After the introduction of new Chronograph, GMT and Tourbillon models at BaselWorld this year, Wyler Genève launched a truly exciting new black ceramic chronograph called El Camino Real in Las Vegas.
Photographer and film-maker Francesco Carrozzini hit the historical El Camino Real route from Los Angeles to San Francisco for Wyler Genève with his cameras on what he described as “less of an assignment, more of an adventure – the kind of job a photographer dreams of”. His brief was to document this ‘adventure’ in his own unique style and bring back images that capture the atmosphere of the changing landscapes.
So what lay behind this assignment?
El Camino Real
“Last year we had the unique opportunity to follow, as official timekeeper, an expedition from Paris to Beijing involving a 100 year-old car,” Bruno Grande, Wyler’s Managing Director explains. “It was the same 1907 Itala car that won the original Peking to Paris race a century ago. Seeing this car arrive in Beijing after travelling over 10,000 miles without any major incidents was quite a spectacle. This gave us the idea to explore other legendary routes around the world in different ways. The first route we chose was El Camino Real, which we decided to focus on through the lens of a talented young photographer. We are delighted with the results, which place the observer and the all-terrain Wyler Genève chronograph in the heart of this route’s breathtaking scenery.”
El Camino Real Chronograph and the Official Dakar watch
The chronograph had already been tried and severely tested on the Paris to Beijing expedition in the open-top car that made its way across two continents. The road was a bumpy one and the car, unlike the watch, did not have a modern shock absorption system. The El Camino Real watch has a scratch-resistant black ceramic case with a modified design (9mm wider and 1mm shorter than the limited-edition chronograph) that gives it an even more solid appearance. A mat black dial and ring that houses the hour markers and counter surrounds offers an elegant, low key look. The hours, chronograph hours and minutes, as well as the inserts for the hands are in an luminous orange SuperLuminova, adding a fine touch of colour and contrast to the black dial.
By the time September had come along, Wyler Genève had headed along another road, this time it was to become the Official Timekeeper of the 2009 Dakar in South America rally.
Famous as the Paris-Dakar rally, the organizers switched locations for its 30th anniversary and headed to another continent for a 9,000 kilometre rally from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso in Chile. Bruno Grande spells out the brand’s reasoning for the brand’s participation in this famous rally. “We have favoured presenting our watches through projects that focus on travel more as a means than as an end ... Now, with the Dakar, we are partnering an event that has been bringing cultures and adventures together for thirty years. It is, of course, also the most difficult rally in the world and is therefore a perfect competition to show off the robustness of our watches.”
In addition to its timekeeping role, Wyler Genève is producing a Limited Edition (182 pieces) of the official Dakar watch. The timepiece has a movement sealed in a titanium container that is held in place in a carbon fibre resin frame. The upper and lower plates are then fixed to this construction on sprung titanium screws, leaving the movement suspended inside Wyler’s characteristic shock-absorbing case. The use of tantalum for these plates ensures the Dakar watch is exclusive since tantalum is rarer than gold – and is more difficult to machine – and ensures the watch has an unique and highly distinctive blue-grey sheen.
London to Brighton
As if covering the west coast of the USA and two countries in South America wasn’t sufficient, Wyler Genève is also the Official Timekeeper of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
The London to Brighton came into being in November 1896 and has taken place every year since on the first Sunday of the month. The organiser’s instructions for that first run in 1896 stated: “Owners and drivers should remember that motor cars are on trial in England and that any rashness or carelessness might injure the industry in this country.”
The famous Geneviève participating in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
“The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run perfectly suits the marketing activities of Wyler Genève,” Grande underlines, “and we are proud to add a third historic route to our portfolio.”
As if to highlight the fact that the brand is not geared uniquely to road races and rallies, Wyler Genève has signed a new licensing agreement to produce the official watch of the Italian national football team – seventy-five years after Innocente Binda, the Wyler distributor who supplied the watches for the Squadra Azzura for the 1934 World Cup which was held in Italy. Considered to be one of the earliest forms of celebrity endorsement, Binda offered the Italian football team Wyler watches to wear for their first-ever World Cup appearance.
The Official Chronograph of the Italian Football Team for the next World Cup 2010
Now, to coincide with Italy’s first qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup, Wyler Genève has signed a new licensing agreement with the Italian team to produce the official watch of the national side. Grande expressed his deep satisfaction with the renewed association with the Italian football team, stressing that it has taken the brand back to its roots. “The advertising slogan for our shock-absorbing chronograph is ‘Time Suspended’, ” Bruno Grande states, “and to come back to partner the Italian team after seventy-five years certainly does feel like time has been suspended.”
Source: Europa Star December-January 2009 Magazine Issue