Years ago, before everyone had a digital clock on their smartphone, racing teams used analog stopwatches to time their cars’ laps and track their performance. “Watches were the best way to keep track of how the cars are performing and will always be needed during a race because you aren’t just racing other drivers, but also against the clock,” said Cameron Barr, CEO of the popular watch-buying and reselling service Craft and Tailored. This relationship lent itself to watch makers designing timepieces in collaboration with car companies, partnerships that have been ongoing, in some cases, for decades now. And at the top end, the results are as opulent, exclusive—and sometimes expensive—as the cars upon which they are inspired. Here are some of our favorites.
Even by the standards of Rolls-Royce, the new Boat Tail cabriolet is a little outrageous, with a guesstimated price of $28 million. If accurate, that would be a record sticker for a new car. Rolls is partnering with BOVET 1822 to create a pair of watches (for the owner and a companion), just as luxurious as the car. This timepiece can be used as a wristwatch, pocket watch, or even a dashboard watch. These twin pieces have the signature Spirit of Ecstasy on the dial surrounded by an 18k white gold case. This pair of one-off watches will only be available for the owner of each of the three Boat Tails that will be built.
Breitling has maintained a strong partnership with Bentley for over 70 years. The grandson of the founder, Willy Breitling, was a Bentley fanatic and was often seen at Bentley races in the 1940s. Soon they began working together and Beitling became the racing team’s biggest sponsor. Breitling made special chronograph watches (a display watch that can also operate as a stopwatch) to celebrate Bentley’s five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by the “The Bentley Boys” between 1924 and 1930. One of the latest watches they released, the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley British Racing Green has a 42-mm stainless steel case to compliment the green nubuck leather strap. This timepiece has a price of $8,500 and isn’t a limited edition, so order as many as you’d like.
Bentley and Breitling have collaborated on many watches over the years, but the limited editions are the pieces that are the most valuable. The Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition comes with 2 case options: 18k rose gold that costs $28,000 and is limited to 200 timepieces, or a stainless steel case for $10,200 which is limited to 1,000 timepieces. Both watches come equipped with a 42-mm case and a brown calfskin leather strap.
Of all of the watches that Breitling and Bentley have created, none are as exclusive as the Premier B21 Chronograph Tourbillon 42 Bentley Limited Edition. It has an extremely limited run of 25 pieces. This watch has an 18k rose gold case that meshes very well with its British racing green dial and golden brown alligator leather strap. The exposed component at the top of the dial, the tourbillon adds that extra flair and movement to the watch. Tourbillons were originally meant to increase the accuracy of the watch, but now it’s basically just for show and expensive bragging rights. This watch comes with a steep price of $52,000.
Bremont has formed partnerships with several brands, one of them a particular aviation company, an aviation company known as Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce has been building luxury vehicles for over a century, but not everyone is aware that they also build aircraft engines. Bremont is the official timing partner of Rolls-Royce, which is aiming to create the fastest electric plane in the world. The plane’s name is “Ionbird.” A watch with the same name has been built for the cockpit of the plane and another for the pilot. This watch has a 43-mm titanium case, and a choice between a brown leather strap or a titanium bracelet. This piece is not a limited edition and costs $5,795.
Bremont has been partnering with Jaguar since 2010 and they have collaborated on six chronograph pieces. The Jaguar E-Type 60th watch celebrates the 60-year anniversary of the legendary car with the same name, the E-Type, which was released in 1961. This watch is limited to 120 pieces that are split into two colors: 60 with a blue bezel and black leather strap, and 60 more with a green bezel and green strap. Both have a price of $14,495.
Aston Martin has partnered with the Swiss watch brand Girard-Perregaux to release the first timepiece of their collaboration. The Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges—Aston Martin Edition has a 44-mm case that is crafted with grade 5 titanium. The watch pays homage to the original three bridges pocket watches that were built in the 1860s. The Aston Martin Edition watch costs $146,000. Only 18 examples will be made.
Hublot is a Swiss watch brand that has been partners with Ferrari since 2011. They have multiple collections available, with the most popular being the Big Bang Ferrari collection. The standard Big Bang watches come with a black leather and Alcantara strap to go along with a multitude of cases that are made with 18k rose gold, carbon ceramic, or carbon fiber. The pieces have prices that range from $25K and can reach up to $69K for the Ferrari Scuderia 90th Anniversary watch.
Hublot has a multitude of high-end watches, but the most expensive collection is the MP series. Ferrari’s most exclusive cars are the “Big 5,” which includes the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, and LaFerrari. The Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari watch is a timepiece that has a sapphire crystal case crafted in the shape of the hybrid V12 that is found in the LaFerrari. The price of this watch is $300,000 and is limited to 50 pieces—which is more exclusive than the 499 examples of the full-size LaFerraris that were built.
IWC has been the official watch partner for Mercedes-AMG since 2004. One of many watches they released together was the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.” This watch has a 44.5-mm ceramic case surrounding the carbon fiber bezel to go along with the black calfskin strap. The caseback features two checkered flags and a 1/50 badge to showcase that this is a limited-edition piece. Cost is $15,600.
Following the release of their first two watches, IWC and Mercedes-AMG have another timepiece available, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “AMG.” This automatic chronograph timepiece has a silver 43-mm titanium case. The carbon dial and black calfskin strap makes this piece look similar to the AMG Petronas Motorsport edition, but without the AMG green accents. This piece isn’t a limited edition and can be bought for $9,100.
Bugatti partnered with Jacob & Co. in 2019, and they worked together to release the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Sapphire Crystal. A watch that is made in the shape of the 1,500-hp W16 engine found in the Chiron, it even has visible moving pistons. The clear case is made of pure crystal and takes an entire month to build. This timepiece has a retail price of $280,000. That’s small potatoes compared to the $4 million price of a Bugatti.
If a clear watch with an excessive amount of crystal isn’t your style, then the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Black Titanium watch could be a better option. This timepiece is nearly identical to the tourbillon sapphire crystal, with the main difference being the black titanium case surrounding the crystal W16 engine. This watch is limited to 126 examples and has the same retail price as its crystal counterpoint starting at $280,000. This watch would look beautiful paired with a Bugatti Chiron Noire.
Bugatti was founded in 1909 in the city of Molsheim, France, by Ettore Bugatti. To honor the company’s 110-year anniversary in 2019, Jacob and Co. created a watch known as the Epic X Chrono Bugatti Forged Carbon. This piece has a forged carbon case that matches the Bugatti Chiron Sport “110 Ans” edition. It displays the colors of the French flag on the dial that can also be found on the rear spoiler of the car. Staying true to Bugatti’s 110-year anniversary, only 110 examples will be made. It’s less expensive than other timepieces from Jacob and Co. as it has a retail price of $36,000—cheaper than a set of tires for the Veyron.
Even though modern Bugattis have four turbochargers, the Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti Grand Comp watch seems more advanced. This watch is limited to only 18 examples and comes with two 18k rose gold twin triple-axis tourbillons that rotate at different speeds. The case is made with black DLC grade titanium and forged carbon. There are two other variants: one with an 18k rose gold case and another with diamond baguettes. (A baguette cut is a bar-shaped decorative milling.) Both are limited to 18 examples.
Richard Mille is a Swiss watchmaker that is famous for selling watches that cost more than most supercars, McLarens included. Richard Mille is one of McLaren’s biggest sponsors and has been since 2017. The RM 11-03 has the traditional McLaren orange colors, a black titanium case, and an orange quartz strap. This watch is limited to only 500 pieces worldwide. In typical Richard Mille fashion, this watch is priced at $191,500. It is only available to clients of the McLaren Ultimate Series of cars: the F1, P1, Senna, Speedtail, and Sabre.
The Speedtail is the fourth car to be released for the McLaren Ultimate Series. Richard Mille will make only 106 pieces of the RM 40-01 to commemorate the 106 Speedtails made. The case is made from grade 5 titanium and consists of 69 individual parts . This watch does not come cheap, as it costs $1.022 million.
The RM 50-03 watch pays homage to one of the most legendary cars ever created. The McLaren F1 was produced from 1992 to 1996 and it is still faster than most modern cars on the market. The road-legal F1 has a top speed of 240 mph. The racing variant of the F1, the F1 GTR, finished first, third, fourth, and 13th in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. Like the car, the watch is built with titanium and carbon fiber to make it ultra light. This is a very exclusive watch as only 75 pieces were made. The watch is priced at $980,000 and will likely become more expensive over time.
Richard Mille supports multiple Formula 1 teams, including Alfa Romeo, who it has partnered with since 2017. Sauber Motorsports signed a deal with Alfa Romeo in 2017 that announced the team’s comeback to the sport after a 30-year absence. The 2007 F1 Driver’s Champion Kimi Raikkonen joined the team in 2019. Now he is being honored with his very own watch. This unique RM 50-04 has a titanium case and baseplate. The RM 50-04 is limited to only 30 pieces and has a retail price of $1,063,000.
Lamborghini is known for creating cars with outrageous styling and obnoxiously loud exhaust notes. Roger Dubuis builds watches with a very dramatic and over-the-top styling. The Aventador is the flagship of Lamborghini and the Excalibur Spider Aventador S Carbon has unique styling to match the car’s exotic looks. This manual-winding watch has a carbon case with a sapphire crystal and carbon bezel. The yellow accents on the strap, crown, and bezel match the shade of yellow that can be optioned on the Aventador S. There are other configurations of this watch with different straps, cases, and dials. This watch is limited to 88 pieces and costs $207,000.
Roger Dubuis has a watch for the Huracan owners of the world as well. The Excalibur Spider Huracan STO Carbon has the blue and orange colors that are found on the STO. This watch is built with the same carbon, titanium, and sapphire crystal as the other Excalibur watches, but with the added flair of the STO. Only 88 pieces of this watch are being made at a cost of $56,500 each.
Porsche Design is a luxury fashion brand that was created in 2003 by Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche. Butzi was the mastermind behind the Porsche 911 and grandson of the company founder. One of the design firm’s most popular timepieces is made in honor of the final 991-generation 911. The Chronography 911 GT2 RS is a timepiece that is exclusively available for owners of that powerful Porsche model. The watch comes equipped with a carbon dial surrounded by a titanium case that is painted Silver GT to match the original colors of the launch-edition car. The strap of this piece is made from the same microfiber as the interior of the GT2 RS. Since there are only 1000 GT2 RS were made, it’s likely that only 1000 pieces of the watch will be built.
The GT2 RS isn’t the only supercar accompanied by a Porsche Design timepiece. The Chronography 911 Turbo S is a watch exclusively available to owners of the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The car is limited to 500 examples, and so is the watch. The rotor of the watch resembles the wheel of the Turbo S and below it lies the chassis number of the car. The black leather strap on this piece comes standard with golden stitching matching the interior of the car. If the standard color of the strap and dial isn’t your style, there are other options available that come with the choice of red and white, as opposed to the standard gold.
Porsche and Tag Heuer have been partners since 1963 and recently released a new watch together. The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition was created to honor their decades of partnership, as well as the 911 Carrera. This watch comes with a 44-mm steel case, a gray dial, and a black ceramic bezel. The watch also comes with the option of a black leather band instead of the steel. Retail price is $6,050.
Swiss watchmaker Zenith was founded in 1865 and is currently owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). To celebrate the new-generation Defender that came out in 2019, Zenith released the Defy 21 Land Rover Edition. This watch has a 44-mm case crafted from microblasted titanium that looks great with the matte grey dial and rubber strap. This watch is limited to 250 pieces and costs $15,000.
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