Watches

Time and Speed: A Look at Cars and Watches

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You can’t bring your car into the boardroom, but with an auto-inspired timepiece, you can make the statement anyway.

Today’s finest watchmakers are inspired by the auto-racing world. From design to high-tech materials and ultra precision, the synergies between these two mechanical arenas are uncanny.

Both were born at just about the same time in the early 1900’s and grew up together right from the start. Early 20th century watches were the driver’s best accompaniment, especially when they began offering chronographs and tachymeter scales.

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Today, both premier car builders and luxury watchmakers are driven by the quest to track time to the tiniest fraction of a second. Both regularly strive for mechanical perfection – building part upon part, adding complexity after complexity –to achieve the ultimate mechanical machine.

Many watchmakers even borrow high-tech lightweight yet rugged materials from the auto industry, including titanium, carbon fiber and aluminium, to help make their watches more durable and more automobile inspired.

Additionally, some watch brands partner with car brands to build watches in their name, while others partner with races as official timekeepers, or as sponsors of a team or a driver. Year after year, the partnerships abound, all with the concept of offering today’s discerning customer an auto-inspired timepiece that roars his passion for mechanics and cars right from the wrist.

Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby(R) Cobra 1963 Chronograph

Just about two years ago, Baume & Mercier partnered with Shelby American to create an all new timepiece inspired by the man behind the legendary Cobra, as well as the cars and the drivers in the golden age of 1960’s racing. This Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby(R) Cobra 1963 Chronograph is one of two limited edition “Spirit of Competition” watches unveiled this year to celebrate the Cobra 289 victory in 1963 at 12 Hours of Sebring. It is powered by a mechanical self-winding movement and offers chronograph functions, tachymeter scale and date indication. The 44mm case is crafted in steel and the back is engraved with “Shelby® Cobra Edition” “One out of 1963.” Retail: $4,450., www.baume-et-mercier.com

TAG Heuer Monza

This year, TAG Heuer celebrates 40 years of Monza with a numbered special edition watch. The 42mm Monza automatic chronograph is crafted in brushed and polished titanium with a black carbide coated case and bezel. The black dial features chronograph central seconds hand in red and subdials with red accents. Luminescent markers and hands make for easy reading, and the outer flange of the dial features printed tachymeter and pulosometer scales. The watch, powered by the TAG Heuer Caliber 17, features a vintage Heuer logo and “Monza” lettering on the dial. Retail: $5,200., us.tagheuer.com

Graham Silverstone RS Racing Blue

Graham is involved in races around the world, and its auto-inspired timepieces go the distance. This Graham Silverstone RS Racing watch offers chronograph functions (seconds, 30 minutes, 12 hour counters), as well as a day/date indication, in addition to hours, minutes and seconds. The Caliber G1749 automatic chronograph movement with Incabloc shock absorber powers it. The 46mm stainless steel case sports a blue composite bezel with a white tachymeter scale on it. The sapphire caseback enables viewing of the movement, which offers 48 hours of power reserve. Retail: $5,780., www.graham1695.com

Zenith El Primero Range Rover

Swiss watch brand, Zenith, has just announced a multi-year partnership with British Land Rover. To inaugurate the relationship, the brand has unveiled the El Primero Range Rover limited edition timepiece. Offered with either a blue or an ivory perforated calfskin strap (backed by rubber), the watch is powered by the 326-part El Primero 400B automatic watch with column-wheel chronograph. The matte gray dial features both the Zenith and Range Rover names and the rotor, visible via a sapphire caseback, is inscribed with both brands’ logos. Retail: $7,700., www.zenith-watches.com

Breitling Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon

For nearly 15 years, Breitling and Bentley have worked together to create timepieces worthy of both brands when it comes to power, precision and mechanics. Both with winged B signature logos, their partnership seemed destined. The Breitling for Bentley watches house high-performance COSC-certified chronometer movements and a refined aesthetic. This 18-karat rose gold Breitling for Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon chronograph timepiece is a COSC-certified chronometer. It is powered by the brand’s hand-wound Caliber 18B. The dial, with tachymeter bezel, is created in shades taken from the Bentley bodywork options. Retail: $155,000., www.breitling.com

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona

Rolex has long been intimately involved in the world of auto racing, and its association with Daytona dates back more than half a century, and the brand’s Daytona watch is easily one of the most iconic watches in history. This Oyster Perpetual Rolex Daytona (Ref. 116515LN) is a 40mm Oyster case in the brand’s proprietary Everose gold. The black monobloc Cerachrom bezel is crafted in ceramic and engraved with a tachymeter scale. The Rolex self-winding Caliber 4130 offers perpetual mechanical chronograph and is a Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certified after casing). Retail: $28,800., www.rolex.com

Chopard Superfast Chrono Porsche 919

Chopard has entered into a collaboration with Porsche Motorsport as the Official Timing Partner. This Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition, dedicated to the new Porsche 919 hybrid, is a COSCcertified chronometer. Its flyback chronograph allows for timing of multiple events at once. Built in a limited edition of 919 pieces, the 45mm stainless steel watch is powered by the Chopard 03.05-M self-winding mechanical caliber with 60 hours of power reserve. Water resistant to 100 meters, it features a tachymeter scale and has a sapphire caseback engraved with “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport.” Retail: $12,890., www.chopard.com

Parmigiani Fleurier Type 390

Parmigiani Fleurier works with the famed Bugatti brand to create intriguing three-dimensional watches inspired by the exceptional details of its cars and engines. This all-new Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390 Concept Watch represents the newest generation of super car and super watch. The watch is conceived of as a motor bloc on the wrist, with tubular movement and concentric shape. Two barrels ensure constant energy. The watch is equipped with a 60-seconds flying tourbillon for mesmerizing appeal. It is so new that it has not yet been priced, but expect it to retail for approximately $350,000., www.parmigiani.ch

Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire

Hublot takes its relationship with LaFerrari to new heights with the MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire – a totally transparent sapphire cased watch that pays tribute to the 1200HP hybrid supercar, FXX K. The incredible engine-inspired case is made from seven blocks of sapphire and it takes more than 600 hours of work to produce a single ultra-light case. The historic 3D movement, (HUB9005.H1.PN.1) of this watch is also made of ultra lightweight carbon compounds. The 637-part movement has 11 barrels and offers an unprecedented 50 hours of power reserve. Retail: $575,000., www.hublot.com