Still Going After 60 Seconds: The P-51 Eleanor Watch

There’s a magic that surrounds a classic Mustang, a spirit that spans the gap between car culture and real life. Buying into that culture can set you back a bit, but one company has taken that spirit and distilled it into the P-51 Eleanor watch.

Danish firm REC Watches recycles materials and creates unique timepieces, and has taken a punch to a 1968 Ford Mustang to create a watch that echoes classic Mustang design cues.

The P-51 Eleanor watch is features part of a classic Mustang.

John Najjar, the lead designer for Ford’s original Mustang concept, was inspired by the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang fighter plane and borrowed the name for the new sportscar. The Ford Mustang was born, and immediately gained popularity.

So many movies featured them that you can find ‘Top 25 Movie Mustang’ features on the internet, but two really stand out; the 1968 Fastback used in Bullitt, and Eleanor, the hero car of the Gone in 60 Seconds films.

The P-51 Eleanor watch features a thick calf-leather strap.

The original 70s film used a 1971 model, but it was the 2000 remake starring Nic Cage that made Eleanor a household name. Based on a 1967 fastback, much like Bullitt, Eleanor developed into something of an icon, with countless replicas being built around the world.

REC Watches’ Eleanor is based on a 1968 Fastback recovered in Saintes, Belgium. Built by two Belgian brothers, it was the poster car for an annual American car show. As part of creating an Eleanor, the trunk was removed and used by REC to create 498 unique timepieces.

Each piece was coated with a clear lacquer to ensure the original patina of this 52-year old Mustang stayed intact and visible. Featuring black clocks with orange needles, the face is clearly inspired by the classic Ford, with the power reserve meter looking every bit like a fuel gauge. What looks like a mileometer is actually the date display, while the car’s original chassis number is etched onto a plate.

It’s built around a 44mm case containing a self-winding Miyota Cal.9130 movement, with a 48-hour power reserve. There’s a thick calf-leather strap, which might dissuade some vegan buyers, but it’s of high quality and pleasingly soft.

But the P-51 Eleanor watch isn’t really about the movement, it’s about the car. Some might baulk at the fact that it’s not made from a ‘real’ Eleanor, but with fewer than 12 built, five of which were destroyed, you’ll need very deep pockets to make that happen – one of the remaining cars sold recently for almost £300,000.

The P-51 Eleanor is available for around £1,300 direct from REC Watches.

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff has been writing for national newspapers, magazines, regional titles and countless websites since 2003. Specialising in travel and the automotive world, Phil is happiest when exploring foreign lands in foreign cars.