The 5th of December Rolex signed a contract with Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One group, to become a major long-term partner of Formula 1 TM from 2013 as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece.
You might also know is that Hublot had the rights of Formula 1TM until the end of this racing season. Hublot produced several official Formula 1 TM -watches and Hublot was visible with banners at the circuits. Hublot also had the rights to display watches in the paddock-club of the Formula 1 TM.
But Hublot also got involved in the world of Ferrari-Racing this year. Several limited Hublot-Ferrari-editions were presented and sold and Hublot teamed up as an official Ferrari-partner at several events.
Now Jean-Claude Biver of Hublot is planning the next step. He just told me the following:
„Our contract with the Formula 1 TM was scheduled to conclude at the end of the year. We had an option to extend it by also becoming official timekeeper. But in the meantime, in the last year, we also signed a partnership with Ferrari. Over the past 12 months, our alliance with Ferrari has been extremely fruitful. Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, and I had the opportunity to meet with Scuderia Ferrari Team Principle Stefano Domenicali at several Grand Prix last year. It was clear the logical move was to expand our partnership with the brand to its F1 TM team; it is more fascinating for us to be closely related to the mythical Ferrari team embodied by the two red cars on tracks around the world. We draw an exceptional balance from our collaboration with the Formula 1 TM and are very proud to have paved the way for such a storied, luxury brand to follow suit.”
So for Hublot there is no more need to sign a new contract with Bernie Ecclestone and his F1 TM. With now getting an official partner of the Scuderia Ferrari an or several Hublot-logo(s) will be displayed on the two cars, on the helmets of the two drivers and on their gloves. And Hublot will get direct access to the drivers. Just imagine what happens if Fernado Alonso will be the next Formula 1 TM champion. And, since the contract of Hublot will be for five years, Sebastian Vettel changes to Ferrari. There were some rumors that this could happen…
In my opinion this is more access to the prominent F1 TM-world than you may ever dream of. So for Hublot it did not make any sense to extend the contract with F1 TM, even if Hublot could have done so. Hublot was definitively not kicked out of Formula 1 TM!
Now the giant Rolex comes on the stage. Rolex takes over F1 TM! Rolex will become a major long-term partner of Formula 1 TM from 2013 as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece. But Rolex will also, as I meanwhile heard, be principal sponsor of some Formula 1 TM races. For example the Formula 1TM Grand Prix of China will be renamed Rolex Formula 1 TM Grand Prix of China. Also the US Formula 1 TM -Grand Prix could be renamed the same way, but I do not have a confirmation for this yet.
So Rolex is taking a much bigger engagement at Formula 1 TM than Hublot ever could have done. I assume that we are talking about an investment of at least 20 million USD. When some years ago TAG Heuer left the Formula 1 TM and the Formula One group was looking for a new official timekeeper the one should have paid 9 million USD. Meanwhile sponsoring prices went up dramatically and the package Rolex signed is much bigger than just being the timekeeper.
Gian Riccardo Marini, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex SA said: “This is an exciting step for us at Rolex as the fit between Formula One and our brand feels very natural and, like all great partnerships, needs little explanation. In our respective fields, Rolex and Formula One embody the spirit of adventure, superlative engineering and a strong desire to push the limits of technology. These aspirations are enormously appealing to younger generations.”
Please have a second look at the last words Marini said. … “These aspirations are enormously appealing to younger generations.” … Folks, do you have any other questions? Rolex is seeking for a younger clientele, for younger buyers. And I personally add: Rolex is in a kind of battle with Omega to get the worldwide better global sponsorships. Omega recently did a great job; the member of the Swatch Group acted very successfully, has worldwide a very good visibility and is more accepted by young buyers than Rolex is.
The big winner is the swiss watch industry! Now Certina, Hublot, IWC and Rolex team up together and they all have in the end the same message: Swiss watches are the best!
Folks these two pictures show you Gian Riccardo Marini, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex SA and Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One group.
But please take a closer look at their Rolex watches. While Mr. Marini´s Rolex Submariner sits tight at his wrist, Mr. Ecclestone´s Rolex Daytona seems not to fit his wrist. The bracelet is much to long and Mr. Ecclestone needs to hold the Daytona with his right hand to prevent it falling down. Obviously Mr. Ecclestone was not ready (yet) wearing a Rolex; or he just got the Daytona and Rolex did not bring a watchmaker to adjust the bracelet for him.
Please click to enlarge the pictures…