Rolex celebrates its 20-year love affair with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance


Three-time Formula One Drivers’ World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf was a visionary, his ability to take the pulse of the time and influence the trends of the future helped set the world’s leading Swiss watchmaking company on a course for success. At the turn of the 20th century, lifestyles and dress codes were changing and Wilsdorf was convinced the wristwatch had, as he put it, “enormous potential in a sports-minded country”, and would soon replace the pocket watch. It was this foresight that led Rolex to partner top athletes, the first Testimonees, who soon understood and embraced the uncompromised performance of the Oyster. This initiative soon extended to supporting sporting events of the highest quality, laying the foundations for the remarkable relationship Rolex and motor sport still enjoy today; based on a shared pursuit of excellence and technical innovation in their respective crafts, this privileged bond is best understood by looking back at how it first began.

Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance 2014

The brand’s natural alliance with motor sport dates back to the 1930s when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the 300-mile-per-hour barrier at the wheel of his World Land Speed Record Car Bluebird, with a Rolex on his wrist. Since then Rolex’s presence in the world of motor sport has steadily grown, paving the way for esteemed partnerships with some of the most celebrated drivers of the last fifty years, including three-time FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart: “Rolex has always set the standard and in that way the two worlds are perfectly matched. It is a wonderful relationship because passionate car and watch aficionados understand the great privilege of owning something very special, something with great history, elegance and the pioneering mechanics of its era.”

A very rare 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Vignale Spyder at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance

Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the 300-mile-per-hour World Land Speed Record Car Bluebird with a Rolex on his wrist.

The celebration of the classic car was pioneered by the Pebble Beach Concours and Road Races; after briefly showcasing new cars, from 1955 the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance focused on the heritage of the automobile and presented their top award to an “old car”, now known as a “classic”. Seeing an increasing demand and passion for classic cars, the event shifted to concentrate entirely on collector cars and proved to be the inspiration for heritage events staged around the world.

Hans Wilsdorf circa 1942

Since 1997, Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which marks the grand finale of a classic car celebration held annually in California. For one week in August, the sea mist engulfing the Monterey Peninsula lifts each morning to reveal a glorious series of concours, tours and racing events, which Rolex partners, including: Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex; The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering; Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, which Rolex has been a Sponsor since 2001 and the Title Sponsor since 2010. Each occasion, unique in its own way, presents the constant evolution of motor sport and allows visitors to share their enthusiasm for the automobile, while soaking up the enchanting atmosphere.

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