Timepieces

High tech gems for the road and wrist

Maserati vehicles and luxury timepieces share precision engineering, refined workmanship and the extensive use of prestigious materials.

Mechanical parts majestically assembled to obtain precise movement, able to generate unique emotions: this phrase could be used to sum up a Maserati or, equally, a luxury timepiece. There is much that unites the Modenese gems of the road and the timepieces produced by master watchmakers.

The materials, for example: Meccaniche Veloci, a recently-established Italian watchmaker, has collaborated with Brembo, the famous brake manufacturer and long-time supplier to Maserati, to create the Quattro Valvole CCM model.

The watch features four independent and automatic mechanical movements that are housed in a 50mm case. The case is derived from a carbon-ceramic F1 brake disc, an extreme instance, but not a unique one, of exclusive automotive materials employed in watch-making. An element that has become almost an essential in the design of luxury cars, and which has appeared in watch-making, is carbon fibre.

Renowned for its durability and lightness, it is used in the construction of cases, dials and even moving parts. The imaginative watchmaker, Richard Mille, constructs the mainplate of some of his pieces from carbon nanofibres. These are light as a feather, can withstand jumps in temperature and are chemically neutral. These details may appear superfluous on a wristwatch but, to obtain a precise movement, it is necessary to have a solid base on which to connect the hundreds of miniscule mechanical components. Among the manufacturers who use carbon fibre are TAG Heuer, Corum, Ellicott, and Hublot’s extraordinary King Power ‘Cathedral’ Minute Repeater.

Aluminium and titanium are also commonly used in watchmaking. On a Maserati everything, including the lightweight V8 engines that ensure brilliant performance, has some parts in aluminium. In the watchmaking industry, François-Paul Journe, the French watchmaker based in Geneva, has created the Centigraphe Sport. The case, band and other important parts are in aluminium meaning its total weight is just 55 grams. Titanium is another extremely light material that is scratch resistant and hypo-allergenic. It is used by Harry Winston, Vacheron Constantin - the world’s oldest existing watchmaker - and Italian manufacturer Bulgari, who employ it alongside carbon fibre and aluminium.

 There is something else that bonds Maserati to those who create luxury timepieces: master craftsmanship.

A valuable watch is finished and assembled only by skilled craftsmen. The meticulous construction of the movement, the infinitesimal tolerances to be respected so that each part works in harmony and the precise correspondence between the various parts is what makes it possible to combine tens, sometimes hundreds, of minute components into a special object. These symbolise, as does a Maserati, the perfect blend of parts capable of breathing life into an object, rendering it unique.