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Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Dec 2012   |  1:50 am GMT  |  28 comments

Formula 1 has signed a major new commercial deal with Rolex which will see the luxury watchmaker become the sport’s official timekeeper as part of a long-term partnership.

The agreement, which is believed to be worth around £15 million per annum, will also see Rolex design F1’s official timepiece with the Swiss brand’s logos to also be positioned around grand prix circuits and at several corners next season.

The joint statement announcing the new partnership also made clear that Rolex’s presence in F1 is “due to develop over the coming seasons”.

Ecclestone and long-time Rolex ambassador Jackie Stewart were on hand to unveil the partnership on Wednesday and the F1 commercial supremo said: “Without question Rolex is the partner of choice for a world class sporting series like Formula One.

“The brand’s prestige, the excellence of its watches as well as Rolex’s passionate and long-standing commitment to motor sports gives it true credibility.

“This partnership is something that many people interested in Formula One will have been waiting for and should rightly be excited about. Rolex has incredible sporting heritage and therefore Formula One is the right place for Rolex to be.”

Rolex has a long history of sponsoring major sporting events, most notably in the UK at The Open golf championship and Wimbledon.

Remember you can still order the JA on F1 2012 yearbook – The Year of Living Dangerously, which is priced at £10.99 and released on Friday; it’s a 256 page large format paperback with stunning Darren Heath images and signed copies are available to order via our online shop now.

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28 Comments
  1. ArJay says:

    Anachronistic bling…?

  2. Probably the most apt sponsor

    Who were F1 using previously?

      1. AndyFov says:

        They were? I didn’t know that either, I thought it was Tag Heuer, which implies to me that Hublot perhaps weren’t getting great value for their £15m per year.

        That said, I remember Bernie was wearing a Hublot when he was mugged, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

  3. Dave Aston says:

    All I can say about this article is it’s about time.

    1. Rich says:

      …Painful!

    2. Sebee says:

      Time is money.

  4. Tim says:

    “Official Timekeeper”? You mean they will continue using MyLaps (AMB) technology rebranded as Rolex, the same way they rebranded it as TagHeuer… even though TagHeuer offer their own hardware solutions? ;)

  5. Kieron says:

    Interesting. It doesn’t seem so long ago that LG signed up as the official timekeeper, late ’08 to start for the 2009 season. I never thought that the LG brand fitted F1 as well Tag Heuer or Rolex would.
    The LG partnership was I believe meant to run for 5 years… James, any idea if/why it was cut short or not extended?
    Or did it come down to Bernie and $$?!

    1. James Allen says:

      LG still has its global partnership, I think one more year to go – but it wasn’t a Timekeeper, as far as I know.

  6. Cedgy says:

    Who was f1 official time keeper before? TAG Heuer?

    1. James Allen says:

      Hublot had the global partner deal before

  7. Tim says:

    Ah, KERS. Good tie-in with F1. If memory serves, Rolex gave watches to the podium finishers, as an F1 sponsor, in past years.

    Tim

  8. Paul L says:

    Off topic, but I wanted to say, as a fan, that I’m gutted they’ve scrapped the new aero regs for 2014.

    Ever since the front and rear wings were changed in 2009, I’ve hoped they would change them back ASAP. Its taken some of the thrill of F1 away for me because the cars no longer look stunning. I really think the post-2008 spec cars look dull and awkward.

    Andrew Benson blogged in 2010 that under the new turbos the snowploughs noses and hightower rear wings would go. I think its a real shame for the sport they’ve gone back on it.

  9. Jim says:

    While Rolex may make marvellous mechanical watches, are they really relevant to what I assume is the rather more electronic world of Formula 1 timekeeping? Or are there a bunch of people with stopwatches timing the cars? ;-)

    1. Sebee says:

      Timex stop watches!

  10. Matt W says:

    I still have fond memories of the Tag partnership, that was iconic!

    The time keeper of F1 is always something I tend to notice subconciously as I guess it is one of the most important duties within the sport.

    I guess the podium placers will get a nice Rolex now too!

  11. salisu says:

    Was Bernie actually wearing a Rolex? He couldn’t have worn a Hublot at a Rolex launch could he?

  12. forzaminardi says:

    I think the watches given to podium finishers to wear in the interviews are likely to be from their personal and team sponsors, are they not? I can’t imagine TAG Heuer being all that happy with Jenson Button wearing a Rolex as soon as he’s interviewed after a race.

    1. Adriano says:

      I’ve always wondered about this too. Donning massive watches certainly seems very much part of the carefully organised pre-podium procedure. Can anyone shed any light on what the deal is here?

      1. MichaelG says:

        I think the watches are from personal and team sponsorships. Button and Hamilton always wear Tag-Heuer on the podium. I think Tag-Heuer is a team sponsor for McLaren and lots of top team members wear the brand – I’ve noticed Martin Witmarsh wearing one. Vettel and Webber always wear Casios. I think Certina sponsors Sauber and I believe both drivers would wear those watches. Lotus is sponsored by TW Watches and their drivers wear them on the podium.

        Ferrari are a little weird. I think they have a sponsorship deal with Hublot but Massa definitely has a personal sponsorship deal with Richard Mille and always wears his in and out of the car, including the podium. I believe Oris is a team sponsor for Williams. I don’t remember if Maldonado wore one on the podium.

        I believe Graham used to sponsor Brawn, then Mercedes. They might still do. Team members wore them. Schumacher had his own personal sponsorship deal with Audermars Piguet (he used to have an Omega sponsorship deal back in his Ferrari days).

      2. Adriano says:

        Stonking reply. Thanks mate!

      3. Sebee says:

        Excellent information. You really know what time it is.

  13. Clear View says:

    ££££££££££££*Bernie*££££££££££££££

  14. Cedgy says:

    Hi James being Swiss myself although living in Australia now, i think this is great news for the swiss watchmaking industrie! I wonder if you could write an article about the history of all the different Time keepers F1 had over time? I would be curious to find out if any of them weren’t Swiss brands?

    Thanks!

  15. F1addicted says:

    Talking of time, I just noticed that there are 100 days (soon 99… obviously) until the next F1 race. Not bad.

    1. Sebee says:

      That is about he same as that extra long summer break.

      I hope we survive.

      Lets check back in the countdown on Dec 22nd. :-)

  16. Elie says:

    James, are you aware of what happened to the Hublot sponsorship ?- did it just run its course ?? I was of the impression it was meant to be a few year deal ( as most of the deals usually are). I have to admit I was not that familiar with Hublot till Bernie started singing their praises just a year ago!.

    Rolex definitely is a stronger brand and given their history are a terrific fit with F1. I was surprised that Rolex were so strong in other research industries and hope to get more insights on this next year.

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