Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Time Is of Essence: F1 Drivers and Their Coveted Watches

From TAG Heuer to Hublot and Richard Mille, these watches are worn by some of the most prolific F1 drivers today like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Sep 27, 2022 | By Ashok Soman

With the Singapore Grand Prix around the bend, you are probably revved up already. You’ll need no help from us in deciding how to support your favourite teams or divers — you might even be in the paddock (say hi to us if you are). Team and driver loyalty aside (they are sometimes not the same, but it’s complicated), if you are also a watch lover, it can be hard to reconcile your personal timepiece choice with the sport. Only a few brands are directly involved, and everyone get overshadowed by Rolex anyway. Happily, there is a solution that we like: the watches of the drivers.

These are not always tied to team sponsors, so you will not need to confine yourself to the likes of TAG Heuer, IWC or Richard Mille. There are other brands associated with life in the fast lane (perhaps only in the past) that you might collect yourself so go with the driver’s choices. Drivers are limited by sponsorship agreements on what pieces they can wear in public so do take all this with a pinch of salt. We also have it on good authority that plenty of drivers love their Rolexes so you will be in good company here. These include veterans such as Sir Jackie Stewart and Mark Webber, but also collectors such as Nico Rosberg.

Helpfully, we did not need to do much of the legwork for this story because the folks at Watchfinder & Co. compiled all the watches that a select number of drivers wear. The online dealer in pre-owned watches did this because they happen to have relevant pieces in stock (surprise!) and we are happy to align our self-interests here.

For the sake of completeness, we also include Bell & Ross here, with the brand’s collection for the BWT Alpine F1 team. This watch is called the A522, being named after the current racing car. This one is much more low-key compared with what the French brand did when the team was in the livery of Renault. Yes, Bell & Ross has been with what is today BWT Alpine when it was Renault in 2016.

That said, take a gander at the watches of these six F1 drivers, as curated by Watchfinder & Co.

Lewis Hamilton

One of the few active drivers who needs no introduction, Lewis Hamilton is an IWC man through and through. He even wore three IWC watches at once to protest an FIA ban on drivers wearing jewellery recently. Here’s what we know he wears: the Big Pilot’s Watch, Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Mojave Desert and Pilot’s Chronograph 41. This year, he wears the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team”.

Daniel Ricciardo

No longer a McLaren man after this season, Daniel Ricciardo is nevertheless strongly associated with watch collecting because of his RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph, which is worth more than US$1.2 million. Weighing less than 40 grams, this is the lightest object that money can buy, while being 200 times stronger than steel. The novel Graph TPT material is responsible for both the weight and the strength. We shall see if this Richard Mille model remains with Ricciardo as the brand is a McLaren sponsor.

Max Verstappen

The defending World Champion Max Verstappen has a chequered past when it comes to timepieces. Two years ago, we were tickled to discover the TAG Heuer Max Verstappen Special Edition, and Watchfinder & Co. reminds us that this was the first mechanical timepiece to bear Verstappen’s name. Verstappen is also the owner of the TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Titanium, and wore the much-loved Monaco Dark Lord at the Monaco Grand Prix this year.

Sergio Pérez

Unsurprisingly, Sergio Pérez is also a TAG Heuer man, given that he is Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull. The Mexican driver has been linked with the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch by Watchfinder & Co., although he wore his own Carrera Tourbillon Sergio Pérez Edition when he won this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Well, that watch is not on any pre-owned dealer’s list, but the Connected watch is. Having said that, we are recommending the Carrera Tourbillon as a significant watch, even in the core collection

Charles Leclerc

Famous for being the youngest driver to win a race with Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc is also a Richard Mille brand ambassador. Leclerc is the real deal, with his RM 67-02 done in Monaco’s red and white (Leclerc is from Monaco). We cannot imagine that there are many Richard Mille models at pre-owned dealers, at least at a reasonable price relative to RRP, but it is worth checking out. A deal on a Richard Mille — any Richard Mille — is well worth having.

Zhou Guanyu

Notable as the first Chinese Formula One driver, Zhou Guanyu, is also a Hublot brand ambassador. He joined the Alfa Romeo racing team for the 2022 season that is soon to conclude, and is set to continue with the team. According to Watchfinder & Co., he is currently best known for the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Carbon Gold Tiger, but is also associated with other Hublot Big Bang watches.

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