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Does life really get any better than this?
Not so long ago we announced our collaboration with Land Rover and the launch of a special edition Land Rover x Elliot Brown Holton Professional watch, complete with design cues courtesy of the new Defender, one of the most iconic vehicles in the world. The news trended worldwide that day on the home pages of Google, Yahoo, Apple, MSN. It's not something we'll forget in a hurry.
The thing we perhaps hadn’t grasped fully, was how well everyone was getting along and the mutual respect in the room. It takes special people to behave like that when working under the auspices of a global brand and it makes us feel incredibly fortunate.
Fast forward to winter 2020 and to a meeting in person with the JLR senior branded goods team. “We’ve got a project we think would be a good fit for Elliot Brown to sponsor but can’t tell you any more at the moment, would you be interested?” “Yes”. We didn’t have a clue what it was but we had to say yes. Well you would wouldn’t you?
A few days later we were introduced to the JLR Classic Works team to learn of an audacious plan to create a brand new version of the Defender 110 and 90 inspired by expedition spec competition vehicles so fondly remembered, and taking it upon themselves to deliver the whole project within the space of a year. Remember this is the same team tasked with rebuilding and creating new versions of cars such as the XK-SS, D-type and C-type Jaguars. A more passionate, talented bunch you'd be hard pressed to find.
Each Defender Works V8 Trophy starts life as a donor chassis, completely stripped and refurbed, then painstakingly assembled by hand using bespoke components into a highly limited run of just 25, kitted out with powerful V8 transmissions and lovely tailor-made ‘Trophy’ touches everywhere. Spec highlights include up-rated suspension, sturdy under body protection, external cage, supportive leather race seats and there’s even a decent sound system with sat-nav that pulls off the classic but modern tech trick beautifully.
So where does Elliot Brown come in?
Each new owner will collect their bespoke Trophy Defender at Eastnor Castle, Land Rover’s infamous proving ground, where they’ll compete in an expedition adventure over a number of days in their tricked-out Defenders. There will be damage, there will be plenty of challenging terrain and of course many indelible memories for the lucky few, whilst learning just how capable their new vehicles really are.
Inside each vehicle there is of course a dash clock and we were asked if we could create an Elliot Brown clock face befitting of these bespoke vehicles. Luckily whilst filming at Eastnor for the launch of the LRxEB watch, we had a few ideas for future watch models so we already had some fuel in the tank when work began.
The final design uses the 'Eastnor Yellow' and black vehicle colours with a lovely nod to the event location in the form of topographic contours from the hill surrounding the obelisk, the highest point within the Eastnor Estate. It's a fitting reminder considering the nature of these vehicles and where their owners will compete to make lasting memories.
The folks at DriveTribe put it beautifully in their response to the Land Rover press release, stating that the clock could be yours for £195k with a whole car wrapped around it!
The dash clock was just the start.
In keeping with all great competition vehicles, sponsored liveries are an essential component and provide a timely reference of the brands involved.
In this case it’s a trio of British brands with Elliot Brown, Fat Face and Musto adorning each front wing, next to the owner/competitor names and national flag decals.
We decided to capture the moment when our decals were applied by meeting up with the Classic Works team and driving the No.1 Trophy Defender (and test mule) to Kimmeridge Bay, our favourite coastal spot. “What a thing, it really got under my skin” commented Ian after spending an hour or so piloting it around the Dorset countryside including some spirited driving off road.
So there’s a fine Elliot Brown dash clock and some handsome decals on every vehicle but what about a watch? There has to be a watch.
...and there is. Every owner and co-driver receives one of just 50 bespoke Trophy Defender Holton Professional watches and that’s it, no more will ever be made. The fun part for us has been taking one of our toughest watch models and creating a story that does the watch, the vehicles and the Land Rover Trophy event justice.
We know the watch can be driven over by a Defender, they have survived extreme depths under water and even the odd fire bomb during some fun testing recently, so there’s no doubt the watches are a good match. What proved harder, was conjuring up the subtle features that only reveal themselves some time after the owners have been presented with their watches and for that, you’ll have to wait for the next instalment once the event has taken place in November 2021.
If you said to us in 2013 that we would be creating Land Rover editions of our watches, sponsoring competition vehicles, producing a bespoke competition watch, competing in the event with joint Land Rover x Elliot Brown ambassador/racing driver/stunt ace Jessica Hawkins, in the No.1 Trophy Defender, we’d probably have glanced at you with a wry smile secretly wishing it might happen.
Thanks to you, our amazing customers for helping us grow into the brand we are and thanks to the good folks at Land Rover it feels pretty special to be us right now.