REC continues to capture moments and tell stories with their latest release...
Since coming onto the scene in 2014, REC watches has impressed with its timepieces made from the recycled components of classic car parts. Now the Danish brand has launched a new limited-edition collection, which is just as striking and unusual as everything that has come before from them.
In case you’re wondering what REC stands for, it’s ‘recover’, ‘recycle’ and ‘reclaim’ – which neatly sums up their ethos. Over the years REC has repurposed classic Minis, Porsches, Land Rovers and even Spitfire aircraft, having secured initial investment from the Danish equivalent of Dragons’ Den.
And now onto the latest release: the newest pair of P-51 watches. It’s a name that will be familiar to anyone into classic planes and cars, as it describes both a legendary fighter plane – the American equivalent of the Spitfire – and an equally legendary limited-edition Ford Mustang car. It also describes a watch, as REC already launched a collection made from recycled Ford Mustangs around five years ago – although these collections are now mainly sold out. Hence two brand new P-51 watches – looking very different to their predecessors – which come in two distinct varieties: Little Red and Green Hornet, named after two of the most famous classic Ford Mustangs of them all.
The unusual pair of watches has been made in collaboration with the owner of the elusive vehicles they are named after: Craig Jackson, CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company and an avid car collector. The P-51 Little Red watch takes its origins, name and design from a one-off experimental prototype Shelby Ford Mustang GT500 in the 1960s. Numerous enthusiasts and experts were actually convinced that the car had been destroyed more than 50 years ago, and some people wondered if it had ever even existed at all, only adding to the air of mystery around it. Little Red was created by the famous American racing driver and car tuner Carroll Shelby, after he came back from the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours with Ford’s first overall victory: a moment that became part of motorsport folklore, thanks also to the recent film starring Matt Damon as Shelby.
Back in 1966, the real-life Shelby wanted to put the same engine from the Ford GT40 that had just won Le Mans into Little Red, making it a vehicle to truly push the limits of what was possible at the time. It started off as a standard Ford Mustang GT500 but ended up being something quite different after Shelby had finished with it. Nobody really knew what happened next and that’s probably why the vehicle seemingly disappeared without trace: it went through so many iterations that nobody ever really knew quite what to look for.
Nicknamed “Little Red” for its bright scarlet colour, the name was possibly a jibe in the direction of Ferrari, famously the American marque’s nemesis during that period of Le Mans history (just watch the movie for the full background).
Fast forward to the modern era and the hunt for Little Red had become something of a personal quest for car enthusiast and collector Jackson. He put together a dedicated team to find his automotive grail, and in 2018 his persistence finally paid off. Little Red was eventually discovered in March of that year in rural Texas, and brought back to life in a comprehensive restoration. Excess sheet metal from the restoration process was donated to REC and built directly into the dial of this new P-51 watch.
It’s a similar story with the P-51 Green Hornet timepiece, which takes its name, components, and design from another experimental Shelby Ford Mustang test car. This too started off as a normal road car but eventually gained Shelby scoops and an eye-catching rear spoiler – both elements incorporated into the design of the P-51 Green Hornet watch – among many other modifications. For example, electronic fuel injection put the apple green Mustang way ahead of its time; an innovation that eventually found its way onto everyday cars. It was all part of the development work that Carroll Shelby did with Ford, experimenting on the car with bigger engines and the newest tech available of the era. This one was a distinctive green colour, carried through into the watch that bears its name.
Prototype cars normally live fast and die young, but both of these vehicles had a lucky escape, given that Ford’s policy was usually to destroy prototype vehicles to avoid them entering circulation.
After its working life was over, Green Hornet was instead bought by a Ford executive who used it as a personal vehicle for commuting, business and leisure, before passing it down to his son. It was later acquired by Craig Jackson, some years before he also tracked down Little Red. Similarly, the excess metal from Green Hornet’s restoration was incorporated into a limited-edition REC P-51 watch. Both are now available to buy for the first time. Jackson, the owner of the two remarkable vehicles commemorated in these watches, said: “REC goes to extraordinary means to find unique artefacts and put them into a brand new timepiece. It just seemed like a good match to have a piece of Little Red and Green Hornet in people’s unique, quality timepiece.”
Case width: 42mm
Movement: Swiss Technology Production STP2-12-13
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds & power reserve indicator
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: 4-Piece 316L Stainless steel case with PVD coating and stamped sides
Water-resistance: 5 atm, 50 metres
Dial: Handcrafted metal dial cut directly from 'Green Hornet' - the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 EXP / 'Little Red' - the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 EXP
Strap: Black leather/grey leather
Availability: Available now via recwatches.com
Both are great-looking and highly unusual Swiss-made watches, in 42-millimetre size (as opposed to the 44 millimetres of the previous P-51 watches). Unsurprisingly, one is red and one is green, with two very similar stainless steel case designs. The automotive cues are everywhere: from the sub dials that echo the car’s instruments to the strap that brings to mind vintage car seats. Not to mention a power reserve indicator fashioned after a fuel gauge, a crown that apes the wheels, and white stripes on the dial that are reminiscent of the period decals.
Little Red is limited to 318 examples, while there are 282 Green Hornets. They each use the Swiss Technology Production STP-12-13 movement, giving a power reserve of 42 hours.
Both retail for £1221, and both equally stand out from the crowd. Check them out for yourself here.
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