DELOREAN : Rebirth of a brand

by Jack Freedman

January 9, 2001


Many watch collectors, and those who simply enjoy reading about watches, are also interested in automobiles and their unique styling. There have been many articles written about the similarities of industrial processes between watches and cars and, of course, the never ending debates "Is Horology an Art or a Craft?".

It has been said that, after World War II, Seiko sent a team of specialists to General Motors to study modern automated assembly techniques in order to find ways to beat the Swiss in producing quality watches at affordable prices. More interestingly, though, is the fact that a number of car companies are involved directly or indirectly with watch companies who produce wrist watches under recognized automobile names. Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, and Ferrari are some of the car names that can be found on fine timepieces. Also, some well-known CEO's of prestigious Swiss watch companies, like Chopard's Karl Scheufele and Girard-Peregaux's Luigi Macaluso, are car fanatics who enjoy racing and collecting vintage cars.

Most readers who have an eye for the unusual or radical departure of styling may well remember how one man with big dreams in the automobile industry was out to make a name for himself 25 years ago. His name is John Z. DeLorean. Recovering from bankruptcy of his original car company, he has now formed a new automoble company as well as DELOREAN TIME that will design and distribute watches. One's appreciation of timepieces and automobiles makes the following story noteworthy even if there is no real significant technical innovation in the field of horology.

What exactly is the connection here between the new automobiles by DeLorean and his newly formed watch company? To answer this question, we should take a look at the man and his previous, now defunct, car company.


With obsessive drive, a brilliant mastery of automotive engineering and management techniques, John Zachary DeLorean, barely out of his 30's, had risen to rule the Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions of General Motors. Impatient with the corporate world's slow decision making, he quit GM to race down a faster track. He walked out of a $650,000-a-year job in 1974 to create his own company, naming it DeLorean Motor Company. It involved big money and risk but finally in 1981 the company's flashy sportscars actually began to roll off the assembly line. John DeLorean dreamed of soaring to industrial fame on the glitter of his sports car. Two of the vehicles's distinctive features: a brushed stainless-steel finish expected to be rustproof for at least 25 years and unusual gull-winged doors that opened upward instead of swinging out the conventional way. The car's price tag was $25,000.

DeLorean, creating a dashing new car, lived a life most other people can only dream about. Married then to actress-model Cristina Ferrare, 25 years his junior, he could pride himself not just with her stunning beauty but also with her financial success. In the 1970's, Cristina was at the top of the high fashion world - a model who, working two or three days a week, earned a reported $3500 a day. Not bad! Together they enjoyed a 20-room, $7.2 million Fifth Avenue duplex in Manhattan, a 440-acre, $3.5 million New Jersey estate, a $4 million California ranch with hot tub accomodations for eight, servants, a fleet of cars and an estimated personal fortune of $28 million.

John DeLorean, Cristina and children

In the earlier days, DeLorean paid himself about $500,000 a year and dabbled in a slew of other businesses from snowmobiles to buses. After eight years of superhuman struggle, the car company that was his life's vision faced failure. Under tremendous pressure, DeLorean appeared to crack. With his addiction to success, his fear of failure, and a turbocharged ego that drove him relentlessly, he was determined and desperate not to let his namesake car company die.

But that's just what happened when one day in 1982, it all came crashing down. On October 18, John DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly attempting to sell and distribute cocaine to raise money for his financially troubled car company. This development stunned and shocked the world especially those admiring the auto magnate who attempted what no American has done since Walter Chrysler opened his first assembly line in 1925.

The defense argument, which his wife Cristina then supported, was that there was a huge conspirancy on part of the British and American governments who were out to clip DeLorean's wings. Countless articles and books were written about this soap-opera story, and, while John DeLorean spent time in jail, his DeLorean Motor Company went into bankruptcy and closed down.


John Zachary DeLorean's dreams, however, didn't die. Even at age 75 years now, he still exudes the brash self-assurance he displayed 25 years ago and has dared make a recent comeback into automobiles as well as this time around (pun intended) into timepieces.

Let's take a look at his new aspirations.

Hoping to capitalize on his notoriety, John DeLorean has formed DELOREAN TIME LLC, a company that will "design and distribute innovative, high quality production runs of custom personal accessories and wearables". The first of these is a WATCH, made of metal injection molded stainless steel just like his DeLorean cars. To be manufactured by Tech Time Ltd., a subsidiary of Seiko Epson, the watch has a motion-activated quartz movement that doesn't need batteries.

Announcing the most exciting thing to come down the road since the original DeLorean Automobile, The DeLorean DMC2 Timepiece is designed like the original automobile in John's signature stainless steel, it is a timepiece that's as exciting as it is beautiful.

The extremely durable stainless steel construction of this exquisite timepiece features one of the most advanced analog quartz movements available today, featuring a Titanium Lithium Capacitor, as well as a scratch resistant saphire crystal.

DeLorean is actually using the watches as a marketing opportunity for two new car designs, one a state-of-the-art, high performance, hand-made sports car on the Ferrari level, and another, more affordably priced sports car. If there is a demand for the watches, it's possible they might be wholesaled to limited retailers. (Note the styling of the watch closely appearing like an automobile with tires) For now, the watches, selling at $3495, can be ordered with a $1750 deposit direct from the company's new website at:

The DMC2 is a timepiece for everyone- DeLorean enthusiast, automobile enthusiast, collector, or just someone who appreciates fine jewelry. The eye-catching design and high quality of this unique timepiece will make it a very special watch to own.

Who knows what a DeLorean may be worth in time?


The writer acknowledges thanks to Tamir's DeLorean Site (, WCR, Modern Jeweler and others for information gathered to cover parts of this report.

Your comments are welcome and can be sent direct to me via e-mail:

Copyrighted by Jack Freedman, November 2000


Back to top of page | Return to Time Zone Home Page
Copyright © 2001-2004 A Bid Of Time, Inc., All Rights Reserved