Imagine if Jaguar were to dust off the design drawings for the “most beautiful car ever built”, the E-Type, today. They could use all the manufacturing technology and materials available but make the cars to the exact specs of the 1963 originals. Now imagine if you were lucky (and rich) enough to own one. Which watch would you wear? How about one built with input from Jaguar’s design chief, Ian Callum, and that incorporates elements, both inspirational, and material, from the very car you own? Well, you could — it’s the bespoke E-Type Lightweight for Jaguar timepiece by Bremont.
Earlier this year, we reviewed the watches that Bremont built with Boeing and deemed it a collaboration done right. Well, the boys from Henley-on-Thames have done it again, this time with another iconic partner, but one from their own side of the pond. Jaguar decided to complete the 18-car design run of the Lightweight E-Type, that legendary racing car from 1963. Only 12 have been built, and Jaguar now plans to finish the line with the remaining six, with a new watch from Bremont accompanying each. The cars and watches will be introduced at Pebble Beach this week.
When they set out on this project, Callum, the man at Jag in charge of it, thought that the perfect complement to the cars would be bespoke watches. Jaguar has worked with Bremont before for dash clocks in its concept C-X75 hyper car in 2010, so there was a precedent. But this time, the collaboration is a bit more literal. The white gold center band of the watch incorporates aluminum directly from the construction of the new cars. The proprietary BWC/01 movement’s winding rotor is a dead ringer for the wooden-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel of the Lightweight. The Jaguar-signed crown is knurled to look like a Dunlop tread. And the dial mimics the tachometer of the car, with a partial railroad minute track and red rpm band. Each of the six bespoke watches will have the chassis number of its corresponding car printed on the dial at 6:00. A rally-style leather strap completes the overall motoring vibe.
There are a lot of automotive watches that take inspiration from car gauges. It’s a natural crossover, and let’s face it, the target market for luxury watches is often the same one for luxury cars — and both often have a penchant for analog instrumentation. There was a lot of potential for a collaboration like this one to go wrong and wind up a cheesy, overdone mashup. But Bremont’s usual understatement, with a dash of Callum’s input, save this one from that fate. The Jaguar co-branding is subtle and the dashboard cues are so perfectly matched, it becomes obvious why the old Jags and Healeys got their gauges from watch companies like Smiths and Jaeger back in the day.
Since there will only be six of these Lightweight E-Type watches built, and the owners of the cars themselves get right of first refusal, to nitpick the watches is largely a rhetorical exercise for us econo-box-driving plebes. But even if we were one of the lucky few driving a new E-Type out of Coventry, we wouldn’t find much to gripe about. The watches get it right, outdoing even a few Bremont limited editions past, and raising hope for future serially produced collaborations with Jaguar. These Bremonts are almost as integral to the cars as the key or the owner’s manual. But of course, if your car happens to be in the shop (which hopefully won’t happen as frequently as the old E-Types), you can still wear a piece of it on your wrist. All six of you lucky bastards.