Keeping an eye on time: powerful players in the watch world
There are plenty of collaborations between car and watch companies that don’t make much sense. If you make million-dollar cars, why put your name on watches that get chucked away when the battery runs out? Presumably the watch in this case is seen like a branded baseball cap – a means of displaying your name, rather than mirroring your workmanship.
Morgan’s association with the British brand Christopher Ward, on the other hand, runs deep. Watches are produced as part of a collaboration between Christopher Ward’s product chief Adrian Buchmann and Morgan’s head of design Jon Wells. There are three in the range to go with Morgan’s three models – the 3 Wheeler, Classic and Aero.
Each of the watches contains a hand-built, hand-wound mechanical movement. These movements have been made in-house at Christopher Ward’s Swiss atelier since 2014. The company was only formed in 2005, and to start making in-house movements within a decade is quite an achievement, especially for an online-only brand that has been busy showing more established companies a thing or two about making high-quality watches at a reasonable price.
New for this year is a limited-edition watch that celebrates the 50th Anniversary Morgan Plus 8. Along with a 50th birthday logo, the watch has yellow accents around the dial, reflecting those on the grille and bonnet of the car unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show – details that are in turn a tribute to the first production Morgan Plus 8.
The partnership goes both ways, with Buchmann helping to create the dashboard dials in the Anniversary Plus 8. This, combined with the ‘red-line’ type marking on the dial, means a striking comparison between the watch face and the car instruments. The watch is limited to just 50 pieces – one for each car Morgan builds.
The Christopher Ward C1 Morgan Plus 8 Chronometer has a hand-wound movement, with 120-hour power reserve indicated at 9 o’clock. It is presented in a Morgan ash case to buyers of the 50th Anniversary Morgan Plus 8.
BAUME & MERCIER
Baume & Mercier prides itself on making what it calls “affordable luxury watches”. As well as bold styling, and offering a lot of watch for the money, the company has been working on its motoring associations in recent years, previously designing a watch in conjunction with Shelby American and, now, with Indian Motorcycles. There are two limited-edition Indian versions of the Clifton Club chronograph, available on either a calfskin strap or a stainless-steel bracelet.
From £3100. www.baume-et-mercier.co.uk
It is a mark of Vacheron Constantin’s status that a watch costing more than £10,000 is described as “entry level”. While the sky is pretty much the limit with what you can pay for one of the more complicated pieces, or a highly decorated métiers d’art watch, the new FiftySix collection starts with a simple steel watch that just tells the time. This is Vacheron, though, so if you want one with day/date, or even a complete calendar, it is available – at a price.