Like a watch, a car is a masterpiece of technology and design. For more than a century, the two industries have been closely linked. The need for timing by early racers led to the connection between watches and racing cars. Nowadays racers can rely on technology to time, but tradition and heritage have maintained or even strengthened the connection between the two.
Le Petit Journal, August 6, 1894
In 1894, the editor-in-chief of ‘LePetitJournal’, Pierre Giffard, organized the world’s first timed car race, ‘Paris-Rouen’, on the one hand as a publicity stunt for the newspaper, and on the other hand, to stimulate public interest in motor sports . This race did not achieve the expected results: only 26 of the 102 applicants entered the competition as scheduled, and they were also troubled by car failures and worse timing.
It was not until the 1930s that race cars used watches to record performance. In 1935, Sir Malcolm Campbell drove the Blue Bird, wearing a Rolex, setting a new record for flat land speed at the Bonneville Speedway in Utah. Throughout the 20th century, the most influential watchmaking brand in the automotive industry was TAGHeuer. As early as 1911, the brand produced MasterTime and MonteCarlo dashboard chronographs. In fact, one of TAGHeuer’s most popular watches so far, HeuerAutavia, was the earliest dashboard timer (in 1962, Jack Heuer transformed it into a watch).
In the 1950s, the clear and easy-to-read TAGHeuer watch quickly became a favorite of racing drivers. In the 1960s, TAGHeuer stood out from the competition with its Carrera and Monaco series watches, turning manual into automatic. In 1969, Zenith released the ElPrimero chronograph; in the same year, Breitling launched the first automatic mechanical chronograph watch. After the quartz crisis of the 1970s, mechanical watches and automatic chronographs have returned, and the relationship between the two industries has deepened. Today, although drivers no longer rely on wearing watches to record time, the relationship between watchmaking and the automotive industry is closer. Today’s collaboration is not limited to title sponsorship, but also includes the interaction of technology, design and materials.
Orfina x Porsche Design Ref. 7176S chronograph
One of the earliest examples of how car design influences watch design is the collaboration between Porsche and Orfina. The odometer and tachometer of the Porsche 911 sports car are designed in black to avoid glare. Orfina took inspiration from it and created the Ref.7176S black dial chronograph. When the black dial was first introduced, it was considered a fleeting fashion trend, but this argument proved to be wrong.
Girard Perregaux x Ferrari-1994
Girard Perregaux x Ferrari F1 200 18K Rose Gold Automatic Chronograph
In 1994, Girard Perregaux and Ferrari worked together to actively explore the values of their partners and reflect them in watch products. The result is a very complex gold chronograph equipped with a chronograph, with a limited edition of 499 pieces, echoing the spirit of Enzo Ferrari’s ‘Ferrari cars are always one less than the market needs.’ The watch’s case is a combination of a unique aluminum alloy and a small amount of carbon fiber, highlighting Ferrari’s high-tech texture, while not compromising the GP Girard-Perregaux manual aesthetics. After the cooperation with Girard Perregaux in 2004, Ferrari has cooperated with many other watchmaking brands. Currently, the cooperation between Ferrari and Hublot has continued for the sixth year.
Breitling x Bentley-2003
Breitling x Bentley Chronograph Perpetual Calendar
In 2002, Bentley built the Continental GT, the most powerful sports car ever built, with a Breitling dashboard clock. The following year, Bentley won the 24 Hours of Le Mans; as a celebration, Breitling launched a limited edition of the Bentley Le Mans series and quickly sold out. Since then, the two companies have collaborated again to create a series of timepieces. The high-performance movements they carry are a reflection of Bentley’s powerful engines, and these timepieces incorporate Bentley’s design, including the iconic ‘honeycomb’ radiator grille and carved dashboard pattern.
Roger Dubuis x Lamborghini-2017
Roger Dubuis x Lamborghini Excalibur Aventador S
Realizing that the brand’s customers are also fans of high-speed cars and racing cars, in 2017 Roger Dubuis announced a five-year cooperation agreement with Lamborghini SquareraCorse. The Excalibur AventadorS watch is the first result of the cooperation. The watch is made of carbon fiber and has been used by Lamborghini for its chassis for many years. This watch is equipped with a new movement and is equipped with a dual escapement system, which is inspired by the Lamborghini AventadorS super running engine. The Excalibur AventadorS watch uses five patented technologies, and its innovative features have reshaped the five basic elements of high-performance racing.
Tissot PRS 516 Series Alpine Team Limited Edition Watch
Tissot and Alpine team have deep roots. This year, the two parties worked together again to launch the new PRS516 series Alpine team limited chronograph. The design of this watch is inspired by the iconic PR516 watch of the 1960s, which has a stylish design and high-tech features, and is equipped with a robust and durable movement suspension system. The PRS516 series Alpine team limited chronograph is equally impressive. The dial is made of lightweight carbon fiber and contrasts with the black ceramic bezel and fluorescent hands. The details that link them together? The new watch is engraved with ‘Alpine’ on the side of the case, highlighting the partnership between the two parties.
RICHARDMILLE Richard Mille x McLaren Automotive-2018
Richard Mille RM 11-03 McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph
At the 88th International Motor Show in Geneva, Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive announced a new partnership to launch the first limited-edition timepiece designed and built together-RM11-03 McLaren Automatic flyback chronograph. RICHARDMILLE Richard Mille engineer Fabrice Namura worked closely with McLaren design director Rob Melelville to apply high-tech materials and draw inspiration from McLaren’s design, making the collaboration watch both outstanding performance and unique style. RICHARDMILLE Richard Mille RM11-03 McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph Limited edition of 500 pieces, priority supply for McLaren Ultimate series customers. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)