Ernst Benz, a Swiss watch company with its flagship North American boutique in downtown Birmingham, has partnered with Illinois’ Gateway Bronco in support of The Ryan Blaney Family Foundation to auction a one-of-a-kind 1974 Ford Bronco with a matching Ernst Benz timepiece to benefit Chicago’s Alzheimer’s Association.
The foundation is headed by star NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney, who drives for Team Penske, which is owned by Bloomfield Hills businessman Roger Penske. Gateway Bronco is an official licensed product of Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co.
The foundation commissioned Gateway Bronco to reimagine and build a custom Bronco that will be sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auction 2020 Scottsdale in Arizona, where all proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Lou Blaney, another racecar driver and Ryan Blaney’s grandfather, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.
The watch is a 47mm Ernst Benz Instrument ChronoScope and was designed to emulate the details of the Bronco. Its dial is “steel blue” to match the car’s exterior PPG color and features a design inspired by the numbers of the vehicle’s speedometer. There is also a “Blaney Bronco Project” logo and Blaney’s signature as well as instrument hands in white and orange. The Bronco’s speedometer was then reverse engineered to match the watch dial.
The watch also has a brown Aviator strap made from vintage Porsche leather that mirrors the interior of the vehicle, an angular bezel and polished square pushers with a brushed case to match the finish of the car details, and wheels in a stainless-steel case with an exhibition back showing the movement.
“I’m excited to be working with both Gateway Bronco and Ryan Blaney to support an incredible cause,” says Leonid Khankin, managing and creative director of Ernst Benz. “We met Ryan through our involvement with NASCAR and the Speedway Motorsports family, and he is an exceptional guy doing great work that we are proud to support.”
Gateway Bronco, one of the largest restorers of the first-generation Bronco, has worked with Blaney to bring the classic SUV to life. The original 1974 Bronco was fully restored and reimagined with a contemporary Ford drivetrain, updated suspension, genuine Porsche leather interior, and heritage styling, including barn wood bed in the cargo area with a “Blaney & Sons Lumber Special” logo to pay homage to the Blaney family’s lumberyard that helped support the family’s racing.
The Bronco was most recently at SEMA in November.
The foundation was established in 2018 and is a nonprofit that supports causes that have impacted the Blaney family, including the Alzheimer’s Association and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion program.