Relationship of leading horological and automotive brands today is no longer the exception but the rule. We present you some of the finest results of these relationships.
Precision timers can be compared with an exciting and fast cars, and they all share in common that they are created out of passion for technique. Cars and watches are viewed through the historical symbiosis that started with the watch on the dashboard.
In 1903 Alfred Dunhill company invented a patent for a first timer used in automobiles. The first dashboard chronograph for cars was introduced in 1911 by the Heuer company.
This Heuer invention was so interesting that after a short time, Time to Trip became the best selling watch in the world. In late twenties cars were already well established, and in early thirties development of motor sport started.
Big number of chronograph watches were produced at those times. One of the first manufacturers to develop these watches was Breitling. In 1923 Breitling developed first chronograph watch at which the zero and starting position were determined through the rosary.
Watches on dashboard
The next step in the romantic relationship between a car and a watch was a wristwatch. Wristwatch, just as the car, talks about financial status and taste of its owner. The first wrist watches today look pretty amazing. In 20’s the company Mido made such watches that looked like a car refrigerators.
Furious 50’s were marked by the rapid development of the automotive industry, particularly in the U.S.. The 60’s were again closely associated with auto racing. Nowhere was success so depended on the exact timing as in motor sports. Therefore, in the 60’s, the golden age of racing, chronograph was made for contestants and the audience alike.
|Latest products of these two firms was Big Ingenieur and Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG IWC Edition limited only to 200 copies. Each new owner of SL 63 AMG gets one “great engineer” for free.|
IWC and AMG
Companies IWC and AMG have one thing in common other than the three-letter name – both manufacturers are very strong in the field of engineering. These shared values inspired them to work together, so since 2004, every year on the market comes a new version of Ingenieur AMG model and a new model from AMG IWC edition. Last joint venture of these giants is the Big Ingenieur and the Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG IWC limited edition of 200 copies. Each prospective owner of SL 63 AMG IWC edition gets a “great engineer”. Design of the watch is suitable for automotive engineers.
Time for Daytona and Monaco
Then were created watch models whose names are closely tied to motor sport such as TAG Heuer Carrera or Rolex Daytona. Shortly before the quartz crisis of the early seventies automatic chronograph experienced its real prosperity.
First, the Zenith in 1969 introduced its El Primero, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary three years ago, and almost simultaneously the Breitling and Heuer presented its models Chronomat and Monaco. Square chronograph named after the famous race track in Monaco, has achieved worldwide fame thanks to Steve McQueen who wore the model in 1971 movie “Le Mans”.
Passionate relationship between a car and watches again experienced a rise with the return of mechanical watches. In the beginning of motor sports it was understandable that the race car driver, wore a watch that helped him in measuring performance – tachometers of that time were not as precise as they are today.
Today, when time is measured in thousands of a second such instruments are unnecessary. Nevertheless there is still a strong connection between the car and a watch, but it primarily involves emotions, and then functionality.
|Each year Chopard presents new model of Mille Miglia. This resulted in the collection of 20 watches which are adored in the automobile afficionados world.|
The most beautiful car race of the world, as it was named by Enzo Ferrari was the Mille Miglia, and its history began in 1927. The magic of this race attracted the best drivers and the most famous producers.
Time record was achieved in 1955 by Stirling Moss in a Mercedes 300 SLR. His average speed ranged around 100 mph (160 km/h), which means that it took him exactly 10 hours to conquer the distance of 1,000 miles (1600 km). In the past, the Mille Miglia was a real street race, and Scuderia Ferrari won the race eight times, the company owned by Enzo Ferrari, the former leader of Team Alfa Romeo.
Serious accident of Ferrari driver Alfonso de Portago in 1957 marked the end of the traditional form of street racing in Mille Miglia. Only 20 years later, it has undergone a renaissance, and now it is most famous classic car race in the world.
Since 1988, Chopard is one of the sponsors of this famous race, and the product of this cooperation is a chronograph Mille Miglia. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the owner of Chopard and expensive vintage cars, participates in the race every year.
This Geneva-based brand every year produces a new model of Mille Miglia, which in the past 20 years resulted in a collection of watches whose design adorns sporty style of this iconic race. Every year fans of cars and watches wait for a new version of the famous chronograph with distinctive rubber strap which is from 1990 decorated with the profile of Dunlop tires.
|Chronoswiss is known in the world of vintage racing like Internationale Klausenrennen-Memorial or Chronoswiss Classics. Especially for these races Chronoswiss designed models Timemaster Flyback and Bordmaster.|
Big enthusiast and a fan of classic cars is Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, owner of Chronoswiss. Lang was especially fascinated by old cars that emerged in the period between 1935 to 1965. Because of his passion for old cars, brand Chronoswiss is engaged in vintage cars racing and they specially designed two watches for the racing, Timemaster Flyback and Bordmaster.
Ferrari and partners
Ferarri was one of the first automotive brands that have collaborated with the producers of watches. With the treaty of 1979 began a long-term association with the company Longines. Initially, the cooperation was limited to the Formula 1 team. Fruitful collaboration lasted until the early nineties when the Italian carmaker decided to start a collaboration with Girard-Perregaux.
The new owner of the company, the Italian Luigi Macaluso, had a very emotional relationship with cars and motor racing. In the early seventies he was Ferrari’s fastest driver in Europe. In 1992 Girard-Perregaux presented the first series of 499 chronographs named Tribute to Ferrari.
It was a real treasure, a chronograph with golden case that customers enthusiastically embraced. Cooperation between the company Girard-Perregaux and Ferrari lasted through 2005.
After the end of this cooperation, Ferrari did not have to wait long for its next partners: in 2006 they announced the beginning of cooperation with Officine Panerai, the brand with Italian roots.
Panerai has developed an entirely different philosophy: New Ferrari Panerai watch was produced, but it should be treated as an independent brand. It was not produced by Panerai for Ferrari, but a Ferrari watch “engineered by Panerai.” Two collections were presented: Granturismo, with Ferrari logo and the Scuderia, with recognition sign – Cavallino Rampante.
|Youngest model in this family is Bentley GMT Chronograph which resembles the dashboard of Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Its 49mm casing hides automatic calibre ETA 2892 Dubois Depraz, available in the red-gold and stainless steel versions.|
Breitling and Bentley
A few years ago, another partnership between two manufacturers, Bentley and Breitling, began, to produce a most unusual watches. Breitling has always been known for its watches for pilots, so it did not take long to find similarities with known automaker.
Walter Owen Bentley, founder of Bentley, used to build engines for aircrafts, and during the first World War I, he was a Royal Air Force pilot, so he had a lot to do with aviation.
The first Breitling for Bentley collection was presented in 2003, and the youngest descendant of this family is the Bentley GMT Chronograph reminiscent of the dashboard of the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
One of the most original ideas, how can luxury car be linked to high-quality watch mechanism, comes from the famous Italian design house Pininfarina. American collector and owner of the Rolls-Royce Drophead-Coupe, Roland Hall, commissioned from Pininfarina new bodywork for his Drophead.
His wish was to have the car in the style of the 307s, and so the Pininfarina devised for Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe an entirely new model called Hyperion. Rolls-Royce Hyperion is presented to the public in August 2008 at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California. Thanks to extended engine hood and elongated rear end, the car really awakes the nostalgic feelings.
The interior of this classy car was not changed. The cockpit was fitted with Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon which can be removed and worn as a wristwatch.
|To celebrate 90th anniversary of Maserati, Audemars Piguet made its first mechanical watch, Dual Time Millenary-Maserati whose design perfectly embodies style of this automobile brand.|
Tradition, perfection and innovation – these are the three values on which the Audemars Piguet based his partnership with Italian car manufacturer Maserati. The first watch to come out of this joint venture was made for the 90th Maserati anniversary. It was complicated Dual Time Millenary Maserati, whose design perfectly copied the eccentricity of this automotive brand.
What followed was a Millenary MC12 Tourbillon Chronograph made in Maserati MC12 color produced in a limited edition of 150 copies. Audemars Piguet has become the official sponsor of the Trofeo Audemars Piguet Maserati Europe.
|Jaeger-LeCoultre developed model AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT which is cased in ceramics body and made in limited series.|
Jaeger-LeCoultre – watch as the key
In 2005, Aston Martin’s CEO initiated a collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre. He wanted a reminder of the time when Jaeger was a supplier of instruments for Aston Martin. The same year Aston Martin returned to motor sports, and Jaeger-LeCoultre has become the official technology partner of the Aston Martin Racing Team.
Celebrating this event, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented a model AMVOX1 R-Alarm. Then followed AMVOX2 DBS, the first mechanical clock that can activate or deactivate the security system of these luxury cars. Finally, Jaeger-LeCoultre has developed the latest model AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT embodied in a highly valuable ceramic body, and like its predecessors, is available in limited edition.
TAG Heuer has always cooperated with famous drivers: once they were Jo Siffert, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and now Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton. They were not only prominent messengers of this known brand, but they regularly collaborated in the development of new products.
Meanwhile, many manufacturers had successfully connected with the royal discipline of motor sport racing including cooperations between Oris and Williams F1 Team, Seiko and Honda Racing F1 Team, and in 2005 Jacques Lemans secured exclusive rights to produce F1 Collection.
Car enthusiasts appreciate the body, handcrafts and raw materials used. In the same way watch fans see their precious pets that should be quiet and reliable. It is not surprising that many drivers of exclusive cars love to wear special edition watches.