Back in 2005 IWC flew a few watch hacks up to Arjeplog in Sweden, that snowy wasteland where car makers go to develop tyres and anti-lock braking systems, and to see how vehicles fare in conditions so cold that engines have to be warmed overnight with electric blankets.
The point of the trip was to announce a partnership between IWC and AMG. As well as inaugurating the collaboration, the junket also marked the full acquisition of AMG by Daimler AG as well as the 50th anniversary of IWC’s Ingenieur wristwatch which, in its original 1955 form, was marketed for its anti-magnetic properties derived from the movement being housed behind a dial and inner case of soft iron.
For the next few years, the AMG/Ingenieur line was invariably mentioned whenever talk turned to cars and watches, and there was even a special IWC edition of the AMG CLS 55 coupé – but then things went quiet.
It seems that IWC was rather more focused on pushing its environmental message, and it was probably deemed inappropriate to be promoting the wonders of AMG gas-guzzlers at the same time as the brand was preparing to wave off ecologist and IWC ambassador David de Rothschild on his 2010 voyage from San Francisco to Sydney aboard a catamaran made from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles.
In 2012 the AMG connection was fired up again when IWC was announced as ‘official engineering partner’ of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. The deal has continued ever since, inspiring a swathe of Ingenieur models and bringing the brand to prominence through drivers Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and George Russell.
Although Hamilton has often been spotted wearing IWC’s classic Big Pilot, the majority of special models from the partnership have been Ingenieur-based – but not the latest. This time around, the brand has turned to its aviation line with the launch of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG and says that, from now on, AMG options will be a permanent feature of the Pilot’s Watch collection.
This inaugural 43mm model is the first Pilot’s Watch Chronograph to have a lightweight titanium case which, says IWC, gives a matte grey appearance “inspired by AMG’s signature Selenite Grey Magno paint”. In keeping with the high-tech world of F1, the dial is made from carbon fibre with contrasting silver sub dials, beneath which hides IWC’s in-house Calibre 69385 column wheel chronograph movement.
A sapphire crystal case back emblazoned with the Mercedes-AMG logo enables the mechanism to be seen in its micro glory.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG, £8500
Bell & Ross began its partnership with the Renault F1 team in 2015, since when it has produced five models detailed with Renault yellow. This year’s re-branding to Alpine has led to a range of chronographs with touches in blue. The steel cushion-cased BR V3-94 A521, above, and the square-cased BR 03-94 A521 are £3600 and £5400 respectively, with the third, the BR-X1 A521, being the flagship and limited to 50. It has a 45mm square titanium and ceramic case, and costs £16,900.
Bell & Ross Alpine F1 editions, from £3600
The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa celebrates the Raticosa Pass that has formed a key stage in the Italian road race. Limited to two editions of 500 examples with either off-white or varnished black dials, the 42mm stainless steel-cased chrono is one of the coolest watches to have been inspired by the event thanks to its vintage look. The sapphire crystal back is decorated with the 1000 Miglia logo and a ‘Raticosa’ inscription.
Chopard Mille Miglia Raticosa special edition, £5150.