REC Watches: Turning Classic Cars Into Classic Timepieces

Sponsored Content presented by REC Watches.

Watches and motorsports have been intertwined for generations, with timepiece brand logos plastered upon cars from Indy to Monaco. Picture a famous race car, and there’s a good chance that a watchmaker’s name can be found on its flanks. 

But what about turning the tables and putting the car into the actual watch? That’s where REC Watches comes in.

This Danish company’s mission statement features just three words: Recover, recycle and reclaim. Each piece follows that edict by using recovered sheet metal from an iconic piece of machinery. 

The Genesis

Well,” explains the company’s Gürcan Bozdogan, “the founders of REC, Christian and Jonathan, are both huge watch and car nerds—to say the least. When they started off in 2014, they didn’t like the car-related timepieces on the market. 

Putting a car logo on a watch is not a car-related timepiece,” Bozdogan continues. “That’s why they started REC. Not only are we building a piece of actual metal from an iconic car into the watch, the design itself has to have several design references to its car donor. And this process alone can take up to two years.”

REC released its first watch a year after the company formed, with salvaged Minis donating the required DNA. That same year, the founders appeared on the Danish version of “Shark Tank.” Four out of the five investors loved the idea, while Kickstarter helped raise funds for future projects.

Recover

I would love to say that we are doing extensive marketing research prior to a launch,” Bozdogan explains, “but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our automotive icons are based 100% on personal preferences. 

We are all automotive fans at REC and we honestly just choose the icons we love and had posters of as kids,” he continues. “This is also why we really care so much about the details, as we want them to be 100% perfect. The latter explains our long design and production phase.”

The 901 Collection, for example, does more than just feature a dial formed from metal salvaged from an air-cooled 911. The design itself also reflects the 911: The power reserve disc located at the 12 o’clock position resembles the fuel and oil gauges found in the dash, while even a casual Porsche fan will recognize the font used for the numbers. 

Flip over the watch for another detail: a caseback that recalls the five-spoke Fuchs wheel, complete with the rotor of the Miyota cal. 9100 movement decorated to look like a drilled brake disc. 

More details? How about a crown that echoes the horn cap used early in 911 production, while the case itself features detail work that emulates the car’s grille. 

The original Mini, another icon, influences a pair of pieces in the current lineup, The Mark I and The Cooper. The Mark I’s elliptical dial design recalls the Mini’s dashboard, while the twin, converging stripes found on The Cooper’s dial pay homage to the Mini’s popular warpaint. 

The RJM Collection, another piece in the current lineup, borrows from a machine that can only be described as practically one of one: It features actual material from one of the 1000-odd Supermarine Spitfires sent to Russia during World War II as part of the Allied Lend-Lease aid policy. This is the only Spitfire that returned from service in Russia. 

This particular plane, No. PT879, crashed during a dogfight in the spring of 1945. A farmer recovered the downed machine, but it didn’t return to England until 1998. It’s currently under restoration. 

Other icons to donate material and influence the current lineup include the classic Land Rover, RWB Porsche and Ford Mustang.

Recycle

The donor metal for each watch is easy to spot, as it makes up the dial. “We only use parts beyond restoration,” Bozdogan notes. “This is important for me to stress. 

Once we have received these salvaged metal parts, they are flattened, punched into watch dials, and coated with clear lacquer to ensure the patina doesn’t spread. And that’s actually it. This way we can preserve as much of the patina as possible. Also, this is what gives every single REC timepiece a unique look, as the patina ensures no two timepieces look alike.”

Reclaim

The donor material, he continues, comes from different sources. “In the beginning,” Bozdogan explains, “we reached out to car owners in forums and social media. But as we are growing and establishing our brand, we are experiencing more and bigger companies contacting us with unique cars.”

One of those bigger companies is RAUH-Welt Begriff, the Japanese Porsche tuner better known as RWB. The firm, headed by master builder Akira Nakai-San, is known for building landmark, extreme Porsches—the wider the flares, the better. 

The dials found in the 901 RWB Stella line come from Nakai-San’s personal RWB Porsche 911, a menacing, flat-black machine that started life as a 1985 Porsche 930. Today it’s a mix of carbon fiber, tacked-on flares and deep, deep wheels. It’s an icon worldwide. 

REC Watches may be relatively new on the scene, but it’s doing something different: making watches for gearheads that go beyond an easy splash of iconic colors. It’s a way to carry along some iconic automotive DNA

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Comments
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wspohn
wspohn Dork
11/3/20 10:42 a.m.

Ok, fancy watches come and go, (mostly go) but let's address the more interesting part of that post - a totally wrecked and almost flat WW 2 Spitfire is "currently under restoration?

That thing looks like a steamroller went over it. What is the plan, create a replica and rivet the serial number plate to it and call it a 'survivor'?  Details please!

Hmm - I have a NOS Miura shift knob - wonder if it could be the basis for a 'restoration'?

 

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