It is not uncommon for luxury brands to join hands and create an ultra luxurious and exclusive product and this is often seen in the world of luxury watches and high end automobile manufacturers. The lines between a watch and a car may seem blurry at first, but if you think about it, they are not. In fact, there are many similarities in design, craftsmanship and movement between the two. Cars need engines, watches need movements, both must be made of high quality materials for endurance purposes and both must have strong aesthetic appeal to be able to charge the prices they do.
Here is a quick review of some of the longest running partnerships between luxury watch & automobile brands.
Breitling and Bentley
The relationship started in 2001 and lasted until 2003 when Breitling was a sponsor of Team Bentley during the Le Mans 24 Hours campaign. To commemorate this event, Breitling created the Limited Edition Breitling Bentley 24 Le Mans Watch. Since then the relationship has grown and expanded into multiple collections of Bentley inspired watches by the Breitling brand. In this case, both Breitling and Bentley are power houses in their respective industries. They exude luxury, elegance and a sense of exclusivity. The standards and expectations are high as are the results: in this case, chronographs of superior quality and design.
Under the Breitling Series Motors collection comes all the sub collections of Breitling for Bentley watches: Bentley Motors, Bentley Motors T, Bentley 6.75, Bentley GT, Bentley GT Racing, Bentley GMT (which right now is available in very limited editions for 2009) and Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon. Mulliner means “for connoisseurs of beautiful cars” and tourbillion is “for devotees of complicated watches”, so this watch in particular is a rare watch, combining two traditions of excellence. Only a few dozen of the Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon watches are made every year, at a rate of two per month.
TAG Heuer and Porsche & Mercedes-Benz
TAG Heuer is another watch brand that has joined forces with luxury automobiles, that has resulted in multiple partnerships and collections. TAG Heuer for Porsche has resulted in more collections that TAG’s other relationships with automobile brands. Here is a list of the collections and the mottos that TAG uses to describe them:
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera: “the premium avante garde TAG Heuer Collection inspired by unrivaled Motor Racing Heritage.” One specific watch born out of this relationship in 1963 was the “Carrera Panamericana” race that took place ten years earlier. Juan Manuel Fangio, the famous Argentinian driver who won the Formula 1 World Championship five times, also won the Panaamericana race. To honor him TAG launched the Carrera Chronograph which became an instant success. Although modernized over the years, the Carrera still embodies the era of “Gentleman drivers.”
TAG Heuer Carrera: “the contemporary sports watch inspired by motor racing” is another collection born between TAG and Porsche and remains one of their best selling watches. TAG has also partnered with Mercedes-Benz and recently came out with the TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz: “the exceptional chronograph for GT car connoisseurs” watch.
TAG’s long association with Formula 1 racing has resulted in the TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch: “the casual sports watch inspired by Formula 1”. And of course, TAG is also very well known for creating the Monaco that Steve McQueen wore in the famous car racing movie “Le Mans.”
Panerai and Ferrari
Panerai and Ferrari are another example of high end watch and car brands joining forces. Both Italian power houses, Ferrari is known all the over the world, while Panerai watches have developed and very loyal following over the years. Only recently widely available in the U.S. Panerai has created an exclusive reputation for itself by up until now, not being so available, as they are not mass produced watches.
Ferrari used to produce watches with Girard-Perragaux but when the contract expired, Panerai entered the scene. The resulting watches have been available in the U.S. since 2006. There are two collections, 11 models and each watch retails for anywhere from $5,300 to $26,500.
Panerai Ferrari watches are divided into two collections: Granturismo and Scuderia. The Granturismo watches have leather straps (black on the outside and red on the inside) and black dials with the Ferrari horse in white. There are three models, an Automatic, GMT and GMT/Alarm. The Scuderia watches have leather straps as well, with black on the outside and yellow on the inside. The yellow matches the Ferrari logo located at the 12 o’clock position. There are three models here as well: Automatic, GMT and Chronograph. Then, there are Special Editions of these Ferrari by Panerai watches which come out every year.