“When you’re going 185 mph, you’ve got to have confidence in your car,” legendary race driver Allen Grant told guests at Baume & Mercier’s exclusive Shelby Cobra Capeland Dinner and Driving Experience at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan Tuesday night. As attendees sipped bourbon cocktails, “raced” a simulated video course around New York landmarks, and dined on short ribs and lemon tartlets, Grant regaled with stories of his time as “part of the first and only American team to win a world championship” at the FIA (1965).
The event celebrated the new Capeland Shelby Cobra while honoring the Shelby spirit of endurance with a new series of limited edition chronographs inspired by one of the most successful Cobras in history: CSX2128, the 289 Roadster built to conquer the grueling 1963 12 Hours of Sebring race — competing as number 15 — that made Carroll Shelby’s dreams of glory a reality.
Baume & Mercier’s North American President Frederic Martel was on hand to discuss the Maison d’Horlogerie’s relatively new partnership with Carroll Shelby Inc.
Last year’s [first] collaboration was about the car. This year, Martel insists, is all about the drivers — because the legend of CSX2128 is inseparable from that of its heroic drivers — what he describes as a “group of young men who demonstrated courage and passion.”
Baume & Mercier designed this second edition of the Capeland Shelby® Cobra to honor their endurance and skill in a singular fashion, forged from their spirit of competition and strength, and inspired by the Cobra’s performance.
The Swiss-made self-winding movement combines quality and flawless accuracy with the highest standards. The case back is engraved with the name of the collection, as well as the words “one out of 1963” in reference to the number of limited-edition pieces and the year which saw the Cobra’s first victory at the American championship. As a final tribute, the sapphire crystal features the CSX2128’s famous N° 15 race number.
A glance at the face reveals a layout modeled after the Cobra’s historic dashboard, with asymmetrical chronograph counters. The deep black dial and the transparent twin horizontal racing stripes pay further homage to this special Cobra, as do hands that mirror the Cobra’s steering wheel.
Completing the design is the Cobra logo itself, forged into the seconds hand of the chronograph as a symbol of the timeless pursuit of speed. The tachymeter function – highly useful in determining speeds during a race – encircles and highlights all of these attributes.
All in all, it’s about sheer power, legendary performance… and the passion to be first across the finish line.
“Second place is the first loser,” Allan Grant quipped to the evening’s intimate crowd. “That’s my motto in racing; it’s my motto in life; and it’s the motto of this partnership.”