Those familiar with Formula One racing know the name Max Chilton and Team Marussia, which is now defunct. British racecar driver, Max Chilton, however, has started a new life … this time with the American counterpart to F1: IndyCar. He has joined the Gallagher/Chip Ganassi Racing Team, donned the blue, white and silver team colors and embarked on a new direction in time with independent watchmaker, Armin Strom. The driver, already familiar with the Armin Strom brand since his F1 days, approached Armin Strom when he moved to IndyCar and the brand quickly got behind him again as a sponsor. Now, the two take their partnership to a new level, unveiling the Armin Strom Max Chilton Edge Double Barrel Watch.
The watch was officially unveiled just recently at Texas Motor Speedway during the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series races (which, due to rain, have been postponed until August). Just eight pieces will ever be made, and Chilton owns the No. 1 piece. Meaning there are just a few left out there to be snapped up. There are a number of intriguing things about the new watch that make it a winning timepiece.
To begin with, there are the precision mechanics Armin Strom makes the manual movement of this watch, ARM 16, in-house. The movement consists of 19 individual parts, each hand-finished with a non-traditional cross-grinding motif to offer stealth, machine-like appeal. It is equipped with double barrels that offer eight days of power reserve. The barrels are visible through the sapphire caseback, where there is also a “Max” logo plate. The watch, with off-center timing, also features a small subsidiary seconds dial at 9:00 on the main face, which doubles as the power reserve indicator.
In addition to the technical aspects of the watch, its looks are pretty impressive as well. The 46.8 mm watch is crafted in black PVD steel and features a notched and cutout bezel. The skeletonized mechanics are visible on the front of the watch, which is devoid of a dial except for the power-reserve sundial at 9:00. Additionally, in designing the watch, Chilton asked to incorporate certain design elements that pay homage to his IndyCar team and his personal trek. To begin with, the watch features his IndyCar number – 8 — in the power-reserve subdial on the watch. The 8 is created with a Union Jack flag motif, paying homage to Chilton’s British homeland. The hours are created in the bold blue of his racecar team and the alligator strap has silver stitching to recall the car’s engine. The watch is also sold with a second rubber strap indicative of the tires. A sapphire crystal and caseback allows viewing of the mechanical caliber. It retails for approximately $28,000.
Finally, there is the “fit” of the watch, the parties involved, and the teams. Both Armin Strom and Chip Ganassi racing, Max Chilton and IndyCar, share the same goals and the same methods of getting there. Coming out on top via hard work, staying a steady course, and holding to demanding standards are shared concepts, as are dedication to precision, excellence and technological advancement.
“Auto racing and watchmaking are similar in so many ways,” says Sebastian Marten, head of marketing for Armin Strom. “Both are about precision, passion and success. This work with Max was so right for us. We are both passionate about what we do, and both our teams are geared for success. Also, for us, the focus this year is on the American market and IndyCar is the perfect fit, it is an American sport.“
Additionally, Marten says that the brand is not concerned with the potential soft economic environment because of its production strategies. Making just eight pieces of the new Max Chilton Edge Double Barrel watch is consistent with the brand’s limited edition strategy. It only creates limited numbers of watches. “We only make about 600 watches a year. We have 23 people, including 15 watchmakers, in our team and we make watches to suit the orders and deliver within six to eight weeks so we never disappoint our retailers when it comes to delivery. Also, we never have any big stock to worry about when the environment is soft and business conditions are weak.”
Next year, Armin Strom celebrates 50 years in business, and, says Marten, the celebration products and plans are already in the works.