Those closest to me know that I have an profound affinity for wristwatches, one that goes back many years. So when I was recently introduced to the Scalfaro E1961 watches, two limited edition pieces commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type, I thought, meh just another collaboration between a car and watch maker – little more than a means of not so subtle cross-promotion. Not so in this case.
You see, the Swiss watch makers at Scalfaro, founded by brothers Alexander and Dominik Kuhnle in 2001, are bonafide motoring enthusiasts, even sporting their own vintage racing team, who have taken the car-watch collaboration one step further. Not only have they used the iconic E-type as an inspiration but they’ve also taken material from the original cars themselves and incorporated it into the construction of these watches – limited to 250 examples each.
The material in question was aluminum taken directly from the chassis of the 1960 E2A prototype and the 1961 E-Type “Fixed Head Coupe”, chassis no. 885005, during restoration. The one-off E2A was built to meet sports car racing regulations of the 1960s and used as a segue from the very successful D-Type to the new E-Type model for 1961. With much of Jaguar’s racing efforts questionably subsiding after a dominating performance at Le Mans in 1957, (finishing first, second, third, fourth and sixth) many saw the E2A as the platform on which Jag would mount their return to competition. It wasn’t to be, although the E2A did enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960 under privateer Briggs Cunnigham, and co-driven by the likes of Dan Gurney and Walt Hansgen. Unfortunately, it suffered an engine failure and retired from the race.
The E-Type “Fixed Head Coupe”, launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, was chassis no. 885005. Such was the demand for the car that a second, convertible example was driven overnight from the factory in Coventry, England to Geneva, Switzerland by Jaguar’s then test and development engineer Norman Dewis. To further authenticate these limited edition watches, Scalfaro got Dewis to literally sign-off on them by engraving his signature onto the side casing of each watch. Other styling cues include the polka-dot pattern on the lower casing of the Geneva edition, taken from the dashboard design of the E-Type show car, and the charm-like steering wheel found in the same location on the E2A edition, replicating that of the original. The watches also display the ignition sequence (the order in which the cylinders fire) of the 3.8 litre engine powering the cars, a dome-shaped sapphire crystal and a unique number plate.
So, there you have it. Two limited edition watches made from the stuff of legends – literally. Not since Ferrari’s F2000 Formula 1 gearbox was turned into a table have I seen otherwise discarded car parts put to such good use.
As to why Jeremy Clarkson would love one, see the video below.
To read more about the Jaguars of the 50s and 60s go to Jaguar.com.