A quick look at any racing car tells you that association with motorsports is a precious commodity for any number of companies, especially for watchmakers. A growing number of horologers are paying top dollar to link their names with the image that motor racing projects. All the more so with high-profile vintage racing events, which add a measure of heritage to the formula.
Like Chopard, which famously sponsors the annual Mille Miglia revival race, Swiss watchmakers Blancpain recently sponsored the 2007 edition of the famous Peking to Paris classic rally, the same event after which Spyker named their Super Sport Utility Vehicle concept. This year's running started on May 27 in China, passing along the Great Wall, through Mongolia, the Steppes of Asia, the Gobi Desert, Siberia, Moscow, St Petersburg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany before finishing in Paris on June 30.
As official timekeepers of the Peking to Paris rally, Blancpain produced two limited editions of 130 special fly-back chronographs, one with red accents and the other with yellow, the two official colors of the rally.
Blancpain (which ironically means "white bread") was founded way back in 1735, and is today run by the son of Swatch's chairman as part of the Swatch Group. The company is known for producing some of the most elaborate movements, for their deep-sea diving watches used by the US Navy and by Jacques Cousteau, and as the world's oldest watchmaker.
[Source: Blancpain and TimeZone]