Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Aston Martin's Centenary Celebration models from Jaeger-LeCoultre

The partnership between Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre isn't just another cynical marketing exercise. the partnership in fact, began way back in the 20s when Jaeger made speedometres and dashboard instruments for a number of racing cars, including Bamford and Martin (what Aston Martin were known as until 1926).

Edmond Jaeger and Antoine LeCoultre actually met in 1907 when Mr Jaeger challenged Mr LeCoultre to make an ultra thin movement that he had designed. The brand Jaeger-LeCoultre officially came to being in 1937. Before then Jaeger focused on mainly producing various instruments.

Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre renewed the partnership in 2004, with a specific product line named "AMVOX" which could be taken to mean, "the voice of Aston Martin". The first model, Amvox Alarm, featured dial styling inspired by the dashboard instrument and was an instant success. The Amvox 2 chronograph brought a completely new interpretation on the chronograph function. Rather than having pushers on the side of the case, instead the activation is via pressing the crystal at 12 and 6:00 positions, where the case itself would 'tilt' to engage/disengage the chronograph. We reviewed the Amvox 2 here

For 2013, they've launched 3 timepieces to celebrate both Aston Marin's 100th anniversary. I wouldn't say new as none of the watches are completely new. Improved might be a better term, but I'm NOT going down the "new and improved" route.

First up is a new version of the Amvox 5 World Chrono, in the fancy "cermet" case which is made of a mixture of ceramic and aluminium, coated by more ceramic, making it lighter and stronger than titanium. (extremely scratch resistant and supposedly won't break if you drop it). The dial is very clean and legible and has all the usual Amvox design and style cues. The Amvox5 is a limited edition of 500.

The next two pieces are not from the Amvox line, but have been given enough of a facelift to have a new lease of life as Aston Martin co-branded watches. Personally I am very impressed with the Aston Martin version of the Master Hometime. As you might have realised JLC's Master range is generally produced with a silvery dial for steel pieces and either silvery or beige dial for gold. Black is reserved for limited series or the sportier watch range. But this new Hometime is certainly a home run. A minor re-shuffle of the date window to the 6:00 position and adding the "3" at 3:00, brings perfect symmetry to the dial. The AM badging is very subtle and the polished/brushed finish of the case is very refreshing. The red tip on the skeletonised second timezone hour hand is a welcome touch, and all in all just a very classy looking watch.

The Extreme World Alarm is limited to 100 pieces, and has a special case back engraving commemorating the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin. Apart from the case back, the dial has again very subtle badging - the logo placed on the cities dial where GMT (London) is. The dial itself is inspired by the grille of the car but other than that not much more to differentiate this from the regular production World Alarm.

To celebrate the centenary, Aston Martin is producing a special edition of the Vanquish, limited to 100 cars. The Vanquish Centenary edition features a special graduated paint finish that takes 50 hours to apply, sterling silver badges and door sill plates and glass keys (instead of acrylic).

The British car maker has also built a special one-off car called the CC100 Speedster Concept, with the styling paying homage to the legendary Aston Martin DBR1 race car from the 50s, while also offering a clue to future styling from the brand.

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