Watches and motorsport have a close relationship. The tachometers stamped on the bezels can be used to measure a car’s average speed over a known distance, and some of the world’s most iconic watch names – Tag Heuer Carrera, Rolex Daytona – take their name from motorsport.
And, while this article is all about F1 drivers’ watches, it’s impossible not to write about watches and motorsport without mentioning the so-called Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, and how Newman’s own sold. auctioned for $ 17.8 million in 2017.
While this Rolex was owned by Newman, today’s F1 drivers are given a big watch almost the moment they step out of their cars, thanks to lucrative sponsorship deals. IWC, sponsor of the Mercedes team, even places the image of a watch on the driver’s gloves, where it can be seen from the car’s on-board camera.
Often, the team is sponsored by a watch company, the pieces of which then appear on the pilots’ wrists, sometimes in a color reflecting their nationality. Other drivers have their own deal directly with the watch company, some of these partnerships last a lifetime.
For 2021, a watch is prominently featured on the wrists of all 20 pilots – and here’s a closer look at what exactly those watches are.
Lewis Hamilton and Valteri Bottas
The Mercedes F1 team has been sponsored by IWC Schaffhausen since 2013, so it is the watch brand worn by its two drivers. Lewis Hamilton and Valteri Bottas both wear personalized versions of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch, a large 46.2mm watch with a black dial, stainless steel case, leather strap and automatic movement.
Specifically, Hamilton has been seen wearing versions of the Big Pilot Perpetual, while Bottas’ watches have blue accents inspired by the flag of his native Finland.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
Tag Heuer has been Red Bull’s watch sponsor since 2016 and has extended the partnership this season until 2024. Tag Heuer has a long history of collaboration in motorsport, with the company formerly known as Tag sponsoring the Porsche engine of the McLaren F1 cars driven in 1984, ’85 and ’86. Tag Heuer, as it was renamed in 1985, also lent its name to the Renault engine used by Red Bull in 2016.
Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez wear the aptly named Tag Heuer Formula One Special Edition, a stainless steel sports watch with a blue dial and bezel, with a tachymeter and red details to match the Red Bull livery. .
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
Ferrari has partnered with many watch companies over the years and, after parting ways with Hublot, the Italian team is now working with Richard Mille. Known for their oversized cases, skeletal design, exclusivity and very high prices, Richard Mille watches have found their way onto the wrists of many racing drivers.
This is a multiplatform deal, which means Ferrari drivers in racing categories other than F1 can also wear Richard Mille watches, while Leclerc has had a personal deal with the watchmaker for much. of his career in motorsport. The Monegasque pilot tends to wear an RM watch with a strap and red details, and currently owns an RM 67-02 prototype.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren also has a sponsorship deal with Richard Mille, which has been in place since 2016. The McLaren-themed watchmaker’s watch is the RM 11-03, with Papaya Orange details to match the company’s colors. supercar builder. With an automatic flyback chronograph, the watch is limited to 500 pieces worldwide and McLaren roadcar drivers can request to purchase a watch with the serial number that matches their car’s chassis number.
McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo wear models similar to Richard Mille. Ricciardo was seen wearing an RM 50-03 Tourbillon split-seconds chronograph, while Norris is a fan of the RM 67-02 – which is said to be the same watch model stolen from the F1 driver after the Euro 2020 final at the stadium from Wembley.
Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll
The Aston Martin F1 team counts Girard-Perregaux as its official watchmaking partner. It is one of the oldest watchmakers in the world, in business since 1791, and the current agreement also includes close ties with Aston Martin’s road car division.
Naturally, the two pilots have Girard-Perregaux watches on their wrists for the 2021 season, the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel having opted for the Laureato 42 mm chronograph with blue dial, stainless steel case and bracelet. Girard-Perregaux was previously the watch sponsor of the Ferrari F1 team from 1994 to 2004
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon
Formerly known as Renault, the Alpine team is sponsored by fellow French watchmaker Bell & Ross. This led to the launch of three special edition watches with tachometers on their bezels, chronograph dials and bright blue details to match the colors of the Alpine company. These three watches are part of the Alpine F1 Team A521 collection.
Both pilots previously wore Renault-themed Bell & Ross watches and have since switched to Alpine-branded models. Alonso is also closely related to Richard Mille and was seen wearing this firm’s watches, with blue, red and yellow detailing, while driving for the Alpine team.
Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda
Instead of partnering with a luxury Swiss watchmaker like most other teams, AlphaTauri has struck a long-standing deal with Casio. For this season, pilots Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are wearing a limited edition, signed AlphaTauri, Casio Edifice.
There are three watches in the brand’s collection of the F1 team, all with 6K carbon dials allegedly several times stronger than steel. Strap options include fabric, rubber, and stainless steel, while the colourways all feature blue and red detailing to match the livery of the AlphaTauri F1 car.
Unlike the mechanical watches of other F1 drivers, the Casio Edifice has Bluetooth and a smartphone app for automatic time adjustment, setting of timers and transfer of data collected by the stopwatch function.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi
Richard Mille no longer sponsors the Alfa Romeo team, having switched to Ferrari. However, the Swiss marque is still associated with Alfa driver Kimi Raikkonen, who lends his name to a limited edition version of the RM50-04. Sporting Richard Mille’s usual skeletal design, the Kimi Raikkonen edition features a red strap and red details across the dial and tourbillon movement.
Only 30 examples of this watch were produced and its retail price is just over 1.1 million euros, making it one of the most expensive watches to be worn by pilots of F1 today.
Although no longer a team sponsor, a Richard Mille watch can still be seen on the wrist of fellow Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
George Russell and Nicholas Latifi
For the 2021 season, Williams has announced Bremont as their new watch sponsor. The British firm was founded in 2002 and assembles its watches in Oxfordshire, where the majority of current F1 teams are also based. The blue-dial Bremont Alt1-WT is now worn by Williams pilots George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, as well as senior team members.
However, shortly after signing for Mercedes for the 2022 season, Russell was seen with an IWC Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium aviator’s watch. This is a completely black watch with a ceramic case and a black textile strap. Its centerpiece is the double chronograph mechanism, which allows the wearer to simultaneously record two distinct events of different durations.
Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin
Haas is another team that no longer has Richard Mille as a sponsor. It is replaced by Cyrus, a Swiss watch brand founded in 2010. For the 2021 season, Mick Schumacher wears a Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon, while his teammate Nikita Mazepin has a Klepcys Alarm.
Schumacher’s all-black watch features a 44mm grade 5 titanium case with an alligator leather strap and an in-house movement made by Cyrus. The tourbillon movement has a 100-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal on the front and back and is limited to five copies.
Mazepin’s watch is one of 38 examples, featuring a large 46mm titanium case, sapphire crystal front and back, physical alarm chime with hammer, and internal mechanical winding movement. manual.