On a small charming island off the coast of England, tourists and townsfolk gather in the early summer—not for a relaxing seaside getaway, but to witness a yearly motorcycle competition known as the world’s deadliest race. Each year since 1907, The International Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (also known as “TT”) takes place: It’s a traditional time trial race in which speeding motorcycles careen down a 37-mile course made of narrow, winding country lanes. The bragging rights of participating in the race, never mind winning, surely pale in comparison to merely surviving.
Taking part in the TT is an enormous honor for motorcycle manufacturers, with various race heats for different classes, from Superbikes to Sidecars. Famed British maker Norton Motorcycles rejoined the TT in 2012 with bikes specifically developed for the Isle of Man course. For the upcoming 2017 races (which takes place from May 27 through June 9) come two new road-ready evolutions: The limited edition V4 SS, a motorcycle with a polished aluminum frame, full carbon fiber bodywork and 1200cc engines designed and built in-house at England’s Donington Hall, and the similar unlimited production version, the V4 RR.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s unlike anything else in the world,” explains Giles English, co-founder of British watchmaker Bremont, which created two watches with Norton to commemorate the race. “Regular roads are just shut off, and there are no safety barriers put up. These motorcyclists go and race round—I think the average is 130 miles an hour for 17 minutes, going in and out of these country lanes with brick stone walls. It’s like some old gladiatorial event. I arrived there last year on Friday, and it had been ongoing—still had a week, three days to go—and five people had already died. The mood isn’t somber, these guys died what they loved doing, and they all carry on.”
To celebrate, Bremont has come onboard as Norton’s principal racing sponsor and has created two chronographs inspired by the motorcycles. Both are limited editions, and one of them is only available to owners of the V4 SS. The Bremont V4 RR watch is a bit more accessible, not requiring the purchase of a £44,000 ($57,000) motorcycle, yet still comes in a small run of only 200 pieces. The COSC-certified stainless steel chronograph features numerals inspired by the lettering of the Norton logo, plus the Norton logo itself printed in gold with chrono subdials edged to match. Each of the bike owners’ special-edition pieces gets an individual number customized to correspond with details of their V4 SS.
Not a bad way to celebrate your time at the TT—if you’re still alive, that is.