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Geneva Motor Show - In search of the elusive watch

Geneva Motor Show In search of the elusive watch

Partnerships are common between the mechanical worlds of watches and cars. But are there any watchmakers at the Geneva International Motor Show?

Frankly, if you want to see watches at Geneva’s Palexpo congress centre, you’re better off visiting the SIHH. But last week, barely a fortnight before the Baselworld extravaganza, another major international fair dedicated to a different flavour of mechanical engineering, the Geneva Motor Show, opened its doors. Given that many watchmakers have concluded partnerships with car manufacturers, it seemed like a good idea to go and find out whether any watches were in evidence amid the gleaming bodywork (we did spare the cars a glance or two, as well...).

And there they were: TAG Heuer has a 1,000 m2 booth at the exhibition, to showcase the close relationship it has enjoyed with the automotive industry for over a century. Timepieces including Heuer stopwatches are proudly arrayed in display cases, while a more futuristic presentation introduces TAG Heuer’s most avant-garde model, the Carrera Connected, with its wide choice of dials.

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Maserati and Bulgari
Unfortunately, the remainder of the Motor Show’s 77,323 square metres offered decidedly slim pickings, horologically speaking, despite a highly targeted strategy. Maserati unveiled its imposing Levante SUV, a world première for Geneva. It is available with a choice of three engine options, the most powerful of which is a 3.0 litre 430 bhp petrol-powered V6 twin-turbo. A case at the entrance to the Maserati booth displays a Bulgari Octo Chronograph Special Edition Maserati watch. The two Italian companies, which share the same values of elegance, performance and technical innovation, clubbed together to celebrate Bulgari’s 130th and Maserati’s 100th anniversaries, with a chronograph fitted with the BVL 328 Velocissimo movement. The watch is available in a limited edition of 1914, in reference to the year the house of the trident was founded.

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Bugatti and Parmigiani
The Bugatti Chiron was another highly anticipated Italian offering, trumpeted as the most powerful production car in the world, with its much-hyped W16 8-litre quad-turbo engine – the same engine used in the legendary Veyron – which has been updated and now produces 1500 horsepower. In Bugatti’s showcase were two Parmigiani Bugatti Aerolithe Flyback Chronographs, symbolising the partnership between the two brands, which started in 2004, and which has since inspired a number of watches, the most recent being the Bugatti Super Sport Sapphire, which was presented at this year’s SIHH. However, there are rumours that Parmigiani may be working on a concept watch inspired by the new Chiron. Watch this space...

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Pininfarina and Bovet
To finish our Italian tour we stopped by the Pininfarina booth, where we had to come clean and suffer the raised eyebrows – surprise or disapproval? – of the security guard keeping watch over the car, when we admitted we were only really interested in the watch display. Bovet and Pininfarina first joined forces in 2010, when the Italian design house was looking for an enduring way to commemorate its 80th anniversary with a prestigious luxury item. The result was a Bovet timepiece, the Pininfarina Tourbillon Ottanta, whose tourbillon cage rotates every 80 seconds – rather than the more usual minute – in reference to the anniversary year. Several Bovet by Pininfarina models would follow, five of which were on display at the Motor Show. And if you’re wondering about the car, it was an H2 Speed concept car, produced in association with Swiss concept car company GreenGT.

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Rinspeed and Carl F. Bucherer
A glance at the dashboard of the latest Σtos model reveals a watch by Carl F. Bucherer, Rinspeed’s timekeeping partner for several years. The new Patravi TravelTec in black is driven by a manufacture CFB 1901.1 movement, which powers a chronograph and three time zones. The watch is housed in a special dashboard mount, which is also equipped with a camera. The mount swings from left to right at regular intervals, using the energy of the car’s motion to keep the watch wound.

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