Rolex and Motorsports, Driving The Brand Forward
If you’re a fan of Formula 1, you will no doubt be immersed in all the Grand Prix races happening all over the world right now. From France to England to Germany to Hungary, it’s a busy summer season for F1. You may have even spotted some Rolex branding at the circuits since the brand has been the Global Partner and Official Timepiece of the F1 since 2013. Rolex’s relationship with Formula is just a small portion of their overall support of motorsports and car events around the world. Let’s discover what motorsports events Rolex sponsors, who their driver brand ambassadors are, and highlight the Daytona, a chronograph built for the racing lifestyle.
Rolex Sponsored Motorsports Events
In addition to being a global partner of Formula 1, Rolex is also the title sponsor of the first F1 race of the season—the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix. Furthermore, Rolex is also a major sponsor of three of the sport’s leading endurance races.
There’s the Rolex 24 At Daytona, which takes place annually in January at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Rolex has been a title sponsor of the famous 24 At Daytona since 1992, and given that Rolex’s Daytona chronograph is named after the county’s speed capital, the relationship is fitting indeed! The winners of the 2018 edition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona each took home a specially engraved two-tone Daytona.
Later in the year in June, there’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France. Along with being the oldest sports car endurance race, it is also the most prestigious and Rolex became the Official Timepiece in 2001. The winners of the 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans each won a specially engraved steel and ceramic Daytona.
Completing Rolex’s support of endurance racing is the brand’s partnership with the 12 Hours of Sebring event, also in Florida, as well as being the Official Timepiece of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
It’s not just high-adrenaline races that Rolex sponsors in the world of motorsports, the brand also partners with prestigious classic car events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in California, and the Goodwood Revival in the UK.
Rolex Motorsports Ambassadors
On top of sponsoring events, Rolex also has a list of motorsports ambassadors starting with Sir Jackie Stewart, who signed on in 1968. A legend in Formula 1, Sir Jackie Stewart won three World Championships and 27 Grand Prix races during his illustrious career. Other F1 drivers that are part of the Rolex family include nine-time Grand Prix winner, Mark Webber, and the 2016 F1 world champion, Nico Rosberg.
Rolex also counts Tom Kristensen as a brand ambassador, one of the most successful drivers in endurance racing ever.
The Daytona Chronograph Built for Motorsports
Perhaps the most famous luxury chronograph watch ever made, Rolex unveiled the Cosmograph Daytona chronograph in 1963. Named after Daytona Beach in Florida, home to a strong history of car racing, Rolex’s Daytona chronograph was built to race. Equipped with a tachymeter bezel charged to measure average speeds by using the chronograph hand on the dial, the Daytona’s duo of pushers on the case are there to start, stop, and reset that chrono hand.
The Daytona story includes three major parts thus far. The first is a collection of manual-wound chronograph watches manufactured from 1963 until 1988. The next chapter starts in 1988 with the first generation of automatic Daytona chronographs, powered by modified Zenith El Primero movements. The current phase began in 2000 when Rolex presented new versions of the Daytona running on an in-house chronograph movement, the Cal. 4130.
In true Rolex fashion, there have been plenty of different Daytona watches made throughout its history, from steel to gold to platinum to two-tone models. There are also a host of gem-set Daytona chronographs and the latest ones sport high-tech ceramic bezels.
As the Daytona chronicle continues to drive forward, Rolex has ensured that this legendary timepiece remains at the top of the podium.