Swiss watch brand Breitling has announced its partnership with English motorcycle producer Norton Motorcycles. This new collaboration aims to create unique products or timepiece features that will showcase the strong heritage of each brand.
In 1898, James Lansdowne Norton founded the Norton Motorcycles as a manufacturer of “fittings and parts for the two-wheel trade.” He produced his very first motorcycles in 1902. By that time, Willy Breitling had already been making watches in the Swiss Jura mountains for more than a decade.
Breitling has, for the better part of a century, been renowned for its strong link with aviation and its pioneering role in the development of chronographs. Meanwhile, Norton Motorcycles has long been regarded as the British motorcycle manufacturer, and its bikes have distinguished themselves both on and off the racetrack.
Breitling CEO Georges Kern says that his brand’s parallels with Norton Motorcycles are striking. “Both companies are innovative and entrepreneurial,” Kern quips, “and have powerful legacies. At the same time, we are looking ahead toward what we at Breitling call ‘our legendary future’.”
Stuart Garner, who bought Norton Motorcycles in 2008 and has driven its extraordinary revival, agrees. “I’ve always said that the key to a company’s success is to let the brand be the brand. This has been essential both at Norton Motorcycles and Breitling. We haven’t tried to change the nature of our brands or deny their histories. In fact, we revel in those histories and take inspiration from them while focusing on the future.”
Inspired by both brands’ compelling and intriguingly similar historic timelines, the new Breitling watches to come out of the partnership will include some of the materials used in Norton Motorcycles’ legendary high-performance bikes. And with the incorporation of DNA elements from both brands, wristwatch and motorcycle fans can now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to express their individuality by flying the colors of an emphatically Swiss watchmaker and the ultimate “British-made” motorcycle manufacturer.