Tribute to a human adventure
Celebrating courage and ambition is at the heart of the new Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra watch editions. It is a statement of arrival for those who believe no goal is out of reach, and maintain the relentless drive to accomplish the impossible. With its bold signature touches and elegant sense of purpose, this is a series of limited edition chronographs, elaborated in collaboration with designer Peter Brock, that celebrate life’s special achievements
If we go back in history, by the end of the 1963 season, it was apparent that the 289 Cobra roadster needed a roof to compete and win down the straightaways of the high speed European circuits. Shelby was at a vital crossroads. Shelby American initially fitted a hardtop on the existing Shelby Cobra roadster for aerodynamic purposes. Peter’s intention was to adapt these aerodynamic ideas for Shelby. He knew that reducing the drag of the car could lead to a major speed gain more than increasing horsepower. Slowly, the unforgettable shape emerged: rounded front, fairly at roof, tapered width and a chopped tail to improve downforce as well signify a permanent break with the teardrop shape of conventional race design. Its design was so radical that no one, including aviation experts, thought the car would work. After working with Ken Miles to build a plywood model to smooth out the aesthetics, the Shelby team began together to rapidly assemble a prototype. In only 90 days, design and engineering worked around the clock to meet the competition deadline. The most aerodynamic car in America, powered by the workhorse Cobra 289 engine.
Shortly before the first race of the 1964 season, the Shelby team took their creation to Riverside for a test drive. After just 20 laps, racing director and champion Shelby driver Ken Miles walked up to Carroll Shelby and delivered his verdict. The Daytona Coupé wasn’t just lightning fast, but beautifully poised and stable. It quickly established its fearsome reputation as the fastest GT car in the world. At Le Mans 1964, the Daytona CSX2299 driven by famous duo Bob Bondurant/ Dan Gurney set the world alight with a blistering 196 mph (315 km/h) performance at the famous Mulsanne straight.
50 years after the creation of the iconic race car, Peter Brock has drawn inspiration from his original drawings and collaborated with Baume & Mercier to create the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra limited editions. For him, ‘the graphics of the Daytona were crucial, and it’s the same with the chronograph. You don’t need to see it close-up to admire its beauty. Look across the room, and you just know it’s the Daytona Coupé. Every detail mirrors the original in form and purpose.’
Equipped with a Swiss made movement (La Joux-Perret 8147-2) and flyback function, the chronograph’s single functions can be retrieved individually. The dial was personally designed by Peter Brock himself: one part blue, one part silver, it evokes the striking characteristics of the Daytona’s rear. The horizontal blue counters and the tachymetric scale, sporting the number ‘196 mph’, recall the car’s distinctive, stylistic elements. Additionally, the 44mm case is forged from titanium, famous for its lightness and endurance, and polished/satin finished steel. Between the hands glowing in C1 Superluminova blue, the chronograph’s red second hand features the iconic Cobra logo, another stylistic achievement designed by Peter Brock himself. The 196-piece chronograph limited edition is a tribute to the first official race of the Shelby Daytona Coupé and above all to its record speed in Le Mans in 1964. Completing the sporty style are black or blue calfskin straps, an esthetic reminiscent of carbon fiber used in automotive facilities. It is lined with black rubberized soft touch calfskin accentuated by quilt lines. On the reverse, the Daytona Coupe’s muscular magnesium alloy wheel design is replicated surrounded by an etched collection title.
The two further limited edition chronographs at the heart of the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra collection also exclude style and performance. The 44mm diameter case forged from polished and satin-finished stainless steel matches the aerodynamic contours of the timeless Daytona body shape. In the center is a modern dial available in silver-colored or Daytona blue replete with Arabic numerals, vertical chronograph ringed counters inspired by those of the dashboard highlighted with red touches, day and date displays at 2 o’clock, and a tachymeter scale placed into the flange. Admire the Clifton Club Shelby® Cobra models more closely, and you will discover signature elements: The first are detailed replicas of the Daytona Coupe’s foot pedals, present as push buttons on the crest’s side to control key functions. Engraved on the opposite side, honoring the performance of the Cobra 289’s engine, is the Cobra’s emblem.