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Time machines at All Time Stars.

Exclusive wristwatches as a special feature in Mercedes-Benz Classic magazine.

Text: Jens Koch | Photos: Nik Schölzel

Photographic journey through time.

Classics by Mercedes-Benz are time machines that take the beholder back to the era in which they were created. The editors have added two further time machines for a special feature in Mercedes-Benz Classic magazine: Exclusive wristwatches photographed together with a 280 SLC (C 107) dating from 1980.

Photo model in manganese brown metallic.

All Time Stars, the sales department at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, provided a car for the photoshoot of the wristwatches. Author Jens Koch, editor of the magazine “Chronos”, requested a sporty car that illustrates the current retro trend in watch design. The perfect answer: The 280 SLC of 1980 painted in manganese brown metallic with a beige interior precisely matched the image the author imagined.

Specialists at work.

Specialist journalist Jens Koch devotes all of his professional activities to the world of wristwatches. For the six-page photo story in Classic magazine he selected eight wristwatches from well-known brands, most of which Are Made in Germany – as was the 280 SLC. They were brought to the Mercedes-Benz Museum by photographer Nik Schölzel. He specializes in macro photography for industry and the media.

Right up close.

The art of close-up photography lies in making every detail of a watch come into its own: the shape, the materials used and precise color reproduction. To prevent light reflections from the lens and the often polished metal, as well as any intrusive shadows in the finished photo, the watches are positioned with millimetric precision, and the camera is set up just as precisely. It can easily take an hour of preparation before Nik Schölzel can capture the perfect image on his camera’s chip.

Fine-tuning by computer.

The sharply focused close-up images are given their final finish by computer. In the image processing phase, the photographer is able to combine several settings with different degrees of focus which he used during the photoshoot.

The lighting ambience required for the magazine layout is also created during the image processing phase. Thus product photography becomes an art form of sensual purity – just like the timepieces themselves and the 280 SLC used as a model for the special wristwatch feature.

Rolex Explorer II

In 1971 Rolex presented the Explorer II as a watch for adventurers and mountaineers. Since then there have been few changes to its appearance. And why should there be? This dual time watch has become a design icon, even if it has not quite achieved the fame and sales success of its sister, the Submariner. The Rolex automatic movement is regarded as one of the most robust and precise in the industry. When on vacation, for example, the wearer can use the crown to set the normal hour hand to a new time zone in increments of one hour. The orange-coloured hand shows the home time in the 24-hour format. The Explorer II with a steel strap costs 7350 euros.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Edition «Rudolf Caracciola»

IWC has devoted a chronograph model to the great racing driver Rudolf Caracciola. Caracciola was allowed to drive his parents’ Mercedes-Knight 16/45 HP even before he obtained his driver’s license at the age of fifteen. From 1926 on he became the best racing driver of his era in the works team of Mercedes-Benz. The chronograph is reminiscent of automotive history with its instrument-like dial and calf leather strap in a leather upholstery look. The speed can be read off on the tachymeter scale when the chronograph is stopped after driving one kilometre. This chronometer has the latest IWC automatic movement. IWC is producing 750 examples in stainless steel at a price of 7850 euros.

Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Tour Auto Edition

Zenith is the official timekeeper for the Tour Auto Optic 2000, one of France’s most important rallies for old and more recent classics, and has produced a limited edition of 500 as a special model for lovers of historical automobiles. The watch’s movement is a classic in itself, for in 1969 El Primero was the world’s first automatically winding chronograph movement. It still ticks unusually fast, and is able to stop the time to one-tenth of a second. The movement can be viewed through a window in the watch face, and it nowadays also includes high-tech materials such as silicon. The steel watch with a fabric strap costs 9700 euros.

Bruno Söhnle Mechanik Edition No. V

This brand from the German watch capital of Glashütte in Saxony is known for its good price/value ratio. The same applies to the Mechanik Edition No. V with its plain, instrument-look dial. The steel housing conceals a Swiss mechanical movement, which Bruno Söhnle extensively enhances in the Glashütte style: three-quarter plate, swan-neck micro regulator, and screw-in gold chason set jewels. Söhnle offers that much additional craftsmanship for a comparatively moderate 2350 euros.

Union Glashütte Belisar Chronograph

With its ivory-coloured dial, subdials with radial numerals, and needle hands, the Belisar Chronograph is reminiscent of historical automotive instruments. The tachymeter scale to measure speed is a further reference to motorsport. The mushroom-style pushers, conical crown, and wrinkled leather strap hark back to classic wristwatches. The automatic watch movement comes from Switzerland and is extensively embellished in Glashütte. This is because only watches in which at least 50 percent of the value has been added locally are allowed to carry the name Glashütte on the dial. The steel chronograph is priced at 2350 euros.

Glashütte Original Seventies Panoramadatum

Like the C 107, the forerunner to the Seventies Panoramadatum is a product of the 1970s. It was produced in the GDR by the state-owned company GUB (Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe), which became the Glashütte Original brand following German reunification. The square steel housing with rounded corners and the blue Guilloche dial lend character to the Seventies Panoramadatum. The large two-lens Cyclops for easier legibility is typical of the brand. The automatic movement is an in-house development by Glashütte Original, and is embellished in the traditional Glashütte style. Price with alligator leather strap: 8500 euros.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph

Tutima builds a chronograph with an evocative, cushion-shaped steel housing. The rotating bezel with a red marker is a typical brand feature. The aviation watch specialists in Glashütte have modified the Swiss automatic movement: The minute hand of the chronograph now comes from the center, and shows a 24-hour display. This follows the design of models on the market from the late 1970s to the 1990s. The corresponding movement is no longer produced, therefore the designers and watchmakers at Tutima resorted to CAD programs and their own screwdrivers. The Saxon One Chronograph with a steel strap is available for 4900 euros.

Erwin Sattler Chronograph II Classica Secunda.

This Munich-based custom manufacturer mainly builds large clocks such as precision pendulum clocks, table clocks and marine clocks. The wristwatches likewise have elegant, clearly laid-out dials with a classic structure and level of detail. The blued, pear-shaped hands and the silver dial attached with four screws and bearing a consecutive number are also reminiscent of the pendulum clocks. The chronograph function adds a little sportiness to the mix. The Swiss automatic movement inside the steel housing has a hand-engraved rotor. On request it is also possible to have the customer’s initials engraved there. With a hand-stitched leather strap the watch is priced at 6900 euros.

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