When cars meet watches - 5 of the best motoring timepieces
Wearing a watch that matches your car is simply a must for supercar owners.Neil Churchill February 10, 2015
There are many different styles of watch you can buy; from diving to flying, skeletons to squares, ultra-thins to reversos. But one of our favourite types has always been a motoring watch.
Such is the way in the world of horology however, it is harder to find a brand that isn't associated with motoring, than one that is. Omega and Rolex lead the way in motorsport timekeeping, TAG Heuer's affinity with motor racing stretches back to the start of the 20th Century, and Blancpain is the title sponsor of the GT Series.
But there are some high-end brands that have gone a step further than just lending their name to an advertising billboard on a well-photographed hairpin, and instead have collaborated directly with a leading car manufacturer to produce a highly unique and sought after timepiece.
Here's our roundup of the best five motoring timepieces on the market:
Jaeger-LeCoultre, Aston Martin
In 2014 Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled the AMVOX2 Transponder - a new and upgraded model of the first AMVOX line of watches first released in 2006. Apart from being the typical high-end mechanical watch you expect Jaeger-LeCoultre to produce, it is also an electronic transponder that can lock and unlock your Aston Martin.
With an updated dial and antenna system, the new model works across a range of Astons - should you own more than one - and uses a sapphire crystal to operate the door mechanisms. A spinning Aston Martin logo displays the seconds hand, meaning if the logo ever stops, so has the watch.
Last year, Jaguar made the surprise announcement that it would finish the production run for its six remaining lightweight GT E-types that never materialised back in 1963. Except this time the remaining cars would be paired with unique Bremont watches.
With a relationship already established since 2010, the two companies combined to produce a unique timepiece that is both physically and emotionally tied to the final lightweight E-types. The black dial is based on the car's RPM gauge with the distinctive red quadrant, while the hour and minute hands are replicas of the gauge's tachometer needle.
Each car's unique chassis number is printed at the corresponding watch's six o-clock position, while the caseback carries the engine number. The white gold case includes the same aluminium used in the car's body panels and the straps are made from the same leather as the E-type's interior. Of course only six were made so if you're not wearing one on your wrist as you read this, then you probably never will.
Parmigiani Fleurier, Buggatti In 2004 Parmigiani Fleurier met the luxury car maker Bugatti, and bonding over technical excellence and artistic flair, the two have spent the past decade creating timepieces that have been more than just watches stamped with the car manufacture’s logo.
Inspired by the raw power of the car brand's flagship, the Veyron, in 2004 the Swiss watchmaker wanted to create a piece which was ‘engine first, and function second’. Therefore the emphasis of the watch would be the piece’s oversized mechanism rather than the timekeeping dial.
The result was the Bugatti 370 - a watch whose mechanism, just like a car engine, runs along a horizontal rather than a vertical axis, with the time displayed laterally; a world first. Last year saw the two brands collaborate yet again to produce the Bugatti Mythe (above), which takes the 370’s transverse tubular movement as its starting point.
Hublot, Ferrari After the debut of the original MP-05 La Ferrari watch in 2013, Hublot released two further editions last year, signifying the popularity of the timepiece. Made up of 637 components, the MP-05 is more representative of high-end modern art than a watch.
Featuring a 50-day power reserve thanks to its 11 mainspring barrels, the watch is made from a Black PVD coated titanium, which forms the front and rear open casing, covered by a specially crafted Sapphire crystal covering - the same found in the LaFerrari. Produced to a limited edition run of 50 pieces, the watch is actually more exclusive than the car.
Breitling, Bentley Established since 2003, the Breitling for Bentley relationship has probably been the most familiar car-watch collaboration of the past decade. What began with sponsoring Bentley's 24 Hours of Le Mans team has snowballed into a steady output of timepieces - at least 17 model lines in total - each bearing distinctive Breitling similarities alongside unique features relevant to the corresponding cars.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership in 2013, three new chronographs were released, of which the Bentley B05 Unitime (above) caught our eye. The world-time chronograph is powered by a double-disc mechanism, allowing the owner to easily read the time in any of the world's 24 timezones.
Turning the crown in one-hour increments corrects all indications in a single movement, automatically adjusting to the local time - it even takes into account summer and daylight savings time. The bezel houses the names of 24 cities around the world, while an image of the globe adorns the dial.