It’s no surprise that watch enthusiasts are often car enthusiasts. Many of the same conversations happen at a Cars & Coffee event as across the table as a Red Bar Meetup. An appreciation of design, manufacture, and mechanical complexity unite two different worlds of obsession.
It’s for that reason that so many watch and car brand crossovers exist. Ferrari and Hublot both work to appeal to a well-heeled clientele obsessed with carbon fiber and exclusivity. Breitling and Bentley have joined forces to produce what is perhaps the most expensive accessory offered on a production automobile - The Breitling Mulliner Tourbillon. Adding an eye-watering $160,000 to a base price of around $220,000, this option is more than half of the Bentley’s base price.
While these pairings are of course subject to the various collaborations of sales and marketing teams, it leads one to wonder what pairings are just meant to be. Our team sat down to decide which pairingsactually belong together. Presented for your consideration is our first batch of car and watch collaborations that actually make sense.
First launched in 1954 and 1963 respectively, both the Rolex Submariner and the Porsche 911 are multi-generational products. Carefully evolved from model-to-model, their respective creators work to improve the offering without losing the same feel and aesthetic of the predecessor. Enthusiasts argue the minutiae of each generation - lettering color, lug shape, headlight design, and wheels.
997 and G-series 911's via @motomatthew
During the 1970’s as Comex divers were wearing their Submariners to push the limits of SCUBA diving, Porsche was winning the famed endurance race24 Hours of Le Mansseveral times in their 917K while also taking home the IMC rally championship.
One of the reasons this pairing works so well is because even the detractors of each model share similar sentiment -it hasn’t changed, it’s the same product for decades, how can I get excited over such minor evolution?
If you ask us, you don’t want to mess too much with perfection.
Big, brash, and overbuilt, our next dream partnership is designed to make a statement. Unlike the more subdued aesthetic of the Submariner, a Panerai luminor has a lot to say about its capabilities starting with a 44m case size.
The origin of Panerai watchmaking dates back to the 1930’s, where a Panerai was made by converting a Rolex pocket watch case and movement into the luminous Panerai Radiomir. These watches were built at the behest of the Italian Navy for whom legibility was more critical than a small, compact size.
The Mercedes G-Class trucks share a similarfunction over formhistory. G-Class, or G-Wagen, is a shortening ofGeländewagen which means cross-country vehicle. First developed in 1979 by Mercedes-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the G-wagen has seen extensive military service over its illustrious lifespan. In many ways unchanged from inception, the G-wagen is a throwback to a time of handbuilt, body-on-frame SUVs.
But despite a shared history of military service, and a shared commitment to no-compromise performance, you are likely to find a modern Panerai and G-wagen living a more comfortable life. Somewhat anachronistically, these tributes to extreme performance of a past-era live on with glossy paint, leather straps, low-profile tires, and precious metal construction.
There are some key similarities in our next pair, and really it has little to do with how they leave their respective factories. Out of the box (or off the showroom floor) both are extremely capable.
A heavily modified Jeep Wrangler Unlimited crossing the Rubicon Trail in 2019.
Photo by author, Jeep credit@motomatthew
It’s a shame that so many high-end dive watches, and SUVs for that matter, seldom see actual hard use. It is no wonder then that the fewer-frills options are the ones that see real time underwater or on the trails. The rugged utilitarian interior of a Jeep Wrangler feels in many ways cut from the same cloth as a Seiko SKX. Minimal case finishing, no luxury amenities, just pure, well-executed function.
But what we really think makes these two an ultimate pair is how frequently they are modified by their owners. A quick pass through instagram will show you that there is nary a photo of either exactly as it was originally sold. Modified for both style and a particular use, the Seiko SKX and Jeep Wranglers both end up a reflection of their owner.
Seiko SKX credit@katshoulders
Do you own one of these watches or cars? Let us know how we did! Hit us up in the comments with your ideal car and watch pairings and we’ll feature them in an upcoming article.