It is about time to review a very interesting watch launched at SIHH: the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963, a limited edition existing in 2 versions and, that we already briefly showed to you with the introduction of the watches at the store of Schaap & Citroen in Amsterdam by chief designer Alexandre Peraldi. In this report we will share our own findings with respect to the three key design principles of Alexandre Peraldi: comfort to the eye, comfort to use, comfort to the wallet. With lots of photos and of course our on-the-wrist feels.
The Capeland Shelby Cobra limited edition sports watches do hold a unique position in the collection of Baume & Mercier. The company is known for classic, affordable mechanical watches… not for sports watches. The Shelby Cobra’s change that and tie watch company Baume & Mercier with the world of classic car racing. Last year’s and this year’s special editions are a tribute to the drivers of the 1960s, when the Cobras were the among the best cars on the racing circuits. The cooperation with the Carroll Shelby has launched yet another attractive watch in 2016. It comes in 2 versions: the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 (ref. 10282) with a steel case and alligator strap, and the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 Competition (ref. 10281) with a steel case with ADLC coating and a rubber strap. In this report we refer to both watches when we speak about the 1963 model.
Is the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 comfortable to the eye?
Shortly: yes! Although some may argue that there are too many words put together near the 6 (Hour indication, automatic, swiss made, and tachymeter indicator), the dial is very legible and pleasant to the eye. 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. It is a beautiful font.
While we were not immediately convinced by using one black subdial and two silvered subdials for seconds, minutes, and hours, it is actually a nice touch that links the layout of the subdials to the car instruments. When you start looking a bit differently, it works well.
The design strikes a good balance between resemblance and difference with the car. The fonts used for the tachymeter, the subtle stripes between the 4 and 8, the colours used, the case that show resemblance to the headlights, and the chronograph pushers showing resemblance to the engine valves.
Generally speaking, the watch is legible and pleasant to look at. More importantly, it is easy to read the time. There is one thing not pleasant to the eye: the coating of the glass. Most modern watches have effective anti-reflective coating. It is a pain to photograph the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 without blackening the environment. But it is also fun! you can create all kind of nice effects in the glass.
The 1963 Competition model features a rubber strap and a case with black ADLC coating (a very strong and resistant type of coating) that we like a lot. It makes the watch look more sporty than the version with the regular case – and because of this dark color, the case tends to appear smaller.
The curved strap that follows the shape of the case is a nice touch and shows that the designers of Baume & Mercier pay attention to detail. Many higher priced watches do not have that.
The Cobra logo at the bottom of the chronograph hand looks good, also in detail. It is subtle enough to avoid distraction and bold enough to link it to the race car.
The triple folding clasp is well made and works excellent. The lugs are curved in such a way that the case rests comfortably on the wrist (and yes, the rubber strap – like all rubber strap – attracts dust easily.
Is the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 comfortable to wear?
Shortly: very much so. It is a great achievement by the designers of Baume & Mercier that you do not notice that you are wearing the watch. It balances well and the weight is fine. That is really surprising given its size of 44mm. A nice detail is that the straps have a ring that fits around the folded clasp which increases comfort of wear as the edges of the clasp do not touch the wrist.
Is the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 comfortable to the wallet?
This question requires a more complicated answer – prices: 4,100 Euros and 4,400 Euros. It is not when you look at it from a movement perspective, which is a standard Valjoux 7753. There are many chronographs offered at cheaper prices. On the other hand, there are many other well-known brands who offer chronographs with nothing-special-movements at much higher prices. In addition, the design of the watch is worth a premium.
The movement of the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 Limited Editions
The watch houses a Valjoux 7753-based movement manufactured in the Richemont factory in Valfleurier. The rotor looks nice and the semi-transparent label with the number of the car gives a nice touch. Otherwise, the movement is standard. We haven’t tested accuracy and reliability, but the movement has proven itself over the years. So rather than further describing it, let us show photos that gives you an impression of the ‘layers’ in the movement. By the way, the chronograph pushers are not buttery soft but work well. And the chronograph jumps back to the exact 12 position, not to a fraction of a second before or after the 12.
If you think, like I thought, that Baume & Mercier was not a watch for the “real” watch aficionado, you may want to reconsider. After speaking with Mr. Peraldi, looking at the watch, and wearing it for a day or 2, I believe that the brand is underrated and under-appreciated for what it does. The company does not develop spectacular movements, but it does pay attention to comfort to the eye, to wearing a watch, and to the wallet. The company strikes a good balance between affordability, reliability, and beauty. The Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 limited editions prove that Baume & Mercier is also (cap)able to serve lovers of sporty watches.
The watch comes in a nice black an yellow box with a miniature model of the Cobra 289 Sebring CSX2128 that was used as a source of inspiration for the watches. The package also includes a brochure about the history of the Cobra.
Pros and cons
- Design, especially the link with the car
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent straps, with curved ends
- Good quality / price ratio
- Young and bold (refreshing) for Baume & Mercier
- Stripes between the 4 and 8 are subtle and beautifully made
- The cobra logo design
- For some: size of 44mm (although it did fit my relatively small wrist well)
- Subcounters may look unbalanced to some
- Is it timeless?
- Some people may not like the car-related markings in the subdials (we liked it)
Specifications of the Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963
- Calibre: Valjoux 7753 self-winding
- Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, tachymeter scale, date
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- Case: polished/satin-finished stainless steel (ref. 10282), polished/satin-finished stainless steel with black ADLC coating on the middle-case (ref. 10281); No. 15 etched on the sapphire crystal case back
- Diameter: 44mm
- Dial: black dial with tone-on-tone horizontal stripes. Superluminova ® C1 green emission on the dial and hands.
- Strap: black alligator with yellow calfskin lining, grey stitching, triple folding clasp with security push-pieces (ref. 10282); black vulcanized rubber with triple folding clasp (ref. 10281)
- Water Resistance: 5atm / 50m