Baume & Mercier have transformed a small collaboration project into a successful partnership and the Capeland Chrono is now firmly linked to a real worldwide-known icon of sports car racing; the legendary Shelby Cobra. The Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 and the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 Competition are two limited editions that have been launched to celebrate the beginning of a piece of history and the slow transformation of a collection that went from classic to sporty.
In order to properly celebrate this partnership, Baume & Mercier have invited to Geneva one of the living legends of the Cobra brand, his name is Allen Grant and he is one of the most successful car racers in the US who has taken the AC Cobra team to win the top spot on the podium many times. The watch manufacturer has decorated part of its booth using black and yellow to match the colours of the CobraCSX2128 car frame. In 1963, this version of the Cobra car won 7 American races out of 18 (twice it reached the second position) among which was also the one that is run on the legendary LagunaSeca racing circuit, all this thanks to the ability of racers such as AllenGrant himself and DaveMacDonald who competed both for the official ShelbyAmerican team and for the private CoventryMotors team.
Both timepieces share a 44mm-large case, the case of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 is made of steel while the case middle of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 Competition is made of ADLC-treated steel (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon). The three-counter-lay-out is the unmistakable one of (almost) all Capeland watches, with the customized white30-minute-counter and the 12-chrono-hour-counter sport yellow hands on a black dial with gray stripes that remind us of the horizontal stripes that used to decorate the hood of the CobraCSX2128.
The loosely inspiration to this particular car maker is also accentuated by the shape of the hours and minutes hands that remind of the spokes of the car's steering wheel. The edge of the central chrono counter is the historic ACCobra logo that is definitely very iconic but it also a bit too big for a Capeland watch (I had the same impression when I saw the first version too).
The Valjoux7753 caliber with its PVD-treated winding rotor sporting a Côtes de Généve decoration guarantees up to two full days of power reserve and it is visible through the case back, where the number 15 - that represents the car racing number of the CobraCSX2128 - has been applied. The two versions of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 are slightly different; the first version is more elegant and it features an alligator-skin strap with an inner rubber coating that allows the user to wear this timepiece in the summertime too while the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 Competition sports a rubber band that is clearly inspired to the race tires from the 60s.
When you wear it around your wrist, you will immediately realize that this is a beautiful chrono watch featuring classic push buttons and that is it the real heir to a historic Baume & Mercier model, the idea to transform therefore this timepiece into a sports watch is a courageous one that you can either love or hate but the black/yellow contrast is a successful mix that definitely wins over the first edition's colours pattern. I personally find that the size of the cobra-shaped logo on the central counter is a bit extreme and between the two versions that have been crafted in 1963 pieces only, I would probably opt for the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963. This timepiece features the typical polished steel case and the leather strap that have always characterized the Capeland watches and, somehow, I can't get used to the idea of having to switch to a rubber band instead.
I really hope that this partnership will continue for a long time so that new models will be released soon. I love cars and the history of car racing and the idea to link a timepiece to such an exclusive brand like ShelbyCars that has marked the history of international car racing is an absolutely brilliant idea. I wish that the next Baume& Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 were even more unique and modeled, with this style and in stainless steel, around the 10006 reference, the Capeland watch equipped with a Flyback movement that was crafted by LaJouxPerret (a gold version was released already last year). The Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 will reatil for 4.100€, add 300€ for each of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby 1963 Competition timepieces.