When the Audrain Auto Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, wanted to present something special for well-known watch and car collector Jay Leno, who recently served as chairman of the first inaugural Audrain Newport Concours d'Elegance, Grenon’s of Newport owner Ray Grenon stepped up to help. With Alfa Romeo automobiles so prominent at the museum and the show, Grenon enlisted an Italian watch house, Zannetti, to create a customized watch.
Starting with the discus-shaped Zannetti Discobolo model, a watch with no protruding lugs, Grenon and Zannetti hewed to the automotive theme by transforming the original design into Wheel of Time, a watch that recalls vintage automotive wheels and tires.
The craftsmen at Zannetti engraved the sides of the case with a tire tread pattern and then engraved and enameled the dial to resemble a vintage-style wire wheel. On the caseback, Zannetti engraved the logo of the Audrain Museum featuring an image of a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500. The rubber strap, to no one’s surprise, resembles a tire tread.
Impressed with their design, Zannetti then replicated the effort to create a second watch for automobile appraiser Donald Osbourne. His version of the specialized Zannetti watch is cased in bronze and attached to an alligator strap. Grenon notes that Osborne is known for his signature bow ties, hence the slightly dressier model.
“These were one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Grenon, “but Zannetti will be making some similar models and will do custom commissions on request. Zannetti will be happy to do whatever wheel or tire pattern you desire for your own custom model.” Contact Grenon for details, or call him at (401) 846-0598. Price: Approximately $6,500.
Specifications: Zannetti Wheel of Time
Case: 45mm Stainless steel or bronze case, antireflective vaulted sapphire glass on top; water resistance to 30 meters
Dial: Enamel tire wire wheel design
Movement: Swiss automatic Cal. 2892-A2.ETA with power reserve of 47 hours
Strap: Genuine crocodile leather strap or rubber tire tread strap
Buckle: Stainless steel deployant