Even designers at top tier companies long to try their hand at another industry, so it was somewhat unsurprising to find a small band of automotive designers getting involved in watchmaking.
Not simply content with badge branding exercises on behalf of their motors, designers from Ford, Jaguar, and (to an extent) Bugatti have been having direct input into timepieces reflecting the marques.
As part of the blue oval’s display at Salone del Mobile, the first time an automotive brand has been allowed into the main exhibition centre, Ford took the opportunity to show off a range of furniture and fashion inspired product designs.
“The Ford Design team has for years attended events such as Salone del Mobile as creative observers, and now we are attending the Salone del Mobile showing products designed by automotive designers,” said Erika Tsubaki, Ford of Europe’s design supervisor.
A wrist watch prototype produced for the show received such a positive response that an limited number have now been put into production.
The Ford Design watch features designs derived from the gauges in the Ford dashboard instrument cluster.
“The trends we see in furniture and fashion have a strong influence on how Ford’s vehicles will look and feel in years to come,” said Ford of Europe design director Martin Smith. “For many customers, the number one consideration in choosing their next car is outstanding and compelling design.”
After producing a customised clock for the Jaguar XJ75 concept car, luxury watchmaker Bremont has been busy producing a special limited edition timepiece with the British marque.
To commemorate producing the missing six vehicles from an original production run of 18 Lightweight E-Type models back in 1963, a special wrist watch was commissioned, with input from the Jaguar design team including director of design Ian Callum.
The case contains aluminum saved from the construction of the Lightweight E-Type model, plus E-Type-related details such as hands that replicate the car’s tachometer needle; a chassis number of the corresponding car on the watch’s dial; and the crown is engraved with a tires pattern, which are also found on the re-edition of the car.
Should you find yourself one day driving a Bugatti Veyron, and we hope you offer us a lift when you do, you’ll want a timepiece to match its, um… understated nature…
The brand’s watchmaking partner Parmigiani has been producing Bugatti wristwatches since 2004 and has a Super Sport model (limited to 30) to match one of the world’s fastest road cars.
With a curved body, with a 90° viewing window to let you see the time while gripping the wheel at top speed; all 337 pieces are made in house apart from the crystal, and the strap which is specially made by luxury goods merchants Hermes.
Although not directly designed by Bugatti’s design team, its reference to the shape of the car’s unusual transverse drive system means that it’s probably the only timepiece where a carmakers engineers have had an input.