By Charmian Leong
The Grand Prix is almost upon us. But for those of you who prefer gears trains over gearshifts, check out the F1-inspired timepieces that have sped their way into the hearts of horophiles and petrol heads alike.
As the official timekeeper for the F1 races between 2010 and 2012, Hublot has released its fair share of racing-themed timepieces, such as the F1 King Power Austin Limited Edition two years ago that was created in honour of the US Grand Prix in Texas. These days Hublot backs the Scuderia Ferrari team and has released the Big Bang Ferrari Speciale this year in two editions, each equipped with the in-house Unico chronograph calibre.
TAG Heuer’s popular Formula 1 series has gotten a major facelift after 28 years, boasting mostly automatic movements and a brand new case for 2015. There are five models in this entry-level line – Calibre 16 Chronograph, Calibre 6 with a small second register, Calibre 5 with a second hand, Calibre 7 GMT, Quartz and Quartz Chronograph – with special editions for the McLaren Formula One team as well a whole new collection for the legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna.
Just because Rolex has been the official timekeeper for the F1 since 2013 doesn’t mean we can expect to see a race-specific edition any time soon. Rolex almost never makes limited editions. But what we can look forward to are new Daytona models, Rolex’s motor sports-inspired collection named after the famed American racetrack in Florida. 2013 also marked the 50th anniversary of the legendary watch, and the anniversary piece – the Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116506 – was the first Daytona ever to be made of platinum, paired with an ice blue dial and brown ceramic bezel.
IWC has been partners with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team since 2012 and the collection chosen to honour the partnership was the Ingenieur, the brand’s line of wristwatches created for engineers. Limited edition Ingenieur Chronographs for brand ambassadors Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosenberg were released last year for the Singapore Grand Prix, sporting different colour schemes for each driver. Both were powered by IWC’s in-house, automatic chronograph movement with flyback function and the brand’s patented, bidirectional Pellaton winding system.
The ultra-light, ultra-tough watches of Richard Mille were made for high impact sports, so it comes as no surprise that it has been the official partner of the Lotus F1 team since 2013. Last year’s RM 50-01 pays tribute to the partnership, as well as to its Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. Featuring a case in lightweight NTPT carbon– short for North Thin Ply Technology, the company that developed the woodgrain-like composite – with a red gold case band, it’s equipped with a split-seconds chronograph and skeletonized titanium movement base plate.
Exclusive content by Charmian Leong – After seven years working in the offices of luxury lifestyle magazines, Leong has opted to be her own boss as a freelance writer. Her bonuses now take the form of Japanese whiskies and cans of tuna.