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Speed, Precision and Style: Watches and Italian Car Brands
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Speed, Precision and Style: Watches and Italian Car Brands

Tuesday, 10 October 2017
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Roberta Naas
Journalist

“Life is all about time - what we make of it and how we use it.”

Roberta Naas is a veteran journalist in the watch world with more than 32 years of experience and author of six books on watches and time. She was as well the founder of www.atimelyperspective.com.

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5 min read

The history and future of cars and watches seem to be inextricably linked. Both wristwatches and automobiles had their start in the early part of the 20th century, and both were about innovation, convenience and precision. Throughout the decades, many top watch brands have aligned themselves with the luxurious world of cars, from vintage to classic, muscle, sports and racers.

Sometimes cars and watches forge alliances through sponsorships of events, races or rallies. Other times, it is about aligning with the drivers or even with specific automotive brands. This affiliation of watches and cars has grown into one of the hottest topics in the watch world – most likely because when these two worlds team up, we typically have a piece on the wrist that is as important as the one in the garage, defined by high-tech materials, performance and bold nuances in design. The Swiss watch brands included in this article have all partnered with Italian super sports car brands.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S
Roger Dubuis – Lamborghini Squadra Corse

Roger Dubuis recently announced its newly formed relationship with Lamborghini. The brand has unveiled two specially made Aventador S watches designed in collaboration with Lamborghini Squadra Corse and inspired by the innovative and high-tech engine of the Aventador S coupe and the new Huracàn Super Trofeo EVO. This announcement, made just a few weeks ago, comes on the heels of the spring announcement that Roger Dubuis had teamed with Pirelli racing tires to create straps made from tires of winning cars on specially made Roger Dubuis Pirelli watches. The new relationship with Lamborghini sees a high profile for Roger Dubuis on the track, as the main sponsor of the Super Trofeo races where the new Huracan Super Trofeo EVO will race.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S watches are created in limited editions and utilize the brand’s Duotour (double balance wheel) movement, and the 45mm Spider case. One watch is created using the same high-tech C-SMC carbon that Lamborghini uses in the cars, and is crafted in black with Arancio Argos orange accents. The watch is a world premier thanks to the high-tech material used, and just eight pieces, each retailing for $216,000, will be made. The other Excalibur Aventador S watch features multi-layers of carbon over titanium and has accents in bright yellow Lamborghini “Giallo Orion.” Exactly 88 pieces will be made, each retailing for $194,500.

Bulgari Octo Maserati
Bulgari Octo Maserati
Bulgari – Maserati

Similarly, other watch brands with on-going automotive relationships, including Rolex, Richard Mille, Zenith, Chopard, IWC, Hublot, and Breitling, among others, have revved up their collections. Bulgari, for instance, just unveiled two new watches in honor of its relationship with Maserati. Bulgari first partnered with the Italian car brand in 2012, when it unveiled two chronographs. Now the Maison reaffirms that partnership with the unveiling of two new Bulgari Octo Maserati watches: GranSport and GranLusso. These timepieces were just unveiled last month in Frankfurt — using the timing of the world’s best auto shows for the launch. Unlike the Roger Dubuis Aventador S watches that are available for sale to anyone, the new Bulgari Octo Maserati watches are reserved for owners of Maserati cars. The timepieces offer retrograde minutes and jumping hour displays via windows, and designs reminiscent of dashboard gauges and counters in the famed Maserati cars. Each watch bears the Maserati name, as well as the Bulgari name.

Bulgari Octo Maserati
Bulgari Octo Maserati

Each Bulgari Octo Maserati watch is a 41mm design with a round jumping hour display window and arch-shaped retrograde minutes indication. The watches are powered by the Retro BVL 262 mechanical caliber, developed in-house at Bulgari. With 42 hours of power reserve, the self-winding movement is decorated and finished using Côtes de Genève and beveling techniques. The GranSport version is crafted in black DLC-treated carbon with a black dial, plus silver and blue hands and markers. Contrasting with that is the more luxurious GranLusso, that is crafted in 18-karat pink gold with pink gold hands and markers. These two new models come on the heels of Bulgari’s July unveiling of the Octo GranTurismo watch created for the 30 owners of the Maserati Gran Turismo cars.

Hublot Techframe Ferrari
Hublot Techframe Ferrari
Hublot – Ferrari

Hublot has also had a long relationship with Italian brand Ferrari, and has worked in tandem with the brand to create a host of special timepieces over the years. This year, however, Hublot pulls out all the stops with a new watch to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary: the Hublot TechFrame Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph. Easily retailing for more than $100,000, the new collection was developed in tandem with Hublot’s R&D department and the Ferrari Deign Center. In fact, the watch was designed by Ferrari and brought to fruition by Hublot in its Nyon workshops. Under the guidance of Ferrari Head of Design, Flavio Manzoni, the TechFrame Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph case was imagined with the concept of the movement as the “engine.” Ferrari’s designers built a high-performance chassis around it with a latticework structure similar to that found in the cars.

Hublot Techframe Ferrari
Hublot Techframe Ferrari

Hublot then executed the design in its workshops using a modular case construction consisting of three pieces, including skeletonized middle, a container and back cover. It also developed two lateral pushbuttons for an interchangeable strap. The color accents are all created using P485 Ferrari red – the famous and beloved iconic color of the brand. Naturally, the famous Prancing Horse logo graces the crown of the watch and the chronograph red pushbutton is strategically placed on the case for use while driving. Three versions of the watch are being created, each in a limited run of 70 pieces: King Gold, PEEK Carbon, and Titanium. Each watch is numbered on the caseback. For this timepiece, Hublot also developed an all-new movement, the manual-wind HUB6311 caliber with 253 parts and five days of power reserve. The watch is equipped with a single-button chronograph and flying tourbillon. It is being offered for sale to anyone – not just Ferrari owners.

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