When they hear “Rolex,” watch geeks don’t necessarily think “racing.” And when they hear “Daytona,” they usually think “Rolex,” before they think of the high-banked race track in Florida. But Rolex is well connected with racing.
In fact, the brand sponsors numerous racing events on land and sea, not the least of which is yachting. Witness the Rolex Sydney Hobart which just took place a couple of weeks ago. And there’s the Rolex Big Boat Series, the Rolex Fastnet, the Rolex Swan Cup, and the Rolex Farr® 40 World Championship.
And certainly, motorsport enters in the discussion whenever one talks about Rolex sports sponsorship. Rolex sponsored the Rolex Sports Car Series from 2002 until 2013, when they handed it off to daughter brand Tudor.
Rolex sponsors other auto racing events as well, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Goodwood Revival, an acclaimed historic race meeting, and Monterey Classic Car Week in Monterey, California. A few years ago they became the official timer of Formula 1.
And then there’s the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Florida, America’s premier endurance auto race.
The Rolex 24, and more to the point, the track where it’s held, is what gave name to Rolex’s iconic chronograph, the Cosmograph Daytona. The race was first held in 1962. A year later, Rolex introduced the Daytona, a purpose-built chronograph “designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers.” In fact, no less a driver than three-time World Driving Champion Sir Jackie Stewart has been a brand ambassador for over 40 years.
Further, as all watch nerds worthy of the title know, actor and racer (and salad dressing maker… erm, sorry) Paul Newman lent his name to an icon within an icon, the Paul Newman Daytona.
And so, once again, lest anyone think of Rolex as simply a luxury brand or all-show-and-no-go bling, remember the relationship they have with some of the most hairy-chested sports on the planet.