WristWatch Magazine - Page 69

recently following a race in Japan. That’s very good example of risk management. So how has it changed? There’s been evolutionary change all the time. We have 200 sensors on a Formula One car and it’s being read via satellite. The cost is huge. It’s the biggest capital investment sport in the world. WW: Were you and your fellow drivers interested in watches, and what were some of the more popular models around the track? JS: First of all, I never drove with a watch on. You never drive with a watch on. The last thing I would do before I got into a car was to give it to my team principal. And he kept it until I stepped out of the car and went onto the podium with my watch on. The reason for that is that if you have the wrong accident the watch and bracelet can tear the skin from your hand. It’s called “degloving.” This grows back well (gestures to the back of his hand) but the palm doesn’t. So you don’t wear a watch when you’re racing. I think racing drivers have always liked watches. A watch is a very personal thing. I bought my first Rolex in 1966. I was racing in Indianapolis. I got paid quite a lot of money to do it. And when I qualified I got paid more money. I went into a shop in Houston, Texas—the team owner I was driving for was a Houstonian—and thought: “I’m going to buy a Rolex watch.” My first Rolex was an 18-karat gold Day-Date with President bracelet, so I went for the full monty, only because in Indianapolis in those days they were paying much more money than Formula 1. So that was my gift to Jackie. The technology and the touch and feel of a fine watch is something that I think racing drivers like. It’s a status symbol almost. WW: Do you remember your very first watch? JS: My very first watch was a Juvenia. That was quite a fancy watch for me. As a kid growing up I didn’t have a watch. WW: What is it about Rolex that appeals to you? JS: Well I enjoy having a lot of watches. I’ve been with Rolex for 47 years, which is pretty unusual. Arnold Palmer, Jean-Claude Killy and I all joined at the same time. There was a wonderful man named Andre Heiniger running the brand. He was almost responsible for what we see today as the success of Rolex. And I’ve been with them ever since. This watch I’m wearing now (shows the Daytona on his wrist) I got for being in pole position at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix. It’s rather nice that I still have the same watch. Last night I was wearing a watch that is 81 years old, a Rolex, that was given to me by one of the team owners. His father gave it to him when he was ten. And tonight, I’m going to wear a Milgauss. There’s not many of them around. And I’m only wearing it because I’m in America, and it’s a rare watch. I’ve never seen anybody wear a Milgauss. Andre Heiniger gave it to me when I won my first championship. I had just joined Rolex, and he thought it was a nice thing for me to have. I’ve normally got a Day-Date on my wrist. I like the new Daytona. I’ve got a rose gold one. So I love watches. It’s men’s jewelry. I like having more than one, and as a Scotman that’s been very difficult. WW: Have you visited Rolex and seen watches being assembled? JS: Oh yes. I think Rolex has the most impressive corporate headquarters in the world. I’ve been to most of them whether it’s Microsoft, or Ford Motor Company, or General Motors, or IBM, or American Express or Rolls Royce. Rolex has the most impressive. The manufacture of a Rolex watch is a neurosurgeon’s clinical theatre. It’s so precise and beautifully clean. The quality control is amazing. I’ve never had a mechanical problem with any of my watches. WW: You retired from driving as the reigning F1 Champion. Did you ever wish that you had gone back for one more? JS: Never once. I never had the seven-year itch. No regrets. When I retired, I made my mind up in April, and the last event was in October. Therefore I knew that every Grand Prix I went to was going to be my last—my last time in Monte Carlo, for example. So I was consuming it in a different way. I was drinking a full glass of nostalgia. I love the sport. I occasionally drive demonstrations and so forth, but I’ve never done a race again. 2016 | WRISTWATCH 67