Cars and watches go together like, well, cars and watches. Still, the new P-51 watch doesn't just take inspiration from the auto world. Its dial is made from metal that was salvaged from 1960s Mustangs.
The P-51 is the second mechanical watch from Danish brand REC Watches, which started last year with a model that referred to another classic '60s car, the Mini. While that one was a little lower-key, more Mini, this watch is a muscular 44 millimeters, with a cushion-shaped case and an unusual dial configuration. Everything, from the numeral fonts to the shapes of the hands, is meant to recall the old cars. The top dial looks like a fuel gauge and shows the power reserve, while the speedometer-inspired main dial tells the hours, minutes, and seconds. Just below that is a date display meant to look like a mileage gauge. There's no mistaking the P-51 for anything other than a car guy's watch.
The real star, though, is the dial plate surrounding the various displays. It's cut from a sheet of metal salvaged from a vintage Mustang that was destined for the scrap yard. (No functioning cars were harmed in the making of these watches.) The little plate up around 11 o'clock tells you the year and chassis number of the Mustang, too. If you want to know even more about the car, each watch will come with a card you can scan with your phone to see a video about the specific Mustang your watch's dial came from. (A number of cars will be used in production, with a good number of watch dials drawn from any single car).
"There are a lot of Mustang wrecks out there, but many of these are 50 years old and have changed hands many times," said Jonathan Kamstrup, REC Watches co-founder. This can make finding the most interesting cars difficult. "We are teaming up with none other than the Mustang Club of America, the world's biggest Mustang community, in order to find just the right wrecks and stories."
Powering all this is a Japanese Miyota 9130 movement. It is automatic (you can see the stylized winding rotor through the window on the back of the watch), packs 48 hours of power reserve, and has 26 jewels. It's a solid workhorse movement and presents great value vs. comparable Swiss movements. For such a watch, it's the perfect choice.
The P-51 comes in three color version, each with its own look.
The black-and-gold version has really elegant grey display dials but is definitely the most aggressive, while the version with creme dials and blue hands (the closest color scheme to what you might find in a vintage Mustang) is probably the easiest to wear. That said, the third choice, with a combination black PVD and steel case and black subdials, best captures the sporty vibe. All three work well with the worn metal dial, which sports a mottled brown-and-silver color rather like that of rust.
The P-51 is being launched via Kickstarter. Pledges starting at $745 will get you a watch. When the items are available for retail—the company is just over a third of the way to its $200,603 goal—sale prices will be twice as high, at $1,495. If all goes well, the first P-51s will start shipping in March 2016.