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Your vintage Mustang, Porsche or Mini Cooper may not live forever. But if you can’t strap into your car, you can still strap its memory onto your wrist: Christian Mygh and Jonathan Kamstrup, a pair of Dutch gearheads and watch fanatics, are making eye-catching timepieces from salvaged car bodies. That includes a custom, personalized version for Ford racer Vaughn Gittin, Jr., made from a hunk of his 950-horsepower Mustang RTR drift racer.
The name of their Netherlands company, REC Watches, refers to its mantra of “Recover, Recycle, Reclaim.” Mygh and Kamstrup have been scouring the world for metal mementoes to transform into watches such as the P-51, priced at $1,495. Its lacquered dial is cut from the body of a reclaimed Sixties Mustang, preserving as much of its unrestored patina as possible. No two REC watches are identical, the founders say, including an original VIN number engraved on the case. The P-51’s face displays the donor car’s year and VIN. A three-hand with date function is inspired by the ‘Stang’s instrument cluster, and a power-reserve display mimics its fuel gauge.
In a YouTube video, Mygh says that people sometimes ask him “How can you be so heartless to cut up classic Mustangs?”
“But I’m not cutting up classic Mustangs,” he says. “I’m bringing Mustangs beyond repair back to life, as a watch.”
It might be hard to imagine any Porsche 911 still lying in a junkyard, considering the dizzying jump in values for even worn-out project cars. Yet there’s clearly enough unwanted sheetmetal to create the 901 watch -- the number referring to Porsche’s original name for its sports car, until they were forced to switch to 911 after a naming spat with Peugeot.
The self-winding automatic nods to the 911’s classic quintet of circular gauges. As you might suspect, the Porsche watch costs more than the Ford, but only slightly, at $1,695. Both Porsche and Ford watches feature a stainless steel, 44-mm case. Their mechanical movement is Japanese, not Swiss, though its Swiss-targeting Miyota components include hand- and automatic winding, and a power reserve of 48 hours for the P-51 and 40-plus-hours for the 901. Bargain hunters can choose from two watches made from recycled Mini Cooper metal, including this Mark I M1, quite handsome for a merely $395 watch.
Mygh and Kamstrup are calling on people to voteto help them decide the donor for their next watch line: A Willys Jeep, BMW M3 E30, Alfa Romeo Duetto, Triumph Bonneville motorcycle or Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane. Personally, I’m leaning toward a classic AMC Pacer, with a bubble-shaped crystal and the tendency to run behind schedule, if it works at all.