Last week, we raced over to Italy to witness luxury watchmaker Tudor's new venture into motorbike territory. Amid icons from leading bike manufacturing Ducati's past and present - like the Monster and latest MotoGP models - in the motoring temple that is its Bologna museum and factory, the two brands announced the start of an ongoing partnership, which saw Tudor become Ducati's official time partner and unveil new takes on its Ducati-inspired Fastrider collection of watches, first seen at the Basel watch fair earlier this year.
The Fastrider watches certainly have an aesthetic kick. The steel chronographs, fitted with a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 46 hours, get their sporting characteristics from touches like their pushers, which resemble engine cylinders, and bevelled flanks, echoing those on Ducati motorbike chassis. Meanwhile, the date correctors are shaped like the Ducati shield, and the three vertical lines along the straps and dials mimic racing stripes.
The watches come with a leather strap, a steel bracelet or a black fabric strap, and have a 42mm waterproof case with a satin-polished finish. Tudor has updated its first Fastrider timepieces by incorporating a more punchy colour combination of red and black, reflecting the colours of both Ducati and Tudor. Thankfully, however, it has resisted the temptation to stamp the watches with a Ducati logo.
Both brands insist these muscular new timepieces are just the start of a relationship, which is likely to breed a series of limited edition watches in future, among other products. While many a watch and fashion brand has stepped into the world of car racing - including Tudor, with its collaboration with Porsche - the more raw thrills of the motorbike industry are almost untapped and Ducati is the perfect match for the watchmaker. As well as sharing the same brand colours, both companies were founded in 1926 and place the same emphasis on hand-building their designs.
Things would have kicked off all the better had Ducati stormed to victory with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden at the helm at the Mugello MotoGP race track last weekend, yet the Tudor Ducati team is certainly one to keep a close eye on.