SIR JACKIE STEWART marks his 50th year of his partnership with Rolex and recalls how he became an emblematic figure in motor sport
Jackie Stewart celebrates his 50th anniversary as a brand ambassador for Rolex
IN THREE- TIME Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart, Swiss watchmaker Rolex found its dream ambassador, or “Testimonee”, as the brand calls him. Stewart is renowned for his relentless commitment to the sport, demonstrated both by his natural and uncompromising skill behind the wheel and his pioneering action for improving the sport out of the cockpit – characteristics which Rolex deems in sync with its DNA.
Rolex believes a Testimonee has to represent certain values that the brand holds dear – and that’s more than just strutting around wearing its watches and logos.
Stewart certainly fits the bill as the perfect candidate because he not only extols the virtues of the products he endorses, but he is also known to immerse himself fully into them – and none more so than Rolex. Stewart embodies the dedication, excellence, precision and innovation that also underpins Rolex’s watchmaking prowess.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Stewart becoming a Rolex Testimonee. The long-standing partnership forms an important
part of the brand’s devotion to motor sport and its broad range of sponsorship activities. Together, they have witnessed many significant moments and continue to strive for perfection.
Rolex’s commitment to motor sport dates back to the 1930s, when “the king of speed”,
Sir Malcolm Campbell, broke the world land speed record on Florida’s Daytona Beach while wearing the luxury Swiss watch. He achieved this milestone in his famous Sunbeam Blue Bird and helped to establish motor sport as an integral part of the brand’s culture.
Since then, Rolex’s presence in the world of motor racing has grown steadily through partnerships with iconic events and exceptional personalities, with a shared quest for the ultimate in performance and innovation. In 1992, the luxury watchmaker formalised its relationship with Daytona as the title sponsor of the Rolex 24; in 2001, it was named an Official Partner and the Official Timepiece of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In
2013, the brand became a Global Partner and the Official Timepiece of Formula 1.
Reflecting on his partnership with Rolex, Stewart says: “I am incredibly proud of everything I have achieved over the years, inside and outside the car, and Rolex has been a key part of this unbelievable adventure – every watch tells its own story. I purchased my first Rolex, having qualified well at the Indianapolis 500, before I became a Rolex Testimonee. It was a Rolex Day-Date in 18K gold with President bracelet, and it instantly established my love of and respect for Rolex. The watch that I particularly treasure is my new Daytona. It was presented to me in 2016 by Rolex at the Grand Prix de Monaco to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my first win around the hallowed streets of the principality. There is a special engraving on the back of the watch, which of course makes it all the more important to me. Rolex has become the most desired watch in the world – the esteem, the prestige and the pride of ownership that Rolex commands is unmatched.”
Born and raised in Scotland, Stewart’s upbringing was relatively humble. As a child, he struggled to read and write due to undiagnosed dyslexia. He began working at his family’s garage as a mechanic when he was just 15 years old. However, victory at a clay-pigeon shooting competition on New Year’s Day in 1953 marked a watershed moment for the teenager, when he discovered a talent worth pursuing. Stewart’s early success in this field led to him represent Scotland and Great Britain on the European stage. To this day, he remains the only person to have won British Grand Prix in both shooting and Formula 1 racing. Stewart says he owes much of his professional success to dyslexia, because it prompted him to intently focus on tasks that require not only an extreme attention to detail, but also rapid decision-making – such as shooting moving targets or competitively driving a dangerously fast automobile.
Without a doubt, Stewart is one of history’s most celebrated racing drivers, having won three FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Championships and having competed at the forefront of motor sport globally throughout the 1960s and ’70s. In total, Stewart took part in 99 Formula 1 Grand Prix races, winning 27 of them, carrying off three world championships (in 1969, 1971 and 1973) and finishing 43 times on the podium.
Wearing his distinctive Royal Stewart tartans, Stewart continues to attend races globally – and his ongoing loyalty to motor sport makes him the ultimate Rolex Testimonee.
From top: Rolex’s commitment to motor sport dates back to the 1930s;Sir Jackie Stewart at the Goodwood Revival British Grand Prix
Clockwise from left: Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the world land speed record on Daytona Beach, Florida in the 1930s; Jackie Stewart racing his Matra-Ford MS80 at the Grand Prix of Italy