I think we all know about the partnership between car companies and watch companies as it seems like watches and cars get on like Homer and beer.
What is perhaps less talked about in the mainstream media is that there are also a lot of watch companies getting in on the act with Formula 1 racing. The two have become so intertwined that as the top 3 drivers at each race get ready to get on the podium, they all made sure (well, at least someone made sure) that the relevent watch is firmly strapped onto their wrists.
(For those without a watch sponsor... I think I might have just figured out something!!! If you have a watch sponsor, you are more likely to be on podium than if you don't. Think about it...) By this logic, will we see a Marussia driver on the podium soon?
|Hublot clock at the Abu Dhabi circuit - image taken from the internet|
Hublot is of course, the current official timing partner with Formula One, and has even launched special editions for certain races. However, for each individual teams, and even individual drivers, there are different watch partnerships going on. The prices of the watches spans a great range from three figures all the way up to six figures!
[NOW] Now let's take a look at the most affordable to most expensive watches on the grid, in the 2011 finishing order.
|Hublot F1 King Power - image taken from the internet|
|Casio Edifice Red Bull Racing - image taken from the internet|
|Lewis Hamilton posing with his Tag Heuer - image taken from the internet|
|Jenson Button and his Tag Heuer - image taken from the internet|
|Jenson modeling the JLC Extreme Lab while he was with Brawn GP - image taken from the internet|
Mercedes AMG Petronas: Best known for their partnership with Graham watches from their BrawnGP days, they have dropped Graham has the official timing partner, and picked up Thomas Sabo instead for the 2012 season as the official jewellery partner. Nico Rosberg is also sponsored by Sabo, and sports a Thomas Sabo watch. However, this partnership look set to end at the end of 2012 as IWC has signed on as the official engineering partner with the team starting 2013, which makes sense since IWC has a partnership with AMG.
I can’t help but notice the creativity involved in naming the category that the brands are aligned in. Graham was the official 'timing' partner, [WHICH IS] straightforward enough. Thomas Sabo is the official 'jewellery' partner… ok… still quite straight forward but, IWC as the official 'engineering' partner? Hmm….thinking aloud here, but I reckon SIHH 2013 will see IWC announce a new range of engineering watches inspired by F1… Engineering watches you ask? For those who parlez francaise, you’ll of course, realise that French for engineer is oh… gee… IWC has a line of watches named “Ingenieur”…
|IWC Ingenieur AMG collection from 2005 - picture taken from the internet|
IWC Ingenieur Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team edition… you read it here first.
Oh. And Schumacher, once a long-time Omega ambassador, has 'upgraded' to Audemars Piguet, who also had Barichello, Buemi and Trulli on their roster until the three drivers were unceremoniously denied drives for the 2012 season.
|Graham MercedesGP GMT - image taken from the internet|
|Michael Schumacher with his AP - image taken from the internet|
|Barichello, Trulli and Buemi all sporting AP Royal Oak Offshores - image taken from the internet|
|Hublot Ferrari Big Bang Magic Gold - image taken from the internet|
|Alonso's Vceroy watch - image taken from the internet|
|Richard Mille Filipe Massa - image taken from the internet|
|Ferrari watch- image taken from the internet|
Ironically, Kimi used to be a TAG Heuer ambassador back when he drove a Mclaren, and he continued to be TAG eyewear ambassador after his switch to Ferrari back in 2007. Past driver and current commentator David Coulthard also has his own 'named' watch in the range.
|TW Steel Renault F1 Team - image taken from the internet|
Sauber: Certina has been with Sauber for 8 years, and the partnership has been quite subtle, with very small stickers on the cars and the drivers' helmets. They supply not just the drivers but the whole Sauber team with watches to wear.
|Certina Podium GMT Sauber F1 Team Ltd Ed - image taken from the internet|
Torro Rosso: Again, no partnerships here...
Williams: Oris has had a long partnership with Williams - since 2003 (I remember Mark Webber had his own 'Mark Webber' edition Oris) and this continues for the 2012 Championship.
|Oris Williams F1 Day-Date - image taken from the internet|
Caterham: no watch partnerships
HRT: no watch partnerships
Marussia: is strangely partnered with a small indie watch brand called Armin Strom. Maybe this is a good way for Armin to gain more brand exposure, but I'd think they'd probably get better returns had they partnered with say... Caterham, since they're consistently the best of the three newcomers to the F1 party...
|Armin Strom Racing Chronograph - image taken from the internet|
In F1, engineering is an ever-moving goal post, and I think the same goes for (watch) sponsorship... Who knows we might need to do an updated F1 wrist watch next season!