Monday, August 27, 2012

Formula 1 and Watches

Being a huge F1 fan and a watch nerd, I'm sadly all too aware of the F1/ watch connection, but there haven't been any recent looks at the watch side of F1 racing that I'm aware of, so I thought that it's time that we had one!

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
Red Bull Racing: The watch partner is Casio, and both drivers (Vettel and Webber) wear Casio products. There is an official Casio Edifice Red Bull racing watch, and Vettel also has his own Casio Edifice watch.

Casio Edifice Red Bull Racing - image taken from the internet

Mclaren Mercedes: This is a partnership that is deeply rooted in history and has been going on for a long time.  TAG Heuer equips both Hamilton and Button with wrist jewellery as well as branded timing screens and whatnot in the garage. TAG Heuer branding used to be on the actual cars, but now they're happy to have the drivers as ambassadors instead of having stickers on cars.

Lewis Hamilton posing with his Tag Heuer - image taken from the internet

Jenson Button and his Tag Heuer - image taken from the internet
Jenson, being a bit of a watch lover, had his fair share of different brands on his wrist (depending on if there is a contractual obligation or not). Back in his days of driving a Honda, he wore Seiko Sportura watches, but when he was driving for Brawn in his championship winning year, he had on Jaeger-LeCoultre watches for the first half of the season or so, until Graham watches came on board later on in the year, and that relationship has continued to...

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
Ferrari: They recently signed up with Hublot, after a short stint with Panerai, and before that with Girard Perregaux. Let's hope this new partnership with Hublot is more successful than either GP or Panerai. However, this does not seem to extend to the drivers, as Alonso sports a Viceroy and Massa has a Rchard Mille named after him. So even though Alonso has the upper hand in racing, Massa definitely takes the top step in terms on wrist wear...

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
Oh... and there is also the more 'accessible' range of Ferrari watches which you can buy online from the Ferrari shop...

Ferrari watch- image taken from the internet
Renault: TW Steel jumped onboard during their tumultuous 2009 'crashgate' year, presumably because the space was going cheap after losing a few of their major sponsors after the scandal, but they've certainly made it work. They're big on oversized watches, and Kimi Raikkonen is seen wearing TW Steel. Romain Grojean was wearing TW Steel up until just before Monaco 2012, when he switched over to TAG Heuer.

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
Force India: Don't seem to have a watch sponsor at the moment. So... here's an opportunity to add stickers to Force India cars and adorn drivers Hulkenberg's and di Resta's wrists!

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!



Anonymous said...

Nice sharing about watches, you have done good research, you have shown watches of 2011 according its price that is very nice, this information is valuable for many users,thanks for sharing.

jasmine said...

These are very cool watches. These all look very masculine and appealing. I can now decide which one would look best for my hubby. Keep us posted with some of your observations on wrist watches in the future.