Baume Mercier Shelby Cobra 1963
Cars & motorsport

Watches and exceptional cars: 2016 new pieces part 2

There will be something for every taste and budget. 2016 has been and will continue to be rich in new car-inspired watches. Here is a review of some of the pieces dedicated to the world of this inspirational partnership.

By Rémy Solnon
Specialised journalist

Whether you prefer vintage reinterpretations or concept watches, forged carbon or Hermès leather, historical races or the F1 championship, you will not be disappointed. Note to gentlemen drivers who are fans of appealing watches: if the beginning of this year is anything to go by, the rest promises to be exceptional.

Traditional watches for gentlemen drivers

This year, to commemorate the legendary American roadster Cobra by Caroll Shelby, Baume & Mercier has added two new models to its collection. The new pieces come in limited editions of 1,963 pieces each in reference to the year when a Cobra won the 12 Hours of Sebring for the first time.

Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby® Cobra 1963

The Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 and the 1963 Competition are both black and feature touches of yellow. The former is equipped with a 44mm polished-satiny steel case that comes with a black alligator strap with yellow rubber lining. The famous cobra is visible on the crown and on the counterpoise of the central second hand. The black tricompax dial with a sunburst satiny finish is enhanced by two tone-on-tone horizontal stripes, just like the winning roadster. It is driven by the ETA 7753 self-winding caliber. The Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 Competition stands out due to its 44mm case that features a combination of polished-satiny steel (for the bezel) and black ADLC-coated steel (for the middle and lugs).

Drive de Cartier Drive de Cartier

At the last SIHH, Cartier revealed the “Drive”, its new collection of elegant watches for gentlemen drivers. Three models were introduced –3 hands/date, second time zone and flying tourbillon. The reference to cars is easily spotted on the dial with a guillochéfinish that evokes the motif of radiator grills and features a faceted sapphire on the octagonal bolt-shaped crown. The cushion-shaped case, available in pink gold or steel, alternates matt-satiny and polished finishing. The sapphire back offers a clear view on the in-house 1904 MC movement, available in two versions –the 1904-PS MC (hours, minutes, seconds, and date) and the 1904-FU MC (hours, minutes, seconds, second time zone and large date). The haute horlogerie version features a flying tourbillon as well as the hand-wound 9452 MC caliber, certified with the "Poinçon de Genève". The dial is decidedly traditional with its Roman numerals and blued-steel or gold sword-shaped hands. The retrograde second time features an original display in a circle arc. As the final touch, both pieces come with an elegant alligator strap.

Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL

Every year, Chopard introduces a special edition to celebrate what Enzo Ferrari called the "corsa piùbella del mondo". In 2016, the brand released the Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition chronograph. It has a traditional look, a larger case and a brand new in-house movement. The large 46mm steel case comes with a superb Suportlo® brown calfskin strap, which reminds us of the leather tie-down straps on the engine hoods of pre-war cars. The new automatic caliber Chopard 03.05-C, entirely developed and assembled in-house, is a COSC-certified chronometer and provides a comfortable power reserve of over 60 hours. Its circular black satiny dial with a white display evokes the counter of a dashboard. The beautiful slate-gray snailed finishing of the hour and minute timers of the chronograph function are quite eye-catching. The race’s famous red arrow-shaped logo signs this new edition produced in only 1000 pieces.

Eberhard Champion V Targa Eberhard Champion V Targa

Like Chopard, Eberhard & Co has been very involved in historical car races in the last few years. After its partnership with the RAID Suisse-Paris rally, the brand this year was made the official timekeeper of the Targa Florio, one of the greatest Italian races which celebrated its 100th edition. For the occasion, it introduced the Champion V Targa Florio chronograph, a commemorative piece limited to 200 pieces where 115 pieces were offered to the participants of the 100th edition. Its traditional display is underlined by a sporty touch with a 42.8mm steel case crowned with a black aluminum bezel, a white dial stamped with the checkerboard logo of the race, and two black-rimmed chronograph totalizers. It is driven by the robust and tested self-winding ETA 7750 caliber.

Girard-Perregaux Circuito Chronograph

Girard-Perregaux is no stranger to car racing due to its previous partnerships with Ferrari (from 1994 to 2004) and with the Monte Carlo Rally (in the 2000s). The brand has caught up with its past this year with the Competizione collection, consisting of two chronographs inspired by car racing. The first piece, Stradale, features a traditional display whereas the second one, Circuito, is decidedly sporty. Both are equipped with a 42mm case. The Stradale’s case is in steel and comes with a hand-stitched alligator strap while the Circuito sports a titanium/carbon dial and a calfskin strap with a carbon effect.

Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood

This year, IWC Schaffhausen, partner of the F1 Mercedes AMG Petronas team, has presented three limited editions of its iconic Ingenieur, an ode to the rich history of the German car manufacturer in car racing. The three chronographs are driven by the same movement, the 69370 caliber that has a 4-Hz frequency and a 46-hour power reserve. The Ingenieur Chronograph edition “74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood”pays tribute to the 2016 edition of the famous festival. The Rudolf Caracciola edition (750 pieces) is dedicated to the German driver, who won the European Championship three times in the 1930’s. On two of those occasions he drove a Mercedes-Benz. The W125 edition (750 pieces) was inspired by the renowned Silver Arrow W125.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona on the wrist

However, the event of this year was at BaselWorld where Rolex introduced the new version of the legendary chronograph Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona which was first created in 1963. The famous 40mm Oyster case, available in 904L steel, yellow or white gold, is now equipped with a brand new black Cerachrom bezel and a high-tech ceramic, patented by Rolex, which is resistant to corrosion and to UV rays. It is engraved with a tachometer scale with graduations made of a thin layer of PVD-coated platinum. The Oyster strap is made of large links and closes with the Oysterlock. The dial is available in several colors. The in-house self-winding 4130 caliber is a certified Superlative Chronometer, a new and more demanding set of guidelines that brings the accuracy requirements to -2/+2 seconds per day. The piece also provides a 72-hour power reserve. 

Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition

Official timekeeper of the Tour Auto-Optic 2000 since 2015, Zenith has revealed the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition 2016, on the occasion of the 25th edition of the historical race. The watch has been produced in a limited edition of 500 numbered pieces.It features the same decidedly sporty aesthetics of the previous edition. It features a blue-white-red stripe across the rhodium-plated and brushed slate-gray dial and a fabric strap. The 42mm brushed steel case protects the open dial that reveals the automatic caliber El Primero 4061 (COSC-certified chronometer). With a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour, it ensures accuracy to 1/8th of a second. The counter of the small second sports a discreet tricolour touch on the three-branch hand. Along with this special edition, Zenith has also presented a second chronograph for gentlemen drivers who are passionate about beautiful watches –the El Primero 36,000 VpH Classic Car. Its 42mm brushed steel case comes with a brown perforated calfskin "racing" strap with protective rubber lining. Its tricompax anthracite dial has a "brushed engine" finish that evokes the cover of the cylinder head in racing cars' engines. The three sub-counters feature the traditional El Primerio colors –blue, anthracite and pale gray.

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