I think it’s fair to say that most of us have some kind of healthy obsession with a particular luxury item that we know we can’t afford.
For some, it’s expensive cars. For others, it’s luxury shoes or exclusive handbags. But for me, it has always been watches.
One day, I WILL make my millions. And I’ll cherish the day that I can walk into the appointment-only Patek-Philippe Salon on Bond Street to collect my timepiece.
And who knows? Maybe when Motorcycle Tourer takes over the world of motorcycling, perhaps Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin will contact me with a sponsorship offer!
Of course, that’s all pie in the sky. But my fascination with watches isn’t. And it’s been passed down to me through the Motorcycle Tourer family lineage.
The Omega Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree
See, a century ago, somewhere in the arse-end of Ukraine, my Grandfather was born. Sadly, he passed away when I was about 21. But despite living next door to him and seeing him every day since the day I was born, I didn’t really know that much about him.
He never spoke of his past. But being stuck somewhere between Ukraine, Russia, and Poland during WWII, I imagine his history was somewhat ‘colourful’ to say the least.
One of the only things we have left to remember him by is an Omega watch. A watch that my dad still wears today.
We have no idea how my Grandad got hold of this particularly pricey watch. I’d love to spin you an elaborate tale of how and when he got it. But the truth is, he probably nicked it from somewhere whilst making his way to the UK after the war!
Oh well, such is life.
But even back then, my Grandad loved watches. After him, my dad took over the reins of the chariot. And now it’s been passed down to me.
I Don’t Usually Go For Motorcycle-Inspired Tat
I’ve never been a fan of motorcycle-inspired stuff. And that includes motorcycle watches.
Collaborations, partnerships, or whatever else you want to call them are usually just PR stunts. They’re designed to turn a quick buck or profit from some cross-brand exposure.
I mean, have you ever seen the BMW-branded suitcases in the showrooms? Or the Ducati-branded sunglasses? Please, the whole thing makes me gag!
And to be fair, the motorcycle watches on this list are probably no different. But at least with a watch, meticulous engineering and artistry have gone into the process of crafting it.
In fact, the labour of love that goes into the design process of a watch is probably just as intensive as the building of the bike it’s associated with.
So with that said, here are 10 of the classiest motorcycle watches you can buy today. Well, if you’ve got the money!
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Bulgari Aluminum Ducati Special Edition Chronograph – €5,000
I don’t usually like to stereotype. But if there’s one thing the Italians are good at, it’s producing beautiful stuff. Including people.
So when you get Bulgari collaborating with Ducati to celebrate their mutual passions for innovation, design, and beauty, you end up with this beauty of a watch.
The Bulgari Aluminum Ducati Special Edition Chronograph is presented with a stunning dial in unmistakable Ducati red. And also includes three sub-dials in white, black, and red – a nod to the graphics on the Ducati rev counter.
Made from premium materials, the 40mm case is aluminium. The bezel and bracelet are made from black rubber, and the chronograph pushers and crown are constructed from titanium.
On the rear, you’ll find a treated titanium case back, which is personalised with Ducati branding and the production number.
And to top it off, the watch is delivered in an anodised aluminium case with a rubber interior and is finished off with the signatures of both brands.
Breitling Top Time Triumph Chronograph – £4,500
For those of you who know your Triumph motorcycle history, you might remember the 1951 Thunderbird 6T in ‘Polychromatic Blue’.
And if you’re a watch lover, you may have come across the Breitling Top Time Ref .815 from the 1970s.
Well, in this collaboration, Breitling and Triumph have combined the two to produce a classic timepiece whilst showcasing the dial in that distinctive ice-blue of 1951.
Particularly nice on the Breitling Top Time Triumph Chronograph is the racing-inspired calf leather skin that serves to complement the dial – rather than detract from it. And the logos of both companies are placed subtly at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock markers.
The contrasting tachymeter scale shows clear speed readings. And the mushroom buttons make it easy to access the functions of the chronograph.
On the back, you’ll find an exquisitely detailed etch of Triumph’s iconic parallel twin engine – a nod to those who are familiar with the history and provenance of the bike.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian – $3,900
I actually really like this collection of three motorcycle watches spawned from the collaboration of the Swiss watchmakers Baume & Mercier and Indian.
The Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro Tribute is the first in this collection of three and is dedicated to the man who set multiple land speed records on his Indian.
If you want something more exclusive, look no further than the Clifton Club “Indian Legend” Series. This features the Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief and the Indian Scout.
Only 1901 pieces of each of these motorcycle watches were made – honouring the founding year of Indian.
All three models have 44mm diameter cases, black bezels, and feature the Indian head engraved on the case backs. On close inspection, you’ll also see that the seconds hand is inspired by the ‘I’ in the Indian logo.
But perhaps my favourite bit of these motorcycle watches is the strap. These are made by Horween – makers of Indian leather seats.
Harley-Davidson Bucherer Blue
This Swiss collaboration between watchmaker Carl F. Bucherer and Bündnerbike has produced the most expensive bike in the world.
The bad news is that price is $1.8 million! The good news is that it includes the bike as well as the watch.
Thankfully, you can be sure you’re buying into two pieces of art. The Harley-Davidson Bucherer Blue took a team of eight dedicated engineers 2,500 hours to build.
And the distinctive blue colour was achieved by silver-plating the bike and then applying six coats of paint in a very particular (and secret) way.
The watch is built into the bike and is located on the side of the tank beneath an armoured dome. It’s then placed in a removable safe.
Also in the dome is a Heaven six-prong Solitaire ring with a 5.40 ct diamond! And that’s not including the diamond-embossed rotating ring that sits at the bar ends.
Tag Heuer Monaco, Steve McQueen – £5,850
The story has it that when Steve McQueen was preparing for the filming of Le Mans in 1970, he acquired a Tag Heuer Monaco because it matched his Heuer racing suit.
After racing down the Mulsanne straight at 200 mph on the final day of filming, McQueen got out of his car and approached his trusty mechanic, Haig Altounian.
“I want to thank you for keeping me alive all these months” he said before handing the watch to his mechanic.
Haig, ever the gentlemen, refused the gift as too big a gesture. McQueen shook his head and whispered, “It’s too late, it’s already got your name on it.”
The mechanic gratefully accepted the gift, and after wearing it for a while, placed it in a safe deposit box.
Half a century later, it still resides in the box.
Tissot T-Race MotoGP 2022 – £555
Tissot has been the official timekeeper of MotoGP for 20 years – and the company also sponsors many of the riders.
Each year, the brand produces commemorative motorcycle watches dedicated to the MotoGP.
The Tissot T-Race MotoGP utilises Saphhire crystal to enhance legibility whilst providing tough, anti-scratch protection.
Internally, Tissot gives a nod to MotoGP colours by using black, red, and white on a unique, textured dial.
They have also used what Tissot calls SuperLuminova – a reflective material placed on the hands and dial for superior visibility in the dark.
The watch is also water-resistant and comes in a little MotoGP helmet.
This year, the watches are limited to 3,333 pieces. That said, they are very affordable compared to many of the motorcycle watches on this list.
Bremont Isle of Man TT – £5,495
If you’re a TT lover, this one is for you. And if you’re a fan of Peter Hickman as we are, you’ll love it even more!
Bremont has been the official timekeeper of the TT since 2019. And it has worked closely with Hickman on the production of this timepiece.
Only 62 editions of the Bremont Isle of Man TT motorcycle watches were ever made – one for each official section on the mountain course.
The branding on the watch is quite overt, and it’s obvious it’s dedicated to the TT. But it looks really good with the red and white TT branding on a matte black dial.
The bezel is thick and chunky, and the stainless steel is complemented by an understated, black leather strap.
Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition – £6,990
Okay, we all know about the recent chequered past of Norton. But if you’re a fan of vintage Norton motorcycles, this watch could very well be your cup of tea.
I love the vintage nature of the Breitling Premier B01 watch. Powered by Breitling’s Caliber Manufacturer 01 Movement, the Premier B01 features a 42mm stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal case back.
You’ll also find the Norton logo engraved subtly on the left side of the case.
The matte black dial features contrasting whites and golds, and a tachymeter. But I don’t think Breitling does this watch any favours by referring to it as ‘urban chic.’
For me, it’s a classy looking piece that suits the Norton brand.
And if you really want to flex those exclusive muscles, you can team it up with the matching limited edition Norton Commando 961 Café Racer – limited to just 77 units.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Ton Up – £6,500
We’re back with Triumph again, but this time it’s in honour of The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride rather than the brand.
If you’re wondering, the ‘Ton up’ in the Zenith Pilot Type 20 name refers to the Ton up boys of the café racer community.
Taking its inspiration from classic Triumphs, the watch is understated in a way that appeals to both watch and motorcycle lovers.
The first thing you notice is the oversized numbers and hands – making it a doddle to see what time it is at a quick glance. The large crown and chronograph buttons also make the chronograph easy to operate with gloved hands.
It looks good when it’s on, too. The black leather strap sets off the 45mm aged steel case. And it’s a watch that will look good no matter what you’re wearing!
Bell & Ross Watch BR 01 94 B-Rocket – $7,200
Noted for aeronautical design, Bell & Ross have commissioned Shaw Harley-Davidson (now Sykes Harley-Davidson) to create custom bikes for them since 2014.
And to match the modern, sleek, modern, yet retro styling, Bell & Ross created the BR 01 94 B-Rocket to go with it.
As the B-Rocket was designed to break records, the stylings on the watch have been designed to emulate those qualities.
On the jet black dial, you’ll find large minute counters and a tachymeter scale on the outer edge of the dial.
There are also additional 60-second, 30-minute, and 12-hour counters.
With only 500 made, these motorcycle watches are real limited edition timepieces!
Top image: Breitling