Precision: Catch this Drift

Influenced by muscle cars and ’60s endurance racing, new US manufacturer Gorilla is all torque with its Fastback Drift range

Gorilla Fastback Drift watch
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I first met Octavio Garcia back in 2012 when he was almost a decade into a stellar, 15-year stint as the creative head of Audemars Piguet. Much of Garcia’s recognition came from his work on expanding the Royal Oak range – a tricky task considering the original 1972 design by the late, great Gérald Genta is widely regarded as a masterpiece of 20th-century horology.

One of the more unusual takes on the model required Garcia to work with Michael Schumacher to create a limited-edition watch to the F1 star’s exacting standards. It was a project that Schuey became involved in as a result of asking Audemars Piguet in 2010 if it would be possible to make a chronograph, specifically designed for motor-sport use, that would enable the measurement and recording of an extended series of sequential lap times.

Work commenced, which necessitated the development of a movement with two indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with an independent ‘memory’. But in 2013, before the design was perfected, Schumacher had his skiing accident. His family, however, asked Audemars Piguet to continue the project as they believed it would be his wish, and in 2015 the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher was unveiled.

Chicago-born Garcia left the company shortly afterwards, leaving many to assume that he would soon crop up as the chief creative at a rival. No one expected that he would return with his own brand, Gorilla.

Inspired by the American muscle car, Gorilla set out to use high-tech materials, such as carbon, ceramic and titanium, to create funky watches with an automotive bent. The first model, the Fastback, was made in 500 units and sold exclusively online in order to establish the feasibility of the business. Since then, a swathe of limited editions have been introduced, all of which have quickly sold out.

One of our current favourites is the Fastback Drift Mirage that features a ‘wandering hours’ movement by the Swiss manufacturer Vaucher. With satellite discs and a chapter ring made from aluminium and hand-applied indices in black Super-Luminova, the watch pays tribute to the ’60s Gulf-liveried Ford GT40s through its blue and orange scheme.

As with all Gorilla models, the Fastback Drift Mirage is limited to 250 pieces. Variations include the Drift Elise in the familiar green and yellow of Lotus, and the Modena, which celebrates the Ferrari marque with a black ceramic case, and yellow and red detailing. Most watches can be specified with one of a wide range of strap colours and materials.

Gorilla Fastback Drift Mirage £3175
Drift Elise £2770
Drift Modena automatic £1150 (all prices excluding tax)
gorillawatches.ch

 

Tag Heuer F1 Indy 500

Now in its 16th year as the official timekeeper of both the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, TAG Heuer has released this special version of its quartz-powered Formula 1 model in a 1,500-piece limited edition. The 43mm chronograph carries the Indianapolis winged wheel motif, along with a print stripe inspired by the Brickyard’s famous paving-block start/ finish line. IndyCar fans may have spotted the watch on the wrist of driver and brand friend Alexander Rossi in August’s event.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 2020 Special Edition
£1750, tagheuer.com

 

MHD Type 1 watch

Former Morgan designer Matthew Humphries launched his own watch brand in 2014 and has created numerous automotive-inspired models. The latest range takes its cues from cars of the ’20s and ’30s, such as the Bentley 3-litre, Bugatti Type 35 and Alfa Romeo 8C, with the first to be released being, logically, the Type 1. Just 100 will be available, each with an exoskeleton stainless-steel case. A Japanese Miyota 9130 automatic drives the hands and power reserve display and you get two calf-leather straps, one in black, one in tan.

MHD Type 1
£745, mhdwatches.com

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