The worlds of watchmaking and automobile racing have shared a strong connection for decades, with racing and high-performance cars often serving as a direct inspiration for watches, including classic models like the Rolex Daytona, which both turned 50 in 2013. Below we take a look at 15 currently available watches with designs influenced by motorsports.
The replica watches sale of a collaboration between the Swiss watchmaker and Carroll Shelby, Inc., was introduced at SIHH 2016 in January. It comes in two versions, each a chronograph with a 44-mm-diameter case. One is in stainless steel with satin-brushed and polished finishing, attached to a black alligator strap with white contrast stitching and yellow, rubberized calfskin lining; the other “Competition” edition (below) has black ADLC coating on the steel case and comes on a strap made of black, vulcanized rubber, the same material used in the wheels of a Cobra race car. More on the watches, and the historical Shelby Cobra car that inspired them,
As a partner with Lamborghini in the all-Lambo Super Trofeo auto racing series, Blancpain produces a line of Super Trofeo watches in its L-Evolution collection. The watch has a flyback chronograph and incorporates materials found in Lamborghini cars, including carbon fiber in the case and dial and alcantara leather for the strap. Lamborghini also designed a Blancpain-branded Lamborghini Super Trofeo race car.
As part of its Breitling for Bentley series, Breitling introduced the Breitling for Bentley Supersports Chronograph, a limited-edition timepiece made as a tribute to the Continental Supersports, the fastest and most powerful Bentley car ever manufactured, and holder of the world ice speed record. The watch features a “dashboard-style” dial in Royal Ebony, with either blue, orange or white-ringed subdials and inner bezels. The bezel, designed in the style of Bentley dashboard controls, activates a variable tachymeter which measures average speed no matter how much time has elapsed, how much distance is covered, or how high a speed is reached.
Inspired by the Gulf Oil-sponsored racing teams of the 1970s, and the iconic Porsche 917 driven by Steve McQueen in the racing film Le Mans, the BRM BT-12 46 Gulf has an in-house manufactured case carved from a single block of titanium and finished with a complement of six precision bolts. The design of the case, which measures 46 mm in diameter, is evocative of a Moto GP engine and contains a modified ETA Valjoux 7753 chronograph movement. The dial features the familiar orange-and-blue Gulf logo, whose colors are also echoed on the strap, made of actual seatbelt material from a racecar.
The Chopard Superfast Chrono comes in 45-mm-diameter case, and is powered by Chopard’s automatic Calibre 03.05-M. The silver-brushed vertical lines against the black background of the dial resemble the cooling fins on air-cooled racing engines, while the rubber strap has a smooth tread pattern, resembling the slick tires used for high-speed-track motor racing. The Swiss replica watches also feature a tachymeter scale along the bezel.
The Graham Silverstone RS Endurance 24HR boasts a monopusher movement with a double chronograph function for measuring 24-hour race and lap times. The main measurement of minutes and seconds is operated by the stop-start-reset chrono pusher at 2 o’clock with an inset red rubber catch, while an additional red pusher at 4 o’clock activates a secondary chronograph with a 24-hour counter and flyback function. Together, the dual timekeeping system is ideal for timing endurance racing and simultaneous test drives. Motorsport-inspired elements are also abundant on the dial, case and strap: the striped date disk recalls a race track’s red and white kerbing edges, the seconds counter is shaped like a car’s disk brake, and tire-tread-patterned black rubber with red insets is used for the strap.
Hublot launched its collaboration with Italian sportscar icon Ferrari in 2012. The partnership has already produced some memorable timepieces, including the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Titanium Carbon (BB FTC), which features Hublot’s now-famous red sapphire crystal and is powered by Hublot’s in-house HUB 1241 Unico movement. The BB FTC is a flyback chronograph, and features a Ferrari-red central chronograph hand, and a subdial at 3 o’clock to record up to 60 elapsed minutes. The carbon fiber bezel is also manufactured in-house by Hublot; both titanium and carbon fiber are materials commonly used in high-performance automobiles.
IWC’s revamped Ingenieuer line is inspired by the brand’s partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One racing team. The IWC Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium has a titanium case and bezel, and also has a titanium crown, crown protector, and push-buttons, all of which are then coated with rubber for a better grip. The Swiss replica watches sale have a chronograph mechanism (chosen for its usefulness in Formula One racing) with a split-seconds hand that can be used to record two intermediate times within a given minute while the blue- or white-tipped chronograph hand continues to run. When the push-button at 10 o’clock is pressed again, the split-seconds hand instantly catches up with the chronograph hand and runs synchronously with it again. As a result, the user can record as many lap times, important for determining pole position in an automobile race, as he chooses.