Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II and Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback

Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback (Source: Panerai) and Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II (Source: Wikipedia)

Style vs. Substance

James Hunt vs. Niki Lauda

Kimi Raikkonen vs. Fernando Alonso

Panerai vs. Rolex

In case you can’t tell, I recently watched the film, Rush. This film is about the true story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda fighting for the World Drivers Championship in Formula 1 in the 1970’s. The film really focuses on the difference between the two men.  Hunt was a playboy –  a bon vivant. He lived fast and he drove fast. Lauda was the opposite – he was an introverted workaholic. He spent hours and hours testing and pushing the development of his car, in order to win races. In modern terms, Hunt was like Kimi Raikkonen and Lauda was like Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso.

In 2014, Kimi Raikkonen will return to Ferrari alongside Fernando Alonso. We all expect an epic battle similar to Hunt vs. Lauda – cavalier rebel, Kimi Raikkonen, vs. perfectionist double world champion, Fernando Alonso. Who will win? Who do you WANT to win? And how will be remembered?

This, like most things, got me thinking about watches. In watch terms, Niki Lauda would be a Rolex. Dependable. Solid.  Excellent. James Hunt would be a Panerai – bold, in your face, flamboyant, stylish.  Which one would win?

During my teens, Michael Schumacher was my idol. He was the Rolex-type guy. Schuey won everything because he worked harder than anyone else. He maximized every possible aspect of his craft- physical fitness, testing, technical knowledge… Schuey made everyone else look like amateurs. He won seven world titles and people still hate him. I loved his relentless approach. And, of course, Ferrari have been my favorites since I was eight, so I enjoyed seeing Schuey win every Sunday.

And then came Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari in 2007 (he replaced Schuey when Schuey retired). First race in a Ferrari – dominant victory. First season for Ferrari, world champion. Kimi was the opposite of Schuey – he did not care for testing or politics or technical tricks. He just showed up on Sunday and drove ultra fast. I loved it! Kimi was a party animal – a rebel. He had tattoos, cargo shorts and hip-hop caps. He did not conform and  he did not care what the media said. But he only won that one world title.

Schuey has all the records and the multiple championships, but Kimi Raikkonen is the man we all wish we could be. In Rush, Niki Lauda even mentions, at the end, that James Hunt was the one rival he ever envied.

I love both approaches, really and I can’t wait to watch Kimi vs. Alonso at Ferrari in 2014.

In the watch world, many watch snobs still view Panerai as the flashy party boy with very little substance or character. Just style. As my readers know, I am a Panerai fan. I wear a Panerai. I am searching for my next Panerai. While Rolex have a history of quality and excellence, Panerai now produce gorgeous pieces with beautiful finishing and materials.  They also have a fanatic fanbase. And I am crazy about Panerai’s bold, clean, simple designs. While Rolex have stuck to traditional sizes, Panerai go all-out with their oversize cases.  In fact, it was Panerai that started the oversize trend, which I like a lot.

Style vs. Substance?

I would argue that style IS substance…

Yours truly,

TimeCaptain