Let's be honest, we all love a flutter here and there. And horse racing is the perfect format. Fast, fun and always controversial - it might just be the ultimate day out! Combine that with a healthy dose of watch spotting and you're all set! With Royal Ascot 2022 beginning today, we thought we would take a closer look at what promises to be ‘something special’ in Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee year.
The racecourse will soon be packed with thousands of elegant spectators donning fascinators and headpieces – including members of the Royal Family. Whether Her Majesty will be able to attend the event remains unknown, after the 96-year-old monarch was forced to miss the Epsom Derby due to ongoing mobility issues. The races kick off today and last until Saturday 18th June. The first race – the Queen Anne Stakes – will begin at 2.30pm and the final race will be at 6.10pm on Saturday. Now, you will remember we covered the legendary Kentucky Derby in these pages a few weeks back. And while there are similarities on the paddock - the real kicker is the fact that both events are sponsored by Longines who has made horse racing its own in the timekeeping stakes.
Longines’ interest in equestrian sport dates back to 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and his mount. Seen on the racetracks as early as 1881 and extremely popular among jockeys and horse-lovers, this model enabled its user to time performances to the seconds. It was already being used by most sport judges in New York in 1886. In addition, the brand was involved for the first time in the Concours Hippique International Official de Genève as timekeeper in 1926.
Today Longines’ involvement in equestrian sports includes show-jumping, flat racing and endurance competitions. In Flat racing, Longines is the Official Partner and Timekeeper to numerous prestigious events around the world. Alongside Royal Ascot, it is affiliated to other iconic races such as the Prix de Diane Longines, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Dubai World Cup, the H.H. The Emir’s Trophy presented by Longines, the Longines Hong Kong International Races, the Longines Singapore Gold Cup, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Longines Handicap de las Americas, the Grand Prix Longines Lydia Tesio, the Longines Grosser Preis von Baden and the Kentucky Derby. But what does one wear to the races on the wrist? well, the legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who left Milan for the UK aged 14 sports a Piaget from his 80 year old grandfather Gianfranco. He was told he couldn't wear the watch until he won the Derby, which he did for the first time in 2007. Here are four of our top picks for the big day:
If there is one segment of the watchmaking world that is entirely underappreciated - its that of pocket watches. Elegance personified and incredibly labour intensive - they are works of art. This deck watch from Longines is outstanding. While it may not be a daily beater - for those special occasions, through the lapel or on a waistcoat, it works beautifully.
Longines have a genuinely storied past - with a huge following from collectors around the world. This 7422 dress watch is where less is better. Time only and 34mm in pink gold - you can't go wrong.
If gold isnt your thing, this steel dress watch with 12 and 6 roman numerals is paired back and incredibly elegant. The dial has taken on a pink hue which will set it apart, and for just over £2k, it's a steal (if we can say that ourselves).
Trends come and go, but pink or salmon dials have been a “thing” for a while now. We could even say they have become the go to for designers looking to make a splash (sorry - couldn't resist). In all honesty - its a love, hate thing. We happen to love them, especially when the case is razor sharp and the simple passing of time has captured and framed the history of the watch.
Pocket watch, steel case or gold, whatever you go for, wear it in the knowledge that Longines was and is one of the great makers and that you’re timing of the race will be on point with the officials!