Breitling makes its first foray into the world of motorcycling by teaming up with Norton Motorcycles
Breitling has announced that it will be partnering with Norton Motorcycles, with plans to incorporate parts of the motorbikes themselves into new watches.
Breitling is going through a lot of change at the moment, following the arrival of new CEO Georges Kern in summer 2017 after his surprise departure from Richemont.
Now the independent brand has announced a partnership with Derby-based Norton Motorcycles. Breitling, of course, has a long aviation history, and previously collaborated with Bentley for a number of years, but the world of motorcycles is brand new territory for the company.
It’s part of a burgeoning trend in the watch world: Baume & Mercier is working with Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company. Bell & Ross commissioned Shaw Harley-Davidson to design a custom concept bike, the B-Rocket, with a 1960s feel – which SalonQP fans will remember from the 2014 fair.
Zenith, meanwhile, has supported the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – a vintage motorbike rally – for the last two years, releasing a limited edition, suitably retro Pilot Ton-Up to mark the occasion.
Norton Motorcycles were previously associated with Bremont, with the Henley-on-Thames watchmakers releasing the Bremont Norton V4/RR Limited Edition to celebrate the Norton V4RR bike.
Norton Motorcycles was founded by James Lansdowne Norton in 1898, creating its first bike in 1902. By the mid-1930s Norton was producing over 4,000 road bikes annually, and was known for its success in TT racing.
The company took a hiatus from producing racing bikes to manufacture bikes for the army, making almost a quarter of the military bikes used during WWII.
There’s no specifics yet on the watches to come from the partnership, but Breitling has stated that together the two companies will create ‘some unique common products or features… which will even include some of the materials used in Norton Motorcycles’ legendary high-performance bikes.’
The link-up is an interesting indicator of the direction that Kern is steering Breitling in: ‘Both companies have reputations for products with an incredible “cool factor.” It’s easy to imagine someone riding by on a Norton motorcycle wearing a classic Breitling – a perfect combination of aspirational, statement-making brands.’