New Motorsport-Inspired Timepieces Showing That The Cars-Watches Connection is Stronger Than Ever
We said it before... Cars and watches are a perfect match!
As you might know, many in our team, here are MONOCHROME, are not only passionate about watches and everything related to horology, but we’re also fans of cars and motorsport. It shows, every week, in our Petrolhead Corner column. And when it comes to mixing both worlds, we usually come forward. There’s something so natural between sports cars and watches, something almost identical in these slightly outdated, rather irrelevant objects that go against the 21st-century concerns and habits. Both are often seen as toys for boys, both are mechanical, engineered, and are the topic of so many passions. And more than that, time and racing are two inseparable elements. Hence why, for as long as motorsport has existed, there have been watches involved. And the trend is certainly not slowing down, as shown by the new watches that all have in common to be linked to one side of the automotive industry. Modern or vintage, technical or elegant, track or rally… whatever you’re after, you’ll be covered.
Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Alpine F1 Team A521
Bell & Ross is primarily known for its pilot’s watches. But in 2016, that’s another kind of pilot the French brand has decided to equip, the drivers of the equally-French F1 Renault team, now known as Alpine. Every year, the brand releases a series of watches inspired by the colours and functions of an F1 car, and under Renault, these were almost always black-and-yellow themed. But for the 2021 season, Renault has become Alpine and the colours are now black and blue, resulting in a new series of models, the Alpine F1 Team A521 Collection. In addition to the signature square models, the brand also offers this slightly more classic round watch with a rotating countdown bezel, the BR V3-94 Alpine F1, an automatic chronograph that introduced a new colour scheme and newly openworked sub-counters, for an ever more racing-oriented look. And the carbon fibre-like strap is here to reinforce this spirit.
Quick Facts: 43mm stainless steel case – bi-directional countdown bezel – 100m water-resistance – chronograph calibre BR-CAL.301 (ETA 2894), automatic, 4Hz, 42h power reserve – leather strap or stainless steel bracelet – limited to 500 pieces – available July 2021 – EUR 3,990 on leather – available online here at bellross.com
Chopard Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition
Co-president of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, has never hidden his passion for vintage racing cars and historic rallies. Besides being a fine connoisseur of watches and wines, he owns a stunning collection of antique race cars that have been, for the most part, engage in some of the finest classic car events around. And, without surprise, since 1988 Chopard has been the official timekeeper and partner of the classic 1000 Miglia race and releases new models to celebrate its partnership every year. For the 2021 edition, Chopard releases two versions of the chronometer-certified Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition chronograph: a limited edition of 1,000 pieces in stainless steel and 250 pieces in two-tone steel and ethical pink gold. Both have multiple references to the world of vintage cars, such as a chronograph function, a tachymeter scale and a strap with rubber lining shaped like a vintage tyre. The 2021 edition differentiates with its well made circular, off-centred brushed pattern on the dial.
Quick facts: 44mm stainless steel case – fixed steel or gold bezel with tachymeter insert – 100m water-resistant – chronograph Valjoux 7750, automatic, COSC certified, 4Hz, 48h power reserve – black calfskin with perforations and red stitching, rubber lining – limited to 1,000 pieces in steel – EUR 7,570 – available here at chopard.com
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic Small Seconds
Sharing the same inspirations as the Chopard above but in a British way, and with a far more accessible pricing too, Frederique Constant has been partnering with the Austin-Healey car brand since 2004. Just like last year’s models, the new 2021 edition pay tribute to one of the most important Healey cars, the NOJ 393 ex-Works 1953-55 Austin-Healey Special Test Car/100S. For the new collection, Frederique Constant has updated the display and now offers three watches with a new small seconds indication combined with a date at 3 o’clock. Among them is this steel version with a dark green dial and a perforated tan-coloured leather strap… it simply couldn’t be more “British classic car” than that. This relatively simple yet finely executed watch measures 40mm and is powered by an automatic Sellita-based movement. Limited to 888 pieces in this colour, it also comes with a special engraving on the caseback.
Quick facts: 40mm stainless steel case – 2-part polished case, 50m water-resistant – calibre FC-345 (base Sellita SW-200), automatic, 4Hz, 38h power reserve – perforated “rally’ strap in calf leather with off-white stitching – limited to 888 pieces (also available with grey or blue dial) – EUR 1,595 – available here at frederiqueconstant.com
Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon With Three Flying Bridges Aston Martin
At first, you could question the legitimacy of GP in this specific field of car-inspired watches. But, looking back at the history of the brand, it actually “manufactured pocket watches for Shell in the 1930s. This is probably one of the earliest ties with the automotive industry,” explained GP’s CEO to us. But we’re now in 2021 and Girard-Perregaux has recently announced a global partnership with car manufacturer Aston Martin, which will cover both road cars and Formula 1. The first watch to be revealed in this context is as luxurious and technical as the British cars, with an architectural take on the signature Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges concept. Aerial, almost floating in mid-air, the watch shows only discreet references to Aston Martin and doesn’t scream its partnership – the name of the car brand is engraved around the barrel’s cover and picked up in Super-Luminova. What remains is a modern yet high-end movement finished in a typical GP way.
Quick facts: 44mm grade 5 titanium case with DLC coating – 30m water-resistant – calibre GP09400-1683, in-house, automatic tourbillon with micro-rotor, 3Hz, 60h power reserve – black alligator strap with rubber effect – limited to 18 pieces – EUR 146,000 – more details here at www.girard-perregaux.com
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG
Another brand with a long background in the field of pilot’s watches (understand watches for aeronautical purposes) that has decided to tackle yet another kind of pilot. The partnership between Mercedes-AMG and IWC has been around since 2004 and the brand has been spotted on the wrist of its star pilot, Lewis Hamilton, on numerous occasions. This year, in the frame of this long-term partnership, IWC releases a new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph that takes advantage of automotive engineering materials to create a stealthy, ultra-modern look. Based on the classic chronograph for jet fighters, this AMG edition has a lightweight titanium case with a blasted matte finish and a dark dial made of carbon fibre with silvery sub-counters. To give the final motorsport touch, the strap has the same texture as the dial and the caseback, which allows a view of the in-house movement, shows the AMG logo.
Quick facts: 43mm grade 5 titanium case and woven carbon fibre dial – 60m water-resistant – chronograph IWC 69385 calibre, in-house with column-wheel, 4Hz, 46h power reserve – black textured calfskin strap – special non-limited edition – EUR 9,900 – available here from iwc.com
Porsche Design Chronograph 911 GT3 With Touring Package
What better connection between cars and watches could there be… Porsche Design, the studio where the 911 was created in the early 1960s, is also creating watches since the early 1970s, under the same spirit of “form follows function.” And with such a name, what than motorsport- and sportscars-inspired chronograph could be made by the brand. But, in fact, it goes deeper than that, as Porsche Design has created an online configurator where owners of a 911 can create a watch that pairs perfectly with the car – think same colour as the exterior, same leather for the strap and a rotor that is shaped like actual wheels. Latest in line in this series of customisable models is this Porsche Design Chronograph “911 GT3 With Touring Package” that has been released coincidentally as the car of the same name. And be reassured, the watch isn’t just a design trick but a proper mechanical watch with COSC certified movement and flyback chronograph.
Quick facts: 42mm glass-blasted titanium case – fixed bezel with tachymeter – 50m water-resistant – flyback chronograph Porsche Design Caliber WERK 01.200, proprietary, COSC certified, 4Hz, 48h power reserve – GT3-embossed genuine Porsche leather strap in black – exclusive to owners of a Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package – EUR 7,750 – more details in the configurator here at Porsche-Design
TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
You don’t have to think long before realising that the brand that might have the most links with the automotive world and motorsport is, without a doubt, TAG Heuer. The alliance between TAG Heuer and Porsche is the culmination of a fascinating and entwined history marked by an obsession with speed and motorsports. Envisioned as a collaboration ranging from competition to product development, the partnership between the two powerhouses was first celebrated with a 44mm TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph. Everything in this watch oozes race cars, with its Porsche-emblazoned tachymeter scale, its chronograph function (of course) and its dial inspired by the texture of asphalt. Under the hood is the brand’s in-house calibre Heuer 02 and the watch is worn on a strap that reminds of sports leather seats.
Quick facts: 44mm stainless steel case – fixed black ceramic tachymeter bezel – 100m water-resistant – chronograph Calibre Heuer 02, in-house, 4hz, 80h power reserve – black calfskin strap with hand stitching – special non-limited edition – EUR 5,550 – more details and orders here at tagheuer.com