Baume Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra – Hands-on review (specs price)
When you think about Baume & Mercier, you might have something elegant but highly classical in mind. The timepieces created by the brand are usually a nice entry level in the world of luxury watches. However, those creations might be a bit shy for more hardcore collectors that are more likely to have interest in bold and exclusive watches. The latest piece introduced by Baume & Mercier changes it all. By partnering with a superb car manufacturer, B&M brings an unexpected freshness to its usual classicism. Here are the cool Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra Limited Editions.
The partnership with Shelby Cobra and the launching event on the vintage track of Linas-Montlhery, France
We’re not car journalists so let us be brief about the car itself. As surprising as it is, Baume & Mercier teamed up with the legendary Shelby-American Inc. to create new limited editions. Founded by Caroll Shelby, a former racing driver turned into an automotive designer for health reasons, this company created one of the most famous and sought-after cars ever designed: the Shelby AC Cobra. Having in mind the wish to fight against Ferrari during the 1960s, Caroll succeeded in designing this car based on an AC chassis (modified and improved) and powered first by a 280ci Ford V8 and then a massive 427ci Ford V8. The legend was born, a car that weighted less than a ton with a 7.0 liters V8 engine that produced around 450hp. The production numbers are very low, as less than 1000 cars had been produced. Prices for a ‘real‘ Shelby Cobra are… insane.
The success of Caroll Shelby was total in 1965 when his cars won the FIA Championship, right under Ferrari’s nose. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this achievement, Shelby Automotive will build again 50 pieces of the Shelby Cobra 427 and Baume & Mercier will launch two limited editions of the Capeland Chronograph – and the best was the event organized by both brands, a meeting of more than 15 Shelby Cobras on a vintage oval track and we had the pleasure to spend a few minutes into one of them. Impressive cars that you can admire just here.
The Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra in stainless steel
For this partnership with Shelby, Baume & Mercier chose to use their modern chronograph, the Capeland. Based around a mechanical chronograph movement – a Valjoux 7750 modified by La Joux-Perret – the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra comes with a case that measures a sporty 44mm, with a classical design, alternating polished and brushed surfaces. This edition will be made in 1965 pieces, priced at 3900 Euros.
Several details are reminiscent of the Shelby Cobra. First, the dial. It comes with a metallized dark blue colour and a sunburst finish. In the middle sits two racing stripes that remind of the AC Cobras’ livery. However, to keep an elegant design for the Baume & Mercier Capeland, these stripes are painted in a slightly lighter blue instead of a too contrasting white (like on the car). The hour and minute hands are also specific, with a shape reminiscent of the spokes of a vintage steering wheel. The counterweight of the second hand shows a very nice laser cut shape, depicting the logo of Shelby.
The index numerals are also specific to this limited edition, with an antique font. Finally, the chronograph sub-counters are contrasting with a silvery colour and printings like dashboard gauges. The small second at 9 is discreetly left in blue. The Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra comes with an alligator strap with contrasting red edges and a folding buckle.
The Baume & Mercier Capeland Flyback Shelby Cobra in 18k red gold
Together with this more affordable stainless steel edition, Baume & Mercier is launching a luxurious edition in 18k red gold with the more complicated flyback movement. This edition keeps the same 44mm case. It will be made in only 98 pieces (like the number printed on the Shelby livery) and priced at 17.800 Euros.
Besides coming in a precious material case, the main difference between the stainless edition and this Capeland in gold is the movement. It features the La Joux-Perret 8147-2, an automatic chronograph movement based also on the Valjoux 7750 but highly modified to incorporate a flyback function (that allows to stop, reset and start again the chronograph by only pressing once the pusher at 4 o’clock). This movement, visible through the caseback, shows a nice finishing and a skeletonized rotor. The bridges are widely open to allow a pleasant view on the several gears and levers that actuate the chronograph functions. It only features two sub-counters – a small second at 9 and a 30-minute counter at 3.
The dial is also a bit different as the sub-counters are not contrasting but left in blue. However, the blue dial with brighter blue stripes, the spoke-like hands and the laser-cut second hand are shares with the stainless edition. It comes a more discreet strap in black alligator with red stitching and a blue alligator leather lining.
Both editions of the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra bring a fresher and cooler spirit to a brand often seen as classical. The stainless steel edition will especially please the collectors in love with racing cars and with a lower budget. More to discover on Baume & Mercier official website.