Rolexes and dragons generally don’t have much in common, but that’s all about to change thanks to the folks over at Panache. The bike specialists have created a bespoke Yamaha that takes its design cues from a Daytona Zenith and its moniker from J. R. R. Tolkien’s fearsome dragon Smaug.
The French-based workshop spent 550 painstaking hours to turn a 1977 Yamaha XS360 into a remarkable new design. The bike was first stripped back to the basics and shed some 57 pounds after her frame, swingarm, scabbards, rims, stand and electronics box were all sanded down.
Then, Smaug was treated to a full mechanical rebuild and received a bunch of upgrades to improve performance, including double front brake rotors, YSS progressive fork springs, Hagon adjustable rear shocks and Mikuni carburetors that give her plenty of growl. On top of that, the engine was completely restored.
Inspired by the Rolex Daytona 16523 Zenith, the motorcycle boasts a clean silhouette thanks to its custom aluminum master cylinder tank and bespoke long saddle. Motogadget controls and gauges work to keep the bike free from eyesores, such as cables and wiring. The result is simple yet muscular, just like its inspiration. The bike even shares the watch’s black, gold, and silver colorway.
As for the two-wheeler’s name, the workshop wanted a fierce, intelligent and visually stunning dragon, whose traits could match the technical characteristics of the bike.
“It appeared quite obvious that the only dragon who could possibly fulfill our conditions was Smaug, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit,” reads the Panache website. “He’s one badass, powerful and cunning motherf***er.”
The workshop’s wing of dragons includes just one other beast: “Falkor.” Named after the white luckdragon from The Neverending Story, the blue-and-white riff was completed in 2019 and showcases the same high level of craftsmanship.
You can head to the Panache website for full specs or to commission your own dragon. Thanks to Daenerys and Game of Thrones, there are already three badass names ready to go: Rhaegal, Viserion or Drogon—take your pick.
Check out more photos of Smaug below: