Auto Winders: Check out these latest high-octane car-watch collaborations
Both cars and watches have long had a special place in the hearts of refined gentlemen of means, and with good reason. The two owe their origins to pressing needs for convenience and precision, with each now treasured as epitomising a true fusion of precision engineering and enduring elegance. Given their shared heritage and matching aspirational feel, car-watch partnerships were all but inevitable. Indeed, many such strategic car-watch brand alliances have proved fruitful and long-lived, while yielding some truly stunning designs…
In celebration of its three-decade collaboration with the Mille Miglia race – a 1,600km-long classic car rally held in Italy each year – Chopard has launched the Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition. Here, the requisite tachymetre bezel and chronograph pushers set the rallying tone, while its generous 44mm fascia allows for easy legibility. The self-winding movement, meanwhile, provides ultra-precise time measurements, which are said to be accurate to an eighth of a second. Limited to just 1,000 pieces, perforated leather straps – reminiscent of the texture of driving gloves – complete a truly vintage look.
An equally grand race-inspired timepiece comes courtesy of Bremont, with its historic partnership with Jaguar, a fellow British brand, having culminated in the launch of the limited-edition Jaguar D-type. A knowing homage to Jaguar’s hugely successful D-type – the car that won the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours race from 1955 to 1957 – the 300bHp of its original engine is given a knowing nod by the fact that just 300 pieces are to be produced. Set on blue racing calf-leather straps, the 43mm blue-dialled bi-compax timepiece features a tachymetre scale, an effective contrast with its brushed nickel sub-dials. Sporty yet sophisticated, its racing pedigree is more than apparent at even the most cursory of glances.
Taking a similarly heritage-centric approach is Breitling’s Bentley-channelling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition. Designed to celebrate the motoring marque’s 100th anniversary, the left side of the case bears the same Bentley engraving that graced the dashboard of the iconic 1929 Bentley Blower. With both the stainless steel and rose gold models featuring a white printed tachymetre scale on a unique brown elm burl dial, its classic appeal is undoubtable.
A more contemporary approach, meanwhile, comes in the memorable form of the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT, the latest timepiece on offer from Hublot and Ferrari, the self-styled supercar marque. In place of the former’s traditionally angular designs, this flyback chronograph is the very epitome of aerodynamic curvature. Available in titanium, King Gold or 3D Carbon, the watch’s beautifully open-worked fascia proudly displays Ferrari’s famed prancing horse at 12 o’clock, while also highlighting its recessed Calibre UNICO HUB1280 movement. Hybrid black rubber-Schedoni leather straps and a convex case design round out its automotive appeal.
In an unusual move, TAG Heuer and Aston Martin have taken the symbiotic nature of car-watch partnerships to a whole new level, with the former’s Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera 2019 timepiece and the latter’s DBS Superleggera TAG Heuer Edition on offer as one all-inclusive car-watch package. More specifically, the purchase of any of the new sportscars – available in a limited edition of just 50 – will see the lucky owner also walk away with TAG’s latest chronogram. Obviously inspired by the car it namechecks, the marque’s all-new design includes several unambiguously DBS accents, notably its grille-motif hexagonal cut-out fascia and embossed leather straps, while a hint of red detailing adorns its otherwise all-black finish.
Revving proceedings up several gears, avant-garde watchmaker Roger Dubuis has teamed with Lamborghini and tyre brand Pirelli to create its undeniably eclectic Excalibur One-off. Blending the expertise of the three partners in their individual areas of excellence – haute horology, adrenaline-driven performance and precision engineering – this truly superlative chronogram perfectly balances aggressive athleticism with aesthetic appeal. Its delightfully open-worked fascia, meanwhile, reveals its purpose-built RD 106SQ movement, as well as its double flying tourbillon and a jumping hours display at 12 o’clock – all structured to resemble the engine of the Lamborghini SC18 Alston supercar that provided the original inspiration.
The most recent members of the car-watch collaborators club – renowned Swiss haute horology house Jacob & Co. and legendary hypercar company Bugatti – though, may just prove to be the most outré. The first fruit of this partnership – the Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti Edition – is nothing short of overwhelming, in terms of both size and complexity. It comes with a decimal repeater as standard, as well as a racing-themed “fuel” power reserve indicator and stunningly intricate dual triple-axis sequential high-speed tourbillons. With each individual watch carrying a price tag of US$500,000, the exclusivity of this 39-piece release is heightened yet more by the fact that it is only purchasable by Bugatti owners.
Text: Tenzing Thondup