While it is not unusual for automakers to commission modestly-priced, mass-produced watches for sale through dealers’ accessory departments, a Mazda Europe designer has collaborated on the development of an exclusive, relatively expensive and limited-edition chronograph.

The idea to create a premium watch – “that expresses the sensuous appeal of Mazda vehicle design” according to the press release – came at a Mazda drive event at Germany’s Hockenheimring race track.

Hasip Girgin, assistant chief designer at the automaker’s European research and development centre, Arno Gabel, vice president of operations, at German premium watchmaker Sinn Spezialuhren Frankfurt, and Herbert Kunde, manager retail marketing at Mazda Motors Deutschland, started work immediately, and 15 months later, their idea is reality.

The Mazda Design Chronograph was Girpin’s first experience designing a watch. “It was a challenge,” he admits, “because I wanted to give the chronograph a unique design with instant appeal. I worked for over a year.”

Girpin said some aspects of the watch’s “long hole” design reflect features of the air intakes, tail lights and door handles of the MX-5 roadster.

“I think we have the best harmony between a geometric body and the tense, soft curvatures that define this body,” Girgin said. “Its mix of plane surfaces, curvatures, materials and weight make the watch so sensual.”

The band with its unique butterfly buckle is alos a reference to Mazda vehicle design. The band is made of silicon rubber and has the same tyre profile as the Hakaze – the latest Nagare design study created by the automaker’s European design team and displayed at this year’s Geneva motor show.

Girgin has played a key role in the design of a number of production and concept cars over the last 12 years. He is best known for his design proposals for the original Mazda 3.

He is also an accomplished painter, who has exhibited in Germany, and holds lectures in design at Pforzheim University.

Mazda and Sinn Spezialuhren Frankfurt have cooperated twice before to create limited edition watches – the MX-5 NC model and the Sinn 303 RX-8. While the first projects were customised versions of original Sinn models, the new chronograph was completely designed by and for the automaker.

A limited edition, it will be available at European dealers from mid-August. The retail price in Germany will be EUR1,490.