The name Zagato might as well be Italian for "exclusive"; that's exactly what their designs are. Although the carrozzeria has been designing cars since 1919, their most recent designs have all been extremely limited editions. Creations like the Maserati GS Zagato and Ferrari 575 GTZ had just one example made of each. The Spyker C12 Zagato was planned for 24 copies, but those plans have since been shelved. The design house recently announced that the Diatto GT Ottovu would be produced in a limited run of 99, like the 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato, which seems like mass-production by comparison. So it makes sense that when the Milanese design atelier turned their attention to creating a wristwatch, they would only make 25 examples.
The striking timepiece you see here is the result of a new long-term collaboration between Zagato and Swiss watchmakers Wyler Genève, forged out of the childhood friendship between the heads of both companies. Zagato designed the titanium case which houses the mechanical "manufacture" – i.e., built completely in-house – movement suspended in a carbon fiber and resin frame on shock absorbers. The dial features an F-E power reserve indicator like a fuel gauge on a car, and like Chopard's Mille Miglia and Pirelli's P.Zero watches, is strapped to the wrist with a rubber tire-tread strap.
You can bet the pricing is on a "if you have to ask" basis, but if you have the means and missed the 25 Zagato watches being offered, don't fret – let your bank manager do that for you. The same case design is being used on Wyler's new tourbillon, a complicated rotating form of watch movement that typically sells well into a likewise very automotive five-figure range.
Click on the image gallery below to see more. Complete press release after the jump.
[Source: Wyler Genève]
Milan, 25th October 2007 – Luxury watch brand Wyler Genève and Italy's Atelier Zagato today unveiled a strictly limited edition of 25 watches featuring design by Zagato. The watch is the first timepiece to bear the hallmark of the famous Italian atelier.
Just over six months after childhood friends Marcello Binda (President of Wyler Genève's parent company, the Binda Group) and Andrea Zagato (President of the eponymous company) first announced the partnership between exclusive atelier and luxury watch brand, the two companies were proud to present in record time a timepiece that perfectly combines the DNA of both brands.
At the exclusive Atelier Zagato near Milan, Zagato president Andrea Zagato used the new Wyler-Zagato watch as an example to illustrate the entire design process at Zagato, from the initial sketch to the prototype through the CNC model. Throughout the evening event, the presence of legendary Zagato automobiles from past decades served as a constant reminder of the Zagato design philosophy that is found in the Wyler-Zagato watch.
The high-end timepiece uses the same case, made of highly resistant titanium, as Wyler Genève's exclusive tourbillon models and features a shock-absorbing case design in which the movement is housed in a water-resistant titanium container that is cushioned between the bezel and case back in a carbon-fibre resin frame that is fixed on four sprung titanium screws. This gives the movement a form of shock protection that is similar to a car's suspension. Additional shock protection is provided by the crown protector, which has to be opened on either side of the crown before the crown can be used to adjust the time.
Working within the micromechanical tolerances required in watchmaking, the designers at Zagato have succeeded in translating the unmistakable signature of Zagato cars on to a watch dial that is no bigger than a car's door lock. The key to this is the use of a brushed aluminium look that is divided into two zones by the familiar "double bubble" shape seen on roof line of many of Zagato's creations. The applied "Z" trademark in red at 9 o'clock reaffirms the model's pedigree and, together with the red-tipped seconds hand, adds a sporty touch to the watch. Applied hour markers and the individually applied letters of the Wyler name complete the luxury finish of the dial and a closer look at the power reserve indicator at 12 o'clock gives a clue to the unusual heart that beats inside.
The Wyler-Zagato watch is powered by a manual winding manufacture movement that has an 8-day power reserve, which is achieved by the use of two barrel springs operating in series. Taking its inspiration from a car's dashboard, the power reserve display stands out with its "E" (empty) and "F" (full) markings. Following Zagato's philosophy of producing strictly limited editions of its automobile's, the Wyler-Zagato watch is also a limited edition of only 25 pieces, each of which has its individual number engraved both on the case back and the movement itself.
For perfect legibility, the time is displayed by the familiar hollowed-out Wyler Genève hands with luminous SuperLuminova inserts. The front and back glass is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to ensure a perfect view of the dial and movement. The automotive theme of the watch is rounded off by the distinctive Wyler Genève rubber bracelet, which bears the brand's signature tyre-tread pattern and is fitted with a standard buckle fixed with a titanium pin and screw. The limited-edition Wyler-Zagato watch is presented in a special black presentation box reminiscent of a car tool kit that bears the Zagato name. Already hugely popular among insiders even before any prototype photos were shown, this exclusive watch will undoubtedly be a hit among watch collectors and Zagato owners and fans.
As an extension of Wyler Genève recent certification as the first Swiss watch brand to become a CarbonNeutral company, the company also requested a pre-emptive analysis for the launch event of the Wyler-Zagato watch. The direct carbon emissions of the event were therefore estimated in advance and are being offset through The Carbon Neutral Company's portfolio of offset projects. The Wyler-Zagato watch launch has thus been certified a CarbonNeutral® event. Wyler Genève will continue to assess its carbon footprint in all operations and offset its direct carbon emissions wherever necessary, whilst encouraging suppliers and partners to consider their own carbon footprints.