New York, N.Y. - Autodromo, the New York-based watch and accessories company inspired by the golden age of motoring, is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Ford Motor Company to create watches for the Ford GT, the fastest production car ever to wear the Blue Oval.
This official collaboration with Ford Motor Company will produce two watches: a customizable high-end piece exclusively for owners of the Ford GT, and a second design celebrating the endurance racing heritage of the Ford GT, available to all Ford Performance enthusiasts in time for the Holiday season. Autodromo’s Ford GT Endurance Chronograph, available now for pre-order, is a 1960s-inspired racing watch which celebrates the long and continuing story of Ford at Le Mans. It dominated the iconic 24-hour race from 1966 to 1969. Then in 2016, exactly 50 years after Ford’s maiden victory, Ford repeated the feat at its first attempt, winning the GT class with the latest Ford GT racing car.
The Owner’s Edition Chronograph, slated to launch in early 2018, can be customized to match each owner’s car and will have a serial number matching the car’s chassis number. The watch will be available through a private configurator website. The Ford GT concierge team will be on-hand to help customers navigate the specification and production process of both their car and their watch. The watch will have a specification to equal the car’s, featuring a sophisticated Swiss Made flyback chronograph movement, multi-layered sapphire crystal dial, and ceramic case.
THE BACK STORY
Autodromo’s status as a cult independent brand based in the United States led to it being suggested for this collaboration by the design team behind the GT, led by Ford’s then North American Design Director Christopher Svensson. As long-time owners and collectors of Autodromo watches, the Ford GT design team felt that Autodromo’s creator Bradley Price was ideally qualified to understand and express the spirit of their car, instead of a producing a watered down marketing exercise.
“When I first met Bradley Price, it was obvious he is a passionate designer and an automotive junkie. He reminded me of myself and is a great match for the Ford GT Design Team,” says Svensson. “His knowledge of Ford’s racing history is outstanding and it became clear he is the right person to create these unique timepieces.”
Autodromo is known to cognoscenti as a brand driven by a genuine gasoline-in-the-veins passion for the automobile. When Price sat down to design the watches, he began with a clean sheet of paper and met with the design team, as well as VP of product development Raj Nair and Henry Ford III in Dearborn to see the full sized mockups of the car for inspiration.
“When our discussions with Ford began, it was clear that Raj Nair, Henry Ford, and Chris Svensson all wanted to do something extraordinary, something bespoke, and that it would be the greatest challenge and honor of my design career so far to create not one, but two watches that could express the feeling, technology, and history of this amazing car,” says Price.
THE DESIGN STORY
The GT Owner’s Edition Watch takes its inspiration from the avant-garde design language and material palette of the new Ford GT. Direct references to the Ford GT are found in every detail of the watch. The crown is a meticulous miniaturization of the scroll wheel selectors on the GT steering wheel. The pushers that operate the flyback chronograph are finely slotted, in reference to the paddle shifters of the GT. The dynamic forms of the watch’s 43mm diameter matte ceramic case echo the GT’s carbon fiber front splitter. In addition, the honeycomb dial pattern is a miniaturized version of the intricate bosses in the aluminum castings of the car’s chassis.
For the dial and hands, Ford challenged Autodromo to take the GT’s digital instrumentation and translate it into an analog timepiece. Over months of work, Price’s design evolved into a solution involving a sapphire dial layer carrying all the graphic elements, which appear to float over the textured “honeycomb” dial. The sapphire crystal hour and minute hands are set above both.
“The effect I wanted was of a pixelated 3D image on a computer screen, in reference to the digital instrument panel of the car,” says Price. “There had to be a depth to the dial and hand concept, both implied and real, and it had to be instantly readable. There were no design boundaries, but this had to remain a functional racer’s watch. We experimented with sapphire discs for the hands, for example, but legibility was compromised.”
Svensson adds, “Working closely with Bradley, we experimented to achieve a level of innovation in the watch which reflects the GT, but we balanced this with the desire to create something that would be usable and stand the test of time. The resulting timepiece strikes a balance of cutting-edge and familiarity, and echoes the car we created.”
The Ford GT Owner’s Edition will be available for order in Spring 2018.
The Ford GT Endurance Chronograph is based on the form language established by the Owner’s Edition, but is smaller in scale, and has a more vintage-inspired look and feel compared to the ultra-modern Owner’s Edition.
“The intent with the two watches is to essentially tell the story of one watch that has evolved over time just as the car has evolved over time,” says Price. “So in a way we started with the watch from today, and ‘back-dated’ it to what it may have looked like in the past.” There are references to 1960s racing chronographs but of contemporary details abound. The watch is powered by the reliable Seiko VK series mecha-quartz watch popularized by Autodromo’s cult Prototipo chronograph, and is priced within reach of a large audience of Ford GT and Ford Racing devotees.
The 40mm case is in stainless steel and features five colorways.
- 1966 Heritage paint scheme in Black and Silver inspired by the first Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 and today’s 2016 Heritage GT.
- The 1967 Heritage paint scheme in Red and White, inspired by the second Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 and the 2017 Heritage GT just launched this summer.
- A 2016 Le Mans-winning paint scheme in a bold red-white-and blue with the winning car number 68 at the center.
- A classic blue and white Ford racing stripe color scheme sure to appeal to many Ford racing fans.
- Le Mans Blue dial with red and white hands, the colors of both the French and American flags, celebrating the Franco-American history of Ford at Le Mans.
Priced at $695, the GT Endurance Chronograph is available now for pre-order at autodromo.com and will ship in mid December.
Says Svensson, “The watches Bradley has created reflect the detailed design of the car. His attention to detail and designer’s understanding of the key visual elements of the Ford GT have created something spectacular. We are proud of this collaboration and of the watches we’ll bring to our customers.”
Endurance Chronograph Specifications
- Seiko VK Series mecha-quartz movement
- Sapphire crystal
- 4-part stainless steel case construction
- Case diameter 40mm
- Strap width 20m
- Priced at $695
- Available now for Pre-order
Owner’s Edition Chronograph Specifications
- Swiss Made Automatic Flyback Chronograph movement
- Ceramic and stainless steel case construction
- Case diameter 43mm
- Custom molded Rubber strap
- Sapphire Crystal dial and hand construction
- Highly customizable color palette to individually match customer cars
- Serialized to match every customer vehicle
- Pricing not yet available