Following the email from HYT that they wanted to make a bespoke watch for me to wear on the Gumball 3000, I had a telephone conversation with them about some initial ideas. I explained the philosophy behind The Peaked Lapel and, specifically, The Road to Mykonos. What was important to me was that the piece stayed true to my beliefs: simplicity over unnecessary complication; and that albeit the watch would require some ‘motoring inspired’ cues, they needed to be subtle. This was a piece that needed to look just at home whilst I was driving during the day as in the evening at a VIP dinner function.
I had already highlighted to them other brands that had embarked on Gumball 3000 inspired pieces and how, in my view, they had unsuccessfully amalgamated the brands. Much like (again, my view), the collaborations between, for example, Hublot and Ferrari; the colour schemes were just too obvious and the logos too apparent. Both are, of course, incredible brands in their own right but my opinion was that placing the two together had the unfortunate effect of diminishing the final product. I might add that one exception to this is the Hublot LaFerrari, which is an incredible piece of engineering, as you can see here.
I explained my thoughts as follows:
Firstly, it was key to have the The Peaked Lapel‘s logo incorporated onto the dial. Given its colour scheme, I believed the most suitable dial material would be HYT’s beautiful pale gold, which would provide the required contrast given the black edging around the logo.
Secondly, as explained above, I thought it important for the piece to take inspiration from ‘racing heritage’ but to ensure it was not too obvious in doing so. Having been fortunate to drive and own various types of sports cars, I used the example of a Ferrari engine bay and, in particular, the red paint on the camshaft covers. I therefore suggested that the bellows which contain the liquid pushed through the capillary system might be coloured red. This was not something HYT had done before and they needed to check whether this was actually possible, given the delicacy of these components. I also asked whether it was possible to widen the aperture around the bellows so that there was a greater view into the workings of the watch, again like the glass cover of an engine bay. Again, they needed to check with their engineers, but did not think it a problem.
The next suggestion I made was that the colour scheme of the watch could be used to accentuate the central dial; much like the central rev counter in many sports cars such as Ferrari or Porsche.
They then proposed something ingenious; a technique that they had only recently mastered and was not used on any of their current models. This was to engrave the rally destinations actually inside the sapphire crystal on the side of the dial. Not on the front, or the back, but actually inside it. I had no idea this was possible but, as I understand it, this is a technique used by De Beers to engrave their diamonds to ensure their provenance. I immediately saw the appeal to this and the depth it would bring to an already three-dimensional timepiece. I told them I loved that idea!
The last point of discussion was the case back. I suggested it might be a nice touch to have my signature engraved into the sapphire crystal; to add something personal.
So, there it was; the first step on the journey to HYT making me my very own ‘pièce unique‘. Ultimately, I wanted it to look like a watch belonging in the world of haute horology; maintaining elegance but, at the same time, using various design elements to make it truly individual. I absolutely loved the ideas we had exchanged and firmly believed, together, we would realise my ambition!