What was the very first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? “What time is it?”. Yes, me too. Checking the time is an action which became instinctual for us, human beings. Consequently, we have started using this tool, to call it so, even in sports such as football, tennis, basketball and of course, motorsports. As we all know, Formula 1 is the main stage for the latter, having millions and millions of followers around the world, and more than 20 official racing events each year. This is a prestigious competition, with prestigious partners, such as Rolex.
The love story between timekeeping and racing goes a long way back in history, more than 8 decades. Let us introduce Malcolm Campbell, a British man born in 1885, who was a lover of breaking speed records and participating in Grand Prix motor racing before Formula 1 was even established in 1950. In fact, he was the first one to wear a watch while racing, a Rolex Oyster, when he set his final land speed record in 1935 by going over 300 mph (485 km/h).
During the years, Rolex’s popularity increased, and so did the number of people watching racing events, such as NASCAR, which is the most important motorsport in the United States of America. Rolex had presence in the USA since its early days, but was not very popular due to different global issues at that time such as wars, changes in tariffs or recessions, which made it very difficult for the products to be sold overseas. However, in 1959, Rolex became for the first time the partner of a racing track: Daytona International Speedway. The name “Daytona” is very familiar to lovers of watches, with the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph being built as the result of the first major partnership between timekeeping and racing.
Still, it took a few decades for Rolex to become one of the main sponsors of Formula 1, and the official timekeeper in Grand Prix Racing. It made its appearance in the sport in 1968, becoming the main sponsor of the three-time British World Champion, Jackie Stewart. This partnership came as the result of his great career in Formula 1, but also the fact that he was himself a fan of Rolex, since he bought his first watch in 1966. Until then, names such as Tag Heuer, Longines or HUBLOT represented the vast majority of brands seen on the wrists of organisers, drivers and around the track circuits. Years have passed, and a few decades later, more precisely in 2013, at the end of the V8 engine era, Rolex and Formula 1 became official partners. Today, whatever Grand Prix you watch, wherever you watch it from: the circuit’s grandstands, your home or even the pitlane, you will certainly see a very famous name, with yellow on green writing: Rolex. It is the title sponsor of many official races throughout the calendar and is always looking forward to finding ambassadors perfect for the brand who have been racing in the competition, such as Nico Rosberg or Mark Webber.
This partnership is expected to become even more important than the long-lasting one between Formula 1 and Tag Heuer, with more ambassadors poised to be the image of Rolex and even more events planned to take place under the name of the brand, but only one thing is certain about whether it will happen or not: time will tell.