Rolex watches and motorsport: Daytona 24 Hours, Le Mans, Formula 1 and more
Beginning with the land speed record attempt in 1935, Rolex has been an integral part of motorsport with partnerships in some of the most prestigious championships
Rolex is one of the most influential companies when it comes to horology. The Swiss manufacturer is synonymous with cutting edge, high-end, exquisite and precise watches. But what has that got to do with us petrol heads? Well Rolex and their watches are heavily influenced by and involved with some of the biggest motorsport events and even drivers.
From the 24 hours at Daytona, which is now called Rolex 24 at Daytona, to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula 1 and even events like Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Rolex Monterey motorsports reunion and Goodwood Revival the Swiss manufacturer has a presence in the nuggets motorsport events in the world. Achieving new peaks of excellence is key to Rolex, whether it is crafting immaculate watches, or pushing boundaries otherwise unknown. And what better way to do so than motorsports.
It all began when one man dared it all while defying the laws of physics and crossed the threshold of speed previously unknown. The man in question is Sir Malcolm Campbell who on September 3, 1935, broke the 482.2kmph land speed record with a Rolex Oyster fastened around his wrist. This feat was accomplished in the final iteration of the ‘Bluebird’ a 27-foot, front engine land-speed car that was powered by a behemoth 36.7-litre supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12 that put out a mind boggling for the time 2268.5bhp. This incredible accomplishment for the world of speed and motorsport helped forge what is now an everlasting bond between Rolex and motorsport.
Rolex and Daytona
Rolex has always been a torchbearer for endurance racing and has actively contributed and sponsored events at the Daytona International Speedway ever since it began in 1959. Rolex then became the official timekeeping partner for the 24 Hours at Daytona in 1962. And to further increase its commitment to the sport, Rolex became the title sponsor of the race in 1992 and it has been called the Rolex 24 At Daytona ever since.
To commemorate its affiliation with the iconic track, Rolex inscribed ‘Daytona’ to the dial of the Oyster Perpetual chronograph a few years after its 1963 launch. And, the Oyster Perpetual Chronograph Daytona has been awarded to every winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans ever since.
Interesting side note, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, which he got as a gift from his wife, was recently auctioned and was not only the most expensive Rolex but the most expensive watch to ever be sold at approximately Rs 130.8 crore ($17.8 million). Yes, you read that right.
Rolex and Formula 1
Rolex established relations with venerated Formula 1 world champion Jackie Stewart back in 1968, who still, to this day remains an ambassador for the company. The company has been an active sponsor at Formula 1 ever since and in 2012 it also became the official timekeeping partner for Formula 1. Apart from Sir Jackie Stewart, drivers like Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg are also ambassadors for Rolex courtesy their shared love for motorsport and pursuit of excellence.
Rolex and Le Mans
Rolex has also been a long-time supporter and sponsor for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Rolex became the official timekeeper for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 2001. Additionally, like for the winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona the winners for the 24 Hours of Le Mans are also awarded with a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Rolex is also the official Timepiece partner for the recently formed FIA World Endurance Championship since 2016.
Rolex and other automotive events
Apart from high octane motorsports, Rolex also celebrates automotive design and engineering of the past and present alike. Rolex has been the official timepiece for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance since 1997. The company has also been a partner in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since 2001 and became the title sponsor of the event nine years later. Rolex has also been associated with the Goodwood Revival since 2004 and supports the prime event of the show, the Drivers’ Club.
All the motorsport and automotive events that Rolex supports or are a part of are a sheer testament to the fact that they are true torchbearers and contributors to the thrilling world that is motorsport. Every move made every step taken is to further strengthen the bond with motorsport.