Baume & Mercier (founded in 1830) recently organized the first European Shelby Only gathering at the amazing Castellet circuit in southern France. On the occasion, CEO Alain Zimmerman made the following announcement: "The first generation of the Capeland Shelby® Cobra chronograph introduced last year was a huge success and got us thinking. Well aware of the outstanding potential of this product, we have decided to add a new reference named the Shelby® Cobra 1963 to the collection".
Building its own legend
Ready, Steady, Go! Baume & Mercier has been ready to roll since it rose to the challenge of making its partnership with Cobra Shelby® both appealing and desirable. Enthusiasm and passion could be read on the faces of those who participated in this first-time event, which gathered almost thirty vintage Shelby Cobra cars.
This precious moment on a historical circuit with a fantastic track where these cars could safely show off their potential, is at the source of a formula which is not easily obtained.
As it is, this partnership with striking cars can actually generate more than just one simple emotion. Along with enthusiasm, it also gives the exhilarating feeling of being right at the heart of an old car race. You can only understand the feelings these new chronographs provoke in the aficionados of beautiful cars if you have felt the thrill and the sudden adrenaline rush that come with either driving or co-driving these cars.
The link between Baume & Mercier and Shelby® Cobra is thus perfectly logical and at the very heart of the product which produces a unstoppable chain reaction of excitement and impulse. This was made clear by the success of the 2016 Capeland Shelby® Cobra collection. So much so that Baume & Mercier decided to launch the production of a special series for the best of the brand’s retailers. Introduced right at the moment the racing cars were warming up with an almost erotic growl on the track, they caused the temperature to rise a few degrees. It is impossible to stay indifferent in front of these incredibly rare cars.
In this intrinsically racing context, the two chronographs available in a limited edition of 1963 pieces were right in their element. They even pulled off the "race beast" look quite well, seeing as several of their components were inspired by these racing cars that have written some chapters in the history of car racing. According to car racing professionals, the four references which were available in only 15 copies each possess the sacred sparkle that immediately propels them to the category of collectibles as they carry the aura of an iconic driver who wore them at the height of his glory and hence contributed to their legend: Allen Grant.
Deciphering the spirit of success: Allen Grant, the driver
Also present at Castellet, and happy to be part of the gathering, Grant made the most of each moment. He was invited to pay tribute to the CSX2128, with which Dan Gurney, Ken Miles, Dave MacDonald and himself all won races orfinished on the podium. The gathering organized by Baume & Mercier showcased these four models , which were specifically created to celebrate one of these four racing heroes, an aura and joined their history to that of car racing.
Number 15 is Dan Gurney’s, number 50 is Ken Miles’s, number 97 is Dave MacDonald’s and number 96 is Allen Grant’s. As the latter put it: "It is not easy to race in this car as it is difficult to control the 289 horsepower of its robust engine. This type of car requires a strong hand and for its driver to be able to really listen to it. As a powerful car, it is not deceptive but it needs good driving skills to draw out the best in it".
It was clearly partly the power of their engine and partly their uncommon plastic body that played major roles in the making of the Cobra Shelby cars’ legend. Driven by the powerful and robust self-winding (ETA 7753) chronograph-integrated caliber, Baume & Mercier's Capeland chronograph lives up to the legend with refinement thanks to its aesthetics where the past is transcended by some details that meet the requirements of modern customers: to own a timepiece with a timeless design and a history imbued of this rich human adventure about which everyone can dream.
(front image: Allen Grant & Alain Zimmermann)
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