Ask The Oracle: Automotive Themed Watches - Cool Or Uncool? - Oracle Time
Editors Pick Watches

Ask The Oracle: Automotive Themed Watches – Cool Or Uncool?

Hublot Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph

Hublot Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph PEEK Version ($137,000)

I have my eye on a watch made in partnership with a car company. Is this acceptable in watch circles or seen as a bit uncool?

The simplest rule in watch collecting is that if you like a timepiece, buy it. I’m not here to tell you your own opinions of a watch are wrong. That said I’m not here to validate them either. I’m certainly not going to tell you that a basic automotive tie-in with nothing more than a dial change is about as classy as drinking Ferrari-brand coffee out of a Bugatti mug while conference calling on your Lamborghini phone. It’s just not my place.

Hublot LaFerrari

Hublot MP-05 “LaFerrari” (CHF 300,000)

I will, however, advise you to look closely at the watch in question. Other than the marque’s badge on the dial, is there anything actually unique about it? Most of the time I think you’ll find there isn’t, that rarely is it anything other than a novelty item with an inflated price, ego and sense of accomplishment. There are of course some exceptions. Watches like Hublot’s LaFerrari and Parmigiani’s Bugatti Super Sport take design elements from the cars they’re named after and are both technically impressive. But hey, if all you want is the horological equivalent of a Maybach backpack, then I’m certainly not going to tell you not to buy it. I’ll silently judge you instead.

2011's Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport

2011’s Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport ($259,000)

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Super Sport Sapphire

2016’s Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Super Sport Sapphire (897,300 SGD)

Jargon Buster: Movements

The movement – referred to in terms of specific models as the calibre – is simply the mechanical insides of a watch. It’s the collection of wheels, springs and pinions that actually allow the watch to function and is therefore the most important part of what makes a watch a timepiece. There are countless different movements out there but they can be split into three main categories: automatic, which winds the movement as you wear it; and manual wind, which needs to be regularly wound via the crown and quartz and is battery powered. There’s also kinetic, a combination of automatic and quartz, but very, very few brands actually use it. Everything else – perpetual calendars, tourbillons, world timers – come under one of these types, usually automatic, sometimes manual, rarely quartz. We don’t like to talk about quartz.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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