Some things simply cannot be separated from each other: BBQ and beer, air travel and tomato juice, New York and sliced pizza — and race cars and fancy timepieces. We are grateful for the influence motorsport has had on legendary racing watches such as the TAG Heuer Monaco and Rolex Daytona. These wrote history on the wrists of famous drivers. Let’s take a closer look at the watches of racing legends past and present.
Motorsport legends and their watches
The Flying Scot and his Rolex Daytona
Sir John Young Stewart, better known as “Jackie” Stewart or “The Flying Scot”, is one of the most important icons in the history of motorsports. His numerous sliders have become a hallmark of this exceptional talent over the years. Stewart dominated many different racing classes in a variety of cars, but he won the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with a remarkable victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. Stewart’s Daytona is a vintage model (ref. 6263) from the late 60’s. He still likes to wear that watch, which reminds him of his victory in Monaco. In an interview with Rolex, he once said: “Today, almost 50 years later, this watch reminds me that I am good enough and fast enough to earn it.” One of the famous racing watches.
24 Hours of Le Mans
In 1971, Steve McQueen made TAG Heuer Monaco famous all over the world. In the film Le Mans, at the age of 41, he wore this watch on his wrist while playing the role of Porsche driver Delaney, immortalizing it in the racing world. Today, TAG Heuer offers some versions of the Monaco in its collection, designed to evoke the models and glamor of yesteryear in the movies. TAG Heuer Monaco Caliber 12 is one of them.
American actor Patrick Dempsey also had a passion for racing and racing Le Mans was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. In 2009 he made his debut in the notorious 24 Hours and in 2013 he even finished fourth in his class with his own racing team, Dempsey Racing. What watch is better suited to this victory than his TAG Heuer Monaco (ref. CAW2111.FC6183)?
Mercedes racing cars, luxury watches from IWC
Formula One The elite level of motorsport is home to the world’s best drivers. Teams of the world’s best automakers compete fiercely with energy drink makers and motorsport-loving billionaires. This racing class not only consumes tons of gasoline and tires every year, but also billions of euros. None of that seemed to matter once the spirit of the game burned inside, though. Over the years, leading racing teams
One is the Mercedes-AMG team. With two top drivers in Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, the team is relentlessly fighting for the top spot in Formula One. Hamilton and Bottas were constantly challenged but rarely beaten, with multiple victories at Ferrari and Red Bull. The Mercedes-Benz team appears to be able to survive without external sponsors; after all, the engineers based in Stuttgart and Affalterbach build cars, not watches. Since any timepiece considered valuable had to meet the high demands of Formula 1 as well as Mercedes, a decision was taken in favor of watch manufacturer IWC.
Rosberg, Hamilton and Bottas: IWC among the stars
The two companies have similar images and high standards for their products, which is why Mercedes drivers always wear IWC watches. Former Mercedes Formula 1 driver and multiple world champion Nico Rosberg has a special personal connection with watches made in Schaffhausen. His father once gave him an IWC watch for his birthday, and even though he is no longer a contractual obligation to IWC and is effectively a Rolex brand ambassador, he still avidly wears IWC. For example, he and former teammate Lewis Hamilton each designed their own special edition IWC Ingenieur Chronograph. However, Rosberg’s favorite watch is quite different in nature from his special edition. His favorite timepieces focus on elegance – the IWC Big Pilot’s Annual Calendar Special Edition “The Little Prince” and the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch with a case diameter of 55 mm.
Of course, Lewis Hamilton wears IWC too, but glamour, prestige is his priority. He tends to opt for models that are large in size, made of precious materials and often quite luxurious. Large Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar He developed this watch in collaboration with IWC in black ceramic with a burgundy dial highlighted by 18-karat gold. His Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas has a completely different style. The man is ruthless, calculating and humble. He is no exception when it comes to watches, admitting he feels “naked” without them. Of course, as a driver of the Mercedes-AMG team, his timepiece is also from IWC, but this is just in line with his goodwill and restrained temperament. His watches, such as the IWC Large Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar Top Gun (Ref. IW502902), are often sleek and sophisticated in design, giving him more presence than his dour visage would suggest.
By the way, the cooperation between Mercedes-AMG and IWC is no longer limited to Formula 1. Many of Affalterbach’s top cars have an analog clock integrated into the dashboard and needless to say, this is made by IWC.
Audemars Piguet Schumacher Special Edition
Ever since Michael Schumacher suffered a skiing accident in 2013, his fans and rivals have been concerned about his health. With his driving instincts and performance, Schumacher thrilled not only Formula 1 enthusiasts, but people all over the world. Inseparable from the name of his racing team Ferrari, he wrote the history of motorsport like no other. About five years before the accident, “Schumi” approached the Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, driven by his quest for the best quality. His humble request: a watch capable of measuring and comparing lap times. There were no mechanical watches of this type at the time, and Audemars Piguet took on this great challenge. Seven weeks before the ski accident, Schumacher was shown a prototype of his watch. Francois-Henry Bennahmias, managing director of Audemars Piguet, recalls being as ecstatic as a child at Christmas. After the car accident, at the request of his wife Corinna Schumacher,
Schumacher’s custom watch unveiled at their private ranch. While the watch represented a masterpiece of engineering, it was too big and heavy for the high-performance sport of Formula 1. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Lap Timer is limited to 221 pieces, and the new price is 239,200 euros. The unusual production number of 221 watches is a reference to the number of races in which Schumacher earned valuable world championship points. The Schumacher family was presented with seven limited-edition watches – one for each world championship Schumacher won.
Mick Junior trusts Richard Mille
Like father, like son. Mick Schumacher has been racing since childhood. He started in karting and then competed at various levels until he won the European Formula 3 Championship in 2018. With a clear goal of starting in Formula One, Schumacher has been conquering the world’s circuits, and his father’s racing genes are beyond doubt. Like his father, Mick has a penchant for exclusive timepieces, especially Richard Mille timepieces. He has been part of the ‘Richard Mille family of champions’ since 2019 and Mick’s taste in this regard has been favored, among many watches, a rose gold RM016 with a white rubber strap. As a result, the Swiss haute horlogerie is once again making a name for itself in the racing world.
In addition to Mick Junior, the Richard Mille family includes Alain Prost, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso and the Haas and McLaren F1 teams. As if that wasn’t enough, Jean Todt, President of the World Automobile Federation (FIA), former team principal of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team and a close friend of Michael Schumacher’s ever since, also belongs to Richard Miller (Richard Mille) family. Mick is in the best company, with his sponsor’s clocks, and reliable ancillary instruments on board.