As part of their continued partnership with Shelby Cobra and in celebration of the 25th anniversary of McCall’s Annual Motorworks Revival, Baume & Mercier are releasing four limited edition “Legendary Driver” chronograph watches to honor four drivers who sat behind the wheel of the furiously powered Shelby Cobra CSX1228 over fifty years ago. An extension of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra watches we covered here, these pieces are designed with specific drivers’ heritages in mind and deliver all of the super-charged aesthetics that we’ve seen so far from this team-up. Let’s take a moment to see what’s different this time around.
The McCall’s Annual Motorworks Revival serves to kick off the Monterey Car Week which sees thousands of motor enthusiasts gather every year for vintage automobile auctions and racing at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway. So what makes these models unique? Each of these four Baume & Mercier Legendary Driver Capeland Shelby Cobra watches feature a bold 44mm case size and there are two different material variances in either stainless steel or ADLC-steel for a smokier, sleeker finish. Still present under the sapphire crystal, of course, is the tachymeter around the dial, and naturally there is the cobra emblem forged directly into the seconds hand’s counterweight to remind you it means business. The small-seconds subdial on each of these pieces has been outfitted with a number representative of drivers of the Shelby Cobra CSX2118: No. 15 (Dan Gurney), No. 50 (Ken Miles), No. 97 (Dave MacDonald), and No. 96 (Allen Grant), respectively. In addition to the number, each of the four pieces have been dressed in similar aesthetics of their winning cars.
No. 15 features a hot-yellow take on the tachymeter dial with a yellow-lined black alligator-leather strap and even the seconds hand is yellow for this model. Also, like the No. 15, the No. 50 receives the ADLC-steel treatment that still retains a sporty edge. No. 97 also features a yellow cobra seconds hand and pairs the watch with a slick black rubber strap. No. 97 and 96 feature the stainless steel casings with No. 96 getting the loudest of the straps, a vibrant yellow alligator leather strap with black stitching and lining. A little something for everyone’s tastes with these models.
I really wanted to put on this watch after viewing it as it would have flawlessly looked the part in my wrist, driving the sunset-lit California coast’s HWY 101. Surprisingly, the larger watch felt better in my dainty wrists and the clasp was quite comfortable, which made me more excited about the Burt Munro Tribute piece since it would feel more or less the same. Despite its slightly bigger lug dimensions, clasp, and pushers, it was relatively easy to slip beneath my riding gloves when gearing up, making me believe the Tribute bit could make it into the daily watch spinning. I hear the chatter of watch fans… “a limited version mechanical watch in the daily rotation?” Speaking of limited variations, this entire weekend was filled with vintage, rare, and custom bikes, which were built in household garages, custom workshops, and collectors’ warehouses. Among the many names repeated over the duration of the event could be RSD, Roland Sands Designs. Roland Sands is motorcycling’s equal to George Bamford in the watch world, except badass and winning an AMA national tournament. His drag race winning system of the weekend are the “RSD Wasp,” that a Yamaha MT-09/FZ-09 franken-street tracker. This bicycle build would be something equal to carrying a Rolex 116610 Submariner Case and squeezing in the newer Calibre 3255, slapping some DLC on the instance, screwing in an exhibition caseback, coating the palms in yellow gold, and pulling off the dial an Air-King, ended off by stringing it on a hand stitched, custom perforated, humanely treated, organically tanned young calfskin strap.
The movement featured here is the durable Valjoux 7753 that offers a sufficient 48-hour power reserve. The 7753 is visible through the case back via another sapphire crystal and beats at 28,800vph. This is the same movement as was housed in the previous Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition watches, and while the 7753 may not be the prettiest of movements, you aren’t necessarily buying this watch for the case-back. You’re buying this watch for the sporty design and racing legacy it is intended to honor.
Each of the four Baume & Mercier Legendary Driver Capeland Shelby Cobra watches is restricted to a 15-piece run and will be available exclusively in North America at the Feldmar Watch Company in Los Angeles, CA, and Ca D’Oro in Las Vegas, NV, beginning in October 2016. Pricing is $4,850. baume-et-mercier.com