REC Watches has just released a limited edition 45-millimeter, Miyota-powered mechanical watch that includes recycled carbon-fiber and aluminum parts from world champion drift racer Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s 2017 Mustang RTR. RTR stands for Ready to Rock, Gittin’s company that sells lowering kits, dope wheels, and tricked-out trim packages to regular folks for their street-legal Mustangs. REC is short for Recover, Recycle, Reclaim, which is exactly what this Copenhagen-based watch house has done by building the REC P-51 RTR’s dial and bezel from the beat-up parts of Gittin’s car.Originating in Japan during the 1970s, drift racing has been “import dominated,” to use Gittin’s phrase. It never occurred to me a decades-old international sport had inspired all those lowered Honda Civics with wafer-thin tires, neon rims, cartoon-character decals, and spoilers so large they’d work as pool-side cabanas. As a recent example, I simply had no way to appreciate the bright blue Civic hatchback with a Smurf on it that was whipping wildly from lane to lane only to end up next to me again at red light after red light. I thought these cars were silly; their drivers daft and often dangerous.
Then I watched some videos of drift racing—which Gittin describes as skateboarding with cars—and my mind opened like the carbon-fiber hood of a tricked-out Subaru BRZ. Watching these cars graze each other as their rear tires spun madly, their front ends rising off the ground, their drivers counter-steering these unfathomably overpowered machines into ballerina-like poses in order to demonstrate their highly cultivated driving style while still seriously vying for position—now it all made sense. Drifting was art in motion, and the cars were both paintbrush and canvas.
With my new-found appreciation for drifting style, the P-51 RTR watch came to life. The iconic Mustang tail-light shapes flanking the crown, RTR’s signature luminous neon green triangular headlights on the nine o’clock side, the rotor that mimics a custom RTR rim, and the obvious instrument gauges of the front dial—all of these details demonstrate that this watch is a marvel of ground-up design, one that sacrifices no opportunity for a signature touch. Even the 24-millimeter strap is tricked out with Gittin’s racing number (25) stitched in as Roman numerals (XXV).
The Miyota 9130 mechanical auto-winding movement is set into the lower hemisphere of the case, a location reflected in the placement of the main dial, the crown, and the rotor around back. Three-hands show the time on the main dial, and the date is cleverly integrated here as well. Around back we see the spoked rotor through a rectangular sapphire window that suggests, perhaps, a rear-view mirror. The 9130 also features a power reserve gauge, which REC has smartly laid into a fuel-gauge aperture at 12 o’clock. On a full wind, power reserve is around 40 hours.
Most significantly, the dial is from the carbon-fiber of the ultra-light chassis of Gittin’s Mustang, and the bezel is made from forged carbon-fiber and aluminum of the steering shaft. REC notes that they’ve kept as much of the patina (their word) of these materials in tact as possible. I’m not sure that intentionally drifting a 900-horsepower Mustang into your opponent’s car in order to show off your nuanced driving skills results in anything as tame as “patina,” so let’s just say that the dial and bezel have been subjected to unfathomable abuse.
And herein lies the story: 350 people will own part of Gittin’s actual racing car from 2017; they will own the very materials that helped Gittin show the world his nimble, stylized control of that ridiculously overpowered Mustang as it raged far beyond the limits of traction and sanity. I’m still not convinced about that Smurf car, but I’m entirely won over by this watch and the story it tells.
The REC P-51 RTR retails for $1,895. REC