Autodromo Teamed Up With Ford To Produce A Stunning Set Of Chronographs
The latest generation of Ford’s storied GT has made quite in impact in the world of sports motoring, and all in its first two years of production. Following its introduction in 2016, the car won the GTE class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 50 years after the GT40 had its initial success. This is no little feat, and judging by the way the car that achieved it is being celebrated today with Autodromo, you could say that Ford is certainly aware.
Ford’s history in endurance racing began in the 1960, with Henry Ford II’s dreams for the Blue Oval to expand its presence in motorsport. This was the very same year in which Scuderia Ferrari’s five-year Le Mans wining streak would kick off, fueling Ford’s desire to get in on the action. Three years later, Ford even attempted to buy Ferrari as a means of getting into GT racing, but ultimately the deal would fall through on Enzo’s side. This would in many ways trigger development of the legendary GT40.
Various iterations of this endurance racing icon would win Le Mans four times in a row from 1966 to 1969, but it only saw its first spiritual successor in 2004 with the Ford GT. The latest GT is born closer to the spirit of the originals though, and in honor of this next chapter in the histories of the Ford Motor Company and American racing as a whole, Autodromo has partnered with Ford to create two rather special watches; one available to everyone, and another exclusively for owners of the new GT road car.
For those not awaiting delivery of a boundary-pushing, 647hp aerodynamic monster, the New York-based watch company still has your wrist covered. Offered in the Petrolicious Shop in five colorways, the Ford GT Endurance Chronograph celebrates Ford at Le Mans. In comparison to the renderings of the Owner’s Edition shown further down, the five available looks for the Endurance Chronograph have a far more retro aesthetic; more GT40 than GT, if you will.
The case on the Endurance measures a conservative 40mm across, and in true Autodromo fashion, every detail has been poured over. Overall, it’s a clean four-piece design crafted out of stainless steel, and while its appearance and bezel text is reminiscent of older chronographs of the 1960s, the bolder lines and proportions afford the watch a great deal of modernity.
Much like the Prototipo (Autodromo’s first chronograph), the Ford GT Endurance Chronograph makes use of a VK series mecha-quartz movement from Seiko. For those unfamiliar, mecha-quartz is a hybrid movement technology within watchmaking, defined by the integration of both quartz battery-powered timekeeping and mechanical chronograph. Essentially what this means is that you’re getting the timekeeping accuracy and reliability of a quartz movement, paired with the feel and appearance of a mechanical chronograph. It’s also worth noting that they happen to be quite slim in comparison to some similarly priced fully mechanical options, and that their reliability makes them easily wearable watches, be it on a regular or irregular basis.
The designs include homages to the various liveries of Le-Mans-winning GT40s and GTs, but it’s subtle and abstracted enough to keep the connection to the cars tasteful rather than overt.
And then there is the modern GT-inspired Owner’s Edition Chronograph, which will be launching in early 2018. Available only to Ford GT owners, this fully customizable wristwatch will allow its owners have theirs produced to match the bespoke details on their GTs.
A bit bigger than the vintage-leaning Endurance Chronograph, the Owner’s Edition makes use of a 43mm ceramic and stainless steel case, which houses a multi-layer sapphire crystal dial. At its heart you can expect to find a Swiss-made automatic flyback chronograph that’ll allow for the timing of events in rapid succession. Though the likelihood of this function being used for rigorous lap timing is indeed slim, the option to do so gives the watch some commendable capabilities in line with how a serious driving watch should.
All in all, this announcement represents a big step forward for Autodromo. Callaborating with Ford genuinely cements their place within the automotive world, and the results of this project are exciting for what they represent: a big move for the future of Autodromo, and an elegant celebration of continually compounding heritage from Ford.