Editor’s note: The worlds of watches and cars have long been intertwined. Sharing countless similarities in their design and engineering, not to mention many and varied brand partnerships. It’s a match made in mechanical heaven. Here, Felix and Time+Tide friend, Ben, take us through five car and watch pairings with money-making potential.
Whenever long-term friend (and sometime contributor) to T+T Ben Zachariah drops into the office, talk quickly turns to the fact that in every car guy there’s a watch guy waiting to get out (and vice versa). Because although Ben is very much into the horological, he’s even more into the automotive; unsurprising, given that he’s the man behind car investment firm Harris & Silverman. And with watch brands targeting their classic car tie-ins more aggressively than ever before — as well as a certain Daytona hitting the block — our chats about these two intersecting interests have taken more of a speculative edge. With the big names, like Porsche and Rolex, already commanding hefty premiums, we started thinking about the ‘next big things’. So, we set a challenge: Ben would come up with five cars, from the ’70s to today, that he believes have solid investment potential, and I’d come up with five watches to accompany them.
The car — Monteverdi 375L Coupe
Ben: The Monteverdi 375L is a Swiss luxury grand tourer, combining a chassis from Germany, bodywork from Italy, and a large thumping V8 from the US. Like Lamborghini, the Monteverdi brand was born from a falling out between car importer Peter Monteverdi and Enzo Ferrari himself. Its history and rarity makes the 375L one of the coolest and most underappreciated GT cars to have ever existed.
The watch — Bulova Chronomatic Bullhead
Felix: First of all, what a car! To go with it, I’ve picked something that’s very much in the vein of the in-demand sports chronos of the era, such as the Heuers and the Tudor Homeplate, but one that hasn’t received quite the same attention — Bulova bullhead chronograph. While Bulova’s star has fallen in recent decades, in the ’70s it was a respected name, with cutting-edge technology like the Accutron and NASA involvement. They also used the pioneering automatic chronograph movement — the chronomatic calibre 12. But what really stands out about this watch is the outstanding design.
The car — Audi Quattro
Ben: This is the car that really propelled the German marque onto the international stage, due to its rally and hillclimbing successes. The Ur-Quattro is a fabulous example of a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive technology combined with fabulous boxed guards. It is a true icon of the 1980s.
The watch — Speedmaster German Edition
Felix: Ever since the Omegamania auction in 2007, the Speedmaster’s investment-worthy status has been confirmed. But a 60-year-odd production run means countless references, variations and limited editions, meaning that not all Speedies are created equal. And while the earlier models are already commanding hefty premiums, some of the more recent models aren’t too prohibitive yet. Take, for example, this quintessentially ’80s Speedy, with an unusual white dial and yellow gold details and bezel. This reference (DD 145.0022) was made specifically for the German market, so it’s not inconceivable to imagine it on a Quattro driver’s wrist as they gunned it down the autobahn.
The car — Mercedes-Benz AMG C36
Ben: While Mercedes-Benz is celebrating 50 years of partnership with AMG, it’s only been the past 20 years that they’ve been available in Australia. The C36 was a direct competitor to the BMW E36 M3, but represented a slightly more relaxed and refined driving experience for the ’90s business executive.
The watch — A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret
Felix: The watches of A. Lange & Söhne, especially the limited editions and more complicated pieces, are well established on the auction and investment scene, but one model that receives less adulation than its round brethren is the rectangular Cabaret, first introduced in 1997. With its understated square looks it’s perfectly suited to high-end daily drive duty, much like the AMG. For extra boss points, opt for the Cabaret on a (precious) metal bracelet.
The car — Lotus Europa
Ben: In the 2000s, Lotus decided to expand its model line-up, and the result was the Europa. A more approachable Lotus for daily driving, the car suffered from lacklustre reviews and barely lasted a few years of production. But while it might not have been as hardcore as its competitors from BMW and Porsche, it’s still a worthy driver’s car and a good alternative to the Germans.
The watch —Parmigiani Toric Quantième Perpétual Retrograde
Felix: The watches of Parmigiani Fleurier, Michel Parmigiani’s eponymous brand, are very much the connoisseur’s choice. Well regarded, but not so widely known as some of its Swiss contemporaries. But there’s no denying the quality — take this retrograde perpetual calendar, for example.
The car — Lexus LFA
Ben: The first (and thus far only) supercar from the Japanese luxury manufacturer, the level of engineering and technology that went into the LFA was exceptional. A screaming mid-engined V10 put it up against the very best from Italy and Germany, and reportedly helped to cultivate a driving experience that hadn’t been felt since the McLaren F1. Traditionalists may scoff at the thought of a Toyota supercar, but they need only look to values of the 2000GT.
The watch — Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000
Felix: When it comes to watches from the last seven years with strong investment potential, for me there’s one clear choice: the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000, also known as the SD4K. Only produced for a few short years, this cyclop-less, ceramic-bezelled diver is going to be hot property in decades to come.