There is a natural link between automobiles and wristwatches. For one, cars are used to race and beat time records all the time; watches, on the other hand, keep time. In this sense, both are about precision.
For another, both cars and watches have engines inside them — mechanical wonders that continue to mesmerize even the most hardened man on the block. We like the idea that there’s mechanized life breathing under the hood of our car or inside the case of our watch.
And so watches and cars have always been paired. Watch companies have been taking advantage of this association since the 1950s. The Omega Speedmaster (1957), the Heuer Carrera (1963) and the Rolex Daytona (1963) are three of the most popular driver’s watches in the world. Owners just love the way that metallic glint bounces off their chronograph when sunlight hits it while they’re making a quick turn of the steering wheel.
But not everyone has the means or the resources to get an Omega or a Rolex. Thankfully, there are cheaper brands for this purpose, like Autodromo and Shinola, for instance. But there’s also this new watch brand from Denmark that’s fast making a name for itself in motoring circles because it makes watches out of discarded car parts.
That brand is REC Watches. Launched in February 2014, REC got its name from “recover, recycle and reclaim.” The big idea is to repurpose scrap metal parts from old classic cars, and make vintage-looking timepieces for petrolheads. According to the REC Web site, it can churn out 400-800 watches from a single car.
And to make the watches truly special, REC stamps them with the VIN from the donor car.
At the moment, REC has four models made from four iconic autos: the P-51 (Ford Mustang), the 901 (Porsche 911), the Cooper (Mini Cooper) and the Mark I (Mini Mark I). Two of these models have automatic movements, while the other two run on quartz.
The P-51, featuring parts from 1960s Mustangs, has a 44-millimeter case and a Miyota 9130 automatic movement inside. The two small dials on the face mimic the Mustang’s cockpit instruments, including the fuel gauge. REC is asking $1,495 (P76,700) for the piece. Is it worth it? If you’re just a watch aficionado, probably not. But if you’re also a car guy, it’s worth the amount, especially since the company is young and who knows how big it might grow in the future?
The 901 is made from the parts of air-cooled 911s. Like the P-51, it measures 44 millimeters and has a Miyota (9100) automatic engine. This model looks better put-together — like it has existed for a long time and is not just a DIY project of a bored car collector. But it costs more, too, at $1,695 (P87,000).
Not a fan of the other two models because they’re quartz (with TMI movements). But if you don’t mind battery-operated watches, they can be had for just $345 (Cooper) and $395 (Mark I).
I like the idea of reissued car-themed watches, but I also like REC’s proposition. There’s not much prestige and history in the brand, but at least the watches have pieces from actual car parts. And legendary cars at that.
If you have doubts regarding the authenticity of the car parts, REC addresses this concern on its official Web site: “If the visually rough surface of the dial — coupled with the trustworthy assurance of our company — does not persuade you, do not worry. Not only are we prepared to guarantee the origin of your watch’s recycled material, we also provide a certificate of authenticity and the original image of the recycled object’s logbook with every product.”
I don’t know if there’s already a local distributor for these watches, but you can order them online through REC’s Web site. The company promises an international delivery time of three working days via FedEx.
Imagine having a Mustang or a 911 on your wrist.