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Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Did you know that famed car designer Carroll Shelby had a serious heart condition that made him heavily dependent on nitroglycerin pills – and/or a reliable source of adrenalin to keep his heart beating? And that to keep himself off the medication for as long as possible, he started to take part in motor racing, while also building his own cars? When I got the chance to drive a Superformance Shelby Cobra 289 FIA – manufactured today under license and in part with original blueprints and molds by Superformance, an Irvine, CA-based company – I could feel in every bit of my body what a race car (mind you, designed by someone clinically addicted to adrenaline) feels like. It is one unforgettable thrill. So, can the matching watch, the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition get adrenaline pumping through your system? Spoiler: when worn while behind the wheel, it cannot hold a candle to the sheer excitement of the Cobra. Anywhere else? That’s a different story. Let’s find out in our latest car & watch review.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Partnerships between car and watch manufacturers often prove to be an unsolvable maze for all involved parties, including both brands as well as car aficionados and watch enthusiasts alike. It is all about the legitimacy of the connection between the two companies or, if that is too much to ask for, then at least between the two products. When I think of Baume & Mercier, I do not think of the smell of oil, burning rubber, and hot exhausts, or the earth-shattering bellow of V8’s revving to 7,000rpm.

I think of a yogurt commercial, depicting a family that lives in a detached house situated in a quiet neighborhood, with a nice lawn out in front. So how the heck does a cobra make it onto the dials of these rather bad*ss-looking Baume & Mercier Capeland watches?

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Seen here is the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra 10232, off the wrist of a Superformance Shelby Daytona Coupe owner who led us into the world of Shelby cars during this test drive.

There are some interesting paradoxes here which we have to accept, because if we don’t, we will never understand why this collaboration actually works. First, let us get up close with the vehicle at hand… and boy, is it a handful! To be specific, it is the Superformance Shelby Cobra 289 FIA – and that right there is a product name where every single word by itself can get any serious aficionado drooling.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

The two latest references, the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra 10281 & 10282.

The Superformance Shelby Cobra cars are made under official licensing from the Shelby brand: with the rolling chassis made in South Africa and all other parts fitted in the USA, a lot of these Cobra and Daytona Coupe models, as well as the equally remarkable Ford GT40 cars that they produce, are built using original blueprints and molds, even. With a wide range of engine, transmission, and driver’s assistance (or lack thereof) options available, this is as close as you can possibly get to owning the original Shelby cars from the ’60s and onwards – without paying the collectible’s premium or having to give up on fitting modern equipment of your preference.

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Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Cars, as I see them, are a lot like humans. Each and every one has its own character, and while every car can be “driven” and anyone can be worked together with, there always comes a point for both a car and a person, where they take back their own control – and you are just a spectator or worse, a victim of the story that unfolds. I couldn’t help but think of the Superformance Shelby Cobra as the car impersonation of Bud Spencer: very strong, never really very friendly, but if you know what to do and not to do, you’ll be fine. Take one liberty with it, though, and it will slap you in the face so fast and so hard, your facial features will end up on the back of your head.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

In car handling terms, this translates into a Superformance Shelby Cobra 289 FIA that can spin its real wheels with ease in third gear. And at that point, your straight-line travels transform into a high-speed, four-wheel float towards the nearest curb or tree – which travel I did have the pleasure of experiencing. Worse still is the short wheelbase: when the sticky, but by today’s standards not at all super high-performance tires let go, the back will not hesitate to overtake the front; something that can be tamed by extremely fast and perfectly dosed corrections on the steering wheel – but that has its own challenges…

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

It is a true driver’s car in more than a few ways. To be able to drive it – let alone drive it well – you have to love and know cars in a way that goes beyond superficiality or a mere familiarity with car specs or history. It is one beast of a car, with its DNA purely derived and unadulterated from an era that car racing fans reminisce about with teary eyes…

…You see, this particular Superformance Shelby Cobra 289 FIA had none of the following: stability control, traction control, automatic gearbox, anti-lock brakes, power steering, power brakes! What it had was a 480 horsepower Ford Racing engine, ridiculously heavy, unassisted steering, remarkably heavy and, again, totally un-power-assisted brakes, a five-speed manual gearbox, and a throttle that liked to be either a hair beyond idle, or full open – anything in between and the race spec engine just didn’t enjoy your company.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

The result of all this “back in my day!” rawness? It is a driving experience most modern healthy lifestyle aficionados would gladly refer to as a proper workout. I have driven cars before without power steering, but the steering lightened up considerably once the car was moving. Here, though… Your biceps and triceps will have to deliver if you want to make the upcoming U-turn! And the brakes? You must be quite literally standing on the middle pedal, and when you apply force that would be enough to slam any modern car into a dead halt, here you are still coasting towards the pack of cars at a red light at considerable speed, bracing for whatever is left of your manly calmness.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

The manual gearbox requires some manhandling as well. You’d better know your rev-matches and heel-and-toes (and again, be able to first know what these things are and how to execute them), otherwise you will lock the rear wheels up on a downshift. Get these wrong when pushing the Superformance Cobra and your Bud Spencer-style slap in the face turns into something much more severe.

Car & Watch Review: Superformance Shelby Cobra / Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Edition Wrist Time Reviews

I have been fortunate to drive a few of today’s 500-600+ horsepower supercars including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, the Jaguar F-Type R or the new Corvette, but they all – cumulatively – pale in comparison to the fire-spitting, awe-inspiring and (mildly) life threatening thrill of this particular Cobra. Driving this car well builds your ego and your testosterone levels like very few other things I could possibly imagine or be allowed to mention on this platform – by contrast, modern cars are impressive in a different, more safe, and much more refined, albeit also undoubtedly addictive way.

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Comments

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  • IanE

    Nice car, shame about the me-too chronograph that looks like a Citizen chrono.

  • TechUser2011

    Really nice watch. It has a unique look.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    It appears that this Cobra was not built with you in mind.
    “Take the canoli – leave the car”…to paraphrase one of my favorite movie lines.

    • David Bredan

      Not sure how you ended up with that conclusion – and I am happy to report that I did get away in better shape than poor Paulie Gatto.

      • Damn… I wish I could have gone with you!

  • Svetoslav Popov

    can’t compare to my Mustang 🙂 and why do you delete my picture ?

  • I’m not saying the yellow/amber/orange (whatever color that is) accents are unattractive, but I don’t see their connection to the instruments on the car nor are they in the blue & white American racing color of Shelby. Perhaps the chronograph minutes register is supposed to look like a tachometer, but since the hour register does not also have this metaphor, I just find the look of the minutes register odd. And why are “minutes” spelled out yet the chronograph hours is simply “H”? The lack of consistency bothers me a bit. Thanks for the review David. As an aside, I met Peter Brock (designer of the Daytona Coupe) years ago when he was running his hang gliding company Ultralight Products (UP). This was after his Shelby and BRE days. I owned a couple of UP “divers” back in the day.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      “Ouch!”

  • SuperStrapper

    If the watch fails, it can always just be re-packaged as a tie-in with the next G.I. Joe movie:

  • BNABOD

    I had a B&M flyback chrono fairly recently and while it was nice it felt very uncomfortable to wear due to the rather protruding back crystal and i could never get a good fit. Movement finish was nice but the case which is the same as this Shelby model was nothing special. No fancy beveled edges no earth shatter brushing. Nothing bad either just not enough for the price and here it feels the same to me. The racing vintage vibe is there but it leaves me a bit cold and wanting more .

  • Ulysses31

    The racing theme and disparate colours cheapen the whole appearance. This could easily pass for a $600 quartz chrono from a fleeting glance. I’ll stick to the regular, beautiful Capelands.

  • Marius

    I’m sorry, but this watch doesn’t have a lot in common with the car. They are as mutually exclusive as “American diplomacy” or “British cuisine.”

    • DanW94

      You think America lacks diplomacy now, wait until your avatar takes office….And what’s wrong with bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie or classic fish and chips? As for the JJ Abrams one, well that’s spot on…

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I’m going to sit back and see it all play out. Am hoping he win, just to see how quickly he gets that HUUUUUGE wall built,
        You canny beat bangers n mash.

        • I wish we had some of the great food you enjoy in the UK! I also wish we had some of your cars too!

          Cheers! <- I'm a Canadian ya know?

      • mtnsicl

        Trump has always been a sincere person who gets the job done. That’s not going to stop now!

        • Boogur T. Wang

          Well said !

  • DanW94

    I think it’s a sharp looking chrono. The black and yellow accented model on the stitched leather is a killer look. The dial needs a bit of tweaking, leave off the date window (how many times have we said that?) and omit the the word “automatic” to clean up the dial a bit. The cobra counter weight is a nice touch also.

    • After looking at the watch for awhile, I have to say that I really don’t like the Cobra head on the second hand. Other than that, a nice watch if you have the money for it. And if you are lucky enough to own *any* of Mr. Shelby’s fine automobiles, you probably have the coin leftover for the watch.

      Cheers!

  • Beefalope

    Hmmmmm…$4500 for a 7753-equipped chrono that probably has typically mediocre B&M finishing. Oh, but wait, it’s a limited edition and 44mm, so I’m sure the meatheads will fall all over themselves to buy this thing.

  • simon

    Poor Baume and Mercier. they have thrown so much at the wall, trying to see what sticks, in the past 8 years that I cant think of any brand identity for them. I suppose when in doubt, randomly tie yourself to some sort of car without any historical relationship………….looking at you Zenith. Wasn’t David Yurman the official watch for Shelby just 2 year ago?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What ! no driving gloves picture. ……….sloppy.

  • mtnsicl

    I think it’s a wonderful looking watch. But, I have a problem when companies come out with products that commemorate or have anything to do with dead people. It just gives me an uneasy feeling. I think it’s in poor taste. I wouldn’t buy this watch because of it. And, what if Mr. Shelby looked at this watch and said, “that’s the biggest POS I’ve ever seen and I don’t want my name on it”. There’s no way of telling if a dead person would endorse having thier name on any product that came after their passing.

  • iamcalledryan

    That car is awesome – it outclasses the watch by a few grades…

  • Owner Adshaveninn

    It would be terrible if that car was in car wrecks like this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8NfmNZCTT8

  • Timestandsstill

    I really like that strap!

  • Eugeny Buslaev

    Lovely Chronograph … combined with an elegant car!

  • gw01

    The one and only truly great thing about this watch, is that it doesn’t suck as much as the second B&M-Shelby collaboration. Wait… I take that back. Both watch versions suck as bad and fail equally to embody the true icons they’re supposed to.