WristWatch Magazine - Page 64

m MOTORSPORTS Tour d’Elegance T here’s one thing you’ll notice when perusing the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach during the Concourse d”Elegance, the most famous classic car competition in the world. The cars are all parked. It’s the spectators and judges who must move among them until the very end, when the winners are announced. For many years, a completely free alternative to see these cars in action has existed in the form of the Tour d’Elegance, in which a caravan of rare and collectible automobiles embark on a scenic tour along the California coastline. Enthusiastic spectators stake out positions along the route, where they sit in folding chairs, camera in hand, recording the caravan of rare and vintage autos as they pass by. For those who might not have expected the Tour, it must surely be a surprising sight, the rattling and humming of antique chassis and engines slowly making their way along the coast. Rolex serves as a title sponsor of four of the internationally recognized events that comprise what has become known as the Monterey Classic Car Week. In addition to the main event—the Concourse d’Elegance—there is the Quail, a less formal car competition held at the Quail Lodge and Golf Club; the Monterrey Motorsports Reunion, a series of races held at Laguna Seca; and the Tour d’Elegance. For this year’s Tour, we hitched a ride with classic car collector Bill Kuettel in his 1928 Lincoln V8, a chauffer-driven beauty commissioned by the former Peruvian Ambassador to France at the cost of $8,000 (or approximately $160,000 in today’s money), making it the costliest Lincoln ever manufactured. Bill, a gregarious and spry retiree in his 80s, piloted his prized Lincoln over the 60-mile course while regaling his passengers with stories about his car, his life and the watch on his wrist, an ultrathin Rolex Cellini. 62 WRISTWATCH | 2016 Bill proudly showed me his watch, which I’d been admiring as he guided his prized Lincoln through along the California coastline. He told me of how he purchased it through the sale of an older Rolex he had bought in Switzerland while stationed in Germany following World War Two. Bill wasn’t certain which model it was he had owned prior, but he described it as a fairly straightforward, manually wound stainless steel infantry watch. I was more than a little surprised that Bill would have sold a watch bought as a young serviceman overseas in order to finance a new horological acquisition, but he does love his Cellini and didn’t seem the least bit sen timental about the watch that was. To him, the modern Cellini was a new gold watch, and