Performance cars and watches go together like cigars and whisky but, unlike that pairing, have been tainted by the whiff of ‘branding’ recently as car makers got in on the act. Think less Steve McQueen’s Tag Heuer Monaco and more blinged-up Bentley-badged Breitling the size of an alloy wheel.
The new Ford GT Endurance Chronograph from Autodromo gets a pass, however. Largely because Autodromo’s founder, Bradley Price, is a true petrolhead who Gentleman races an Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider at the weekend, features a Lancia D50 and 037 in his ad campaigns and I believe has a few more quirky Italian steeds stashed in his garage.
Price is an industrial designer who takes inspiration from classic GT and competition cars of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s in order to design and produce the sort of watches that appeal to anyone with a love of classic metal (I’m talking Group B rather than AC/DC here). His designs, which TVG has covered in the past, perfectly straddle the line between eye-catchingly quirky and discreet and will get you a respectful, knowing nod when its spotted on your wrist by the right person.
The second reason Price gets a pass is that I am wearing one of his early designs on my wrist right now. I chose it because the dial almost perfectly matched the rev counter on my 1968 Alfa Romeo Duetto. Damn, I miss that car.
Anyway, back to the GT Endurance Chronograph, which is an officially licensed Ford product, and comes in five colourways inspired by both the GT40 and its current descendant. The design itself is a spot-on combination of cues from both eras of Ford Le Mans winners and boasts four-part stainless steel construction with no push-fit or twist-on parts; everything screws together with precision, helping it achieve a 5 ATM rating. A Seiko hybrid meca-quartz chronograph movement provides a 1/5 second sweep second hand with true mechanical reset. At 40mm diameter the watch will look weighty rather than way too much on your wrist and the US$695 price point makes it a steal.
Check out this and Price’s other designs at http://www.autodromo.com/