December 2, 2020
British automaker Land Rover is touting the durability of its Defender through a new collaboration and a campaign featuring a unique competition.
Land Rover partnered with premium English watchmaker Elliot Brown to release a special-edition timepiece geared for handling the same elements that a Land Rover maneuvers through. The Land Rover x Elliot Brown Holton Professional watch is also the prize in a short film in which a record-holding athlete and stunt driver face off, further establishing toughness as a hallmark for both brands.
“The campaign showcases the ruggedness of both the watch and the vehicle,” said Julie Blackley, communications manager at iSeeCars, Boston. “Elliot Brown is known in the U.K. for making watches for the army, and this partnership aligns with the automaker’s reputation for rugged and capable, yet elegant vehicles.”
Man vs. Land Rover
“The Wager” features rower Arthur Chatto and stunt driver Jess Hawkins, continuing the Land Rover tradition of enlisting adventurous personalities in marketing campaigns. The film follows the pair as Mr. Chatto bets his Elliot Brown timepiece that he can outrun Ms. Hawkins as she drives her Land Rover Defender 110 through a muddy track.
At the start of the short, the pair are driving through the countryside when Ms. Hawkins pulls over in the Defender. After she assures Mr. Chatto that she knows where they are going, he introduces the wager and takes off on foot.
A Land Rover x Elliot Brown Holton Professional watch is at stake in the race between Arthur Chatto and a Defender
Mr. Chatto is seen running through the forest, even tossing his backpack across a river before he plunges in the water to cross to the other side. The scene is juxtaposed with a shot of the Defender driving through tire-high waters.
As Mr. Chatto continues running, the Defender is seen in the background driving by on a gravel road. He stops to drink some water and rinse his watch, but he accidentally leaves it in the mud.
Then, Ms. Hawkins accidentally drives over the Elliot Brown watch in her Land Rover. She reverses the Defender and steps out to pick up the watch, then tosses it to the nearby Mr. Chatto so the race can continue.
Next, the Defender drives uphill on a gravel road while Mr. Chatto takes a similar route alongside it. He pauses to check his pace on the Elliot Brown watch, still completely intact after being in the water and getting run over.
Despite his efforts, Mr. Chatto, a Guinness World Record rower, is no match for the Defender. By the time he arrives at the final outlook, Ms. Hawkins is relaxing in the back of the Land Rover, ready to welcome him with a warm mug of tea.
After Mr. Chatto hands Ms. Hawkins his Elliot Brown watch, she tosses him the keys to the Defender. She tells him “double or quits,” and they begin another race.
The Land Rover x Elliot Brown Holton Professional watch was the official timekeeper for Team Exe Endurow, during one of the world’s greatest rowing tests, GB Row Challenge, this July. The team — which included Mr. Chatto alongside Oliver Dawe-Lane, Harry Lidgely and Charles Bromhead — completed a 2,000 mile, unassisted row around Great Britain to raise funds for the British Red Cross and environmental charity JustOneOcean.
Elliot Brown timepieces are used by the United Kingdom Armed Forces and known for their toughness and durability. Part of Land Rover’s Above and Beyond collection, the Land Rover x Elliot Brown Holton Professional watch boasts water protection up to 200 meters, ultra-shock resistance and a rubber strap resistant to seawater, UV rays and extreme cold temperatures.
The watch, which was inspired by the design of the new Defender and features the automaker’s logo, is now available online and at Land Rover retailers in select markets. It retails for 499 pounds, or about $670 at current exchange.
Automakers meet watchmakers
This is not Land Rover’s first foray in the watch space.
The automaker has an ongoing relationship with Swiss watchmaker Zenith.
In 2016, the collaborators have launched an El Primero Range Rover Special Edition timepiece. The watch’s aluminum bodywork paid homage to the Range Rover's chassis, while grey dials were inscribed with “Zenith Range Rover” (see story).
Other luxury automakers have also partnered with watchmakers to extend their brand presence.
Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis is a longtime collaborator with Lamborghini and has a line of Excalibur Aventador timepieces inspired by the Italian automaker’s sports car. In a recent film, director Stéphane Couchoud takes an Aventador for a drive while wearing an Excalibur Aventador S, seamlessly tying together the two luxury brands (see story).
“Watches and vehicles are both status symbols, and it is common for luxury automakers to partner with watch brands,” Ms. Blackley said. “People have an emotional attachment to their vehicles, and wearing a watch that represents their car is a way they can show brand loyalty while feeling connected to their vehicle.”