Rolex Testimonee Roundtable with Sir Jackie Stewart, Nico Rosberg, and Mark Webber
Rolex has been involved in motorsport since the 1930s. As racing drivers, what does this enduring partnership mean to you?
Mark Webber (MW): I think that clearly innovation and pushing the boundaries unites Rolex with motorsport – they’re both synonymous with world-class products. In motorsport, you can never rest on your laurels – the only easy day was probably yesterday, you never know what is around the corner. When Rolex is designing and developing watches, the company is constantly pushing the boundaries of the products’ capabilities.
Sir Jackie Stewart (SJYS): Beyond that too, Rolex has always associated itself with excellence, it goes back a long way. This is demonstrated by the brand’s association with Sir Malcolm Campbell, who broke the World Land Speed Record on Daytona Beach in the 1930s wearing a Rolex watch. When Edmund Hillary climbed Everest in 1953, he was again wearing a Rolex. And when Mercedes Gleitze, the first-ever Rolex Testimonee, crossed the Channel in 1927, she wore a Rolex Oyster.
Nico Rosberg (NR): As Sir Jackie says, Rolex has always been associated with extraordinary achievements. I think that Formula 1 is one of the most prestigious sports in the world. It has been in the past and still is to this day, it has a huge legacy. Those two attributes – prestige and legacy – fit perfectly with Rolex.
SJYS: And Rolex partnered with Daytona and Le Mans long before they formally came into Formula 1.
MW: Which signifies the endurance component of the Rolex and motorsport partnership really well. I mean, when has a Rolex let you down? To even come close to winning, let alone finishing, a 24-hour race, your car needs to be just as robust and reliable.
As motorsport legends, how do you approach your role of inspiring the next
MW: Well, Sir Jackie inspired us. The legacy of Sir Jackie – whether it was on track or his pioneering stance on safety – he was totally before his time. Sir Jackie was my Dad’s hero and that rubbed off on me, I went on to have posters on the bedroom wall of my generation – Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet. Legends of the sport help fuel the next generation and the role of inspiring future athletes are never taken for granted.
For me, it’s about transferring the hunger and passion and inspiring the next generation to do those simple things really well. I think it’s very easy as a young kid to over complicate what the vision is. If you really have the appetite for it and if the sport comes naturally to you, then you absolutely have a reason to chase the dream.
I probably get asked once a week by aspiring racing drivers about how he or she should chase this dream. I sometimes think it’s unfortunate – chasing the Formula 1 journey is a tough one because of the financial component. In simple terms, it’s about keeping it clean and real, and just being super hungry about chasing it – that is always my advice.
SJYS: I think that asking for help is crucial. During my professional sporting career, I was a strong believer that I always needed help – I wanted to have counsel. Nowadays, with the sport’s advanced telemetry and technology, in addition to the complex simulators, there is an even greater benefit to be had from listening to others and bouncing ideas around. Of course, timing is always essential, but being in the right place at the right time usually happens when you have good people around you – it’s key for success
NR: Attitude is very important, also. For us to remain humble with what we have achieved, and to help the next generation understand how special motorsport is – to really make them appreciate our sport and what we’re able to do out there.
A watch comes to represent a special moment in your life, could you identify a key memory that one of your Rolex watches symbolizes?
MW: Each Rolex I own is special to me in its own unique way; every watch holds a personal story. When I won my first Grand Prix in 2009, at the Nürburgring in Germany, I bought a GMT-Master II, a present to myself to mark the occasion.
NR: I did the same in Monaco, after my first win there. On a Monday morning – the day after the race – I went straight to the shop. I bought my wife her wedding gift – because we were getting married the following year – and myself the green Submariner to celebrate my first Monaco win.
SJYS: See then, in that case, all three of us bought a watch because we had won something, long before we were personally associated with Rolex. In 1966, I went to Indianapolis and qualified well. And so, I went and bought an 18-carat gold Day-Date with president bracelet; I had always dreamed of having a Rolex.
MW: Watches are so incredibly personal, aren’t they? And I think that’s because it represents something in your life which you’ll never, ever forget – like those key moments that we just spoke about. A Rolex watch will certainly be a lifetime gift to yourself. For my Dad’s 70th birthday, I bought him a Rolex, it was a very special moment for both him and myself.