SPIRIT OF AN ICON

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  • SIHH 2017 - Clifton Club Shelby Cobra

    Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Edition

    "SPIRIT OF AN ICON"

     

     

    “Function first, aesthetics second. Make the shape work. Then make it look beautiful. Light and fast.”

     Peter Brock

    “We were a bunch of hot rodders determined to do whatever it took to win. We never stopped innovating and challenging the status quo. Our willingness to try new ideas, to keep improving won us the world championship.”

    Carroll Shelby

     

     

    “Function first, aesthetics second. Make the shape work. Then make it look beautiful. Light and fast.”

    Peter Brock

    “We were a bunch of hot rodders determined to do whatever it took to win. We never stopped innovating and challenging the status quo. Our willingness to try new ideas, to keep improving won us the world championship.”

    Carroll Shelby

    Rise of a Champion

    Exceptional design has the power to move us at first glance. Yet, its magic is far more intricate than simply capturing the eye. The true measure of a design icon is its ability to contribute to performance and precision. It is a formula known as form follows function: style and engineering in perfect balance to deliver an unparalleled experience to its owner. Baume & Mercier has followed this philosophy of perfection for 187 years. Each timepiece we create is a handcrafted study of how design can deepen craftsmanship and quality. A masterwork to be cherished and a statement of pride for those forged in the same restless spirit of exploration, passion and confidence. Today, we are thrilled to extend our exclusive Shelby Cobra® collection with a focus on its most enduring design achievement. Our inspiration is the legendary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe*, the most iconic car in American motorsport. The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe represents the hopes, dreams and monumental effort of a group of hot rodders who changed the way the world perceived American cars and it captured the public’s hearts when it captured the world championship. Always looking for an edge, Carroll Shelby asked Peter Brock, now recognized as one of the greatest automotive designers of our lifetime, to sketch a new, better body that could be adapted to the existing Cobra chassis. Then he assigned his most important development engineer, Ken Miles, to the project. Even though many were skeptical that it would be successful, Carroll continued to finance and support development of the Cobra Daytona Coupe by his team.

    Quietly working in Carroll Shelby’s crowded Venice, Calif., racing garage, Brock, Miles and other team members brought this vision of an aerodynamic GT racer to life against incredible odds. In just 90 days, the Daytona Coupe went from sketch to finished car, proving itself a winner from its first race in 1964. Shelby’s tenacity paid off. During a spectacular initial season, Shelby American repeatedly put the Daytona Coupe in the winner’s circle. Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant drove a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe to win its class at Le Mans that year, the first victory at that 24 hour race by an American car. The Daytona Coupe enabled the Shelby American race team to dominate and win the International Manufacturer's GT Championship in 1965. It was the first time an American manufacturer won an international race series. Then Shelby American used a Daytona to set 25 land speed records. These achievements were due to the Shelby’s streamlined design, which created unmatched performance. In celebration of the Daytona’s legacy, Peter Brock personally joined with Baume & Mercier and Design Director Alexandre Peraldi to create a collection that sets a new standard in style and presence. The result is the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Editions, pinnacle chronographs launched for the first time within the Clifton collection. Every sweeping line and detail present on the iconic Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe has been interpreted in stunning form. * Shelby American, Inc., is the official Manufacturer of Record of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, and the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust is recognized by the United States Patent & Trademark Office as the owner of the shape and design trademark (the “trade dress”) of this iconic vehicle.

    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra
    Peter Brock
    • Peter Brock (born in 1936) is an automotive and trailer designer, author and photojournalist from the United States of America, who is best known for his work on the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe and Corvette Sting Ray.

    Triumph of Will

     

    Spending time in Carroll’s Venice racing garage whenever he could, Peter realized that given the wealth of driving talent on the Shelby team, his dream of professional racing may take a back seat. But there was a more pressing issue that demanded his attention. By the end of the 1963 season, it was apparent that the 289 Cobra roadster needed a roof to compete and win down the straightaways of the high speed European circuits. Shelby was at a vital crossroads.

    Shelby American initially fitted a hardtop on the existing Shelby Cobra roadster for aerodynamic purposes. While somewhat successful, Carroll Shelby dreamed of building a faster version of the car for international racing.Competition rules stated that a team could change a car’s chassis or body, but not both. Many on the team wanted to alter the Cobra’s engineering. Peter and Carroll Shelby saw a different opportunity, and it would change automotive design forever.

    Peter’s inspiration was a paper he found several years before. It was a study of aerodynamics done by Dr. Wunibald Kamm in Germany in the late1930s, and it captivated Peter’s imagination. While he couldn’t read the text, he understood the drawings, which went against everything designers thought they knew about airflow. Peter’s intention was to adapt these aerodynamic ideas for Shelby. He knew that reducing the drag of the car could lead to a major speed gain more than increasing horsepower. Indeed the calculations showed that the car would need 500hp to reach 180mph.

    The next day, Peter taped paper sheets to the garage floor and began sketching. Slowly, the unforgettable shape emerged: rounded front, fairly flat roof, tapered width and a chopped tail to improve downforce as well signify a permanent break with the teardrop shape of conventional race design. The result was the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, a GT car with a style the world had never seen before. Its design was so radical that no one, including aviation experts, thought the car would work. But Carroll wanted a secret weapon for the 1964 season, and gave the go ahead.

    After working with Ken Miles to build a plywood model to smooth out the aesthetics, the Shelby team began together to rapidly assemble a prototype. In only 90 days, design and engineering worked around the clock to meet the competition deadline. The most aerodynamic car in America, powered by the workhorse Cobra 289 engine. Now it was time to see if the Daytona would fly.

    Celebrating courage and ambition is at the heart of the new Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra watches. It is a statement of arrival for those who believe no goal is out of reach, and maintain the relentless drive to accomplish the impossible. With its bold signature touches and elegant sense of purpose, this is a series of chronographs that celebrate life’s special achievements, as reflected in the innovation and passion of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe.

    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra
    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra

    RACING TO VICTORY

    Shortly before the first race of the 1964 season, the Shelby team took their creation to Riverside for a test drive. After just 20 laps, racing director and champion Shelby driver Ken Miles walked up to Carroll Shelby and delivered his verdict. The Daytona Coupe wasn’t just lightning fast, but beautifully poised and stable. It was ready to compete without a single modification. Any question about Peter’s aerodynamic design was silenced forever.

    At its namesake track, the Daytona Coupe quickly established its fearsome reputation as the fastest GT car in the world. It outperformed by such a wide margin that Peter and Carroll Shelby decided to slow the engine to boost fuel economy.


    It was an ingenious secret only known to the Shelby team. First they would lower the RPMs (revolutions/min.) to let the car run longer. Then, in the closing laps, the RPMs would be restored to turn the Daytona into a rocket.

    At Le Mans 1964, the Daytona CSX2299 driven by famous duo Bondurant/Gurney set the world alight with a blistering 196 mph (315 km/h) performance at the famous Mulsanne straight (36 mph faster than the acclaimed Cobra small block).

    Though the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe possessed staggering speed all season, the team fell victim to political issues and the’64 season was cut. The Daytona Coupe returned to competition in 1965 in dominating fashion. From Sebring and the Nürburgring to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Shelby fielded six Daytona Coupes to give America its first GT class World Sportscar Championship, culminating with glory at Reims on US Independence Day: July 4, 1965. At the end of the season, CSX2287 set 25 USAC/FIA world speed records on the dusty salt flats of Bonneville.

    Although the Daytona Coupe never raced again, it became a symbol of futuristic design, with the original six models now worth several million dollars each. Yet its DNA continues in every passenger car built since. Once Peter and Carroll Shelby unlocked the potential of modern aerodynamics, every designer wanted to capture the same benefits. The Daytona Coupe’s curved body, flat roof and chopped tail are now a common standard.

    50 years later, Peter returned to his original drawings to personally collaborate with Baume & Mercier on the creation of the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Editions. According to Peter, “The graphics of the Daytona were crucial, and it’s the same with the chronograph. You don’t need to see it close up to admire its beauty. Look across the room, and you just know it’s the Daytona Coupe. Every detail mirrors the original in form and purpose.”

    Taking stock of his legacy, Peter offers a final comparison between car and chronograph. “You can choose to be conservative, or strive to be an original. That’s the attitude we brought to the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Edition. Truly a chronograph unlike any other.”

    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra
    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra

    The Spirit of Design

    Like the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe it celebrates, each chronograph in our Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra collection is a masterpiece of daring form matched to superior performance. From the start, Peter Brock and Alexandre Peraldi, Baume & Mercier Design Director, worked in partnership to interpret each component of the iconic Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, and prove how bold design can inspire engineering and precision to new heights. The achievement is felt at first glance, with the Daytona’s aerodynamic shape replicated in sweeping lines forged in a 44mm diameter case in polished/satin-finished steel, or steel and titanium. At the center is a dial created by Peter himself, celebrating the Daytona Coupe’s famous livery with a choice of Daytona blue, silver-colored, or half blue/half silver-colored to mirror Peter’s artistry in having the Shelby racing stripes end in a perfect split on the Daytona’s flat tail allowing to easily identify the cars during the race.

    Completing the dial are modern Arabic numerals, vertical or horizontal ring chronograph counters in honor of the Daytona Coupe’s dashboard highlighted by a tachymeter scale for speed measurements, and special hours and minutes hands that recall the steering-wheel with Superluminova* C1 blue emission. To signify Peter’s role as designer of the iconic Cobra logo, the red chronograph second hand features the fearsome Cobra itself.

    Admire the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra models more closely, and you will discover signature elements from Peter Brock’s design language. The first are detailed replicas of the Daytona Coupe’s foot pedals, present as push buttons to control key functions. On the reverse, the Daytona Coupe’s muscular magnesium alloy wheel design is perfectly replicated on the oscillating weight visible through the sapphire crystal case back surrounded by an etched collection title to signify its exclusivity. Teased between the wheel spokes is a view of the engines that power the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Editions, featuring automatic Swiss-made self-winding chronograph or flyback chronograph movements. Completing the sporty style are black or blue calfskin “carbon-like” straps, material that recalls the one uses on exceptional automotive facilities, with red or black rubberized soft touch calfskin lining. Each is designed for supreme comfort and durability, offset by an adjustable triple-folding clasp with security push-pieces.

    Available as a 1,964-piece chronograph limited edition in tribute to the first official race of the Daytona Coupe or 196-piece flyback chronograph numbered limited edition to celebrate the CSX2299’s speed record, the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra Limited Editions are purely for those who aspire to the highest standard of design and performance. A timepiece to be worn with confidence, and a symbol of triumph reflected in the enduring legacy of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe.

    All timepieces in the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra collection arrive to its owner in elegant black and silver packaging, and includes an exclusive 1:43 scale model of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe prized by collectors. A custom brochure that presents the history of the Daytona Coupe is also provided as an expression of our gratitude.

     

    Clifton Club Shelby Cobra

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