Sir Jackie Stewart & Formula 1® Hungarian Grand Prix 2022

On the occasion of the 2022 Formula 1® Hungarian Grand Prix, Petite Genève Petrović of Budapest proudly hosted an outstanding event with a most special guest of honor, Sir Jackie Stewart. The privileged guests of Petite Genève Petrović had the unique opportunity to personally meet the three-time Formula 1® World Driver’s Champion and Rolex Testimonee since 1968 – one of Rolex’s enduring ties to motorsport personified. The winner of 27 Grand Prix™ races, Sir Jackie is also widely recognized for his pioneering commitment to driver safety in Formula 1®, which has had a lasting impact on motorsport.

FORMULA 1® ARAMCO
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX 2022

During the Grand Prix weekend, the Petite Genève Petrović team sat with Sir Jackie to discuss the various ties between Rolex and Formula 1®, Sir Jackie’s extensive experience owning Rolex watches, as well as his thoughts on how Formula 1® is hosted in Hungary since 1986.


Petite Genève Petrović:

Sir Jackie, a very warm welcome to Hungary and a special thank you for spending time with us. You are in a unique position thanks to your wealth of experience both in the world of motorsport, especially Formula 1®, and your role as a Rolex Testimonee of 54 years – and counting. In your view, what are some of the surprising ways in which Rolex and Formula 1® align?


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“Well, I think the obvious thing is timing. Rolex has spent its life timing – Sir Malcolm Campbell was running his car, the Bluebird, on the salt flats of Daytona Beach while wearing his Rolex watch in the 1930s. Today, the Rolex clock is present at the Formula 1® track and the strike of its minute hand dictates when the race is going to start. Rolex has partnered with the Daytona International Speedway® in the United States, with the greatest endurance races, as well as Formula 1®, the pinnacle of motorsport.

It is a great company: When one enjoys Rolex hospitality at Le Mans, Daytona, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, or a Formula 1® Grand Prix™ like the one here in Hungary, there always is a good moment and it’s in the Rolex suite that one usually finds the crème de la crème.”

Sir Jackie Stewart
Sir Jackie Stewart

Petite Genève Petrović:

As a Rolex Testimonee of 54 years, you had the privilege to visit the brand’s facilities in Switzerland, where every Rolex watch is produced entirely. Having raced to three World Driver’s Championship titles and operated your own Formula 1® team, you've been immersed in the world of Formula 1 like few others. In your experience, how do Rolex's headquarters and facilities differ and stand out from those used to build the world's fastest race cars?


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“Well, first of all, I think the world headquarters of Rolex in Geneva, Switzerland, is the most beautiful headquarters in the world. I have been to the centres of operation of leading companies in various fields including tech and automotive industries – but when you enter Rolex’s world is when you realize how uniquely beautiful it is, very typical of the company. Likewise, the people who work in the company are properly dressed and well-dressed. Some people may think that’s a thing of yesterday – but it’s not, it means the world. People are wearing a suit and tie, and are dressed properly, and that applies to the whole factory, not just the executive directors, so to speak. All the way through, to the lovely uniforms of those making the watches, and that fits with Formula 1® too. If you go to a Formula 1® track or race car factory, you will see that everything is immaculate, the garages are immaculately clean and that ranks among the shared values with Rolex.

It is all about attention to detail. Clearly, the tick-tocks got to be on time no matter what, but the manner in which they are presented never fails to amaze visitors of Rolex. It is a very religious performance with regards to how we are seen as Rolex people, if you like, how to be prepared to do our jobs and to welcome the people who visit us. It just goes with the watch. I don’t think there is another company that I can think of that would be as consistent with the rest of the policies this company has had. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, made sure the watches were elegant and tidy from the start and that this is reflected in the operation throughout.

Petite Genève Petrović:

Guests of Petite Genève Petrović had the privilege to visit the pit lane and race team garages at the 2022 Formula 1® Hungarian Grand Prix, discovering the engineering excellence that goes into the race cars competing for the win. A fascinating contrast is how these cars only function for a limited time and are relied upon by a very limited number of people – the two drivers –, whereas Rolex watches are cherished by great many more around the world and often through a lifetime.


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“That is the culture of the sport. Interestingly, in my early days of motorsport, we didn’t have the facilities teams have today, nor the number of mechanics and engineers they have today. Today they have aerodynamicists, electronicists, and people dedicated to just the transmission or another component of the car. I think these changes didn’t start until about the late 1960s, or early 1970s, but these developments affecting the developments, race preparation, and the behind-the-scenes work continue through to today. And that fits very well with Rolex because it wouldn't be right for us to have a relationship with Formula 1® with a dirty watch shop – which is, of course, entirely unimaginable. Just like Rolex in the field of watches, Formula 1® has led other racing categories in various ways.”

Sir Jackie Stewart


Petite Genève Petrović:

Rolex watches and race cars are based around fine mechanics and high performance. Have you been fascinated with the mechanics of these objects, or focused rather more on how they feel?


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“I was a garage mechanic, but one that would not have fitted into the levels of excellence that Rolex demands. A lot of garages are not very tidy or clean, either. I have a variety of different watches and I greatly appreciate them all, but the technology of them I have to admit I haven’t been deeply involved in at any time. They are always very beautifully done and they always are a superb match with their respective avenues, let that be the world of yachting, world speed records, or Formula 1®. In all these fields it has always been high technology that brought the best to the highest level and that is, again, compatible with the culture of Rolex.”

Petite Genève Petrović:

In Formula 1®, many delicate changes are developed and introduced to race cars in pursuit of yet greater performance, even within the course of the season. For Rolex, innovation has been at the heart of its operations since its very foundation. How do you perceive these changes in Rolex watches over the course of your extensive association with the brand?


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“Rolex has always looked towards the best, and through that pursuit of excellence, it has raised the game for many others. From my point of view, I am a severe dyslexic, I cannot read or write correctly or do the alphabet, but I have always been good at attention to detail. Because I am wearing blue trousers, I am wearing blue cufflinks – it’s a silly little thing, but if you put the little things together, that’s what makes a difference. If you look at this Rolex watch” – Sir Jackie points at the yellow gold Cosmograph Daytona with a white dial that he is wearing that day – “I had to get it on a blue strap for today. For Sunday, race day, I will get one on the green strap.”



Petite Genève Petrović:

On this note, Sir Jackie, how high would you rate the importance of attention to detail in your racing successes?



Sir Jackie Stewart:

“Oh, it’s the biggest thing. The only thing I am good at is attention to detail. And that raises the game for everybody. Because when you do that, you feel as if everybody should join the team, and that is another reason why Formula 1® and Rolex go so well together. I think Rolex has been doing it a lot longer than Formula 1®. In my early days [in Formula 1®], Rolex’s level of excellence wasn’t there in the sport. You know, for 54 years I have been a Rolex Testimonee, and that is quite a long time. But I have a Rolex watch here, which is from 1926. I was given it by a friend I used to drive for, when he turned 91 years old, he gave me this beautiful watch that still works and performs beautifully today – thanks to the excellence with which it was made by Rolex nearly 100 years ago.”

Petite Genève Petrović:

In closing, would you have a special message for Hungarian fans of Rolex and Formula 1®?


Sir Jackie Stewart:

“First of all, I think Hungarian fans are very excitable to watch motorsports, which is lovely. It has been like that since I first came to Hungary. Just now, outside the major hotels of Budapest, there are masses of people waiting to see the Formula 1® fraternity. Your country has, in many ways, exceeded others, because there are not many other places in the world that would have this many fans standing outside – and they are so well-mannered, many of them are not even asking for autographs, they are just there for the experience. Some of them are taking pictures, obviously, but if you do give an autograph, they are so grateful, and I really appreciate that.”

Petite Genève Petrović:

Sir Jackie, thank you very much for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us today.


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Sep 23, 2022

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