The most exciting auto-inspired partnerships in luxury watchmaking now: Panerai x Brabus, Roger Dubuis x Lamborghini and more

By Celine Yap 7 October, 2021
Watch car partnerships

When things that tick meet things that go

From art to fashion to watches, brand collaborations are the greatest thing since the invention of social media. There’s something about one-plus-one-equals-three that piques our curiosity as it triggers our inner shopaholic, making us want it before even seeing it. The latest automotive partnerships in luxury horology, for instance, have all taken watch connoisseurship to some seriously cool places.

Whether it’s a mashup of two diametrically opposed DNAs or a long-overdue match made in co-branding heaven, the best collaborations are those that make you go: “I wonder why nobody thought of it earlier?”

Editor’s note: What if watches were cars? Click here.

Watch car partnerships Panerai Brabus front
Panerai Submersible S Brabus Black Ops Edition PAM1240 in Carbotech

Panerai x Brabus

Mercedes drivers know what it means to have your ride kitted out by Brabus but now Panerai wearers get to be a part of this exclusive circle too, via the Submersible S Brabus Black Ops Edition PAM1240. Except, they’ll be enjoying it on the water rather than overland since the marine environment is Panerai’s preferred habitat, where you’ll find Brabus’ latest Shadow Black Ops boats.

Watch car partnerships Panerai Brabus
This is the first skeletonised automatic movement by Officine Panerai

As both brands are equally passionate about high-end composite materials, it makes perfect sense to case the watch in Panerai’s signature Carbotech. This also happens to be its first skeleton automatic watch, running on Calibre P.4001/S. Other state-of-the-art features include the polarised date display restricted only to the opening at 3 o’clock, a tungsten oscillating micro-rotor on the back, and a bevy of aesthetic touches synchronised to the Brabus Marine dayboats.

Roger Dubuis x Lamborghini

The two ultra-luxe daredevils have been partners for a few years now and this new frosty white Excalibur Huracán is here to stretch the limits of watchmaking just that little bit more. Dressed in ceramic composite fibre (CCF) on the inside and out, this 45mm behemoth is extremely light, being 20 per cent lighter than carbon, yet extremely strong and exceptionally comfortable to wear. It also has a cool surprising hiding in plain sight.

Watch car partnerships RD close
Ceramic Composite Fibre bridges secure the 12-degree inclined balance wheel

Scintillating white by day, the watch glows a brilliant neon yellow by night. Light and luminescence shines from the bezel, the inner flange, the hands, and its strut-bar bridge reminiscent of the Huracán’s V10 engine. Even the strap glows in the dark, thanks to a unique vulcanisation process that debuted in 2020’s Excalibur Twofold. Now here’s a watch that deserves the spotlight whether it’s night or day.

Watch car partnerships UN front
Ulysse Nardin Marine Megayacht is reminiscent of a ship’s bow

Ulysse Nardin x Monaco Yacht Show

As official sponsor to the Monaco Yacht Show for over 10 years, Ulysse Nardin celebrates the return of this prestigious event with a pair of maritime-inspired models, a Diver Chronograph Monaco Yacht Show edition and the Marine Megayacht Watch. The latter has definitely captured the extravagance of beautiful superyachts as well as the innovative, cutting-edge style of Ulysse Nardin. That magnificent rose gold dial plate that instantly reminds us of a ship’s bow? That’s only the beginning.

Watch car partnerships UN close
A bevy of three-dimensional displays make a truly exhilarating dial

Offering lots to see, this 30-piece limited edition includes a high-precision three-dimensional moon display with an ultra-detailed surface, along with a sophisticated tide indicator directly below. Facing it is a vertical power display indicator operating on an anchor-and-chain windlass mechanism just like you’ll find on a boat. Finally, the flying tourbillon’s rotating carriage is crafted in the shape of a three-blade propeller.

Watch car partnerships Breitling
Breitling’s Classic Car Squad encapsulates the beauty of iconic American sports cars

Breitling Classic Car Squad

Three modern-retro timepieces, three icons of American car culture. The Breitling Top Time takes us back to the 1960s when the manufacture wanted to design something for young and active professionals. Now it’s back in style with bold striking colours and fun retro-chic designs inspired by some of the best loved cars in automobile history.

The Top Time Chevrolet Corvette plays hard and fast with its red and black aesthetic based on the Corvette C2 often referred to as the Sting Ray. Next, the green and brown Top Time Ford Mustang races swiftly with the 1964 favourite of rock stars and Hollywood actors. Then comes the Top Time Shelby Cobra dressed in blue and white that pays tribute to the formidable machine created by Carroll Shelby mixing classic British chassis design with American racing ingenuity and engineering.

Watch car partnerships TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph is the first of more collaborative models to come

TAG Heuer x Porsche

When a carmaker and a watchmaker both named their most iconic product Carrera, how can they not be partners? Announcing their partnership in early 2021, TAG Heuer and Porsche have so much in common, from origin stories to technical achievements in their respective fields, and of course a passion for motorsports. Kicking off this exciting partnership is the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph, undoubtedly the first of many more co-created timepieces to come.

This TAG Heuer classic favourite now gains a number of Porsche-inspired aesthetic details, from the Porsche inscription engraved on the bezel to the oscillating weight redesigned in the shape of Porsche’s steering wheel. More auto-racing elements appear in the form of an asphalt-effect textured dial and Arabic numerals reminiscent of Porsche dashboards. Powered by the Heuer 02 automatic calibre, the watch’s red-black-grey colour palette is familiar not just to Porsche aficionados but TAG Heuer collectors too.

Watch car partnerships IWC
IWC and Mercedes-AMG have been partners since 2004

IWC x Mercedes-AMG

One of the most enduring automotive partnerships in the luxury watch industry, the IWC and Mercedes-AMG alliance goes back to 2004, with numerous limited edition models made through the years. Joining that huge extended family is this Pilot’s Watch Chronograph in titanium that brings new aesthetics and updated mechanics to the fore, in addition to being the first Pilot’s Watch Chronograph ever made in this ultra-lightweight material.

Its matte grey appearance courtesy of satin-finished titanium recalls the Selenite Grey Magno paint finish, which is an AMG signature colour. AMG’s aero components are frequently made in carbon fibre, which provided the material for the watch’s dial, while silver sub-dials are reminiscent of motorsports instruments. On the back, the Mercedes-AMG logo is emblazoned on the tinted sapphire crystal sitting above the Calibre 69385 automatic movement.