This year, a new timepiece is unveiled by the Swiss watchmaker, Baume & Mercier. Inspired by its partnership with Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, the international watch brand created The Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition, a watch that honors the motorcycle racing legend and kickstarts this lifestyle partnership.
From the very beginning, the two men behind Indian Motorcycle were always looking for speed. Founders, George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, initially sought their thrills in bicycle racing, but when the first gasoline engines appeared, the pair saw an opportunity to mount these to bicycle frames. As Indian rapidly grew, pioneering men took these “motorcycles” and pushed their limits on epic adventures or in motordrome racing. Indian soon became renowned as a brand that set and broke speed records.
When Burt Munro bought the bike in 1926 it was only capable of doing 55mph, but after spending the next 40 years modifying it in his shed, the then 68-year-old grandfather took it to the Bonneville Salt flats in Utah, USA. Here he set an under 1000cc record speed of 183.59 mph (294.5 km/h). However, Munro’s son, John noticed that the average speed calculation on the original 1967 record certificate was inaccurate and that the speed reached was actually 184.087 mph (296.11 km/h). The official listing was therefore corrected 47 years later, and set the record that still stands today.
So 1967 is the year when this man who dedicated his life to motorcycling sets the 1000 cc class record of 184.087 mph (296.11 km/h), after boring the engine out a further 30cc to make it 950cc.
Fifty years on from Burt’s record run, the Indian Motorcycle’ team returned to Bonneville in August 2017 with Burt’s first cousin’s grandson, Lee Munro. The aim was to pay tribute to Burt by having Lee Munro ride a modern-day Indian Scout that was sponsored and supported by Baume & Mercier.
Celebrating this 50th anniversary, the specialists from Baume & Mercier have created a new timepiece. And as Burt built his record-breaking Scout using basic tools, this new watch represents an example and a reminder that anything is possible if you have passion, spirit and determination.
So with this limited edition timepiece, Baume & Mercier pays tribute to the legend, Burt Munro and in the same time honors the beginning of the new partnership with the Indian Motorcycle Company.
The watch itself tells the story of success and every detail of the watch is special designed to celebrate the extraordinary achievement of Burt Munro.
In the first place, the eye-catching yellow number 35 is Munro’s lucky number, in the chronograph seconds counter.
Next, the “Indian Red” color of the calfskin strap evokes the deep vermillion color that is identified with the Indian Motorcycle Company, and the color of the Munro Special. The dial itself is silver-colored with sandblasted and snailed finishes, meant to mimic the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the record was set. The counterbalance of the chronograph seconds hand is the immediately recognizable Indian “I.” The 44mm stainless steel case has a tachymeter scale on the bezel, with the record, 184 mph, highlighted on it. On the back, the famous Indian Headdress logo of the Indian Motorcycle Company is engraved, as well as the number of the limited edition.
The Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute is limited to 1967 pieces, recalling the year that Munro set his iconic record.
This new member of Clifton family, celebrating a legend of speed was unveiled for the first time at EICMA, the world’s most important motorcycle show held in Milan Italy, from 7 to 12 November, 2017.