Next week, at around this time, the streets of Singapore will be filled with F1 cars racing around the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Singapore F1 Grand Prix is one of the main highlights of the race calendar, thanks to the combination of a night race and a challenging street circuit.
Every year, there would be throngs of die-hard F1 fans who would stand the humidity and heat to watch the cars racing on the streets of Singapore. There are also several other highlights for the weekend itself, such as the musical performances and parties that were going be held within the vicinity.
What would be a F1 race – with all the partying – without an automobile-related timepiece? In this week’s article, we will be looking through some of the pieces in our archives that would match the occasion perfectly. What have we chosen? Let’s find out!
TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition
To have an icon is a good enough, but combining two icons together and the results are simply immense. This is what we have here with the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition.
The TAG Heuer Monaco is a cool watch, embodied by the fact that it was once worn by the King of Cool (and racing) Steve McQueen. As the name suggests, it was also produced in honour of the Monaco Grand Prix, which is known to many as one of the most incredible street circuits in the racing world. The addition of the blue and orange Gulf livery, which in itself is an icon in the world of racing, makes this Monaco a tad even more special than the usual.
Powered by the Calibre 11 movement, the self-winding Monaco boasts a chronograph and date function, as well as a power reserve of around 40 hours. The watch retails at US$5,900 (approximately S$8,135), and its bold colours and design will certainly be a conversational piece amongst enthusiasts who are passionate about both racing and horology.
Azimuth Twin Turbo
Continuing on the subject of cool watches, we have something that was born in Singapore: Azimuth Twin Turbo.
At the first glance, we can certainly tell that the Twin Turbo is a watch that was inspired by cars. The nomenclature gave that away as well. The watch’s quirky design, which includes a double dial layout, was inspired by the speedometers and tachometers that were seen in the dashboards of cars. But what really stood out was its odd case shape, which is unlike most of the watches that we are used to seeing. The hood, which lies above the twin dials, can be opened as well. This adds yet another interesting dimension to the Twin Turbo.
Priced at S$8,500, the Twin Turbo is relatively well-priced for a limited edition timepiece that features such an eccentric design. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we are certain that the Twin Turbo will surely appeal to collectors who wishes to add a quirky timepiece into their collection.
Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s love for motor sports is well-known in the industry, and that is why Chopard has been long associated with the world of automotive – especially with its classic Mille Miglia line. Chopard is the official partner and official timekeeper of the famous classic car rally since 1988.
The latest edition, dubbed the 2018 Race Edition, was launched to commemorate the 2018 Edition of the Mille Miglia race. This year’s watch is even more special, it was to concurrently celebrate the brand’s 30th year of partnership with the race itself. The highlight of this watch perhaps lies in its dial, in which it is fitted with a dashboard-inspired circular-grained anthracite dial. The dial is paired with white transfer-printed railroad markings and tachymeter scale surrounding it, as well as white luminous numerals and three sub-counters to complete the look. The contrast between the grey dial and white accents look amazing, with it producing a mellow but handsome aesthetic that surely makes one’s knees weak.
The watch is available in two variants. It is either cased in stainless steel, or a two-tone option that comes with a rose gold bezel and crown/pushers. Prices begin at CHF 5,450 (approximately S$7,753), and the watches are limited to a production of 1,000 pieces and 100 pieces for the steel and two-tone models respectively.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS18
The collaboration between Bell & Ross had yielded some pretty interesting results in the past couple of years. Last year, Bell & Ross launched the RS17, which was inspired by the steering wheel of the Renault RS17 F1 car. This time round, the RS18 – based on the new F1 car by Renault Sports – will be inspired by the chassis of a modern F1 car.
The chassis is one of the most important aspect for a F1 race car. It is often built with the state-of-the-art materials with precision engineering, and that is what Bell & Ross is trying to achieve with the new BR-X1 RS18. The 45mm timepiece is cased in sandblasted titanium, in which it is known for its strength and lightweight qualities. The case is additionally hollowed out at certain areas to ensure that the watch is even lighter. The entire piece, in our opinion, looks rather modern, and it certainly embodies the ideologies and principles of Renault Sports (and F1) very well.
The BR-X1 RS18 is fitted with the BR CAL 313 movement, in which is skeletonised with X-shaped upper bridge. This makes the watch a tad more “mechanical”-looking, and it certainly increases its cool factor as well. The watch is priced at S$31,000, and it will be limited to run of 250 pieces only.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Being the official timekeeper for Formula 1, Rolex had certainly cemented its spot in the world of motor sports. However, long before that, the brand had made its first foray into automotive world, with the Cosmograph Daytona.
Initially, the Daytona was a complete commercial failure. The timepiece was poorly received back in the 60s and 70s, as consumers preferred the likes of Datejusts and the Submariners. In fact, it was quite a common sight to see a Daytona lying on the display shelves for months (or even years). It was only back in the early 1990s where the collection saw a resurgence, which had subsequently lead to its popularity all the way till this date.
The latest model from the collection is none other than the Reference 116500LN, launched in Baselworld 2016. The timepiece is pretty much similar to its predecessor, sans a few cosmetic and mechanical updates. The most obvious one would be the bezel, in which the new iterations are fitted with a ceramic one. In terms of the movement, the watch is still powered by the Calibre 4130, although it is now adjusted to an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.
The Daytona is well-priced at S$16,660, but it is said to have an excruciating long waiting list for this model. Well, as the adage goes: all good things are certainly worth waiting for.
We round up the article with a whimsical piece from MB&F: the HMX.
Since the brand’s inception in 2005, Maximillian Büsser had been constantly impressing collectors with his creations in both the Horological Machine and Legacy Machine collection. The HMX, which was launched in 2015, was meant to be a 10th anniversary piece to celebrate and reward the fans’ support for the brand over the past decade.
The HMX is designed with a super car in mind. The watch features a sleek organic case shape, as well as an “engine bay” display with engine covers and oil filler caps that resemble a typical Italian sports car. The other intriguing function is the time display which is similar to the one found on the HM5. It incorporates two sapphire crystal prisms to project the time on the discs to the indicator. This, in addition, also makes it easier for a driver to tell the time when he or she is driving.
Priced at S$47,800, the HMX is one of the most affordable offering from MB&F. It is surely another conversational piece, and one that is much less controversial as compared to most of Max Büsser’s creations.
When it comes to automotive related watches, collectors are no longer satisfied with brands that simply incorporate a car manufacturer’s logo onto the dial and calls it a collaboration. Collectors are looking at much more than that. This is quite telling with the creations that the various brands have come up with in recent times, as seen from the six watches that we have selected.
There are certainly very interesting design cues from some of the watches that we have highlighted in this week’s article. The Azimuth and MB&F are certainly the conspicuous ones, with its unusual and bold designs that are very much unlike the norms. The TAG Heuer, as well as the Bell & Ross and Chopard, had also incorporated interesting colour schemes and design cues to the watches to differentiate it from their usual offerings. On the other hand, the Daytona is purely functional. It is a Rolex after all, and it is meant to be a simple tool watch. Its no-nonsense characteristics work for some collectors as well.
So, what are your thoughts on automotive related watches these days? Are the brands going on the right direction? Or, are our selection representative of what the brands are offering at this current juncture? Let us know in the comments section below!