August 24, 2010
by Ariel Adams
Very close to production, I get some hands on time with the new Spyker watch collection made specially for Spyker by Expressions d’Artistes International. I first covered the Spyker watch collection here. What will change for production are the watch hands, that will end up being more legible. Otherwise, what you see is what Spyker car lover will end up getting for themselves. No viewing of the watches is really complete without checking out the cars at the same time. Until recently, Spyker was a small, independent luxury sports car maker outside of Amsterdam. With cool looking aviation themed mid-engine sports cars, the brand offered a purists’ car that was hand-made. Then, news was that Spyker bought Saab. GM unloaded the Swedish automaker to Spyker, and the world wondered how Spyker was able to afford it. Anyhow, I checked out the watches while checking out some Spyker cars at the same time. I even have a video of me test driving the upcoming Spyker Aileron.
So Spyker is very serious about their future, the future of Saab, and their watch collection. Unlike other types of “car watches” these aren’t a co-branding exercise. The only logos you’ll see on the watch are those of Spyker. Expressions d’Artistes International, and their partners, make the watches, and do a lot of part supplying for serious watch makers all over Europe. Quality is good, and the look and feel of the watches fit the Spyker look and experience well.
The case has many visual cues to the cars, while the dial is based on the car interior – along with the strap. Spyker ensures that leather for the strap is the same that is used for the seats. You can probably match the strap color with the interior of a car. Just like the seats offer cool quilted stitching, so do the straps. The leather is very supple, and the cut is quite nice. I love the titanium deployment clasps. They are simple in design, but very effective. In addition to featuring a lovely tuck in design (for excess strap), the deployments have a small micro adjust system that works beautifully and can be adjusted on the fly.
Case materials come in steel, titanium, and gold – but buyers can get them in platinum if they want. Diamond covered bezels are coming. Actually, there is a clean bezel option available as well, for customers who want a look devoid of text. The screws on the case are the same style as in the the car, and perlage polished steel dial matches the perlage polished steel dashboard. Chronograph pushers are copies of Spyker exhaust pipes – complete with the same text that is laser engraved (every so small) around the pusher openings. The openings have little mesh screens that are does in the same style as mesh screens over air intakes on the case. Note that the black version of the watch is matte PVD coated titanium, and the gold and steel models are polished throughout. The case is water resistant to 100 meters.
Note how the chronograph subdials mimic the look of gauges in the car, and the hour markers represent the guards that fit between the switches on the dashboard. Spyker – with its aviation heritage – has the cabins of its cars made to feel like airplane cockpits. The dial is really well done in terms of details and quality. The hands on these prototypes are hard to read – so final version hands will be larger (perhaps not skeletonized), and easier to read. There might be lume hands available as well. One issue with the dial is that there is no luminant for darkness viewing. The dial is covered with a domed sapphire crystal. I looks very attractive, but could benefit from some (or more) AR (anti reflective) coating.
You’ll no doubt notice that the movement is a modified Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph. The movement has been modified to remove the calendar information, and instead use that area for a power reserve indicator (that is meant to look like Spyker fuel gauges). The movement has a superior level of decoration – about as much as you could ask for on this movement. Plus, Spyker places a special custom automatic rotor that is cut like wheel spokes – and looks really amazing (incredible detail).
As a compliment to a new Spyker car – or for existing Spyker car owners, the watch makes a lot of sense. In fact, when you are dropping over $200,000 for a new custom Spyker car, and you are offered a limited edition Spyker watch that isn’t just some other brand’s watch with a logo slapped on the dial – you’ll be hard pressed to say no. It is on a short list of “ultimate accessories.” That and custom Louis Vuitton Spyker luggage (Spyker is the only car company that Louis Vuitton makes special custom luggage for). How will the Spyker watch do with non Spyker owners? Probably not as well – unless you are a huge fan of the cars, but for whatever reason don’t want one, or can’t afford one. While more than a fashion watch, the Spyker Chronograph timepiece is a luxury item, but isn’t intended for the intense watch collector looking for fascinating mechanics. It is rather a fun addition to your Spyker owning, and driving experience, and helps get you in the Dutch driving mood (define for yourself whatever that is).
Each of the watches is limited, with various quantities for each type. Looks like the gold model is limited to 250 pieces, while the black titanium models are limited 1000 pieces. Again, there are a number of strap color options. Prices start at about $9,750 in steel to about $30,500 in gold. Platinum models will cost more, and titanium models are likely priced closer to the steel version. Want one? You can probably get them via your local Spyker car dealer or direct from Spyker by inquiring via their website.