In 1868, New England watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the International Watch Company (IWC) in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. One hundred years later, in Southern California in 1968, Mattel Toy Company co-founder Elliott Handler built the first Hot Wheels miniature cars. Separated by a century in their origins, but sharing the spirit of American innovation and a strong link to automotive design, both brands formed a partnership last year, a natural follow-up from the watch manufacturer’s launch of its own IWC Racing team in 2018. The “IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works” collector set, unveiled at this past weekend’s 78th Goodwood Members Meeting in England, is the latest project to emerge from the collaboration.
The set, limited to 50 total pieces, matches up a specially designed IWC’s Pilot’s Watch Chronograph with a Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz 300 SL model car. The watch’s 43-mm case is made of grade 5 titanium, a material lighter and harder than steel, which is used often in automobile construction. Its surface has a dark matte gray finish, obtained from an elaborate surface treatment involving both the polishing and blasting of case components. At 9 o’clock on the side of the case is an engraving of the Hot Wheels “flame” logo.
The black dial, with its three subdials at 12, 9, and 6 o’clock and day and date windows at 3 o’clock, features a wavy, laser-engraved checkered flag pattern, a light-to-dark textured effect that calls to mind the finish line of an automobile race. A smoked sapphire caseback offers a glimpse of the watch’s movement, IWC’s automatic Caliber 69385, with an integrated, column-wheel-controlled chronograph function that measures up to 12 hours of elapsed times. The 33-jewel caliber beats at 28,800 vph and stores a power reserve of 46 hours. Securing the watch to the wrist is a silver-and-black textile strap whose sleek color scheme reflects that of the IWC Racing Team’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
Paying an even more direct homage to that car is the miniature model that comes with the watch in the “Racing Works” collectors set. An exclusive model created by the Hot Wheels design team at parent company Mattel, it is an intricately detailed 1:64th replica of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that the IWC team takes on the racing circuit — faithful down to its opening gullwing doors and painstakingly produced interior, including bucket seats, roll cage, and red sill trims. Additional details include clear headlights with MB star braces and racing graphics on the hood and doors. Like the watch, the model car bears the prominent number “68” — a reference to the years 1868 and 1968, the founding years of IWC and Hot Wheels, respectively — and is strictly limited to 50 pieces.
The watch and model car are presented together in a silver-and-black metal toolbox with an instruction manual for the watch, a booklet on the Racing Works project and a special badge proclaiming the limited edition number of both the car and the watch. The very first set will be auctioned at Bonhams (online bidding opened on October 16), with proceeds from its sale going to benefit the Two Bit Circus Foundation, a children’s education-based non-profit organization. The 49 remaining sets will be available for sale at $10,000 each.