Paint it black Pick up any men’s magazine these days and you will find it stuffed to the gills with things you can buy and instantly regret. Don’t believe me? Go and look around in the back of your wardrobe, and no, you won’t find Aslan there. Snowboards, wetsuits, pocket projectors and all the whiz bang whirligigs you can ever imagine are sure to be gathering dust, all thanks to a glowing review or two. Though it may lead to drastically fewer pages, men’s magazines would do their readers a service in restricting themselves to cars and watches: the two things never likely to disappoint, or, even better, watches inspired by cars so you can have the best of both worlds. Watch and car collaborations aren’t always a match made in heaven, and a couple of Italian supercar manufacturers seem to have a curious inability to make non-car branding and products that are not tacky or garish. The gold standard though is Breitling for Bentley, which marries the technical, high-performance bravado of the former with the sporty luxury of the latter. The Breitling for Bentley Barnato 42 Midnight Carbon (below left) is the latest addition to the Barnato line, and inspired by Bentley’s Le Mans heritage. Coming in all black steel with a black rubber strap, this is as sporty as watches get, with a 42mm case that houses a dial design that wouldn’t look out of place on a Bentley dashboard. Features-wise this Barnato has a COSC certified chronometer with 60-second, 30-minute and 12-hour sub dials. Limited to 1,000 pieces, the Breitling for Bentley Barnato 42 Midnight Carbon is priced at HK$77,000.
Ball Watch has eschewed British luxury in favour of German technical mastery in its association with BMW. The Ball BMW watch collection takes its design cues from BMW cars, where proportion and ergonomics take precedent, and this has filtered through to watches such as the Ball BMW Power Reserve (above right). Priced at a bargain HK$36,500, the watch comes in black steel with a strap of either leather, steel or rubber. This watch has a 42mm case and also features a COSC certified chronometer, but the dial is dominated by the power-reserve indicator. The BMW logo also makes an appearance on the dial but is thankfully and tactfully small. The technical merits of the watch are impressive but the real kicker, and one presumes with significant input from BMW, is the 12 H3 gas-filled micro tubes dotted around the dial that make the watch readable even in total darkness.
Lastly, we have a watch that ostensibly has been created by a car company. Sort of. Porsche Design is a spin-off label from the carmaker’s celebrated in-house design team and dabbles in fashion as well as watches. The standout timepiece from this year’s collection is the P6510 Black Chronograph (below). Another watch in all black, it is a tribute to Porsche’s first stab at watchmaking – the all-black Chronograph I from 1972, which caused quite a stir at the time as it was the first all-black watch. Slightly larger in size than the original, the P6510 features a 44mm case in black steel with PVD coating. Features include three chronograph subcounters and tachymeter scale on the outer rim. Power reserve is a healthy 48 hours and the watch comes with a satisfyingly chunky black steel bracelet. The Porsche Design P6510 Black Chronograph is priced at HK$50,000 and, unsurprisingly, is limited to 911 numbered pieces.