The worlds of watches and cars have enjoyed a close relationship for more than a century and half, through sponsorship and timekeeping. But they also share a common interest: a passion for fine engineering. Today these two precision industries seem more well-matched than ever. 

With their sporty lines, bold use of colour and graphic design reminiscent of car dashboards, many timepieces inevitably recall the world of motor racing. Worldtempus took the opportunity of the International Motor Show in Geneva to look at some watches that are most evocative of this bond.

Bovet – Flying Tourbillon OTTANTASEI designed by Pininfarina

At the beginning of January Bovet unveiled the Flying Tourbillon Ottantasei, the newest timepiece in the collection designed with Pininfarina, the famous Italian car design company. Bovet’s fourth tourbillon has four separate sapphire crystals covering the front, back and sides of the case, the caseband glasses laser-engraved with the legends “Pininfarina” and “Limited Edition”. Three discrete circles are visible on the dial, defining the watch’s identity. The 10-day power reserve indicator is at the upper left and hours and minutes are top right, leaving the entire bottom section of the dial free for the OttantaSei tourbillon. Three case versions are available: red gold, grade 5 titanium and black DLC-treated grade 5 titanium. 

Flying Tourbillon OTTANTASEI designed by Pininfarina

Zenith – El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Hero Cup

In 2016 Zenith became the Official Timekeeper of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation, better known by its acronym, HERO. In tribute to this partnership, Zenith has designed a model fitted with the brand’s iconic calibre, the El Primero, which bears the HERO logo printed on the lower half of the dial. Driven by a self-winding mechanical movement that beats at a frequency of 36,000 vph, the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 HERO Cup is available in a limited edition of just 100. Its racy appearance is an obvious reminder of its automotive credentials, particularly as the watch has a tachymeter function, useful for calculating the speed of a racing car. With its cutout at 10 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock, the watch proudly proclaims its automotive inspiration. 

El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Hero Cup

IWC – Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance Ceramic

Schaffhausen-based Iwc Ingenieur Sl Quartz Preis Replica also drew inspiration from the motor racing world to create the Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance Ceramic, to mark its partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team. The watch contains a variety of materials commonly used in racing cars, foremost among which is carbon, noted for being twice as strong as steel at a fifth of its weight. Driven by the manufacture 80110 movement, one of the company’s most robust calibres, the timepiece has an integral shock-absorption system to help it withstand the toughest race conditions including acceleration, braking and vibration. The elegant but sporty lines enhance its automotive credentials.

Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance Céramique

Blancpain – L-Evolution R Chronograph Flyback Grande Date
While at first quite close concerning layout to the other chronographs, this view differs in several ways. First of all, it case is bigger, at 44mm, and produced in grade 5 titanium. It also appears more robust and sportier, with for instance using a crown-protection apparatus. This limited version of the IWC Ingenieur also adopts a darker look, with the combination of a black dial and strap.Inside its instance is your in-house and high-end calibre 89361, with automatic winding, display of the chronograph minutes and hours in a single sub-dial at 12 and flyback function. Just enjoy the vintage versions, a soft-iron cage protects the movement against the damaging influence of magnetic fields. 2 small details gives a fantastic allure to this view: the lightning-style hand to the small second at 6 and the vintage “Ingenieur” emblem at 3, next to the window. Certainly a desirable edition.Last however, as often in their own collections, IWC will also present a highly-limited and intricate version of its new Ingenieur 2017: a Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. This watch is based on a movement along with a display that we understand at IWC, yet slightly redesigned in this Ingenieur circumstance, to better fit with the classic inspiration. Indeed, while using two dual windows with jumping numerals at 3 and 9 for both the months and the date, IWC has created some sub-dials rather than rectangular apertures, such as with other watches with this movement.The remainder of the display is classical: hours, minutes and chronograph minutes at the middle, chronograph hours and minutes in a single sub-dial at 12, small minute and leap year signal at 6. The motion to drive this perpetual flyback calendar chronograph is your calibre 89800, here adorned with a gold rotor.

Blancpain and Lamborghini are also involved in a love affair, strengthened by their shared passion for fine engineering. Having been partners since 2009, the watchmaker decided it was time to create a timepiece in honour of the automobile. The L-Evolution R Chronograph Flyback Grande Date, whose black and orange livery recalls Blancpain’s trackside colours, is driven by an automatic flyback chronograph movement, the 68F5. Bezel, caseback and dial are made of carbon fibre, prized for its lightness and strength. Taking the sporty feel even further, a big date at 6 o’clock uses a “digital” type font, and subtle touches of orange really stand out against the black background. There’s no mistaking this is a sports watch!

L’Evolution R Chronograph Flyback Big Date