Launch of the year: The 2017 Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Daytona12:52 pm
In the world of luxury watches, words like “soul of a car on the wrist…” have been heard a zillion times before, by countless brands. Baume & Mercier too has caught a whiff of the ongoing analogy for a couple of years now with their timepieces. The ‘Capeland’ Shelby Cobra collection has seen inspiration from one of the most successful cars in motorsport history, but at the end of the day, they were ‘inspired’ watches. Having a watch made from scratch by a carmaker would be the real deal! And so, Baume decided to take things to another level this year.
If you are a hard-core motorsport enthusiast, I’m sure you don’t need an introduction to Peter Brock, one of the greatest automotive designers of this era. He was roped in by Baume & Mercier, 50 years after he designed the legendary Cobra Daytona Coupe, to create something that would make you say “It’s like wearing a well-engineered car on your wrist.”
The Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Editions were launched at SIHH, Geneva, early this year and they took the fair by storm with their game changing design, much like the coupe itself. The watches have arrived in India, but first, about the car:
The Will to Win
The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe was created in 1964 out of Carroll Shelby’s will to end Enzo Ferrari’s domination at the Le Mans circuit. But it was never going to be an easy task. Carroll Shelby was up against the fastest car of that era, the Ferrari 250 GTO – a car that could hold up speeds of up to 186 miles per hour. He realized that he couldn’t pull off this task alone, so he roped in Peter Brock, one of motorsport’s most renowned car designers, who’s mantra was simple from the start:
He took all but 90 days to design Carroll Shelby’s Daytona Coupe, which could now achieve speeds up to 190 mph (or 310 km/h), courtesy its aerodynamic design. The ‘CSX 2299’ went on to clock over 196mph (315 km/h) at the Le Mans and triumphed over the mighty Ferrari quite convincingly in the GT III class category.
What was even more unique about the car was its livery. The car was painted in guardsmen blue with two white stripes, again something never seen on a race car before. It clearly stood out among the pack because you could spot it from a distance. One look at the circuit was enough to take your notice.
Baume & Mercier didn’t waste time to convince the man himself, Mr. Peter Brock, to join hands once again, in a partnership that would raise the bar of car inspired timepieces. Mr. Brock along with the head designer of Baume & Mercier, Mr. Alexandre Peraldi, worked together to bring the Cobra back to life once again, this time, on the wrist.
Enter the Clifton:
The idea of co-designing the watch had a definite goal – building a watch that echoes the Shelby Daytona’s legacy at first glance, right from its bi-colour theme to its push buttons that mimic the look of the car’s foot pedals. The ‘Cobra’ logo on the red central second’s hand, present at its usual position ensures the wearer of the watch’s authenticity and lineage. The result is a collection that achieves everything I’ve mentioned so far.
The dials are easily the most eye catching feature of the entire collection – the blue, silver, and split dial finish personifies the same livery found the tail of the Daytona car. Even the second’s hand marker in contrasting red is almost unmissable. The foot pedal pushers are a joy to use. Make no mistake, this is a watch that will turn you into an avid chronograph user if you weren’t one already!
Completing the sun satin-finished dials (in all three models) are modern Arabic numerals, vertical or horizontal ring chronograph counters exactly done like the Daytona’s dashboard. The dial also features an inner tachymeter scale for speed measurements, and thick, luminous hours and minutes hands are done in the theme of the Daytona’s steering-wheel.
But perhaps the most fun feature of this collection is its case back. All three watches of the Clifton Shelby Cobra collection feature a wheel oscillating rotor, visible clearly through the sapphire crystal case back, which, at first glance would look like a design of the case back but actually plays a vital role in winding the watch. The rotor was designed by Mr. Brock to look exactly like the Cobra’s original wheels and turns as it oscillates, which almost feels like the wheels of the original car in motion!
The Engine (Movement):
Hidden behind the wheel is the engine that powers this car – an automatic, Swiss-Made self-winding chronograph (for the plain dial versions) and Flyback chronograph (for the split dial version).
The Clifton Club Cobra 10343 and 10342 (Blue and Silver dials respectively) models, are both powered by the ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movements. The 10344 (split dial) on the other hand, is powered by a La Joux-Perret calibre 8147-2 automatic flyback chronograph movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. All three models with their sapphire crystal protection are water resistant up to 50 meters.
A sporty-secure strap:
Completing the look of this watch are black or blue calfskin straps, embossed with a carbon fibre like pattern. Each of the straps are designed for delivering extreme comfort and durability. The strap can be adjusted manually courtesy its adjustable triple-folding clasp with security push-pieces for all three versions.
Availability & Final thoughts:
The tribute has a perfect conclusion – each box of the 2017 Shelby Cobra collection comes to its owner in an elegant box that includes an exclusive 1:43 scale model of the ‘CSX 2299’, The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe that broke all records.
Only 196 references of the Split dial (Ref.10344) chronograph were made to commemorate the Daytona Coupe’s record speed (196 mph). Personally, I feel it’s a must have for every watch collector who’s passionate about motorsport. The watch is priced at INR 585,000 and is available now for bookings (delivery by September 2017). You can reserve yours here.
However, if you like living on the fast lane, or just arriving fashionably on time, the Clifton Cobra 10343 and 10342 (Blue and Silver), also made in limited quantities of 1964 pieces, are already available for purchase! They’re priced at INR 320,000 and you can own yours by clicking here or by visiting the nearest Ethos Summit store.
The Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Daytona is available exclusively in India at Ethos Watch Boutiques.
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