Saturday, February 20, 2010

The £22,000 car key

Is this watch the world's most lavish and expensive car key? Buyers of the new Aston Martin Rapide can specify the Jaeger LeCoultre Rapide Transponder as a £22,000 option.

Owners can use the amazing timepiece to lock and unlock the five-door supercar by simply touching its face.

If it seems expensive, that's because an incredible amount of work went into squeezing the 'plipper' into the watch.

Firstly, Jaeger's engineers had to reduce the size of the transponder that sends the locking signal to the car so it would fit. Then, they spent 18 months working out how to install the watch's mechanical internals while ensuring its timekeeping isn't affected by the transponder's electrical field.

As if owning a Rapide isn't impressive enough, the James Bond-like ability to lock it by pressing your watch face is quite a trick. There are two 'zones' on the sapphire crystal face, one to open the car between 8 and 9 o'clock, and the 'close' section between three and four. There are no buttons required, as the face is a touch-sensitive.

The watch is the latest item on an increasingly lavish Aston options list. The Aston Cygnet (a thoroughly re-upholstered and modified Toyota iQ) will offer wealthy owners the chance to leave their 'proper' Aston behind and take a super-exclusive city car to work instead.

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