Bucherer Blue Editions Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra
During SIHH 2017, we had the chance to discover the latest opus in the Shelby trilogy, a piece closely bound up with the celebrated Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, resplendent in blue. What, indeed, could be more legitimate for the legendary Clifton Club Shelby Cobra chronograph than to become the inspiration behind a model in the Bucherer Blue Editions collection?
An obvious partnership
In a quiet unassuming garage, tucked away in a peaceful residential district a mere stone's throw from Geneva airport, Baume & Mercier and Bucherer invited members of the press to enjoy a blue-tinged lunch.
We knew why we were there. It was to discover the 16th piece in the Bucherer Blue Editions collection. Yet not a word was uttered about the model throughout the entire meal. In this somewhat unconventional manner, we were given the understanding by Alain Zimmermann, CEO of Baume & Mercier, and Patrick Graf, director of Bucherer's watchmaking division, that the partnership was a foregone conclusion. It was, in actual fact, during a presentation of Baume & Mercier’s latest products for 2017 at SIHH, that both men discovered a common attraction to the colour blue. Thus, their project was instantly launched 'out of the blue', if you will pardon the pun. It should perhaps be recalled, in passing, that the collaboration between these two houses dates to the 1920s. Our interest and curiosity piqued, we are kept momentarily in the dark.
By way of a little context, Bucherer, a long-standing retailer present in every major city in Switzerland, with doors in Germany, England, France, and Denmark, has always championed the colour blue, the original colour of the house since its founding in 1888. The watches in the Bucherer Blue Editions collection are the product of a close collaboration between a watchmaking brand and its retailer. As such, collectors are given access to highly desirable pieces that are often limited in number and, of course, available only at Bucherer stores.
Blues combine in the Bucherer collection and the Daytona Coupé
The 16th opus in the Bucherer Blue Editions collection is no exception. This piece makes an instantly assertive statement in that Bucherer's particular brand of blue is shown almost to prefigure the partnership with Baume & Mercier, with its Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Blue Editions. Serving as a source of inspiration, the colour blue, highlighted by two white stripes, was also the colour of the terrifying 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé.
Representing a genuine turning point in automobile history, the Daytona Coupé was the first GT to have been designed on the basis of aerodynamic studies so that, at top speed, its tyres literally stuck to the ground. Intended to floor other GTs, but especially to defeat the Ferraris, the first edition of the Shelby Daytona Coupé was designed in just 90 days. The wins scored in 1964 and 1965 showed that Carroll Shelby Enterprises had Il Commendatore himself shaking in his boots. Enzo Ferrari, in fact, even managed to convince the FIA to cancel the last race in the championship in 1965, for fear of losing the title on his own turf…
A beautiful closure to the saga
As soon as you take the watch in your hands, the instantly recognisable Bucherer blue dial has an almost hypnotic effect. The dial's finishing is revealed in a subtle play of light. The discreet sunburst motif provides a reference to the Shelby logo, which stands proud of the seconds dial at 6 o'clock. The logo can also be found signing off the base of the chronograph seconds and thus completing the harmony of the piece.
Minimalism at this level places the Bucherer Blue Editions Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra in a more classic universe than other models in the trilogy, or even the recently rolled-out Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro limited edition piece. Powered by the indispensable Valjoux 7750, the watch boasts a dial arrangement that differs somewhat from other timepieces bearing the Shelby signature, with two chronograph counters positioned vertically at 12 and 6 o'clock, and the weekday and date at 3 o'clock displayed in two apertures.
The Blue Editions Bucherer Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra is selling for a highly affordable 4,390 CHF, when you considering the level of craftsmanship. But I must warn you, you'd better not leave it too long if you like it as much as I do. So decide quickly, for not only is this series exclusively available from Bucherer alone, it's also limited to 100 pieces! And, according to my information, stocks are running out fast!
Meanwhile, it's worth taking another look at the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra trilogy. Simon de Burton had an encounter with the diabolical Shelby Cobra 427 with his introduction to the first model in the saga. And in 2016, we devoted a special page to the second opus inspired by the 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster.