In attempting to justify the price of entry to the Gumball 3000, I had to try something, but the question was what. Reading through the brochure I had noticed that, whilst each team car is covered in branded livery, including the rally’s logo and its main sponsors, there are also two spaces for individual backers. That got me thinking, could I find companies who would like to support my team…?
If you’re reading this then the chances are you will have had a look around the rest of The Peaked Lapel’s website. You will have seen the innumerable watch reviews, for example, likely reaching the conclusion I am a horological nutcase. And you would be right. I love them. Over the years my collection has grown, contracted and grown again as my tastes have changed. Indeed some of them have been reviewed for this site.
Of all the watches I own, the one that has captured the most imagination, both mine and those I have met whilst wearing it, is the HYT Skull 51mm Green Eye. Firstly, it’s the size of a small planet and has the associated gravitational pull. Secondly, it’s made by a watch manufacturer who only makes around 400 watches a year, which means for the vast majority of people, even if they are into the subject, it is unlikely they will have heard of the brand at all.
This was the second watch I purchased from Pietro Tomajer, co-founder of The Limited Edition, an online watch retailer specialising in independent watch brands. Having struck a friendship with him, we began to exchange ideas about watches and, on one occasion, he asked if I would like to meet Gregory Dourde (CEO) and Rob Bailey (Sales Director) of HYT for lunch. I told him I would be delighted and thanked him for the kind invitation.
Arriving at Hush restaurant, not far from Regent Street, both Gregory and Rob were instantly engaging. Over seafood linguini I asked them about their brand, the inspiration behind the idea of using liquid (traditionally a watch’s nemesis) to tell the time and, specifically, the thought process leading to the creation of my HYT Skull. Their passion was infectious and, having sold their first watch in 2012, I could genuinely feel they believed in their project. I could also identify with them as a someone who had started their own business and watched it grow through sheer determination and endeavour.
As I was sat there, my brain began working overtime; there was clear synergy here. The glamorous rally with beautiful cars, all with an engine as their beating heart. The high-end, avant-garde Swiss watch manufacturer whose strap line is ‘the hydromechanical horologists’. I believed it could be something special and an amazing collaboration, so I decided to mention the rally and asked whether it was something they would be interested in exploring. Illustrating their openness and imagination, they instantly made the connection I did and asked me to send them some more information and how I thought the relationship would work.
Having said my goodbyes (they were flying back to Geneva that afternoon) and thanked them again for lunch, it was at this point I started to realise this hair brain scheme might actually not be so crazy after all!