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Nobody likes being late and while anyone can check the time on their smartphone, it’s not a particularly elegant option. Watches have made a huge comeback lately (especially mechanical watches that don’t require batteries to run) and it’s easy to see why. With a style to fit nearly any wrist, there’s something cool about strapping a tiny little machine or supercomputer to your wrist. Being a bunch of car lovers here at Morrie’s, we figured we’d compile a list of our favorite automotive-themed watches to keep the car lover on your holiday gift list on time.
We’re big fans of Autodromo, not just for their watches, but also because the owner of the company is a big car guy. He races a vintage Alfa Romeo and creates some great driving gloves as well as sunglasses. Autodromo’s watches (ranging from $375 – $1,200) are offered in five styles, although we prefer the models that emulate the classic gauges of our favorite race cars such as the “Veloce”, the “Stradale”, and the “Group B”.
While Autodromo is a relative newcomer to watch world, Tissot has been assembling watches since 1853. While that was quite a while before the first cars (or horseless carriages) were ever created, Tissot has built a solid reputation for themselves with a line of automotive-themed watches. The range features both quartz (battery-powered) and mechanical watches with prices ranging from about $350 – $2,000.
For those that appreciate motorcycles, Tudor offers the Fastrider chronograph (about $4,000) in conjunction with Ducati. Available in three unique colors taken directly from the hot new Ducati Scrambler motorcycles, they also come with a really unique leather strap that reminds us of our favorite leather jacket.
One name synonymous with motorsports and cars in general is Steve McQueen. While Heuer (now Tag Heuer) has been around since 1860, Heuer went through a bit of a golden age when they began sponsoring motor racing events in the 1960s. That resurgence hit critical mass when Steve McQueen began wearing a blue and red Heuer Monaco at the track and on set while filming movies like LeMans. As such, that style of Monaco has been dubbed the “Steve McQueen” and now Tag Heuer is offering an updated version with their Caliber 11 movement for 2015 ($5,500).
One of the quintessential timepieces that harkens back to vintage racing is the Chopard Mille Miglia. Named after the famous 1,000 km street race through Italy, the Mille Miglia comes on a really cool rubber strap made from actual recycled tires and stamped with a cool vintage tire tread pattern. We especially like the Mille Miglia GTS Power Control ($6,640) model seen below because it features a power reserve indicator that looks just like a gas gauge to alert the wearer when the watch needs to be wound.
Those of you who attend our Formula One viewing parties at our Morrie’s Heritage Car Connection warehouse, you might’ve seen three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton sporting his signature IWC Ingenieur Chronograph ($15,200) around the paddock. The titanium case, ceramic crown and chronograph pushers, and carbon fiber dial just scream motorsports.
But for those who aren’t part of the Lewis Hamilton Fan Club might want to consider something even more exotic: the carbon fiber-cased IWC Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance Ceramic. With a case made out of solid carbon fiber and accented with shiny and nearly indestructible black ceramic, this lightweight watch is just as much F1 car as it is a watch ($20,800).
OK, so that was more than five but with so many cool options out there, we didn’t like limiting ourselves, or you, from seeing some really cool watches. And since we already blew past our five watch limit, we’ve got one more holy grail of a watch to share with you…
The MB&F HM5 CarboMacrolon is a true piece of haute horology with a completely in-house designed movement and a sleek case that was designed as an homage to one of the most beautiful cars ever built: the Lamborghini Miura. Limited to just 66 pieces in each of three colors, we picked this version as the best of the bunch. What makes this watch so unique is the fact that this is a mechanic watch that displays the time in a digital way, showing the time in two little windows on the side of the watch. What would normally be the face of the watch is actually made up of intricate movable louvers that can be opened by the wearer to allow light to come through the watch and illuminate the time readout. But good looks don’t come cheap – the MB&F HM5 CarboMacrolon carries an eye-watering pricetag of $63,000, or about as much as this lightly used 2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4.
With the 2015 LA Auto Show behind us, we figured it was time for a quick recap to talk about some hits and misses from the show. There were roughly 20-25 new vehicles revealed at the show and while we won’t cover everything, there was a lot to see. It’s easy to show up at these big auto shows and get sucked up into all of the hype and excitement but we’re here to cut through the bullcrap and break down what was really cool and what was just show floor fodder.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: HIT
With 505 hp and the fastest production sedan lap record at the Nurburgring, this BMW M3-fighter has us rummaging through our couch cushions and smashing every piggy bank in sight to scrape together the estimated $70,000 to buy one. Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this thing!?! It looks fantastic inside and out, is available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and offers rear or all-wheel drive. And this shade of blue looks particularly dashing as well.
Cadillac XT5: HIT
The Cadillac XT5 is the highly anticipated replacement for the SRX, which is currently the oldest model in their lineup. With a fresh new look and updated materials, the XT5 is a very important launch for Cadillac since the SRX it replaces was the company’s most popular model. With a nearly 300 lb diet, and an updated CUE infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay, the XT5 is bound to be a strong seller for the brand yet again.
Fiat 124 Spider: MISS
We want to like it, we really do, but the new Fiat 124 Spider takes the already gorgeous new Miata and somehow manages to make it look just a bit frumpy. While we can appreciate some of the styling cues of the original 124 Spider of the 1970′s in this car, it doesn’t really work when it’s scaled up on a modern car. Kudos to Fiat for using the 500 Abarth engine in this car though! It should sound pretty wicked and with turbos make everything better, even if the 124 Spider only comes with 160 hp.
Fiat 500e Stormtrooper Edition: HIT
We’re a sucker for Star Wars so while this fun little collaboration panders to our fellow nerds just a bit too much, we can’t help but love it all the same.
Hyundai Elantra: HIT
While we heard some rumblings from fellow show-goers that the new Elantra just ripped off styling cues from a bunch of other cars, we feel they borrowed some inspiration from some of the best designs out there. The headlights remind us slightly of the Jaguar XF while the grille looks like a mix of Ford Fusion and Audi TT, but these shapes have all been tweaked to fit the new Elantra in a cohesive way that works better than you might at first think. The rear reminds us of Hyundai’s own Genesis which certainly isn’t a bad thing either. Who said a cheap car has to look cheap?
Ford Escape: HIT
Given how good the current Ford Escape already is, the 2017 update is sure to be even better. The new look, with styling cues taken from the Edge, really works on the scaled down Escape too. Black accents and a sportier looking front grille don’t look bad, but we wish they would’ve taken more of a chance with the styling like they did in 2012. No doubt it’ll still be one of the top compact crossovers on the market when it becomes available later next year.
Lincoln MKZ: HIT
Lincoln has had a tough go of things over the last few years. The current lineup’s styling is a bit hit or miss, but we got excited when we saw the stunning Continental concept in New York earlier this year. Now we appreciate Lincoln taking that breathtaking look and applying it to the MKZ. Not only does the new front end look fresh and luxurious, but the MKZ also offers a new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp mated to all-wheel drive. Inside, the MKZ is finally on track for offering a level of luxury that at least matches that of its direct competition. If Lincoln can keep rolling out cars like this, their future is beginning to look brighter.
Mazda CX-9: HIT
Mazda has been on a hot-streak lately with their whole lineup, but the CX-9 had been starting to show its age. Thankfully, Mazda adapted their Kodo styling language to the new 7-seat crossover and heavily upgraded the interior and driveline. The new interior is now much more luxurious than it’s ever been in the past with rich and vibrant leather seats and plenty of safety and infotainment tech. The new 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv 4-cylinder offers 250 hp and plenty of torque.
Jaguar F-Pace: HIT
The all-new Jaguar F-Pace made its US debut at the 2015 LA Auto Show and we fell in love with the styling immediately. This is going to be volume seller for the Jaguar we see it being pretty successful for the British manufacturer. But really, who cares how many they sell. It looks beautiful and that’s pretty much all that matters to us. That, and we’re holding out hope that they offer the super aggressive 5.0-liter V8 from the F-Type R at some point down the road. Yes, please!
Range Rover Evoque Convertible: WTF?!?
We don’t even really know to categorize this. It’s ridiculous and useless and stupid and yet, we applaud Land Rover for having the stones to build it. This one can definitely be filed away in the same dark corner as the Nissan Murano Crosscabrio in a folder named “Weird Vehicles You Never Actually Thought Existed”.
Audi’s Booth: HIT
We couldn’t pick just one favorite from Audi’s booth so we picked them all. They all have over 600 hp, they all go like stink, and they all look amazing. You just can’t go wrong.
Porsche 911 C4S Targa: MISS
Welcome to the 328th obscure version of the Porsche’s 911 lineup. This one is the latest 911 with the new twin-turbo engine that isn’t technically a Turbo. It has all-wheel drive, wider rear fenders, and a roof panel that folds down compared to the regular, plain-Jane 911. For those who don’t like this *exact* iteration, it can also be had with a fixed roof, or a full convertible top. Or with less power, or less driven wheels, or with more power, or pretty much any way you could possible want it. Yes, it’s still a 911 so it’ll be amazing to drive but the 911 lineup has become so bloated now that it’s hard to get excited about any new iteration at this point.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport: HIT
Although the Boxster/Cayman lineup has plenty of different versions, all with minor tweaks, we love Porsche’s approach to the GT4, and they went somewhere really exciting with this, the GT4 Clubsport. This track-only model takes a largely stock Cayman GT4 and adds a roll-cage, beefed up suspension, and a unique 6-speed version of their PDK gearbox. While it’s largely targeted at a one-make racing series, we’d love to get our hands on one for some track days!
Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept: HIT
We love the design of the Impreza Sedan Concept and really hope the production version will look this good. While most other manufacturers have given up on building concept cars these days, it’s nice to see that Subaru still likes to wow us. Keep your fingers crossed!
Nissan Sentra: HIT
The Nissan Sentra has been a staple of the Japanese automaker’s lineup for decades and this new model, although largely a refresh, is a handsome car. Beyond the fresh new look, Nissan has added some real substance through technology like intelligent cruise control, blind spot detection, forward emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert. NissanConnect is also available now with navigation, Siri Eyes Free integration, and plenty of apps and services above and beyond what you might expect in this segment.
Although most of the big reveals were yesterday at the 2015 LA Auto Show, the low-pressure schedule today gave us time to make the rounds and get up close and personal with all the things we missed or wanted a second look at. We made sure to circle back and check out the Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept that we didn’t get the chance to see yesterday, as well as some of the new stuff Volkswagen, more crazy concepts from Kia, and some other odds and ends. And that’s a wrap! Goodbye, LA. We’ll miss your glorious weather.
And again, make sure to follow @MorriesAuto on Instagram or on Youtube (youtube.com/morriesauto) for more photos and video from the 2015 LA Auto Show.
One of the perks of our job is that we occasionally get to go to some of the bigger auto shows. As far as this time of year goes, it’s hard to beat the weather in LA and luckily, that’s where we ended up going this week for the 2015 LA Auto Show. Here’s a taste of what we saw today, and make sure to follow @MorriesAuto on Instagram or on Youtube (youtube.com/morriesauto) for more photos and video, live from the show floor. The Ford GT race car, new 400 HP Lincoln MKZ, Mazda CX-9, and Alfa Romeo Giulia got us the most excited. We can’t wait to see more tomorrow!
Not that any of us needed an excuse to get out of Minnesota just as it starts getting cold, but the Los Angeles International Auto Show will be a welcome change of scenery next week. It’s not just the warm weather we’re looking forward to, but the cars too. While we don’t know everything that will be debuting at the auto show this year, it’s sure to be a star-studded show with big debuts from Cadillac, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and many more.
Cadillac is going to be debuting their SRX replacement – the XT5 – in LA this year. We’ve already seen a handful of photos that have leaked and the midsize crossover is quite beautiful. Being Cadillac’s highest selling vehicle in their lineup, this is a very important vehicle for the automaker and we have high hopes.
Hyundai is going to show off the new 2017 Elantra at the show, as well as possibly debut the Equus-replacing Genesis G90 in concept form. Hyundai is also aiming to split the Genesis name off into its own separate luxury brand, something the automaker has been planning with various degrees of success for a number of years now.
Mazda is taking big steps to replace their aging CX-9 crossover SUV that has remained largely the same for the last 9 years. We expect the new CX-9 to keep the 7-seat layout and offer fresh styling and more of the safety and infotainment technology, such as Mazda Connect, as we see on the rest of Mazda’s lineup.
Nissan will be debuting the updated 2016 Sentra in LA and although details have been scarce, we’re excited to see for ourselves just how Nissan has revised and refined the compact sedan for next year.
Subaru is also going to be rolling out their new Impreza Sedan concept after debuting the 5-door hatch version at the Tokyo Auto Show last month. This will show the design direction of the next generation Impreza that we’ll likely see sometime around 2017 or 2018.
Other notable vehicles that we’re looking forward to seeing include the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport, a new Mercedes-Benz SL convertible, a lightweight, rear-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracan, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, an all-new Honda Civic Coupe, the Infiniti QX30 in production form, the new Buick LaCrosse sedan, and lastly, the new Fiat 124 Spider that is based on the new Mazda MX-5 platform. Surely there will be plenty of other interesting debuts at the show and we look forward to capturing them and sharing them with you later next week.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather to end the MN C&C car show season and what a great turnout too! It was great to see so many people stop by our booth for water, sunglasses, and t-shirts. Congrats to Erik Berger who won our VIP parking spot for himself and his ’92 BMW 850i. Scott Putnam also brought his Subaru WRX STI rally car to the show after recently winning the 2015 Rally America Super Production championship. Thanks everyone for coming out to the show all year! See you again in April, 2016!
While being a photographer isn’t really as glamorous of a job as it looks, it does occasionally have some benefits. For example, I had the opportunity to fly out to Los Angeles, California last week for some photoshoots and while I was out there, Mazda USA kindly hooked me up with an all-new 2016 CX-3 to drive while I was out there. Although I would’ve loved a new MX-5 Miata to run through the canyons and to the beach, the CX-3 did a great job of swallowing all of my extraneous camera gear. It even came with the new Mazda Connect system that integrated perfectly with my phone in seconds so I could stream some tunes and read messages from my wife as I drove up the coast, all without having to touch my phone!
With Mazda’s reputation for sporty, fun-to-drive cars, I scheduled an open day into my trip so I’d have time to put the nimble little CX-3 to the test and see if it delivered the “zoom-zoom” experience of other Mazdas. My plan was to leave my friend’s condo in LA around 10:00 AM on Monday morning, drive up the 101 Highway to Santa Barbara for lunch, then take the Highway 154 north, away from the beach and into the hills for a bit before rejoining the 101 via Highway 246 to head back towards the beach at Gaviota State Park. My goal was to end up at Point Concepcion State Marine Reserve, which looked like a beautiful and rocky point that juts out towards the Pacific Ocean. With a solid mix highways, mountain roads, and even a few dirt roads along the way, I knew that the Mazda CX-3 would get a solid workout on this nearly 350 mile round-trip drive.
I waited until LA’s notoriously horrible rush hour traffic subsided before hitting the road on Monday. The drive up to Santa Barbara was surprisingly boring since the 101 Highway doesn’t really follow the coastline at all but once I made it up to Santa Barbara, I found some parking right on the beach and set off to explore a bit. After a quick bite down the road at In-n-Out Burger in nearby Goleta, CA, I backtracked a little bit to get back to Highway 154.
This is a fast, twisty highway that snakes through the hills, offering beautiful views of Santa Barbara and the ocean. While scouting the route the night before, I stumbled upon Painted Cave Road, a little ribbon of tarmac that had a huge concentration of tight, technical corners and didn’t stray too far from the general route I’d laid out for myself. With nothing but time on my hands, I figured I’d give the road a try and see where it took me. I made a quick exit off of 154 and was immediately confronted with an incredibly steep climb up a single-lane serpentine road. The views were breathtaking but I was forced to keep my eyes on the road for fear of careening off the side of the road and down a VERY steep drop.
After rejoining the 154, I continued past the oasis of Lake Cachuma before hopping onto Highway 246 where I drove through the picturesque town of Solvang, a town so proud of their Danish heritage that many of the buildings feature windmills and similar architecture to what you’d see in Copenhagen. Eventually I rejoined the 101 heading south towards Gaviota State Park and the beach. My plan was to arrive at the state park and then immediately hop onto Hollister Beach Road which runs right next to the ocean and looked like it should lead me to – or at least close to – Point Concepcion. Unfortunately, my plan hit a snag when only about a mile down the road I came up to the entrance to a gated community. The gatekeeper rather sternly informed me that road didn’t go through unless I happened to be on his list for the day. As I turned around and headed back towards Gaviota State Park, I pulled up Google Maps on my phone and quickly found another route, one more than an hour out of my way, that looked like it might be promising! I hopped back on the 101, this time heading back to the north and hitched up with Highway 1 which would take me back through the hills along the coast briefly before exiting at Jalama Road. According to Google, this would take me towards Jalama State Beach and onward to Cojo Bay Road, which I’d follow south to eventually get to Point Concepcion. I figured if I didn’t waste too much time, I could get there in time to watch the sunset.
While Jalama Road eventually led me to yet another gated road that I couldn’t traverse, it turned out to be one of the best driving roads I’ve ever encountered. I couldn’t make it to my final destination but it ended up being a blessing in disguise because it meant I got to drive back on my new favorite road! It’s a beautiful mix of fast, flowing corners with lots of elevation changes through a mix of hills, meadows, and forests before culminating in an absolutely breathtaking view of the ocean stretched out wide in front of me. By the time I hopped back on Highway 101 and was headed back to LA, the sun was beginning to set. I made it just short of Malibu before I was able to stop for a quick photo-op as the sun set over the horizon. The rest of the drive back to LA was dark and uneventful but the Mazda CX-3 made a great, and comfortable, companion for my 10 hour drive. While the 146-hp SKYACTIV inline-4 provided enough grunt to make it through even the steepest of mountain passes while still returning very respectable fuel economy and the interior, while befitting of a $20,000 subcompact CUV, offered all the features, technology, and comfort that I expected and then some! The CX-3 takes all the things that makes the Mazda3 such an amazing car and adds a little bit extra ground clearance and interior volume. I’d call this one a home-run for Mazda!
A little rain didn’t stop a whole bunch of like-minded car enthusiasts from coming out to the AutoMotorPlex on Labor Day weekend for MN C&C. Thanks to everyone that came out for the show and congratulations to Heidi Day who won our VIP parking spot for the show this month and made the drive all the way from Willmar to be at the show!
We couldn’t have asked for better weather on a Saturday morning for the July MN C&C. Thanks to all of those who came out to the show on Independence Day!