From the Motor City, Detroit Watch Company now offers three new watches that celebrate automotive racing with a distinctive retro touch.
The independent watchmaker, known for its Detroit-themed chronographs, moonphase watches and its City Code Collection with a playful area-code dial layout, this month releases the M1-Woodward LeMans Classic Chronograph Exhibition, a set of ETA Valjoux 7750-powered chronographs that commemorate legendary Ford and Porsche racecars.
Detroit Watch uses its M1-Woodward Avenue chronograph as the base of the new collection, which consists of steel models in two sizes and three dials designed with 1960s-style Gulf racecar livery colors. This means you’ll see a dial of classic light blue interrupted by an orange stripe.
The trio is differentiated by a large racecar number set within the small seconds subdial along the orange stripe. Detroit Watch is offering a choice of dials with any one of three numbers, 6, 9 and 20, which correspond to particular LeMans racecars from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Each watch is made in 42mm and 44mm steel case options.
Le Mans winners
The M1-Woodward LeMans Classic Chronograph Exhibition with the number 20 refers to the Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film “Le Mans.” Detroit Watch explains that the 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis 024, was used as a test car for Le Mans before becoming the star car that McQueen drove in the movie.
The model bearing number 9 references the 1968 Ford GT40, chassis 1075, racecar number 9 that was the 1968 Le Mans winner. It was driven to victory by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi. Chassis 1075 would also go on to win Le Mans in 1969 with racecar number 6.
Which brings us to number 6, which references the same car, a Ford GT40 driven to victory by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver in 1968 at Le Mans. This was the second Le Mans win for chassis 1075 following the 1968 win with race number 9.
Detroit Watch matches the new Le Mans dial configuration with a black leather strap with orange stitching. Priced at $1,995, the watch offers strong value given its mechanical specifications, and especially for racecar fans who particularly enjoy the sport’s evocative 1960s and 1970s era.
Specifications: Detroit Watch M1-Woodward LeMans Classic Chronograph Exhibition
Movement: Top execution automatic Valjoux ETA 7750 chronograph with Incabloc shock-absorber, anachron hairspring, Glucydur balance. 28,800 Vph, with 48-hour power reserve. Custom DWC decoration.
Cases: 42mm x 14.5mm model is polished & brushed stainless steel, 52mm lug to lug, exhibition back with custom M1 rotor. Screw down crown. The 44mm x 14.5mm model is polished & brushed stainless steel, 52mm lug to lug with exhibition back. Weight: 112 grams w/strap, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistant to 50 meters.
Dial: Satin white. Hour indexes with Superluminova.
Strap: Calf leather with deployant clasp and quick-release spring bars.