You can only see something as unexpected and captivating as this once a year! On the 18th of September, some 112,000 men and women dressed to the nines went to the streets in 648 cities across 102 countries – from London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney to Vienna, Munich, Vienna and Vilnius. They were participating in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), a global fund-raising event, and were riding their vintage or classic motorcycles in aid of raising money and awareness for prostate cancer research and male suicide prevention on behalf of the event’s official charity partner, The Movember Foundation.
Each year, over one million men commit suicide or die from prostate cancer. Since 2013, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has raised over USD 13 million. This year’s fund-raising campaign started on 1 August, and there are plans to raise another USD 6 million in 2018.
The first DGR was held in 2012, after being conceived and initiated by Australian Mark Hawwa. Interestingly, it was a single photo that sparked this global charity event. It was an image of Mad Men’s fictional character Don Draper on a classic Matchless Motorcycle. The format for this ride is a dignified cruise through city streets, with the bikers dressed in dapper clothing, happy to pose for passers-by taking pictures. And this is how the idea of this fund-raising initiative is spread.
This goal is made possible with the support of long standing global partners Triumph Motorcycles providing special rewards for fundraisers and the winners of the gentlefolk competition including modern classic motorcycles. Helmet partner Hedon Workshop also supplied exclusive DGR 2018 helmets to the Top 100 global fundraisers, as well as REV’IT!, the official safety apparel partner provided rewards for the Top 10 highest and Top 100-150 highest fundraisers.
It goes without saying that good manners and both classic and vintage style are impossible without the right watch, which is an essential component for such an outfit and context. Founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot in Le Locle, Zenith Watches is a Swiss watchmaker with an illustrious history. Zenith has been supporting the event for three years now, and gives watches to the most active and generous participants in this fund-raising campaign. Friends and ambassadors of this brand are also actively involved in the DGR.
For this year’s event, Zenith presented its impressive PILOT Type 20 Chronograph Ton Up Black. Designed to celebrate the café racer biker community, also known as Ton-up boys, this timepiece is naturally named the ZENITH Heritage Pilot Ton-up. Part of a culture of rockers showing off fast motorcycles during gatherings, a café racer is a motorcycle that has been stripped of all unnecessary weight to gain speed and is renowned for its visual minimalism.
This is something of a paradox, because the inspiration behind this watch series is related not to motorcycles, but to aeroplanes. The first watch in this line was introduced 70 years ago. Looking at it, you won’t be mistaken – it’s a true pilot’s watch. However, this design concept is also perfect for motorcyclists, with its powerful, reliable, clear and easy-to-read dial. The chronograph buttons and Zenith’s signature massive onion crown are easy to use, even while wearing gloves. Also important to the functionality of this watch are the large Arabic numerals with modern SuperLumiNova coating that makes them stand out, even in poor light conditions.
The PILOT Type 20 Chronograph Ton Up Black has another technical feature and advantage that should be understandable to car and motorcycle enthusiasts. Cars that have their own engines rather than ones from other manufacturers are always more valued. The same goes for watches. The elite Premier League players are the manufacturers that use their own – in-house – calibres. There aren’t many of these, and in-house movements are something many watch manufacturers aspire to. Zenith is a member of this elite club, and this watch is driven by a legendary in-house El Primero automatic 4069 calibre operating at 5Hz (36,000b VpH) with a 50-hour power reserve. Completely black, with an unbeatable engine, black leather strap and a titanium buckle, it is a real instrument for a stylish biker.