Cars and watches have an immutable connection, with brands such as Tag Heuer, Longines and Rolex being forever linked with Formula One, Le Mans (courtesy of Steve McQueen) and places such as Monaco and Daytona.

A fine watch is as much about telling time as a Ferrari is about getting from A to B, but thankfully cars are not just about transport and watches are not just about telling the time. Another commonality between watches and cars is the passion that goes into them, and the micro-engineering which distinguishes the best from the merely good.

Last December, Rolex became the official timekeeper of F1, replacing Hublot, even though most people would probably express a stronger brand recall of Tag Heuer with F1 – given Mansour Ojjeh’s (CEO of TAG) part ownership of McLaren. Hublot still remain as official timekeeper to Scuderia Ferrari.

MercedesAMG-IWC-Ingenieur_G8Nick Fry, Nico Rosberg and Ross Brawn attend the IWC Schaffhausen Race Night event. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images.

Casio Edifice are brand partners with Red Bull Racing, while Certina partners with Sauber F1 and TW Steel with Lotus F1. Oris is the long-time partner of Williams F1, while some of the drivers have direct sponsorships such as Schumacher with Audermars Piguet and Felipe Massa with Richard Mille. Omega, who used to sponsor Michael Schumacher in F1, now seem to focus more on PGA golf and athletics.

So it’s good to see a new name in F1, and one which produces such fine looking watches.

I’ve always been a fan of IWC Schaffhausen, their conservative design contrasts with the flash and gaudy look of a Rolex.  IWC’s new Ingenieur collection should set the right tone for the Rosberg/Hamilton partnership of 2013 and the closer link between Mercedes F1 and their performance road car brand, AMG.

The company launched their new partnership with Mercedes AMG at yesterday’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) event in Geneva, together with Nico Rosberg, actor Ewan McGregor, Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey and dance-music band Jamiroquai.

MercedesAMG-IWC-Ingenieur_G2Pit stop practice for Nico Rosberg. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images.

Mercedes AMG Team Principal Ross Brawn was on hand, as was CEO Nick Fry (who we haven’t heard from for a while) but Lewis Hamilton was unable to attend due to conflicting commitments – he’s at the team’s Brackley HQ today getting up close and personal with his new colleagues.

Mercedes brought along a few Silver Arrows legends to the launch, including the original 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, a dismantled F1 car and a specially designed SLS AMG which Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay used to arrive on the stage.

To celebrate the launch of the new Ingenieur watch collection, IWC Schaffhausen is offering the chance to win a trip to the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix later this year. The lucky winner will enjoy pit lane passes including entry to the Mercedes AMG hospitality area plus access to the race team’s engineers and drivers. Visit the IWC competition page for further details.

Additional source and references: Cars and Watches (Netherlands)

Photo credits: Dave M. Benett, Chris Jackson, The Image Gate/Getty Images for IWC.

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