It is a well-known fact in the watch world that Rolex and motorsports are inseparable from each other. Rolex timepieces carry the DNA of the world of motorsports.
Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex in 1905. Around the same time, the German and American automobile industries were on the rise. Thus began a parallel that would merge fine automobiles and fine watches and forge new relationships. Rolex is one of the best-known brands that has an inseparable link with the world of car racing. The pinnacle of this association is summed up in the Rolex Daytona. It calls for an exploration of the past by tracing the story of a timepiece, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, which celebrated 50 years of history in 2013, and continues to rule the tracks!
It is indeed a commendable feat of accomplishment for a model to be hailed an icon and to rule the hearts of collectors for over 50 years. Rolex created the timepiece in 1963 and the proven track record of half a century has beyond doubt made the “Daytona” the most coveted chronograph in the world.
The name of the model comes from the city of Daytona, Florida. This city is also a legend in itself. Motor racing has been taking place on its beach since 1903 and many world land speed records have been broken here. Today, Daytona is considered in the United States to be the “World Center of Automobile Racing”. The creation of the Daytona International Speedway in 1959 heralded new high standards for racing tracks. This innovative approach brought about the “Rolex 24 at Daytona”, earlier known as “24 hours of Daytona”, the 24-hour car endurance race, a yearly event. The first edition of this race, under the name of “Daytona Continental”, took place in 1962, a year before the launch of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Thus, the race and the watch were practically contemporaries with their destinies inextricably linked.
Rolex became the Official Timepiece of the Daytona International Speedway. Legendary racing drivers such as Sir Malcolm Campbell, world land speed record breaker, wore Rolex. From the first editions of the races, the champion driver won a Rolex watch in addition to the trophy. In 1992, Rolex became the title sponsor of the 24 Hours of Daytona, making official an association that had already become legendary.
In 1968, Rolex formed a close relationship with one of the sport’s most emblematic figures, three-time FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart, which still endures today. Rolex announced its Title Sponsorship of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in 1992 and nine years later became the Offical Partner and Official Timepiece of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest and most prestigious endurance sports car race. In 2010 record nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen, was welcomed as a Rolex Testimonee and more recently, the brand partnered with the FIA World Endurance Championship further strengthening its relationship with endurance racing.
Since 2013 Rolex has been a long-term Global Partner and the Official Timepiece of Formula 1 and the brand is proud to be celebrating a fifth season of its involvement. Australian former racing driver, Mark Webber, who raced in Formula 1 for 12 years and recently retired from the FIA World Endurance Championship, joins the Rolex family of Testimonees from 2017.
2017 marks Rolex’s fifth year as a Global Partner and the Official Timepiece of Formula 1. Rolex is without question the perfect partner for this world-class sporting series. Rolex’s prestige, the excellence of its watches, as well as the brand’s passionate and long-standing commitment to motor sport gives the partnership true credibility.
The ultimate award…
Rolex has a long-standing tradition of rewarding motor sport champions with a specially engraved Rolex timepiece to honour them for their exceptional contributions and achievements in the sport; in particular, the winners of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, receive a specially engraved Cosmograph Daytona. This legendary timepiece has established an extraordinary track record in the world of motor racing and represents the ultimate award in motor sport!
We could say it’s a veritable timepiece that seals the bond between Rolex and motorsports!