7 Luxury watches worn by Formula One drivers
Straight from the paddock
Luxury watches and Formula One are a match made in heaven. Kicking off the 2023 season in Bahrain earlier last month, as always, the year-long sporting event is slated to offer incredible speed, exceptional driving skills, excitement, rivalry, and unquestionably, plenty of style. If anything, the racing teams rely on sponsorship deals to fund their single-seater cars, so it’s only natural that high-end watchmakers take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their most expensive, up-to-date offerings. Plus, no one wears million-dollar watches better than these seasoned racing drivers. Wonder which timepiece your favourite driver is wearing? We’ve rounded them up below—happy reading!
Richard Mille RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal
The RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal took three years to develop and the complexity of the watch’s construction is attributed to the butterfly rotor—a novel mechanism that allows Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc to regulate the movement’s winding by tapping the pusher at the seven o’clock position. The ultralight timepiece is distinguished by its skeletonised dial, which is set in a white Quartz TPT® case that complements the sky-blue rubber strap. Not to be overlooked is the pusher at two o’clock, which allows the Monégasque driver to switch between three different modes for setting the time.
IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun edition ‘Mojave Desert
The Big Pilot is Lewis Hamilton’s go-to watch, and what sets it apart from others is the sand-coloured ceramic case, which was inspired by the flying suits worn by US Navy pilots and the desolate scenery of China Lake. When looked at closely, this work of art exhibits a muted dark brown dial with four easy-to-read subdials and a four-digit year display. It’s also driven by the 52615 Calibre automatic movement, which enables the perpetual calendar to run without any manual adjustment until the year 2100. Furthermore, the automatic Pellaton winding system offers a seven-day power reserve in two barrels.
Tag Heuer Monaco special edition
Inspired by the famed Monaco of the 1970s, the Tag Heuer Monaco special edition sports a deep black circular brushed dial that contrasts with rose gold-plated hands and indexes, filled with brilliant white Super-Luminova. The reigning world champion—Max Verstappen—is a huge admirer of this timepiece, which is housed in a rich black titanium case coated with DLC (diamond-like carbon) and powered by the steadfast Calibre Heuer 02 visible through the clear case back. As if that were not enough, this ferociously stylish watch has an 80-hour power reserve and a sleek black alligator strap for a sleek look.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 edition
The Laureato Absolute Chronograph is the fruit of a partnership between Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin that began in 2021. As seen on Lance Stroll‘s wrist, this timepiece stands out due to its sun-ray Aston Martin Racing Green dial with cross-hatching and lime-coloured chronograph hands that resemble the side strakes that are frequently used on Aston Martin road cars. Another unique feature is its modern 44m titanium and carbon case, with the latter sourced from two F1 race cars used in the 2021 season. Also, if you’re curious about the movement, the Calibre GP03300-1058 can be observed from the back of the watch—a first for the entire series.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 A521
The Alpine F1 line by Bell & Ross emerged in 2021, and the BR-X1 A521 was one of three sporty yet trendy watches included in the collection. Esteban Ocon was spotted wearing this now-sold-out timepiece at this year’s Bahrain race, which features a skeletonised dial that echoes the Alpine’s visual identity and houses a movement with an X-shaped central bridge that can be admired through the dial side of the watch. Other key details include the bi-directional rotating steel bezel ring with a time marker, as well as the black perforated rubber strap that elegantly contrasts with the silver square case made from PVD-coated titanium.
The Bremont WR-22 flawlessly combines British heritage with fine engineering, with each watch having an authentic wheel nut from vintage Williams Racing cars that have been verified by the Williams Racing team. The 43mm chronograph, which was recently spotted on Alex Albon, also sports a white analogue dial that pays homage to the heyday of racing in the 1970s with a red chronograph second-hand while staying current with Super-LumiNova filling the applied indexes and hands. Movement-wise, it’s powered by Modified Calibre 13 ¼’’ BE-53AE with 27 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve.
Rebellion Re-volt Zhou Guanyu C43
Rebellion—the official timekeeper of the Alfa Romeo F1 team—unveiled a special series dedicated to the drivers, one named Re-Volt Zhou Guanyu C43 for the Chinese racing driver. The sculptural case is made of coloured carbon, specifically red, to mirror the colour of the Chinese flag, with each piece of carbon attached to a side plate on the case’s body. Along with the fact that the watch features a piece from Zhou Guanyu’s single-seater, what makes the timepiece unique is that you can choose between two straps, including vulcanised rubber with a folding clasp and velcro with a black DLC titanium buckle.
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