Français | English

Mike Hailwood Tribute Watch, behind the scenes

Image - Mike Hailwood Tribute Watch, behind the scenes

Marco Hug is Chief Designer for the independent watch design studio Neodesis, which was chosen by BPM to give each of the Club Pecqueur Motorists’ themed watch collections their own personality. Marco is also a motorcycle enthusiast. So he had a blast working on the “Tribute to Mike the Bike” watch.

Reading time: 4 minutes

A graduate of the La Chaux-de-Fonds School of Applied Arts in Switzerland, Marco Hug began his career at a jewellery workshop in Biel, where he also developed watch designs. After that he joined Louis Chevrolet Watches*, before moving to watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier a few years later as head of their design studio. He joined Neodesis three years ago.

Marco, what was your inspiration for creating the “Tribute to Mike the Bike” edition of the Club Pecqueur Motorists watch, which acts as the Club’s access code and emblem?

Marco Hug: I received a very comprehensive brief from Romain Guettal of Groupe BPM. Romain outlined for me the major stages of Mike Hailwood’s career, and explained the Club Pecqueur Motorists’ wish to reference and commemorate his historic win at the 1978 Isle of Man TT Races. I then looked for anchor points to highlight elements linked to the Ducati 900SS on which he rode to victory 46 years ago. One obvious link is that the collection comes in a limited edition of 46 numbered pieces.

Which elements caught your attention?

First of all, I focused on incorporating the three official colours of the Ducati racing team: red, green and white. I wanted a distinctive sign to appear on the time zone adjustment disc, so I decided to highlight the zero in green. This creates a subtle break while also enhancing readability, thanks to the contrasting midpoint. Then, in reference to the colours of the racing gauges, I chose white for the interior of the dials indicating local time and home time. I also added green or red for the seal around the crystal, and the same for the Saphyr back, through which the Pecqueur LTM 5021 movement can be seen. The perimeter of the small seconds subdial is accented with the three Ducati team colours. To stay consistent with the new black-on-white colouring of the hands, I also changed the colour of the moon disc indicating day and night from blue to black. And finally, for a more matte finish, the Geneva striping on the dial has been replaced by a satin finish with engraved lines.

Did you also work on the back of the watch?

Of course! On the Saphyr caseback I added the number 12, which was the number of the bike with which Mike Hailwood won the 1978 Tourist Trophy, in the distinctive typography of the Ducati brand.

Are there any other elements that differentiate this watch from other pieces in the Club Pecqueur Motorists collection?

Yes, the strap has a fairly unique feature. If the seal around the dial is red, the topstitching on the strap is also red, while the lining is green with red stitching. And vice versa: if the seal is green, the lining of the strap is red. I feel this approach gives an even more authentic and distinctive touch to this haute horlogerie timepiece.

Have you ever worked on a motorsports-themed project before?

No, this was my first time! But as a former biker, and an enthusiastic owner of a Yamaha FZR 750 Genesis and a Honda CBR 900, I loved every minute. And the Mike Hailwood connection really appealed to me. He left his mark on motorcycle racing through his technical mastery on the track, as well as his personality off the track, which was greatly appreciated by both fans and fellow racers. He was also one of the very few motorcycle racers to successfully cross over to motor racing, competing in Formula 1 for several years after his motorcycle grand prix victories. Working on this new watch collection, I also appreciated the link to Italy through Ducati. As a designer, I’m a huge admirer of Guigiaro, founder of Italdesign, who left his mark on a number of industrial fields, not just cars. Italian designers often have a very recognisable signature.

* Originally from the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Swiss racing driver Louis Chevrolet (1878-1941) emigrated to the United States and founded the Chevrolet automobile brand in 1911.