The Classic Driver Watch Special

Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity by stating that: "Time is what you read on a clock". A scientific fact, perhaps, but over centuries of watchmaking, the world's top manufacturers have also produced some of the most beautiful technological creations to wear on your wrist. The 2007 Classic Driver Watch Special is proud to present 14 of the very latest, and which one you'd be pleased to have under your Christmas tree is very much up to you.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special

Arnold & Son White Ensign Red & Black Limited Edition
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team

Let's start our round-up of watches with the White Ensign Red and Black Limited Edition from Arnold & Son. Just 250 pieces will be available worldwide of the 7-day, hand-wound, 'Manufacture' movement, single barrel chronometer. The back of the stainless steel case is fitted with a sapphire crystal revealing the mechanism, and carries its number in the limited edition series.

The Alinghi team successfully defended the America’s Cup this year. A vital part of the team's equipment were the forged carbon and carbonfibre Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team chronographs. A special characteristic of these is both the 'Flyback' facility and 'Regatta Countdown' – both vital in the complicated, split-second world of ocean racing.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Baume & Mercier Hampton XL Magnum
Bell & Ross BR 02 Instrument Pink Gold

This year, the Hampton, Baume & Mercier's iconic dress watch, is slipping off its tuxedo and donning a tracksuit. The Hampton XL Magnum is made of stainless steel with a sapphire-blasted titanium bezel, solidly secured to the case by four sturdy screws. Its second time-zone indication at 6 o’clock enables the wearer to keep track of the time anywhere in the world, and its rubber strap allows swimming in the pool after dinner.

The latest model from Bell & Ross is the BR02 and for Christmas the French company has launched two gold versions of the highly proficient divers’ watch. There is an all-rose gold watch, and a rose gold and carbon version that is water-resistant to 1,000 metres. At those depths, all watches are susceptible to pressure imbalances so all BRO2s feature a decompression valve opposite the winder.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Chronographe Flyback
Breitling for Bentley Mark VI Complications 29

Some of the most beautiful watches from Blancpain come from the Fifty Fathoms collection. The divers’ watches are available as a Flyback Chronograph, as well as a Flying Tourbillon 'fascination', in white or red gold. The watch shown here is the Flyback Chronograph Fifty Fathoms in 18 carat red gold.

The design of the Breitling for Bentley Mark VI Complications 29 consists of nearly 500 parts. It has a perpetual calendar programmed to display the date, day, week, month, season and phases of the moon, taking account of leap-year variations. The watch is being issued exclusively in rose gold and platinum, in limited editions of 250 and 100 respectively.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Patravi Chronograph Big Date with Diamond Bezel
Chopard Mille Miglia Gran Turismo XL Power Control

'Go your own way and take the time to make the right decision for you. Take time to reflect on what you do – or don’t do'. That's the philosophy of Swiss watchmakers Carl F. Bucherer, and no watch better encapsulates this dictum than its Patravi Chronograph Big Date with Diamond Bezel. Two versions are available: the first has a white watch dial with roman numerals and a python skin wrist strap in shades of beige and brown. The second has a black watch face with index markers and a wrist strap of Louisiana alligator leather.

Watches from Chopard's Mille Miglia collection are perfect timepieces for the true Classic Driver. A special model is the Mille Miglia GT XL Power Control. This can be recognised by its power reserve represented like a fuel gauge – when the needle's in the red, it's time to agitate the watch for its ETA A07.161 automatic movement to 'refill the tank'.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Girard-Perregaux Laureato USA 98
IWC Doppelchronograph Edition Top Gun

Set deep inside the rose gold case of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato USA 98 lies the company's GP033C0 movement. As a sponsor of the BMW ORACLE Racing yacht in this year's America’s Cup the watch, limited to just 150 pieces, carries the team's legend on its dial and features a 10-minute countdown to the start of the race. The sleek lines of the USA 98 yacht are depicted by an engraving on the case back.

IWC has made watches for professional fliers for over 70 years. The latest Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN carries a familiar name, and its 'oversize' 46mm case in high-tech ceramic and titanium offers the soft iron inner case protection against magnetic fields. In spite of the impressive size of the case, the use of modern materials, including the black nylon strap, enables a relatively low weight and comfortable wearing characteristics.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 Chronograph
TagHeuer Carrera Calibre 16 Tachymetre

The AMVOX2 chronograph of Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most innovative watches here. The partnership with Aston Martin developed the 'pusherless' controls that see actuation of the chronograph function by pressing the sapphire glass at the 12 o'clock position and stopping it by similar pressure at 6 o'clock. To avoid inadvertent 'timing', the watch has the horological equivalent of a safety catch.

Few brands are as closely connected with motorsport as TagHeuer. The company's famous Carrera was first produced in 1964 and is named after the legendary Mexican Carrera Panamericana road race. The timepiece has been constantly developed by TagHeuer and the latest versions still carry the spirit of the original Carrera.

The Classic Driver Watch Special The Classic Driver Watch Special
Panerai Ferrari Granturismo GMT Alarm
Zenith Defy Extreme Stealth

The Ferrari Granturismo Engineered by Officine Panerai collection is a series of watches designed by the famous Italian watchmaker, made in Switzerland, and imbued with the ethos of the wonderful GT cars from Maranello. One of the latest models is the Ferrari Granturismo GMT-Alarm. This not only has a second time zone function, but also an audible alarm. With its stainless steel case, square with rounded corners, and a partly polished, partly brushed finish, it's a 45mm watch water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres.

100 metres? The Zenith Defy Xtreme series is a range of watches that are tested to 100Atm, or to a depth of 1,000 metres. Many of the components are even made of ZENITHIUM®, three times as hard as stainless steel, an alloy that combines titanium, for strength, aluminium, for lightness, and niobium because of its 'form memory'. The most desirable models in the range are the Stealth versions. In a limited series of 100 pieces per colour, the Stealth Defy Xtremes are available in either natural white or matt black, both entirely made of titanium.

Text: J. Philip Rathgen
Photos: The brands

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