IN an unusual collaboration, model toymaker Hot Wheels has partnered with the famed IWC Schaffhausen Swiss watchmaker to create an intriguing set made up of a model car and watch.
The car is a 1/64th-scale Hot Wheels model of IWC’s race-prepared 1955 Mercedes Gullwing SL while the watch is an IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition.
The first set — wristwatch and model car — is up for auction at the Bonhams event at the Goodwood Members Meeting, where IWC’s real Gullwing SL is racing.
Last bid we saw was £13,000 (about $24,000 Australian).
But IWC and Hot Wheels will offer 50 limited edition sets at US$10,000 ($13,400) each.
IWC has collaborated with other carmakers before, including Porsche Design in the 1970s through 1990s and with AMG Mercedes starting in 2005, where their sponsorship extends from vintage racing right up to Mercedes’ Formula 1 team.
But its link with Hot Wheels is something else.
Question is: Why?
“Hot Wheels has such a rich culture of being very creative about interpreting what is current in car culture at any given moment, from 1968 all the way to today,” IWC’s Christoph Grainger-Herr said.
“In the beginning, that would have been hot rods and muscle cars and pony cars, and then branched out into to really every aspect of modern car culture from JDM and crazy Japanese tuners — all the way to European classic racing in the 300 SL.
“I think Hot Wheels really captures, design-wise, what the Zeitgeist in terms of automotive design really is.”
Grainger-Herr said the collaboration came about through a chance meeting with Hot Wheels designer Manson Cheung which kick-started things.
“Our shared passion for automotive design and mechanical watches led to a meeting between the design teams of both brands at the Mattel Design Center in El Segundo (California).
“We instantly connected, speaking the same language of design, art, and engineering. I am proud of our collaboration and the unique projects we have brought to life so far.”
Those unique projects include a Hot Wheels Team Transport set in 2020 that combined the IWC Racing 300SL with its racing team transporter.
Then an IWC-exclusive version of the Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz 300SL, which was made available recently.
And now the watch and wheels set: IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works.
“This partnership is a reflection of the creativity and collaborative spirit our teams share, and the result is an exceptional package that truly discerning enthusiasts of luxury timepieces, racing, and car culture will appreciate,” Mattel’s chief designer Chris Down said.
There’s the classy IWC watch, of course, the superb model of the iconic 300SL Gullwing — plus, it comes in a neat tool box, with the car mounted on a machined titanium base.
And there are only 50 of them in total.
“It’s the coming together of time machine and track machines, something that clicks with people who love mechanical watches and who love the world of Hot Wheels, and there are quite a few of those,” Grainger-Herr said.
Alternatively, you can get a $15 watch at Big W that also keeps perfect time, and a fine diecast scale model Merc 300SL Gullwing for around $80.