The association between watches and cars is, for many people, easy to place. There are women that will roll their eyes and assume it is the ‘gadget appeal’, there are men that will assume it’s about image – while men do not wear fashionable earrings and handbags in the way that women do, the status of a watch, car or jacket proves that fashion is not a one-gender issue.
But the connection goes deeper. And it’s not just a ‘man thing’. Many women, too, will vouch that a love of good cars or bikes and a love of watches make perfect sense to anyone with more than a passing interest in either. Both require considerable expertise to run at their best. Both consist of a myriad of specialist components and need regular maintenance, be it an oil change or a winding. There is something in the craftsmanship of a well-made watch or car that stands out; it’s impossible to just rush the process along and expect anywhere like the same results.
Perhaps that is why so many watch brands have close ties to motor sports. Rolex, among its many sporting connections, is associated with an American championship, the Rolex Sports Car Series, which it has sponsored since 2002. On the other side of the Atlantic, Tissot is the official timer for the Moto GP, Oris sponsors Team Williams in Formula 1, TW Steel sponsors and times the A1GP, Tag Heuer has ambassadors in Formula 1 racers Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Bourdais, and Audemars Piguet also has a presence in the world’s mot famous racing championships, with Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastien Buemi all being brand ambassadors. This seemingly comprehensive list just touches the surface – there are many more associations between the two industries than can easily be listed.
One such association missed earlier was Jaeger LeCoultre’s connection to the Le Mans Aston Martin Racing team, which it sponsors. At this year’s race one of the team’s drivers, Harold Primat, was wearing Jaeger LeCoultre’s latest development, the AMVOX2 Chronograph. The only chronograph in the world that doesn’t require push buttons to activate, the AMVOX” Chronograph is activated by pushing the sapphire crystal dial at the 12 o’clock position to stop and star the timer, and pressing the 6 o’clock position to reset. Two limited editions of 100 watches each are being released to celebrate the association between car and watch.
There are a myriad of connections that have nothing to do with racing, too. for example, Breitling has close ties with luxury car manufacturer Bentley, and produce a line of watches designed to reflect the qualities found in their vehicles. Panerai have an affiliation with Ferrari, and have a range of exclusive, high-quality watches which bear the legendary prancing horse and Ferrari name, although they do not sponsor any of the Italian sports car manufacturers’ racing endeavours.
There are connections throughout motoring to the horological world, particularly between luxury watches and sports car companies. And when you boil it down, the link really does become obvious. The degree of luxury in an exquisite sports car and a truly magnificent wristwatch is the same – they are both items that thousands aspire to own.