Jaguar and Bremont have announced two new watch collaborations. These exciting introductions will make their global debut at the Baselworld watch show, March 2015. The two British firms are cementing their long-term partnership following an overwhelming response to the creation of six Bremont chronometers which complement each of the six ‘continuation’ lightweight E-Type sports racing cars currently being built by Jaguar.
In working to capture the E-Type’s essence in a wrist watch, Jaguar’s Director of Design Ian Callum and the creative team at Bremont homed-in on another of its signature features – the dashboard. At its heart are the speedometer and tachymeter (or ‘rev counter’) and it is these that inspired the look of the new Bremont Jaguar MKI and MKII watches.
The MKI responds to the call for a more accessible version of the original ‘Lightweight’ limited edition watch by reproducing many of its design features but substituting the white gold and aluminium of the Lightweight’s case for a slimmer version in polished stainless steel. Save for the addition of a date window at the six o’clock position, the tachymetre-inspired dial is similar to that of the Lightweight, featuring an off-set small seconds indicator and a distinctive ‘red line’ quadrant between three and four o’clock. Behind the dial and double-domed crystal of the 43mm MKI watch lies a new movement with date functionality based on Bremont’s meticulously finished self-winding proprietary BWC/01.
Turning the MKI over not only reveals the beautifully finished movement through the sapphire crystal case back, but also one of the most intriguing features of the watch: a striking automatic winding weight in the form of an exquisite miniaturisation of a three-spoke E-Type steering wheel, complete with the iconic Jaguar head at its centre.
The MKII, meanwhile, instantly transports the wearer back to the golden era of 1960s sports car motoring, its black dial carrying the Jaguar heritage logo above the six o’clock position and its hour markings being in the style of the numerals found on E-Type instruments. The classic chronograph layout – featuring two subdials at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions – is achieved through the use of the beautifully decorated BE-50AE automatic movement which has been specially customised by Bremont to a unique specification, a subtle ‘red line’ on the 60-minute counter paying homage to the E-Type’s tachymeter.
The 43mm stainless steel case – which is fitted with a double-domed crystal to enhance the vintage appearance of the watch – is made entirely in the UK by Bremont using its renowned, three-part ‘Trip-Tick’ technology which ensures a hardness seven times greater than that of a normal steel watch.
Visible through a sapphire crystal case back, the mechanism again pays tribute to the E-Type with an automatic ‘steering wheel’ winding weight in the same style as that of the MKI. Further automotive imagery can be seen in the ‘tyre tread’ winding crown, which is topped with the Jaguar heritage logo to match that of the dial.
MKI and MKII watches will be supplied with a perforated ‘racing’ strap in true ‘60s style, together with a traditional leather spare.
“Like the Bremont watch we designed to complement the Special GT, or ‘Lightweight’ E-Type continuation cars, the MKI and MKII pieces had to capture the spirit of what is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sports cars of all time in a subtle and intelligent way,” says Ian Callum. “The result is a pair of watches which subtly relay some of the codes of the E-Type, but which are also easy to recognise as having been created with the car in mind. They simply look absolutely right when you wear them in the driving seat – almost as if they had been designed alongside the car back in the ‘60s.”
According to Bremont Co-Founder, Giles English, the watches have been created both to pay homage to the car and to satisfy a remarkable global demand. “When we worked with Ian to create the strictly limited edition of six watches to complement the Lightweight continuation cars, we had no idea that it would lead to a call from so many of the world’s E-Type owners and enthusiasts for a similar watch which was more accessibly priced and more widely available. The feedback was so positive and widespread, however, that we decided to find a way of incorporating the look of those iconic E-Type Smiths instruments into a pair of everyday watches. Although neither the MKI nor the MKII are limited edition pieces, there will be limited annual production so they will always remain as special as the cars that inspired them. They are certainly very meaningful to us, not least because they mark the formalisation of Bremont’s partnership with Jaguar, which means we shall be working closely with Ian and the design team on future projects in the long-term.”
The Jaguar E-Type – An Automotive Legend
The Jaguar E-Type sports car, created by former aircraft designer Malcolm Sayer, was unveiled outside the Restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives during the Geneva Salon at 4.30 pm on March 15, 1961. Its radical appearance and promise of being ‘the fastest production car in the world’ caused near hysteria and resulted in 500 orders being placed during the show. It’s powered by a race-bred, six-cylinder, 3.8 litre, 265 horsepower engine that gave the car a top speed of 150 mph – yet, at £2,098 for the roadster and £2,197 for the fixed-head coupe, it cost less than half the price of a comparable Ferrari or Aston Martin.
During its 14-year production run, the E-Type evolved to feature first a 4.2 litre engine and, ultimately, Jaguar’s 5.3 litre V12. It was offered with manual or automatic transmission and, in final ‘Series 3’ form, fixed-head models were available only with family-friendly two-plus-two bodywork.
More than 72,000 E-Types were built, with around 12,000 being sold in Britain and the majority going to the USA. Celebrated owners included Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Britt Ekland, Peter Sellers, Sir Jackie Stewart and George Best. The best Series 1 ‘flat floor’ E-Type roadsters now command more than £100,000.
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