Watches and exceptional cars: 2016 new pieces - part 3
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.
Partnerships signed between haute horlogerie and exceptional car manufacturers lead sometimes to the creation of uncommon watches – "superwatches" for "supercars". This is a particularly exciting exercise in style that brands such as Hublot and Parmigiani Fleurier have taken up.
Superwatches for supercar fans
Car racing is intrinsically linked to Rebellion’s DNA, for it is the only watchmaking manufacture to have its own team. Indeed, the Rebellion Racing team has partaken since 2010 in the first class of LMP1 prototypes in the world endurance championship and has established a fine record. The manufacture’s “no compromise” approach to haute horlogerie that links it to car racing can be seen in its new transparent racing car watch – the 540 Magnum Sapphire. The imposing modular case, made up of eight sapphire parts, offers a complete view of the exceptional in-house hand-wound REB T-14 caliber. Made of 490 components, the caliber features some materials that are used in racing cars to ensure robustness and lightness – carbon plate, titanium and aluminum bridges, and a ceramic magnesium tourbillon cage. The double barrels ensure a 12-day power reserve that is indicated by an arrow and a roller at 9 o'clock and 7 o'clock respectively. On top of them float the luminescent skeletonized hands that indicate the hours, minutes and retrograde seconds at 6 o'clock. The piece comes with a transparent rubber strap.
Hublot, Ferrari’s exclusive watch partner since 2012, introduced the MP-05 “LaFerrari” in 2013. A true concept watch, it was designed in close collaboration with Ferrari’s design center during the development of the eponymous car. An outstanding version of this iconic flagship piece, belonging to the collection which the manufacture dedicated to the Maranello-based maker, was introduced at the SIHH. It features a completely transparent case and is made up of seven elements extracted from sapphire blocks. It offers a 360-degree view of the movement, which literally seems to be hanging in the air. It is worth noting that the hand-wound HUB90.H1.PN.1 caliber is the most complex caliber Hublot has ever produced in-house. It is made of 637 components, 108 rubies and a hanging vertical tourbillon. Furthermore, the eleven isolated barrels positioned vertically at the center of the watch provide the piece with a power reserve of over 50 days (a world record, incidentally). The hours, minutes and power reserve are indicated through transparent cylinders.
Hublot struck again at Baselworld with the release of the MP-07 42 Days Power Reserve. The exceptional watch has been produced in 50 pieces and designed to look like an engine block strapped to the wrist. With a more conventional shape than the MP-05, its body is made of black PVD-coated titanium whilst the "dial" takes back the cylinder display. The hand-wound HUB9007.H1.PN caliber with flying tourbillon is equipped with an incredible 42-day power reserve with nine stacked barrels.
Jacob & Co. has introduced the Twin Turbo, an exceptional piece with an evocative name. It is the first watch to ever combine two triple-axis tourbillons and a minute repeater. Its resolutely sporty look reminds us inevitably of cars. The rectangular-shaped case, made up of no less than 63 components, combines titanium and carbon. The transparent back shows the exceptional finishing of the hand-wound JCFM01 caliber, which houses a minute repeater with a "cathedral" gong that strikes on the hours and minutes as well as every 10 minutes instead of every quarter. Further examples of its sporty nature are its numerals, which evoke race numbers, its red neoralithe flange, and its red-tipped open-worked blackened hands.
This year, Parmigiani Fleurier has continued the partnership it signed in 2004 with Bugatti by ensuring the passing of the torch between the 16.4 Veyron and Chiron supercars, introduced at the SIHH. This is also where the manufacture revealed the latest version of its model dedicated to the Veyron – the Bugatti Super Sport Sapphire, a watch with a transparent case that offers a panoramic view of the hand-wound PF374 movement, worked on both sides to fit into the case. Its double barrels guarantee a 10-day power reserve. The black and pink gold dial is tilted 90 degrees to enhance readability with both hands on the steering wheel.
To accompany the launch of the Chiron launch, PF revealed the Bugatti Type 390 Concept whose case features the car’s signature aerodynamic shape. It is characterized by its tubular movement housed in a cylinder the same size as the cage of the 60-second flying tourbillon. Thanks to its modular assembly, it can be removed from the case for maintenance just like an engine is removed from the car for important modifications. The black skeletonized dial is deliberately streamlined with small delta-shaped hands, thin index batons and slight touches of blue, as a tribute to the Chiron's colors.
In 2010, famous Italian designer Pininfarina, who is another designer of dream cars, signed a partnership with Swiss manufacture Bovet 1822 to celebrate the brand's 80th anniversary. Since then, a new prestigious edition marks every one of the brand’s anniversaries. This year, the sixth opus of its Bovet by Pininfarina collection has adopted the transparent watch trend and has introduced the Pininfarina OttantaSei 10-Day Tourbillon. The piece has been developed in close collaboration with Pininfarina’s designers. Its transparent 44-mm case enables anyone to admire every single detail of the exceptional in-house hand-wound 17BM03MM caliber. The case comes with a new exclusive winding system two times faster than usual to supply the necessary energy for its ten-day power reserve. The double dial seems to be hanging over the flying tourbillon. The watch is available in three versions – titanium, black DLC-coated titanium and 18K red gold produced in only 86 pieces each.
Bell & Ross have opted for a different approach and have introduced the AeroGT, a futuristic concept-car designed by Bruno Belamich, the brand's Creative Director. Like the B-Rocket concept-bike revealed in 2014, this aviation-inspired supercar features the manufacture's signature codes with a carbon monocoque fuselage with an aeronautic-like aileron and tailpipes in the shape of aircraft nozzles. While unfortunately it will never be produced in mass, it was nevertheless adapted into an edition of two sporty and technical watches – the 3-hand BR03-92 AeroGT and the chronograph BR 03-94 AeroGT. Produced in 500 pieces each, both editions share the same 42-mm polished-satiny steel case and feature tinted sapphire glass that gives a three-dimensional view of their skeletonized self-winding movements – the BR-C319 in the chronograph version and the BR-C318 in the 3-hand version. Touches of red give the pieces a decidedly sporty look. They can be found on the fluted crown, on the aluminum push button, on the central second hand, on the hands of the two counters of the chronograph, and on the perforated "racing" black leather strap with an ultra-resistant black synthetic fabric.
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