After a successful introduction of the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1965 to celebrate the collaboration between Baume & Mercier en the Carroll Shelby Company, two limited editions of a new model, the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 were presented to the world at the SIHH 2016. 8 April 2016, these editions were introduced to the press at the store of Schaap & Citroen in Amsterdam by chief designer Alexandre Peraldi. The availability of the extremely rare Shelby Cobra (the car…) was the icing on the cake. In this report we will share the design considerations as well photos of the car and the watches.
Cars and Watches
There is something about cars and watches. Many watch companies are affiliated with car manufacturers. Baume & Mercier has found a partner in Carroll Shelby international. Last year’s and this year’s special edition sports watches are a tribute to the drivers of the 1960s, when the Cobras were the among the best on the racing circuits.
The company bears the name of the American racing icon Carroll Shelby, who set 16 records. See: http://www.carrollshelby.com. The Shelby Cobra is an AC car on steroids. The straight-6 engine has been replaced with a Ford 8-cylinder. Albeit impressive, the numbers, horsepower (450) and top speed (260km/h), were not the key reason for the car’s success. That were its acceleration and handling in corners. There are only 10 “real” Shelby Cobras left in Europe (See here).
The model displayed in the PC Hooftstraat in front of the Schaap & Citroen store, with chassis number csx2128, is owned by David Hart. A car that triumphed in the TT race with Giedo van der Garde and David Hart as drivers. The car has also won at the Goodwood racing track, one of the more challenging racetracks – See this link for more details.
While parked in front of the store, many people were in awe about the car. And sometimes puzzled why people took photos of a watch on top of the car:
The Man and his Team behind the design of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra watches
I admit: I was among those who thought that Baume & Mercier was not a watch for the “real” watch aficionado. After all, Baume & Mercier use(d) standard movements. The watches looked nice and classic and yes, nothing to complain about the reliability and accuracy of the movements. But the real watch nut turns the watch around and wants to admire the in-house (modified) movement. That is so wrong! I now believe that the brand is underrated and under-appreciated for what it does. When you listen to Alexandre Peraldi about his passion for design and the credits he gives to his team, you realize that the design department is a key asset for Baume & Mercier. Their design have to meet three criteria:
- Comfort of wear: the watch must be so comfortable that the owners does not realize he or she is wearing the watch.
- Comfort of wallet: the watch must be affordable. Usually less than 4000 euros. In the case of the Shelby watches, less than 4500 euros.
- Comfort of sight: the watch has to be clearly legible.
Obviously, time-to-market is important too. To meet those criteria, every detail is meticulously looked at, criticized and, if necessary, refined in team meetings. Alexandre continuously stresses that the work done is a team effort, not a one man show. This is an impression of the type of mood boards the team works with. In reality, multiple boards are used for multiple design elements.
Mr. Peraldi passion for design boils down to the challenge of combining beauty, functionality, and affordability. He has been educated at the École Boulle in Paris. His two favorite designs are the red chair by Verner Panton and the Lounge Chair by Le Corbusier.
The Car and the Watch
Before starting the design process, the car was discussed with people from Carrol Shelby International. Alexandre Peraldi told us that the biggest challenge was to get a good balance between resemblance and difference. The initial designs showed too much resemblance. Another challenge was keeping the watch affordable without comprising comfort of wear and beauty. The trade-offs have been made in areas that are hardly noticeable to buyers. Personally, I think the team has succeeded in doing that.
What do we think about the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 watch?
We will be back with a review of the watch when it comes in. So stay tuned. For now, just some impressions. The Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 looks very balanced. Using yellow colors instead of white for the tachymeter index makes the watch look more balanced and less busy. The size and shape of the arabic numerals make the hours clearly readable and distinguishable. The use of 2 silvered sub-dials and one black sub-dial are a clever choice.
By the way, the watch comes in a nice box with a model of the car that stood model.
For more information on the watches see also: