There’s long been an inexorable link between watch and automotive enthusiasts. Elements of style, performance, and practicality pervade the ethos of car and watch culture alike. Our choice for each says something about us, who we are and what matters to us. Well, we like to think it does, at least. There’s as much fun in finding an all original Big Red 6263 Daytona as there is in finding an all original Guards Red 911 of the same year to match. It’s a bond that can’t be manufactured artificially.
Watch brands have capitalized on this crossover with special editions and co-branded dials, but rarely do they strike the authentic tone that recognizes and respects the true connections between the hobbies. That connection boils down to practical roots, when watches and mechanical stopwatches were literally the tools used for timing the automotive sport. Collectors of these decidedly analog tools are actively putting them to use in order to enjoy them.
Owning a mechanical watch or an analog car means forgoing the benefits of modern advancements. Mechanical watches are not as precise nor as accurate as their battery powered counterparts, in the same way shifting gears yourself will never match the pace of modern dual-clutch transmissions. But that’s not why we collect, that’s not why we’re passionate; and to obsess over 0 – 60 times and +/- accuracy is to miss the point. Mechanical and analog tools allow us humans to remain a part of the equation, albeit an imperfect one. And maintaining that human element is entirely the point.
Every August, automotive enthusiast the world over congregate along the shores of Pebble Beach, Monterey to celebrate the brands, the culture, and the people behind them. It’s Monterey Car Week, and it culminates with the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance of America. It’s a time of year where seeing a Ferrari F50 parked along the street amidst Hondas and Kias isn’t unusual. And where you’ll find a gathering of automotive enthusiasts, you’re likely to find watch enthusiasts in the mix debating patina, date windows, and screw down pushers. To celebrate this week, we’re pulling out a few watches you’re likely to find among the crowds. If you’ve ever been to or seen pictures of the Concourse, you know how crazy things can get.
The Rolex Daytona is named after one of the most famous races in America, and its ties to racing, both formally and informally, are deep. On top of that’s it’s a watch that wears exceptionally well, and pairs with damn near anything in your wardrobe. This example has a current Ask listed at $12,810.
The Royal Oak Chronograph from Audemars Piguet is a watch that speaks to automotive enthusiasts for many reasons, but certainly for the engineering that goes into the bracelet, and the angular, brushed surfaces. It’s a great looking watch that wears just as well. There’s a low Ask listed at $16,485 on this example.
You don’t need a chronograph to impress in this crowd. The Cartier Santos will earn respect for its deep roots in watchmaking history, it’s bold and unapologetic shape, and its superb build quality. If you want to stand out in a room full of vintage Rolex, this is a good way to do it. There’s an Ask listed at $6,567 on this example.
Moneterey Car Week is a prestigious event, and you’re bound to see some mighty expensive and rare hardware, from the streets to on the wrist. Wearing a Richard Mille is the equivalent of cruising the town in a McLaren P1. With the wing at fill tilt. You’ll get a few looks, and so will this watch. This one has an Ask listed at $150,000. Jump on it here.