Grand Prix of Timepieces

David Coulthard at the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix

David Coulthard at the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix (Source Wikimedia)

In case you didn’t know, TimeCaptain is a Montrealer and he is a fanatic F1 enthusiast. Therefore, Grand Prix week in Montreal is really PRIME TIME for TimeCaptain. This weekend is the Monaco Grand Prix and then it’s Montreal, baby. So TimeCaptain is really keyed up right about now.

Grand Prix week, like most things, gets me thinking about timepieces, or as muggles would say, ‘watches.’ Timepieces and cars go together like cigars and brandy. What I always loved about F1 was the idea of pushing design and ingenuity to the edge. F1 is cutting-edge technology and competition at the highest level. It’s about excellence and performance. And this is what timepieces are all about for me. When I choose a piece, I choose it for the brand’s heritage, but also for its design and movement and mechanical technology. I choose a piece that somehow achieves a certain standard of quality or timekeeping performance.

And then there’s the prestige. I’ll never deny it. The status symbol aspect of a timepiece is huge for me. In F1, you earn some prestige by simply being involved with the sport- as a driver, a reserve driver, an engineer, a mechanic or even a PR officer. To be in F1, you must somehow be an exceptional individual. And it’s the same with timepieces. Let’s face it, a serious piece has a serious price tag. So being able to buy one implies some financial success which implies that you achieved something or earned something. When you acquire that ‘grail’ piece, it feels like a huge reward for some milestone or achievement. And this makes you special every time you wear it. It even gives you confidence- like some psychological edge that can help in business situations.

In F1, you can never rest on your laurels. The car that qualified on pole at Monaco last year might only qualify 15th this year. And that’s because the pace of development is so intense that a team can drastically improve its lap times from one season to the next (rule changes notwithstanding). As a timepiece collector, you face the same concept. Today, your grail is an IWC Aquatimer. But once you have it, you crave a JLC Amvox. And after that, you aim for a Patek Philippe Annual Calendar. Oh, I know this all sounds superficial to the muggles. But what is life, after all, without goals?

But at the end of the day, there is just something cool, fascinating and awe-inspiring about high-performance racing cars. Ditto for mechanical timepieces. Now, I have an exciting and action-packed schedule for Grand Prix week. Muggles won’t understand this, but I have been planning my timepiece selection for each event for weeks. Real watch enthusiasts will totally get it. I have different pieces, and even different straps, chosen for my different activities over GP week.

Cars and watches. Toys for boys? I would argue that it’s much deeper than that. MUCH deeper. I believe that wearing a mechanical piece is form of communication – it’s my way of telling the world about my values, style, goals and aspirations while looking f___ing cool in the process.

TimeCaptain is a self-confessed timepiece junkie.  He spends nearly all of his spare time buying,  selling,  trading,  researching, admiring and trying different timepieces. He's also a fanatic Formula 1 fan, having followed every single Grand Prix since 1991.  He switches to NFL football in the fall and roots for the Green Bay Packers. A child of the 1980's, TimeCaptain is mad about 80's music,  TV, cinema and pop culture.  Another interest of TimeCaptain is space exploration and the study of distant planets and galaxies. When asked about his favorite watch,  TimeCaptain remembers Enzo Ferrari's answer as to his favorite car- "the one I haven't built yet."