Monochrome Watches
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A Day at the Races: with Tudor at the Historic Grand Prix in Zandvoort

| By Frank Geelen | 4 min read |

Cars and watches, a great combination, and this combi comes with a very legitimate historical background. For the second year Tudor was sponsor of the Historic Grand Prix in Zandvoort and we got the chance to enjoy a great day with them in the Paddock Club, and of course strolling through the paddock to see so many awe-inspiring cars. From pre World War II cars, to recent Formula 1 race cars, from heavily tuned Mini Coopers, to dozens of vintage BMW 2002Ti’s and CSL’s, a marvellous Ferrari 250GT, many AC Cobras, and even a Shelby Daytona! And they all raced like the devil was chasing them. Old or not, these cars raced like crazy. We got to enjoy the best of two very interesting worlds: cars and watches! 

As you’re probably well aware off, watches used to be purpose build mechanisms. As of the early 1900’s the watch, until then worn in a small vest pocket, and attached to a chain, slowly found their way to the wrist. And since cars also emerged around that time, men (read: older boys) started racing their motorised machines. The best way to know who won, is to measure time and that’s why wrist worn chronographs became fashionable for gentlemen drivers. Most of these chronographs featured a tachymeter scale on the outer rim around the dial, and that allowed someone in a vehicle to know his speed (check our Technical Perspective about Chronographs for more info). Tudor’s role as sponsor of such an event, seems evident when you know the historical background; cars and watches. And now on to… more cars!


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Isn’t he cute? This hairy fellow with goggles and ear protection was probably the most photographed of the day.

When we arrived the pre war sports cars were racing and it sounded like a rolling thunder. When you know these type of cars, and have a passion for such vehicles, their speed is almost unimaginable. During that race, a few old airplanes did a fly-by and they weren’t shy of making some extra noise. That was our welcome, and after a first drink, our paddock tour started. Since the FIA Masters Historic Formula One was about to start we visit the pit. One of the pilots just climbed into his historic Formula One car and we continued to witness the start right from the pit, followed by one lap behind the safety car, and than the start, after we got to take some photos on the grid. The oldest participating historic Formula One cars are from 1971 and the youngest date back to the year 1982; and I can still remember seeing these cars on a black-and-white television.

After being properly deafened by the historic Formula One cars (oh the lovely noise!!!), our tour continued to the paddock and there we got to witness so many awe-inspiring cars. All car owners are very easy to approach, and gladly talk about their cherished cars. Sure, they will push these cars to the limit during the races, but rest assured, immediately after the race the cars are being taken apart, cleaned, fixed, and put back together again. Just like a full service for your watch.

BMW Centenary Trophy: BMW 2002 meets BMW 3.0 CSL

BMW turns 100 this year, and the Beamer 2002 was launched 50 years ago. Enough reason for a celebratory race! BMW came to the event with several new cars (including the i8), however the old 2002 and the iconic 3.0 CSL attracted the most attention. Twenty five of these old ladies raced as if they were celebrating their sweet sixteen all over again. What a sight, what a sound, and how cool a day at the races can be… brilliant!

Gentlemen Drivers

During our walk through the paddock, the cars that attracted our attention, were the old 911’s, AC Cobra’s, a stunning Ferrari 250 GT, two Marcos 1800GT’s, TVR’s, Austin Healey’s and an E-Type. And just when we were about to call it a day, a new race started and exactly these cars were racing. Oh boy, we certainly didn’t want to miss that! It’s called the Gentlemen Drivers Race, which is a 90-minute race, and it was very, very exiting.

For at least one hour of the 1.5 hour race, David Hart’s AC Cobra, with a Shelby Daytona Coupe body kit (No.76), competed for the first place with the AC Cobra from Michael Gans (No. 94). However after a small accident, and a few laps behind the saftey car, the winner was Leo Voyazides, driving an extremely rare Shelby Daytona Coupe (No.2), leaving the aforementioned AC Cobra’s behind. Dutch race driver Jan Lammers raced the superlative Ferrari 250 GT and the sound was like a symphony for the ears. However the Cobra’s were simply too strong for the competition, and ranked however it remained a magnificent sight to see these desirable cars race like there’s no tomorrow.

We massively enjoyed the Gentlemen Drivers Race and afterwards realised how lucky we were to stay until the very end… Thanks to Gassan and Tudor for inviting us.


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