REC TTT watch inspired by The Great Escape

New timepieces from REC make use of parts from Triumph bikes – including Steve McQueen’s actual Great Escape fence-jumper

Rec TTT watch

There’s a stator cover from a bike in this retro TTT watch. Inset: note the reg plate at 5 o’clock

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We’ve championed REC on these pages a few times over the years, but if you’re still unfamiliar with the Copenhagen brand’s USP, it’s simply that it makes watches that contain material salvaged from interesting vehicles.

Having started in 2011 with its Mark I and Cooper models featuring dials made with metal from a ’60s Mini, REC (mantra: ‘RECover, RECycle, REClaim’) has gone on to make others using parts of a Ford Mustang, a Porsche 911, a Land Rover and even a Spitfire aircraft. But only now has it adapted the theme to the two-wheeled world with the introduction of a pair of watches featuring components made from bits removed from two Triumph motorcycles.

The first has a dial cut from a stator cover taken off a nitrous-fuelled Speedmaster drag bike created in a collaboration between Triumph North America and Icon 1000 – an Oregon-based firm that specialises in custom builds and retro riding gear. Called the TTT Icon 1000, the watch is fitted with a two-part case that enables the inner to be rotated 30 degrees so the dial can be worn in ‘ride’ or ‘dress’ modes. It also has lugs based on the curve of the Speedmaster’s exhaust pipes and a strap inspired by its leather seat.

But perhaps more interesting is the Escape TTT that contains ‘DNA’ from the 1962 Triumph TR6 Trophy used for the celebrated jump scene in The Great Escape.

Post-filming, the bike was left abandoned in a Norfolk barn for more than 40 years before being discovered by marque fanatic Dick Shepherd, owner of the most comprehensive collection of Triumph motorcycles in the world. After verifying the machine’s authenticity with the (now late) Bud Ekins – McQueen’s stunt rider in the film – Shepherd set about restoring the bike to its exact on-set condition.

Although 95 per cent of the original parts were retained, the clutch plates and con rods were replaced – and the old ones have now been incorporated into the dials of all 393 Escape TTT watches.

Other references to The Great Escape bike include the use of dark green for the dial, rotor and strap lining, the addition of a miniaturised version of the German licence plate at five o’clock and a winding crown that echoes the bulbous headlamp.

As with the TTT Icon 1000, the TTT Escape has a two-part, 43mm rotatable case and is powered by a Swiss-made Sellita automatic movement.

REC Watches TTT Icon 1000 and TTT Escape, both £1,486


Soldat Promessa watch

Never before has there been such a wide choice of watches available – and not least in the ‘driver’s chronograph’ segment. Soldat is unusual in being an Indonesian company that has its watches designed in Switzerland and made in Japan, but the aesthetic of its Promessa chrono is as classic as it gets. There are three models, all based on the same 42mm cushion case, colour being the only difference (Green Forty Nine, above). Buy direct from the firm’s website and budget for an extra £20 for shipping to the UK.

Soldat Promessa Green Forty Nine, £935


TAG Autavia watch

TAG Heuer has revamped one of its most historic creations with the recent launch of a trio of Autavias, a name coined in 1933 for a type of dashboard timer designed for use by both AUTomobilists and AVIAtors. It was not used on a watch until 1962 when Jack Heuer, great-grandson of the firm’s founder, revived it. To mark the 60th anniversary of that, TAG Heuer has released new GMT and flyback Autavias, including this DLC-coated model based on the Reference 1550SG, a watch produced for the German military.

TAG Heuer Autavia, £5800