Book review — Drive Time: Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles and Racing

Drive Time: Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles and Racing, by Aaron Sigmond (Author), Jay Leno (Foreword), Elvis Mitchell (Contributor), Ariel Adams (Contributor)

My first passion in life was Ferrari and Formula 1. These passions (or obsessions!) led me to watches. As a teenager, I used to see TAG Heuer sponsorship all over Formula 1 and owning a TAG Heuer watch became my first material goal. For me, owning a TAG Heuer watch was like owning a piece of F1 and buying my first TAG watch was a huge milestone for me. From there, I became interested in watches in general and I began to research and collect luxury timepieces. The idea of a racing watch, however, has always been the foundation of my love affair with watches.

Drive Time – Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles and Racing is a book that explores this eternal bond between watches and cars. Written by Aaron Sigmond of Autoweek, this book features pieces by famous watch personalities such as Jay Leno and Ariel Adams from aBlogtoWatch fame. It describes the history of the “racing” watch while featuring the most iconic racing-inspired watches ever made. This book was made for me, it seems! I loved it. Here is a review.

I’ll start with the only real criticism I have about the book. Certain parts get a bit repetitive. For example, the legend of the Rolex Daytona is described in different chapters, in different words. The same themes seem to pop up and get re-told as you read through the book. It’s a minor criticism, though, because overall, I loved the book.

The book begins with some wonderful stories of guys’ associations of watches and cars. Then, the author goes on to describe certain brands’ involvement with motor racing as well as their most iconic timepieces. I was highly impressed with the amount of research that went into this book. I have been reading about watches for 10 years, but I learned a ton from Drive Time. For example, there is an entire chapter dedicated to the history of Ferrari watches- magnificent. I had never before seen such a complete write-up. There is also a chapter about Porsche Design watches. As well, the author introduces watches and brands that I had never of before, such as Cyrus and David Yurman.

Drive Time shows the marketing appeal of racing and watches with the McQueen-Heuer story being the best example. In this book, you will learn the story of how an actor and a film gave the Heuer Monaco legendary status. You will also learn how Paul Newman became forever linked to the Rolex Daytona. As well, Drive Time shows the history of brands such as Hublot being linked to famous motor races and racing series.

Steeve McQueen in the 1971 movie “Le Mans”

As I read the book, I found my own enthusiasm for racing timepieces increasing. Reading the history of the TAG Heuer Carrera, for example, made me love and appreciated my own Carrera collection even more. Drive Time really reminded me of how racing watches symbolise my two passions. Wearing such a timepiece is just a way of expressing your love for all things mechanical and the glamour and excitement of motor racing. Drive Time takes you back to the glorious racing days of the 1960’s and it takes you into the modern pitlane of Formula 1. This is a perfect book to read with a scotch in front of a fireplace… while wearing an automatic chronograph.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is that it covers a wide spectrum of watches — from affordable Movado to the fantasy world of Hublot. Drive Time shows the historical significance of a fairly affordable Seiko while also introducing insanely expensive limited creations such as the MB&F Horological Machine No. 5. I may never be able to afford a Parmigiani-Fleurier, but I can enjoy my Meccaniche Veloci or Maurice Lacroix for its authentic motor racing roots. Rather than focusing exclusively on the astronomically priced timepieces that most of us can never own, Drive Time showcases some very affordable watches that offer an authentic racing watch experience. I was more excited than ever about my current collection after reading Drive Time. I got a kick out of reading about the ultra high-end stuff, but I found a new appreciation for my own collection.

If you receive a gift card for a book retailer over the holidays, you should consider buying Drive Time. There is history and passion and research and there are also lots of cool photos and images. I think many of WatchPaper’s readers are gearheads as well as watch lovers and Drive Time is a perfect read for both. Given that the book presents watches for all budgets, it may also give you some great ideas for your next watch. As always, the fun is in the search…

Yours truly,


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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."