July 4th 1914, tensions ran high. Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been assassinated in Sarajevo just a few days earlier. It was to be the catalyst to the greatest war the world has ever known. But on July 4th at what turned out to be the last French Grand Prix before the Great War, at a time when owning a car, let alone having the means to be able to race one was reserved for the wealthy, a relatively unknown German driver, machinist Christian Lautenschlager, entered the race.
A huge crowd of over 300,000 had assembled in Lyon to cheer on the contenders. Hardly surprisingly, Lautenschlager was dismissed as nothing more than an enthusiastic amateur by professional racers such as Georges Boillet, who had won the race on the previous seven occasions, but as the race progressed to everyone’s amazement, it was the moustached Lautenschlager who took the flag.
Boillot had retained the lead for 12 laps before problems with his quickly wearing tyres dashed any hope of victory. Unfortunately for Boillot complications with his tyres required eights stops - each stop requiring a change, and this was long before the days of split second tyre changes that we see at today’s Formula 1 Grand Prix races. These costly delays allowed the amateur Christian Lautenschlager to pass Boillot. Boillot eventually dropped out after lap 12 - the final lap.
Although the race gave Lautenschlager notoriety throughout Europe and he raced occasionally after the war, he never again enjoyed such success. He continued to work as a machinist for Daimler for his entire career and died at age 76 in a suburb of Stuttgart in 1954.
The Grand Prix 1914 series from the Korloff Voyageur Collection celebrates the undaunting spirit of Christian Lautenschlager to challenge and overcome the odds. The timepieces for this series are influenced by the 1914 4.5 litre Mercedes Benz driven by Christian and the latest Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT racing coupe; from the vintage dials of the 1914 Benz to the carbon fibre in the SLS AMG.
Grand Prix Versions
There are three versions of the limited edition chronograph watches.
Grand Prix 001 carries the signature Voyageur Collection case that features two sides. Its 45mm 316L stainless steel case presents one side with a chronograph with hours, minutes, seconds, date and tachymeter. Turning the timepiece over reveals its formal vintage two time zone dials and piereced heart to reveal its engineering. In all the Grand Prix is powered by 3 Swiss Made movements and produced in a limited and serialised production.
Grand Prix 002 in the signature Voyageur Collection case features two sides that integrate carbon fibre. Its 45mm 316L stainless steel case presents one side with a chronograph with hours, minutes, seconds, date, tachymeter and telemeter. Turning the timepiece over reveals its equally aggresive two time zone dial. Grand Prix 002 is powered by 3 Swiss Made movements and produced in a limited and serialised production.
Grand Prix 003 in the signature double-sided Voyageur Collection case is crafted in DLC 316L black stainless steel. The result is a timepiece that will not lose its black finish to extensive wear and polishing. Functions for Grand Prix 003 include a chronograph with hours, minutes, seconds, date, tachymeter, and telemeter. The opposing dial features two time zones highlighted in carbon fibre dial. Grand Prix 003 is powered by 3 Swiss Made movements and produced in a limited and serialised production.
Every Grand Prix series timepiece comes with a handmade Italian leather messenger bag for men. Within the messenger bag is found a micro travel case to easily protect and carry the timepieces on one journey to the next, with a certificate of authenticity card, USB key with exclusive materials, and a carrying tote to protect the entire gift set.
Case 001 and 002 Editions: 316L stainless steel case with five layers anti-reflective
003 Edition: 316L matte black stainless steel chromium case
Movement 001 Edition: ETA 7750 Automatic chrono valjioux for chronograph face
ETA 901.001 x 2 movement for two time zone formal face.
002 and 003 Editions: ETA 901.001 x 3 movements for each dial.
Function Chronograph face features tachymeter, hours, minutes, seconds and date.
Formal face features two time zones featuring hours and minutes with
Dial Chronograph face on black carbon fibre dial with Arabic numbers,
racer red accents and super luminova treated hands.
Formal face on pierced heart Cote de Geneve treated dial with Grand
Prix 1914 stylized Mercedes Benz stylized dash.
Strap Dual material water treated strap. Double-stitched crocodile on black rubber
to compliment each face. Rubber for chrono and croco for formal face.
Buckle Patented 316L stainless steel/chromium rotating buckle.
Water Resistance 5 ATM
Authenticity Swiss Made, Limited Production
001 Edition - $7,340.00
002 Edition - $4,150.00
003 Edition - $4,452.00
Visit the Korloff Paris Grand Prix minisite