Mankind has always been fascinated by speed, power and accuracy, and what better way to celebrate the obsession than with a healthy combination of both. Watchmakers have sponsored and/or created special edition watches for races and cars since the start of time, and it’s easy to see why. The two have always had a very special relationship. After all, their similarities are glaring: wheels and gears, power trains and power reserves, second hands and tach needles. The beautiful combination of fine design and great engineering has long been synonymous with both high-end timepieces and exotic automobiles. Here, we bring you five timepieces that encapsulate the vivacious spirit of both.
There are few cars that are held as high an esteem as the Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. It was a car that sparked an American motoring revolution ever since the legendary racer built it in a small garage in Santa Fe back in 1962. In commemoration of the great roadster, Baume & Mercier has added two new models to its collection: the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 and the 1963 Competition.
Both black with scores of yellow, the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 sees a 44mm polished steel case with an alligator strap, while the Competition version is sportier with a partially-coated black ADLC case with a rubber strap. The black tricompax dial also sees two discreet horizontal stripes, a subtle tribute to the winning roadster’s trademark facade. Inside both cases ticks the most successful automatic chronograph movement ever produced: the ETA 7750 movement.
As “Official Timing Partner” of Porsche Motorsport since 2014, it was only natural that Chopard celebrated the German team’s victory at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans with a commemorative edition dedicated to the Porsche 919 prototype that competed in the LMP1 category. A limited edition of only 17 pieces — one for each time the automobile manufacturer has won Le Mans —the Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition titanium PVD 2016.
Bead-blasted by a DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon), topped by a bezel bearing a lacquered titanium tachymetric scale and secured by PVD-coated blackened screws, this watch is clearly on the dark side. Like the 919, the timepiece is powered by only the finest ‘engines’ — a mechanical self-winding Chopard Calibre 03.05M chronograph movement, entirely produced and assembled in Chopard’s storied Fleurier Ebauches workshops.
The Bentley GMT B04 S Carbon Body chronograph might be the most distinctive of the lot, but if you actually do drive a Bentley, there’s really no reason to be holding back with your timepiece. And as with all Bentleys, Breitling implements cutting-edge technology to this watch — one that’s already been used on the chassis of Formula One cars.
Fitted with a 45mm carbon fibre case, the piece is crowned by the knurled bezel that evokes the radiator grills now synonymous with the Continental WP and Mulsanne. A carbon fibre tricompax dial completes the watch’s sportiness, enhanced by red-rimmed counters inspired by racing car instrument panels. Available in a limited edition of 250 pieces, this watch is powered by the in-house, COSC-certified Breitling Calibre B04.
Following the success of the MKI and MKII, Bremont and Jaguar have released the latest iteration of the series, creatively named the MKIII. Like the previous two, this watch is designed with the British carmaker’s Lightweight Type-E in mind. Design elements such as the hour markings are reminiscent of the numerals on Type-E instruments, while the dial sees a distinctive ‘red line’ quadrant which pays homage to the car’s tachometer. Even the winding crown might look familiar — it features the same original Dunlop tyre tread design.
As the most pared back timepiece in the series, the England-based aviation-themed watchmaker made the MKIII is slightly slimmer than the previous two at 43mm, and removed the sub-dials for a more streamlined design. Powered by the BE-36AE self-winding caliber — also a COSC-certified chronometer — the watch is pretty much as British as it gets.
While this watch isn’t inspired by a specific car, it’s easy to see where B.R.M’s ART CAR collection got its inspiration from. An unusual tribute to racing cars that were painted by some of the greatest pop-art artists from the ‘70s and ‘80s — think Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Robert Rauschenberg — the dynamic series leaves no colour behind. Applied liberally on everything from the dial and pushers to the stitching on the calf skin leather strap, the colours on the watch are a great way to tell the world that even if you have your serious business game face on, you’re a fun person to be with deep down inside.