Once the clock stops

Bravur’s Grand Tour watches evoke cycling’s great races

October 6, 2022

In bike racing, the clock stops when you cross the finish line.

There is no injury time. There are no TV breaks or time outs. Slow, and the peloton will leave you behind. Races last four, five, six—sometimes seven hours. You have to make tactical decisions when your heart is going 200 beats per minute or you’re flying down a descent at 100 kilometres per hour. Miss the fastest line through a corner and you could finish third. Go much slower than the winner and you’re cut from the race. Grand tours last three weeks. After three-and-a-half thousand kilometres, over 21 days of racing, they are often won by less than a minute. So racers obsess about speed. They measure every metric that can be measured to find ways to go a fraction of a kilometre per hour faster. Technology advances in an ever accelerating race to stop the clock first. Modern photo-finish cameras fire once every 1/10000 of a second, but as soon as you measure a moment, it has passed. Time rolls on.

Away from the races, cycling reconnects us to that truer sense of time. Mornings are marked by the brisk bite of wind on our cheeks, which warm until we return to our screens and the aether of our apps. It’s spring when we can take off our leg warmers, summer when we unzip our jerseys and sweat bakes onto our skin. Fall brings rain and turning leaves. Our bikes return us to natural cycles: the seasons, sunrise, and sunset.

That is what the founders of Bravur Watches, Magnus Äppelryd and Johan Sahlin love about the sport. They grew up racing mountain-bikes together in Sweden. Once fierce competitors, they are now business partners and good friends. They still ride together almost every day. Cycling inspires their work.

“It helps you get outside yourself,” Johan says. “Cycling gets you to relax out in nature with your friends.”

The mechanical watches that Magnus and Johan make belong to the physical world as well. The sweep of an hour hand marks one rotation of the earth on its axis. Energy wound into a hairspring turns the fine gears of the watch as it is released. That energy is kinetic. In an automatic watch, the self-winding mechanism swings to the motion of your wrist. The seconds hand doesn’t jolt from one pre-programmed unit to the next like an electronic clock. It moves in a smooth orbit around the watch face, passing the second markers like time itself; it doesn’t stop.

In their precision, mechanical watches remain marvels of human ingenuity. With oscillating mainsprings and balance wheels, the Swiss-made automatic movements that drive Bravur’s Grand Tour chronographs are accurate to within four or five seconds of an atomic clock per day. Their real allure is more personal though. When the race clocks stop, perpetual values such as design and craftsmanship take precedence.

The Bravur x EF Education-EasyPost team edition is hand built on order in Båstad, Sweden. It references the green-and-pink colours of our team kit and displays an argyle pattern around the minute track. The texture in the centre of the dial evokes tarmac, while the 38.2mm case balances brushed and polished stainless steel. The watch features three sub dials with a 15-minute counter, a 12-hour counter, and running seconds. The main second hand is a 60-second chronograph. It comes with a dark green rubber strap.

Its companions in the Grand Tour series reference cycling’s great races: the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España. Each limited-edition watch features subtle cycling motifs: France’s white-and-yellow milestones, the red kite at the Vuelta, the pink of the Giro’s maglia rosa, chequered case backs and upside down 13s.

For cycling fans, races mark the seasons. They spark conversations and give us stories to tell each spring, summer, and fall.

“Racing is a very big part of life as well,” Magnus says. “There is the build up towards the classics, and then the grand tours, and world championships, and autumn races. Cycling gives a rhythm to the year.”

Shop Bravur’s Grand Tour collection here.

Share this story