Watches - Feature Article

A look back on the Australian Grand Prix and the watches that made Podium

A massive weekend of sport awaits us! And after a pulsating double header to start the new season, F1 speeds onto the Australian GP this weekend as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc renew their thrilling rivalry while Mercedes looks for an upturn in form.

Returning to the calendar for the first time since 2019, the Australian GP from Melbourne's Albert Park is always a much-loved location on the world series.

There is also the added twist of circuit changes, with the street track modified to promote faster and more exciting racing, with drivers predicting many more overtaking opportunities. While we could have scrolled social to find the watches on show this week, we actually thought it might be interesting to look back the past three winners of the race and what they were rocking on race day.

In 2019 it was Valtteri Bottas with Mercedes and before that it was actually Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari in 18” and 17”. Interestingly, we spotted Valtteri wearing a Pilots Chronograph Timezoner from IWC. Yes, he was sponsored by IWC, but what’s fascinating is his choice. A technical development from IWC which it integrated into the pilot framework. In order to set the watch to another time zone, the wearer simply needs to push down the bezel, turn it to the desired time zone and let it go – the hour hand, 24-hour day/night display and the date automatically move with the bezel. The time zones that have daylight saving time are marked with a small “S” on the rotating bezel. To create the mechanism required for this complication, IWC’s engineers brought three technologies together. The first of these is the city ring found on the Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer, on which the name of each city stands for one of the international time zones. The second technology is the spring-mounted rotating bezel, first used in the Porsche Design Ocean 2000 from the 1980s, which can only be moved if pressure is applied simultaneously on two diametrically opposing sides. This prevents accidental resetting of the time zone. The third technology is the external/internal rotating bezel taken from the Aquatimer, which transmits the movement of the bezel via a differential gear to the hour wheel, 24-hour hand and date advance wheel.

Valtteri Bottas. Image credit: Sky Sports
Valtteri Bottas. Image credit: Sky Sports

If we turn to Seb, he is rocking something materially interesting. It is unsurprisingly called “The Ferrari Red Ceramic”. Created to celebrate 7 years of partnership, the “Rosso Corso” Ferrari. Limited to 500 pieces, it offers the same dimensions and movement as the Magic Gold version. Its case, however, is constructed from lightweight but super strong carbon fibre. This model is paired with a polished red ceramic bezel, held in place by 6 H-shaped, black-plated titanium screws.

Both are bold watchmaking statements – no doubt. One technical the other material. The question is: Who wins out this weekend?