Pret-a-Reporter

When Every Second Counts

Formula 1 racing -- which hits the Riviera on May 27 with the 70th Monaco Grand Prix -- is fueling a new brand of driving watch.

Last year, the Monaco Grand Prix, the world's most glamorous auto race, drew the likes of Jason Statham, Kim Kardashian and Richard Branson. Now, with the 70th edition revving up May 27, fans can track lap times with a new field of watches carrying the imprimatur of famous races, tracks and drivers. Today's speed-obsessed timepieces, which have come a long way since Steve McQueen wore a Tag Heuer Monaco in 1971's Le Mans, take design cues from -- and use high-tech materials inspired by -- Formula 1 and other circuits. Watchmaker Armin Strom's Racing One Week goes so far as to use aluminum melted down from Marussia F1 car engines, while Hublot's F1 King Power boasts a rugged ceramic case that could walk away from a crash without a scratch. Says Hublot chairman Jean-Claude Biver of the growing number of such collaborations, "The foundations of Formula 1 make the perfect marriage -- racing is about precision and the intricate details that make every second count."

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