what Nezumi does best. With the return of the Tonnerre, we see the brand sticking to its ’60s guns with a strong, european-assembled design.

Introducing the Nezumi Studios Tonnerre Chronograph

The new Tonnerre TQ2 Chronograph

Tonnerre is French for “thunder,” and this watch offers a retro-sweet take on the classic ’60s/’70s chronograph. We’ve covered Nezumi’s releases before, and I will admit to having the old-school Voiture myself. It is one of the few retro-flavored watches I still have in my box. Why? It is a very good everyday watch that offers peace-of-mind accuracy thanks to the meca-quartz movement. David Campo’s sharp eye for detail also sets it apart properly, without compromising on quality.

Introducing the Nezumi Studios Tonnerre Chronograph

Many details set the Tonnerre apart, including a telemeter scale, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “thunder” nomenclature. It is a still-fresh evolution of the first model, punching above its price range. I’ll also offer kudos to Nezumi Studios for creating a case design that works and sticking to it. These days, a 38mm case has become the default sweet spot for many, and with the slim profile enabled by the Seiko VK63, comfort is indeed king. Nezumi also sticks to its tried-and-true method of assembling all watches in Germany, and for me, that is still a big quality box ticked.

Introducing the Nezumi Studios Tonnerre Chronograph

A successful case design with a twist

Anyone can copy a clean-cut skin-diver case à la the 62MAS, and most do. But Nezumi has its take on a good case involving twisted lyre lugs and an edge on comfort. The familiar case started as the Voiture series with its Zorro-mask visage at about 40mm. This time, like the Aviera GMT, we have a soft-brushed version of the same — a more tool-ish vibe if you like. It’s the same case but without the Voiture’s tachymeter bezel. This slim, beveled bezel keeps the diameter to a nice 38mm.

Introducing the Nezumi Studios Tonnerre Chronograph

Due to the slim nature of the much-used Seiko VK-series meca-quartz movement, the case back of the Nezumi Tonnerre is also very flat. That leaves you with a wrist-hugging impression of ergonometry that only underlines the wearability. And like some brands, Nezumi’s designer and owner David Campo understands the appeal of customization. That means there is a choice of straps and a nice Jubilee-esque brushed bracelet. And while this is not a hands-on story, having spent a week with the spent a week with the Aviera GMT last year, I can attest to the comfort of that bracelet. And if you want a lighter combo, Nezumi’s soft leather straps offer a big bang for your strap-buck and have a classic two-stitch design.

Two takes on small-cased retro

Monochrome is best for everyday flexibility, but the deep, dark blue dial of the TQ2.202 offers a cheeky pop of summery turquoise. The 24-hour sub-dial at 3 o’clock has an AM/PM split, and the 60-minute counter at 9 has an alternating white and turquoise 10-minute segments, giving it a lively feel. Brushed, steel syringe hands underline the vintage aesthetic, while the registers have black pointers, and the needle chronograph seconds hand is resplendent in the Tonnerre’s bright trademark turquoise.

The white-dial version (TQ2.102) has a clean, off-white color with the same 24-hour display and 60-minute counter, while the running seconds at 6 o’clock are delightfully fresh. While the dials have a smooth matte finish, there are distinct concentric grooves on the three registers. The vibe is colorful, and while it clearly takes inspiration from greats like the Skipper and Breitling Top Time, it is still very much a Nezumi creation.

A vintage-flavored conclusion

I keep thinking I have had my fill of vintage vibes, but then something good comes along. And like many, I am nervous about owning real vintage watches, especially chronographs, as the Swinging ’60s hits are now 60 years old. Nezumi is one of those brands that offer the right vintage feeling without fauxtina or a homage to any particular watch. Both versions of the new Tonnerre are as crisp and clean as if they’d come out of a Swiss factory last century, with Japanese peace of mind.

Yes, there is an unnecessary 24-hour indicator at 3 o’clock, but otherwise, it’s all good. The hybrid tech makes the summer-fresh turquoise seconds hand flow with imperceptible mini-ticks, and accuracy is great. A pre-VAT price of €345 on the Hunt leather strap still represents great value. Even coming in at €415 (excluding VAT) on the Colin brushed five-row steel bracelet, the Tonnerre is very reasonable in 2024. Both versions are available now from Nezumi Studios in Stockholm.

What do you reckon, Fratelli? Does the Nezumi Studios Tonnerre reignite a retro spark in you? And what would you use the telemeter scale for? Let me know in the comments.

Watch specifications

TQ2.102 (black dial) / TQ2.202 (white dial)
Black or white with applied indices, outer telemeter scale, 24-hour sub-dial, running seconds at 6, and 60-minute counter at 9 o'clock
Case Material
316L stainless steel with brushed finish
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 45.5mm (lug-to-lug) × 12mm (thickness including 1.5mm sapphire crystal)
Double-domed sapphire with underside AR coating
Case Back
Stainless steel, engraved, screw-in
Seiko VK63 meca-quartz
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50 meters)
A choice of black or brown leather straps (20mm width) or five-row Colin brushed steel bracelet
Time (central hours and minutes, small seconds and 24-hours indicator), chronograph (60-minute register, central seconds), telemeter scale
€345 (leather) / €415 (bracelet) — VAT exluded