The Petrolhead Corner Damon Hill, His Race-Worn Omega Speedmaster and the Glory of 1990s Formula 1

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Nick Gould | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read |

Damon Hill is the son of the late British racing driver Graham Hill, who twice won the Formula 1 drivers’ championship and is the only driver to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport comprising the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.

Graham Hill and Damon Hill 1967
Father and Son – Graham Hill overseeing his son Damon in the driving seat – Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1996, Damon Hill became Formula 1 World Champion driving for the Williams team and in doing so, Hill and his father became the first family to have a father and son both become Formula 1 World champions.

I noticed while browsing for photos on racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart, that Hill was wearing an Omega Speedmaster chronograph. I have never heard of anyone mentioning Hill sporting a Speedmaster, so I decided to do start searching.

Going through images, Hill was sporting the timepiece as early as 1994 on its stainless steel bracelet and he drove with it during races. At a pre-race event for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Hill is wearing the timepiece while chatting to fellow driver David Coulthard. 

Photo by Jean-Marc ZAORSKI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

You can see it on Hill’s wrist after winning a race on the 11th of September 1994. 

Credit: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT

In 1995, Damon Hill was still sporting the Speedmaster, and coincidentally he is wearing the watch again at the Italian Grand Prix, pictured next to legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker. The Speedmaster is clearly visible on Hill’s wrist.  

Photo by Steve Etherington/EMPICS via Getty Images

In November of 1995, we see Hill interviewed at the Australian Grand Prix by Jackie Stewart and once again, Hill is wearing his Speedmaster.

Photo by Claire Mackintosh/EMPICS via Getty Images

We see the watch on Hill’s wrist in 1996, while on the podium at the opening race of the season at the Australian Grand Prix.

Later on, in the 1996 edition of the British Grand Prix, we see Hill taking to The Beatles guitarist George Harrison and Hill’s Speedmaster is now on a leather strap.

L to R: Former Beatle George Harrison and his wife Olivia, Georgie and Damon Hill – British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 14th July 1996

For the 1997 Formula One season, Damon Hill was still wearing the Speedmaster on the leather strap. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, you can see it on Hill’s wrist as he is putting on his fire-resistant balaclava. 

Photo by Claire Mackintosh/EMPICS via Getty Images

Hill left the Speedmaster in this configuration till his retirement in 1999 and the last photograph I found of him wearing the watch was dated 2002. Since Hill actually wore the Speedmaster while racing, this gives the watch an uber-cool level of provenance and history!

10 responses

  1. Great gentlemanship from Mr Hill, although he never had to twist his hand inside the cockpit to see the time, neither had to keep any of his laps with it. True timeless love for his timepiece throughout his F1 carrer. Nowadays top athletes have their own super light watches that cost $$$.$$$,$$ and wear those under heavy contracts. Mr. Hill had a totally accessible watch worn, used and taken care. Hats off to a true gentleman

  2. As both a car and watch enthusiast, I’d like this website to be dedicated to watches only as car content can be easily found else where. Thanks.

  3. If you look at the books he produced in his championship year and 1998, there are some great shots of his Speedy. There’s a few photos with a Tag of some persuasion too.

  4. Hill published two books with extensive shots of his Speedy. One in 96, and one in 98. The 96 book also shows him wearing a Tag of some description.

  5. EBO… This is watch related, I take it you don’t own a Speedy lol

  6. So where’s the watch now and what does Hill say about it? Pointless having provenance and no watch!

  7. Is there any chance any of you could take some photos from the book, if you own a copy? Would be cool!

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