Today's market is flooded with ridiculously overpriced Swiss watches that somehow get even more expensive once a Ferrari logo gets printed on their dial. Demand seems to be high for that kind of stuff for sure, and that's all well as long as watchmakers like offer tons of style and quality at a much more reasonable price for the rest of us.
Yet if you feel more adventurous, Ebay is always there too to consume a noticeable portion of your time (and money).
People who have the means but don't want to think about it too much usually , even without the intention of following Paul Newman's footsteps. The Daytona's status is backed by its history, but when it comes to the question of what's the best vintage chronograph, it loses out to the every time. Heuer was and while during the filming of Le Mans, the Monza was truly built for Niki Lauda's 1975 F1 championship. And if for some crazy reason, the Monza just doesn't feel right on your wrist, there's always the option of getting instead for an equally period correct tool watch experience.
Mind you, the perfect buy for any automotive enthusiasts . The legendary Casio F-91W is the choice of professional terrorists for a reason. It's more accurate than any mechanical watch and comes with a stopwatch and illumination, water resistance and a durable resin case that's pretty much impossible to destroy even given the most extreme wrenching action. It's sub-10 dollar retail price will also let you spend more on your car and gas, and that's the most one can expect from a real car nut's trusty wristwatch.
But who am I kidding? Let's have a look at the five coolest car watches you've never heard of:
The Seiko 7A28-7140 'Bridgestone Motorsport'
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, built in Japan.
Basically, all versions of Seiko's 7A28-powered chronographs are great watches to own, but the ultra-rare 7140 is one of the highlights of the series made famous by Alien 2. The 7A28 was the world's first analogue display quartz chronograph movement, and for Bridgestone, Seiko created a run of 240 black PVD-coated watches in 1985, using their 'Yachttimer' case with the enlarged pushers.
Exposed to sunlight, some of these watches developed yellow sub-registers instead of their factory reds. Find one of those, and give yourself a hug.
The Chrysler France Valjoux chronograph
Who made this remains a mystery. Maybe , maybe , maybe somebody else. But it's got for sure.
Here's a piece of Chrysler Europe that's definitely worth more than a Talbot Tagora! This beautiful Chrysler France-branded chronograph was presumably commissioned in small numbers for company executives or the dealer network in the sixties. It packs a Swiss Valjoux 7733, and there's just no way of going wrong with such machinery under the hood.
With its 36mm case, it's on the vintage side for sure, but the massive crown and the two pushers make it wear larger on the wrist. Start the stopwatch, and get hooked on that mechanical feeling forever.
Buler's quarz chronograph for BMW Motorsport
1979 in very in right now.
Switzerland's Buler made its name by producing a whole range cheap, resin-bodied (and disposable) quartz watches, only to team up with BMW in the late seventies for something better:
There are two versions of Buler's fancy, PVD-treated sports watch. The grey is the rarer, but both have 42mm wide "horseshoe" cases and an LCD display integrated into their analogue dials. Powered by a Tissot's caliber 2045, the Buler's functions include alarm with chime signal , chronograph with lap time , two time zones and day/date.
It's not for everyone. It's for the geeks.
Renault's '60s diver
Unless you drive an Amphicar full of holes into a lake, a diver's watch doesn't really qualify as a car watch. But who cares when it comes with such a cool dial?
Renault only used this logo from 1959 to 1972, and this watch could have been made by literally anybody who was in the dive watch business in the sixties. That means hundreds of brands, many of which sourced their movements from established Swiss manufacturers like ETA.
I wish my own sixties diver had a classic Renault logo on its dial. It would make me think of Gordinis all the time!
The Fortis made to celebrate a V6
This is weird one.
In 1994, there was a new Opel Omega in town, and you could get it with GM's X30XE V6, a 3 liter engine producing a modest 208 horsepower. This luxurious engine also made it into the Saab 9000 (with Saab's own management software) and a bunch of Saturns later on, but none of those cars got a special edition watch to commemorate that.
Fortis put an automatic movement in this watch with a display caseback and a water resistance rating of 5ATM. Instead of having hands, its dial uses two rotating discs with the tachometer and the speedo to show the time, with symbols for the airbag, the traction control, the seat belts and the ABS marking 12,3,6 and 9.
Power, safety, style. GM Europe.