Earlier this year, Baume & Mercier announced its partnership with Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company. In this unique collaboration, the two brands captured the iconic spirit and translated it into an intricate timepiece: The Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition. This 1967-piece chronograph model honors the motorcycle racing legend and kickstarts this lifestyle partnership.
From the very beginning, the two men behind Indian Motorcycle were obsessed in the pursuit of speed. Founders, George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, initially sought their thrills in bicycle racing, but when the first gasoline engines appeared, the pair saw an opportunity to mount these to bicycle frames. As Indian rapidly grew, pioneering men took these “motorcycles” and pushed their limits on epic adventures or in motordrome racing. Indian soon became renowned as a brand that set and broke speed records.
Out of all of Indian’s achievements, it is the spirit and legend of Burt Munro that has become a part of the fabric of not just Indian’s culture, but of motorcycling culture in general.
When Burt Munro bought the bike in 1926 it was only capable of doing 55mph, but after spending the next 40 years modifying it in his shed, the then 68-year-old grandfather took it to the Bonneville Salt flats in Utah, USA. Here he set an under 1000cc record speed of 183.59mph (294.5 km/h).
However, Munro’s son, John noticed that the average speed calculation on the original 1967 record certificate was inaccurate and that the speed reached was actually 184.087 mph (296.11 km/h). The official listing was therefore corrected 47 years later, and set the record that still stands today.Paying tribute to this 50th anniversary, Baume & Mercier has designed a one-of-a-kind watch.
Fifty years on from Burt’s record run, the Indian Motorcycle’ team returned to Bonneville in August 2017 with Burt’s first cousin’s grandson, Lee Munro. The aim was to pay tribute to Burt by having Lee Munro ride a modern-day Indian Scout that was sponsored and supported by Baume & Mercier.
The Scout frame out of Indian R&D facility’s ‘boneyard’ and mated a modified Scout V-twin engine into it along with an aerodynamic fairing. After many hours of work in their spare time, the team created a new land speed racer. Lee Munro and the team took the ‘Spirit of Munro Scout’ to California’s El Mirage Dry Lake to test, and while there ended up setting a new land speed record of 186.681 mph (300 km/h) in the Southern California Timing Association MPS-G (Modified Partial Streamliner) 1350cc class.
At the 69th Bonneville Speed week in August 2017, Lee and the Indian team achieved 191mph (307.39 km/h), going beyond the 184mph set by Burt, and almost reaching the milestone figure of 200mph, which he could not reached due to various technical problems.
The Clifton Club, Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition automatic chronograph features a number of special details designed to commemorate the extraordinary achievement of Burt Munro. Immediately apparent is the large, yellow number 35, Munro’s lucky number, in the chronograph seconds counter. Next, the “Indian Red” color of the calfskin strap evokes the deep vermillion color that is identified with the Indian Motorcycle Company, and the color of the Munro Special.
The dial itself is silver-colored with sand-blasted and snailed finishes, meant to mimic the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the record was set. The counterbalance of the chronograph seconds hand is the immediately recognizable Indian “I.” The 44mm stainless steel case has a tachymeter scale on the bezel, with the record, 184 mph, highlighted on it.
On the back, the famous Indian Headdress logo of the Indian Motorcycle Company is engraved, as well as the number of the limited edition.
The Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute is limited to 1967 pieces, recalling the year that Munro set his iconic record.
This exclusive timepiece was unveiled for the very first time at EICMA, the world’s most important motorcycle show held in Milan Italy, from 7 to 12 November, 2017.
Model: Clifton Club Indian M0A10404 – Burt Munro Tribute
Automatic (Valjoux 7750)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Frequency: 4Hz (28’800 vph)
H/M/S, Chronograph, Tachymeter, Date
Diameter: 44 mm
Polished stainless steel case
Fixed bezel in polished steel-adlc with tachymeter scale engraved (184 mph highlighted to recall the land speed record achieve)
Flat antiglare (1 face) scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
Screw-down full case back decorated with Indian Motorcycle logo
Engraving: « Limited Edition, one out of 1967 »
Water-resistance: 5 ATM (approx. 50m)
Sandblasted and snailed silver-colored, Second’s counter in yellow color with N°35, the Burt Munro’s lucky number
Black rhodium-plated riveted indexes and H/M hands with Superluminova C1, green emission
“Indian Red” chronograph’s seconds hands with Indian Motorcycle logo
Riveted flange with “Indian Red” painted side
“Indian Red” calfskin strap with black stitching
Additional black calfskin strap with cream stitching
Buckle: Pin buckle