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Baume & Mercier - Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

Baume & Mercier Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

Baume & Mercier design director Alexandre Peraldi and Shelby® Cobra Daytona Coupe designer Peter Brock discuss with WorldTempus their work on the new Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra collection.

At the SIHH 2017, Baume & Mercier unveiled a new sport collection within the Clifton range: the Clifton Club. One of the highlights of this new collection is the Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition, the latest timepiece born of the brand’s partnership with the Carroll Shelby Company, initiated in 2015. The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition draws its inspiration from the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (CSX2299), the most iconic car in the history of American motorsports. The Daytona Coupe was the first American car to win, in 1964, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and gave America its first GT class World Sportscar Championship title in 1965.

Can you tell me more about the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe?

Peter Brock: The car was designed to run in the World Championship against big factories such as Aston Martin or Ferrari. The Shelby team was a team started by Carroll Shelby in California, which was very unusual. When you look at racing in Europe, it is a really big professional business, while in the US, racing was pretty much an amateur thing. So we were primarily a little team, we didn’t have more than eight guys on the crew, six mechanics. So to build a car, to come over and race against factories that have hundreds of people on their teams was a big step. It was an historical landmark in racing. Originally, because we were such a small team, we only had time to build six cars. At that time, one could have bought a Daytona Coupe for 800 to 1000 dollars. Today, one car is worth 20 million dollars. That’s how important the car is.

Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

Where did you get your inspiration?

P. B: The form of the car came from some studies that were done in the late 1930s in Germany. One of the interesting things when you look at the car is its quite flat roofline where traditionally it was very much a tapered line. And on the backside, the most distinctive detail is the chopped off tail which is highly efficient because the air stays at the back of the car, so that speeds it up. The car didn't look like something that has been done before and everybody thought it was ugly. And as soon as we put it on the tracks, it broke all the records and became instantly a good looking car.

Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

How long have you been working on Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition project?

Alexandre Peraldi: Baume & Mercier started working with Carroll Shelby Company two watches ago on the regular Cobra roadster and when we finally got to do something off the Daytona Coupé it was about a year and a half ago. We first met in Geneva where we draw the first sketches. And then met again in Las Vegas where Peter lives and where one of the Daytona Coupes is. We talk a lot about shape, performance, aesthetics, functions, … To be honest I was a littlie bit afraid I as know nothing about cars. But we do have the same passion in common: design.
Originally the partnership was made on the Capeland collection. But for this third edition, the first thing that Peter said to me was: “ I would like to work on the Clifton collection” and I had exactly the same wish. It was parallel thinking! We both agreed the Clifton would suit better due to its smoother shape. We had a lot of ideas; some were not good at all. For example the aluminium used for the car transposed to the watch. But it was not possible because the material is too soft. Instead of it we used titanium, which perfectly suits the watch and the world of classic cars.  

What are the distinctive details which were transferred from the car to the watch?

A.P: It was easy to design, Peter had done all the work 50 years ago (laughs). The dial mirrors the half blue/half silver-coloured Shelby livery chosen for the Daytona’s tail marking it as a true original and the 44 mm case mirrors the shape of the car’s engine. Other details evoke the look of the classic Daytona Coupe such as the foot-pedal-shaped chronograph pusher or oscillating weight designed to look like wheel rims.

P.B: If you look at the car, the most graphic impact is the chopped off tail, which is split in half. It was very unusual in the 60s and that is what made the car so special. I’m very proud to have taken the identity of the Daytona Coupe and put it into the watch.
Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

Classic cars and watchmaking stir up a lot of emotion and passion in people. Why so?

P.B It’s because you have all the mechanical appreciation that goes into both of them. In watches, everything you have learned of the mechanical parts is applied in miniature. And of course timing is what makes a race, so there’s an interaction there, too.
Cars stir up emotions at events, where I hear people tell their stories and it’s not actually about an exact car, it’s about what the car brought to them in their life. This ties in well with Baume & Mercier, in particular with their idea of moments. You look at the watch you got for your wedding, you look at the watch you got for your graduation, so it’s about your life, it’s your history, it’s a journey. And that’s why I think the two worlds have so much in common.

Interview of Alexandre Peraldi & Peter Brock

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The Baume & Mercier watchmaking Maison has always had powerful emotional and celebratory connotations, while expressing watchmaking excellence in all its creations. Since 1830, it has embodied a family history in which a passion for detail and a quest for excellence convey a firm commitment: to perpetuate its heritage while being an essential partner of memorable moments. For Baume & Mercier, time is far more than just a sequence of seconds,...

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