Two things that go together are classy vehicles and classy timepieces; where you find one, another often follows.
On 30 June, motorcycle giant Ducati announced its partnership with watchmaker Tudor. The Fastrider Chronograph is the first product of their relationship. The 42mm watch's colours are in Ducati's trademark red-and-black, and features self-winding chronograph movement with a 46-hour power reserve; chronograph pushers inspired by engine pistons; 30-minute, 12-hour and small-seconds sub-dials; and a tachymetric scale engraved on the stainless steel bezel.
Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti have been bedfellows since their first partnership watch in 2006, the Bugatti 370, and since that time they have produced several exquisite watch-car pairings. The 2010 Super Sport goes with the Bugatti car of the same name, and it's just breathtaking. With a tear-drop-shaped case, the watch features a two-plane movement, with the movement on display from the face directly behind the dial, rather than the case-back. The manual movement has a 10-day power reserve, and the 18-carat white-gold case is finished with six non-reflective sapphire crystals. It was limited to just 30 pieces, though, so good luck finding one...
The Jaeger-LeCoultre-Aston Martin partnership made headlines in the world of haute horlogerie with the AMVOX2 DBS Transponder, a James Bond-style watch that allowed its wearer to unlock their Aston Martin by pressing on the crystal. The AMVOX5 World Chronograph doesn't have that capability, but it's still a classy thing, housed in a case of titanium or rose gold and ceramic. The automatic movement has a 65-hour power reserve, and functions include world time, movement indicator, and hour and 30-minute counters.
Last year, Ferrari broke off a long-term relationship with Panerai to hook up with Cabestan, and the first product of their relationship will be the Scuderia Ferrari One, limited to 60 pieces and available only to Ferrari customers. The design is based on Cabestan's deeply unusual Winch Tourbillon Vertical watch, which features a vertical tourbillion escapement wheel and an external winch, which ended up causing problems, so hopefully the Scuderia Ferrari One will feature a few changes beyond being run through a Ferrari makeover.
Blancpain L-evolution Super Trofeo Flyback Chronograph
As a partner to Lamborghini in the Super Trofeo, Blancpain last year released the L-evolution Super Trofeo Flyback Chronograph, a stylish timepiece constructed of polished titanium with a black carbon fibre dial and sapphire crystal and case-back. The flyback movement has a 40-hour power reserve, and the luminous hands, numerals and hour markers are inspired by the racetrack — not to mention the shield-shaped sub-dial recalling the Lamborghini logo.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix Chronograph
With its splashes of colour against a black background and a carbon case forged to look like it's been in a crash or two, the most recent Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix Chronograph doesn't commemorate a single car brand, but racing itself. It has a self-winding movement, and features date and small-seconds sub-dials, with a tachymetre engraved on the inner bezel.
Franck Muller's Conquistador Grand Prix Tourbillon is a bit in-your-face. For a start, it's enormous at 48x63mm; and secondly, those colours are spectacular. The rose-gold version is a bit less bright, but nevertheless it's certainly the showiest watch in this round-up. Created for the Singapore Formula One last year, the timepiece features all-but-useless compass points and a seconds counter over the cut-out in the dial that lets you see into the fascinating movement beneath.
Tag Heuer has had a long-standing relationship with McLaren, having produced many complementary watches and cars. The MP4-12C Chronograph is a new direction for the watchmaker, and it's certainly quite recognisable as a partner to the McLaren MP4-12C. Like the car, it is coloured in orange, black and white (although the orange is relegated firmly to highlights only), and the case is titanium with a carbon fibre dial. A cut-out section in the dial houses the big date and sub-dials, and allows the wearer to view the movement.
Chopard has been the sponsor of the Brescia to Rome Mille Miglia race since 1988, and the 2011GT XL Chrono is its most recent timepiece in the Mille Miglia collection. Everything about it reminds the wearer of racing, from the tachymetre on the bezel to the tyre-tread natural rubber strap to the sub-dials designed to look like the indicators on a car's dash. Available in a limited run of steel or rose gold, the watch also features 30-minute and 12-hour counters, small seconds and a date display.