Lamborghini Watches: A Brand Too Far, Now On Clearance

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
lamborghini watches a brand too far now on clearance

Full disclosure: I’m a huge Lamborghini fan. Enough of a fan that I can get a little worked up about the brand’s directional wobbles over the past decade. Make no mistake, though: if my budget would stretch to a Murcielago, I’d have one. (About the Aventador, I’m a bit diffident.) Ferrari’s transformation from manufacturer of unreliable but pretty cars to merchandising machine and tyrannical allocation scheme has made Lamborghini seem much cooler by comparison. The clinical precision of the Gallardo makes the Dino-successor Ferraris look a bit try-hard and the big twelve-cylinder supercars have the swagger that the FF, 612, and F12berlinetta seem to be deliberately avoiding.

But there are times that one simply wants to turn one’s head away from the catastrophe that is Lambo’s Ferrari-aping merch scheme, and this is one of them.

Let’s get this on the table first: If you wear a Swiss “luxury watch”, you’re a douchebag. (Full disclosure: I have a few of them myself.) The bigger the watch is, and the more elaborate/flashy it is, the worse you are. The newer and more quick-bake the brand is, the more horrifying your personal presence is to people who weren’t raised in a trailer prior to the IPO/Goldman bonus/first-round draft pick/real-estate deal/personal-injury settlement. I’ve complained about this before, but wearing a watch that is unnecessarily complex and impossible to fix amounts to a Nero-esque destruction of capital without the attendant flair. This goes double if your watchmaker’s brand was “dormant” for fifty years or more before being pried out of the hands of someone’s step-great-grandchild by a venture-capital firm, triple if Nicholas Hayek imagined your brand while he was having a “speedball” medically administered by a twenty-two-year-old Italian nurse who does figure modeling in the evenings.

With that said, the Venn diagram of the buyers for expensive supercars and ridiculous watches is pretty much a circle, so it stands to reason that for every exotic car, there will be a somewhat less exotic watch. It has to be less exotic than the car because there’s also a merch possibility for the proles who can’t get the car just yet, and also because the very best watchmakers have too much pride to let something like that happen.

Ferrari started their time in the watch game with the staid but impeccably respectable Girard-Perregaux before bowing to their customer’s true demographic and moving the brand to quick-bake reboot and Sly Stallone favorite, Panerai. In 2010 those two brands parted ways and Ferrari started a house-brand watch lineup featuring “Swiss movements” with what the hardcore watch fanatics say is a heavy dose of Chinese componentry and assembly.

That takes care of the proles and the F1 team fans, leaving the company free to make a second deal with Hublot in which the Ferrari name is applied to some of the world’s most loathsome timekeeping instruments. It’s a neat trick, really. There’s a $599 watch for the guy who will never own a Ferrari, and the $22,000 watch for the guy who has two of them and is in the queue for his next one.

As is usually the case, Lamborghini isn’t that deft. Their choice was to partner with mid-level generic-luxury brand Tonino to create a line of $1500-3500 watches with the Lamborghini brand applied. Unlike the high-end Ferrari watches from G-P, Hublot, and Panerai, the Tonino Lambo watches come in every possible size and style, thus removing any chance that someone might recognize the watch without putting their face ten inches from the dial. As far as I can tell, the watches are existing Toninos with a bull at the twelve-o-clock mark.

The resulting products are neither compelling nor particularly cheap, thus ensuring that they won’t be bought by Lamborghini owners or Lamborghini fans. Being among the latter is tough anyway; if you get caught prancing around in a full Rosso Corsa outfit by your friends, you can always say you’re a fan of the race team, but if you’re wearing Lamborghini clothing and you don’t have a Lamborghini, you’d be better off staying in the house.

No surprise, then, that the discount website Touch Of Modern is half-pricing Lambo watches this week. No need to rush; they have plenty of them. I can only imagine one possible reason to purchase one, and that would be an attempt to humiliate yourself into accelerating the purchase of that nicely patinated ’04 with the crappy e-gear and the Audi 100 climate controls. If that’s why, then by all means, get the yellow watch, too!

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6 of 114 comments
  • Philadlj Philadlj on Mar 10, 2014

    Never been a fan of watches (or any kind of accessories for that matter). I wore a super-cool-at-the-time Indiglo in junior high, but got tired of people telling me I was wearing it on the wrong wrist (I'm a southpaw). Of course, back then, people didn't have little devices in their pockets that display the time in big numbers whenever you pretty any button, rendering any wrist-mounted clock, analog or not, literally redundant. I can understand them as a fashion accessory; a piece of jewelry that pretends it's serving a vital purpose, but now that we have phones (and tattoo sleeves, for that matter), I don't think they've ever been more useless. They can be loud and shouty like Lambos, but not in a good way: the bigger and brasher they are, the punier your arm looks by comparison. I'm reminded of John Turturro's line in the comedy "Brain Donors", referring to Nancy Marchand's diamond-encrusted wing: "If you should ever lose this arm in an industrial accident, keep it for me!" I think hipsters have the right idea: they either carry pocketwatches (or handheld sundials) or tow grandfather clocks behind them as they bike hither and thither. Good exercise, that.

    • See 1 previous
    • CRConrad CRConrad on Mar 12, 2014

      @philadlj: "Of course, back then, people didn’t have little devices in their pockets that display the time in big numbers whenever you pretty any button, rendering any wrist-mounted clock, analog or not, literally redundant." Actually, that's exactly what people had a hundred years ago, and far from rendering wrist-watches redundant, it went the other way around.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 10, 2014

    What do watch people think of Dunhill timepieces? I don't know any watch people to ask them, but I've long been interested in the brand.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 11, 2014

      @IHateCars Thanks. Their stuff still seems pretty expensive to me, but nicely understated.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂