Watches and cars are timeless companions — and in the case of luxury watch brand IWC, the automobiles in question do not just refer to asphalt-burning Formula One cars or the classic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing of the IWC Racing team. They also include the die-cast scale models by American brand Hot Wheels. This weekend, several of these elements converge as the IWC Racing team returns to the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, along with its 300 SL, since its last appearance in April 2019.
To celebrate the occasion, the Schaffhausen-based watch manufacture is launching a collaborative Hot Wheels set that will get the hearts of collectors racing: The IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works set, which is available in a limited edition of just 50 pieces. Housed in the coolest packaging ever — a metal toolbox in silver and black — the set comprises a timepiece, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works”; and a model car, the Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Racing Works Edition”.
IWC’s first collaborative project with Hot Wheels was released in 2020, in the form of a premium Team Transport set comprising the IWC Racing 300 SL and its racing team transporter. IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr, a Hot Wheels collector with a collection that numbers in the thousands, shares, “It was a chance meeting with Hot Wheels designer Manson Cheung that kick-started our partnership. Our shared passion for automotive design and mechanical watches led to a meeting between the design teams of both brands at the Mattel Design Center in El Segundo.”
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works”
At a glance, the patterned, two-tone dial of the new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph looks like it might be made of carbon fibre. But it actually features a chequered racing flag pattern composed of laser-engraved squares with alternating darker and lighter shades. It’s an interesting finish that for us, visually ties this new chronograph back to the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “AMG” that was released in May.
The watch is housed in a 43mm case made of grade 5 titanium, an unsurprising choice of material given its ubiquity in the automotive world. Here, the lightweight material has been microblasted to give it a matte finish. The Hot Wheels flame logo is of course present, and is engraved on the side of the case — an infinitely better idea than having it on a dial that is already pretty busy.
Driving the watch is the manufacture calibre 69385, a self-winding movement with a 46-hour power reserve. It’s visible through the smoked glass caseback, which complements the timepiece’s grey palette — as does its silver and black textile strap.
Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Racing Works Edition”
There have been two prior models created as part of the IWC and Hot Wheels partnership, but not one like this latest special edition. Created by the Hot Wheels design team, the model was sculpted and detailed by Manson Cheung with graphics by Steve Vandervate and IWC designer Nicholas Schmidt.
One of the most detailed 1:64 scale models that has been made by Hot Wheels, it replicates the most distinctive features of IWC’s chosen classic car: Gullwing doors that can be opened and closed, bucket seats, a roll cage, red sill trims and its racing livery.
In a very cool and fortuitous spin, the number 68 marks both car and watch, with 1868 and 1968 being the founding years of IWC and Hot Wheels respectively. Speaking of numbers, each of the 50 sets will be numbered, and this figure is inscribed on a limitation plate found in the toolbox packaging, along with an instruction manual and a booklet about the project.
Oh, but if you want edition number one, head to the Bonhams’ website, where it will be available for online bidding until Oct 22. Proceeds go to the Two Bit Circus Foundation, which aims to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and environmental stewardship in children.