My Own Personalised Rally Watch
There have been plenty of moments over the last seven months, since I decided to enter the Gumball 3000 Rally, that have required a little recalibration. Firstly, despite being someone who has always believed that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do, when I first heard about the Rally about 10-15 years ago I didn’t really know how I was going to get myself into a position to be able to take part. It seemed like a distant dream.
Back in September 2018 I had lunch with the CEO and Sales Director of HYT watches, the haute horology brand that uses liquid to tell the time. It was as if it was meant to be, because it was only just before we met that I had had my team on the Rally confirmed; and so I brought the subject up. I saw an immediate synergy between the brands and thought what better way of encapsulating the essence of The Peaked Lapel, HYT and Gumball than with a watch from the hydromechanical horologists?! Many brands would have given me the cold shoulder; indeed in all walks of life there always appears to be a higher proportion of those who say no. But you only need one yes to make something happen and, in this situation, this was the only yes I wanted!
If you had told me 10 years ago I would not only have been doing the Gumball 3000 but, additionally, HYT would be making me a watch, I would have thought you were crazy!
So after many conversations between us over the months, including flying to Neuchatel, Switzerland, to meet with their team . . . I can now reveal the final design!
Firstly, it was important to me that this piece was not a ‘Gumball watch’ per se. Instead it needed to draw inspiration from the rally and, more importantly, supercars, thereby incorporating a racing feel but without the blatant use of the Rally brand. I wanted it to appeal to both those who loved horology and cars, effectively amalgamating the two passions into one timepiece.
So this is what we came up with . . .
Firstly, the colours had to match perfectly with The Peaked Lapel’s logo. So the base is stainless steel with DLC coating in dark grey, while the dial is solid pale gold. We then incorporated a touch of race inspiration by adding red; to the liquid (this indicates the hours); the minutes hand and the sapphire crystal through which the bellows, the key component of all HYT watches as they house the liquid, can be viewed.
The racing theme did not stop there. Drawing inspiration from the central rev counter in many supercars, most notably Ferrari, we have used stainless steel with DLC coating to accentuate the minutes dial at 12 o’clock. Additionally I, like so many others with a passion for supercars, love the ability to gaze into an engine bay. So we incorporated an exceptionally wide aperture, not only providing a greater view into the mechanics, but also a nod towards a supercar’s front grill.
It was vital that in designing the watch, we maintained our respective identities. For me, that meant the colour scheme had to be just right, combined with a bold but elegant design. For HYT, of course, it meant their patented (and ingenious) capillary system matched with cutting edge know-how.
We agreed on The Peaked Lapel’s logo etched into the solid pale gold dial, either side of HYT and the finishing touch came by the decision to etch the Rally destinations inside the sapphire crystal case… just in case I forgot where I was going. I love the idea that the liquid followed the cities around the dial, exactly what I would be doing on the Rally… I thought this was genius!
On top of that, the domed sapphire crystal is superb, giving depth to the case and dial, providing a three-dimensional effect that most other manufacturers attempt, but never quite achieve.
The Case Back
Continuing the take on racing / engineering cues, thereby adding to our imagination and enhancing our designs, the logical conclusion to the case back design was for it to be transparent sapphire crystal. Once again, just like peering into a supercar’s engine bay, appreciating the interior mechanics is just as important as the exterior aesthetics.
Lastly, we wanted it to be personal. So in addition to the engraving of ‘unique piece’ into the case, the sapphire crystal bears my signature and a message from HYT in gold.
So there we are; after many months of waiting, I am incredibly excited to finally be able to reveal the watch I will be wearing on this year’s Gumball 3000 Rally. It will be ready in May and I have been promised updates on its creation, so stay tuned; I cannot wait to see the real thing!