Virata vrooms into our lives with a racing-inspired look, nice price

Virata, the little watch company from Ohio, just sent me a prototype of their latest piece and I have to say I’m impressed. When I first wrote about the pieces I had just spoken to their creator, a dude named Patrick Wacks from Canton, Ohio. Wacks was inspired by Formula 1 racers and decided to test his engineering mettle by becoming a watchmaker. He succeeded.

The piece runs an automatic Miyota movement and is surprisingly beefy. The entire case looks a little like a car speed gauge and a little like a cool gas cap. The band is handsome and wearable and you can see the automatic movement through the exhibition case.

Given that this is Patrick’s first watch and it’s not even on sale yet I’m very impressed. The fact was able to build a unique case and face and source an automatic movement for a simple prototype (not to mention include a cool box) it’s clear this guy is going places. You can sign up for updates on the watch here and he plans to open pre-orders on May 1.

The watches will range from $545 to $609 and come in multiple colors. He’s selling limited editions of the first pieces and I suspect they will sell out pretty quickly. I think with the right story – the Formula 1 angle is a bit played out – and the right marketing Patrick has a real chance to open a boutique brand that explodes (gently) out of American’s heartland. Good stuff.