Crafted with stellar mechanics, engineering and design, watches and cars have excited enthusiasts for years. Their partnership has pushed unlimited boundaries, and we mention some prime examples
By: Somnath Chatterjee
Posted on: May 29, 2020
It is often said that cars and watches are inseparable bedfellows, and with good reason, since both industries have deep-rooted ties which hark back to the old racing days when time keeping was essential. These days it is not uncommon to find a car collector also having a keen interest in amassing a collection of timepieces. Thus a partnership between two industries was all but inevitable.
Most of the watches are either about paying homage to a race, a race car driver or an event, plus of course the watch being modeled on a particular car. What’s intriguing is that the materials used, and of course the craftsmanship shared by both industries, indicates the fact that there is much more common between them than what meets the eye. Here is our list of top 10 car and watch collaborations.
1. Richard Mille and McLaren
Formula 1 is the temple of speed and lightness – a sport where even a fraction of a second matters. It is also a sport where technology is often pushed to the brink at the altar of performance. Thus Richard Mille and McLaren coming together seemed like the obvious partnership considering how both incorporate the magic of lightweight materials and space age design into their product range. Our favorite is the RM 50-03. Designed and developed in collaboration with the McLaren F1 team, the RM 50-03 is the lightest mechanical chronograph ever made.
The design, in typical Richard Mille fashion, is bursting with ground-breaking materials, especially the use of graphene plus titanium and carbon. Its weight including the strap is just 38 grams. Beautiful details like a 'function indicator' similar to a car's gearbox, or even the 'torque indicator' or 'power reserve indicator' take inspiration from racing cars.
2. Rolex Daytona
One of the most iconic watches in this genre has to be the Rolex Daytona which has spawned a catalogue of highly collectible pieces over the years. Motorsport is theme of this series which has been named after the Daytona Beach in Florida - a mecca of motorsport – and home to the iconic speedway. The Rolex Daytona was originally made for racing drivers to measure average speed. Till date, there have been many collectibles, but the original from 1963 is perhaps the most sought after with the 'Paul Newman’ watch in particular selling at a record price!
3. Tag Heuer Carrera
Just like the Daytona, the Tag Heuer Carrera is an iconic watch that was made for professional drivers. The name comes from the Carrera Panamericana Mexico race. The original design stemmed from the idea of being a tough and an elegant watch designed to withstand the rigours of road racing. It is a bonafide classic and the modern iterations have carried that theme forward very well.
4. Breitling and Bentley Mulliner
Breitling and Bentley have the longest ever partnership involving a car and a watch brand. Started way back in 2002, Breitling made the onboard clock for the Continental GT. From paying homage to the Bentley symbol to portraying Bentley car's details like the materials used inside, the Breitling for Bentley series includes many excellent timepieces. Our favorite is the Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon!
5. Hublot and Ferrari
Both the brands need no introduction. Their eight years plus partnership has given birth to some stunning watches, most notably the MP-05 “LaFerrari”, and in 2016 the MP-05 “LaFerrari” Sapphire. That watch was rarer than the Ferrari car it is inspired from, and it also had space-age materials embedded in it, just like in the Ferraris. The Ferrari design team is actively involved in the watchmaking process with the latest offering being the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT watch line.
6. Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini Squadra Corse
Roger Dubuis is the main sponsor of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo race and that partnership also goes into watchmaking, with a rather extreme looking collection echoing the design of Lamborghini race cars. The lightweight materials used (the case is forged carbon fibre and comes from Lamborghini) and the bright hues that dominate the straps indicate towards the inspiration. The Excalibur Aventador S series, available in 88 and 8 piece limited editions, has been their best yet.
7. IWC and AMG
From the official engineering partner of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to making the analog clock on Mercedes cars, IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes AMG have been in partnership since 2004. One of the best watches to have borne fruit of this collaboration is the Ingenieur Automatic Edition "AMG GT" which is billed as the first boron carbide watch (the first watch to feature a case made of pure boron carbide). The watch design is inspired by the AMG GT, including the AMG colour called as 'Solarbeam'.
8. Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti
This partnership between these brands started in 2006 when the ground breaking Type 370 watch was made with inspiration from the Bugatti Veyron hypercar. The design and ethos are based on Bugatti cars with racing cues draped all over its strikingly designed body. The newer Type 390 and the Type 390 for the Bugatti Chiron Sport takes luxury watches to new indulgent levels. While the design and craftsmanship is unique, the Type 390 for the Chiron Sport is much lighter with reworked components, much like the car itself. Also uniquely, the watch has many customization options which mean that no two watches would ever be similar.
9. Bremont and Jaguar
The two British firms have been in partnership since 2015 with various watch collaborations. The definitive one, however, remains the Bremont Jaguar MKII BJ-11/WH. The classic design echoes the Lightweight E-Type Jaguar sports cars from the 1960s. There are numerous details to admire, but we love the blue perforated calf-leather strap which reminds you of the racing gloves which were worn during the old days of racing.