Car watches: it’s drive time

When the automobile world joins forces with watchmaking, dials become dashboards and chequered flags adorn hands. Inspired by mechanical systems that move like clockwork and driven by outstanding performance, these two fields have been combining their know-how for more than half a century. Today we’re giving four top teams the green flag: Yema, Reservoir, Depancel and B.R.M chronographs. Bringing vintage inspiration and racing-inspired designs, French watchmakers are firing on all cylinders.

Vintage timepieces in pole position

Chronographs have been worn by motorsport heroes on iconic racing circuits since the 1960s and vintage dashboard dials have been inspiring watchmakers ever since.

That’s certainly true for Yema, with its Rallygraf Meca-Quartz Reverse Panda. A quartz movement powers this hybrid model, while the chronograph’s function is controlled by a mechanical module.

The hands and hour markers are coated with a layer of Super-LumiNova BGW9 for perfect readability in the dark. Finally, an aluminum bezel in a matte finish gives the timepiece a retro look that matches the elegant steel or chic grained leather bracelet.

Reservoir retraces the epic journey of an iconic vehicle with the Longbridge collection. Bringing a contemporary edge to tradition, this brand boldly combines styles while capturing the colours and charisma of unforgettable race cars.

Lady Longbridge, the most feminine watch in the collection, features a beige dial adorned with a tourmaline and sapphire cabochon, recalling the engine light and full-beam indicators on vintage dials. This sporty-urban aesthetic is a great fit for any wrist, and combines steel and contrasting dials reminiscent of the iconic single-seater counters.

Streamlined racing watches

Sporty, reliable and elegant car watches are loved by all sports enthusiasts who have been bitten by the racing bug.

Depancel goes into high gear with its legendary Series-R featuring the F-Back chronograph. With its bevelled case that resembles a radiator, dial stamped with a grille design, three-colour racing stripe, timer and perforated leather racing strap, every detail has been designed to make this collection an icon of the road.

The chronograph’s transparent caseback reveals the automatic mechanical movement and the corrosion-proof surgical steel case adds the finishing touches to the bodywork of this indestructible accessory.

For B.R.M chronographs, we turn a spotlight on the 46 mm automatic watch reputed to be “the lightest in the world”: the RG-46.

This 47-gram, three-hand timepiece is a treasure trove of innovations. It is made in France and fitted with an in-house movement suspended on three semi-recumbent shock absorbers and three vertical cylinders. This unique technology means that the chronograph easily resists shocks and vibrations. A layer of sapphire crystal one millimeter thick reveals the workings of its patented movement: a great way to admire what it has under the bonnet.

Inspired by the workings and aesthetics of racing cars, watchmaking companies are putting innovation and inventiveness in the driving seat. French master watchmakers are designing timepieces spawned by the world of automobiles and their exceptional know-how never ceases to amaze. Seatbelts on, it’s race time.