This is an edition of the newsletter Box + Papers, Cam Wolf’s weekly deep dive into the world of watches. Sign up here.
Attending Monterey Car Week is what I imagine Scrooge McDuck might see after getting bonked on the head. There are doubles and triples of all the fanciest and most expensive stuff on the planet. It warps the most extraordinary experiences into common ones. Picture this awesome-ass image: While riding with the windshield down, the chilly winds of Big Sur whipping me straight in the face, in a rare 1938 Delahaye Type 135MS—picture a sexy Batmobile—with Leslie Kendall, curator at the Petersen Automotive Museum, there was another Delahaye just two cars in front of us. “People will see these two with each other and they’ll say, ‘Oh, my God, they’re everywhere,” Kendall said. “Well, no.”
This was on the second leg of the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, a performance showcase at MCW—designed as an amuse bouche to Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance. The event gathers historical cars and puts them through the paces on a two-hour drive through the redwood-dense Big Sur. The route is littered with million-dollar vehicles stalled out on the side of the road. The ones driving on the other side are equally amazing: “This is a Chrysler Imperial convertible, one-of-a-kind, built for the president of Chrysler; Mercedes S; Rolls Royce, looks like a Phantom; Packard; Packard; Ferrari; Mercedes; Packard; Rolls Royce; Bentley with the Pininfarina body; Alfa [Romeo] TC; Ferrari; another Duesenberg; Cord 812; Alfa Romeo 6C; Maserati; Porsche, obviously; Bentley; Ferrari; Buggati 57 FC; Bentley; Bentley; Mercedes 300 SL…three of them!” Kendall said, documenting the line of cars whizzing by on the other side of Highway 1.
And although watches aren’t the focal point of the event, MCW manages to conjure horological sights you won’t see anywhere else. On Saturday, at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, where cars race the Laguna Seca track, nine-time Le Mans winner and Rolex ambassador Tom Kristensen arrived in the new Rolex Daytona “Le Mans,” sending the watch journalists on hand into a small tizzy. Then, just a few moments after, a collector who asked to remain anonymous strolled over to show Kristensen his watch: a freaking Rolex Daytona “Le Mans.” They Voltron’d them together. The limited-edition is undoubtedly the most hyped release of the year and one the Crown will put out very small quantities of. MCW is one of the few places you’ll see one, let alone two together. Don’t worry, I got you a picture: