Legendary F1 Driver Jim Clark Had Excellent Taste In Watches
If you get to know some of the stand-up individuals that make up your local car scene, you’ll quickly find out that many of these same petrolheads also happen to be avid watch collectors. The synonymous nature of these two passions dates back to the early days of motorsport and watchmaking, when drivers relied upon their chronograph-equipped wristwatch to keep track of lap times, and perform calculations on the circuit.
One such driver was Jim Clark, the legendary two-time Formula One world champion, and as an admirer of his for many years now, it came as a pleasant surprise to find out that much like myself, Clark seemed to have a small (though impressive) collection of well-designed chronographs. Over the years, three pieces from Galet, Enicar, and Breitling have become closely associated with him. Let’s take a look.
The Scottish-born driver’s documented watch collecting history begins with Gallet—a brand that while having a steadfastly loyal following in the world of vintage watches, remains largely unknown to the masses. Clark’s Gallet of choice was the Multichron 12, which the brand produced using both Valjoux 72 and Excelsior Park “EP40” movements, with your choice of either a black or white multi-scale dial. Jim went with black. With its sharp case lines, versatile aesthetic, and highly legible detailing on the dial, the Multichron 12 truly represents everything you could possibly need in a sports chronograph, and nothing you don’t. Clark would later pass the watch on to his carburetor technician, John Carlini.
Just two years later, Clark’s sponsorship would change over to another Swiss brand known as Enicar, which similarly to Gallet, flies under the radar of most, but is now just beginning to be recognized by important collectors. During this time, an Enicar Sherpa Graph with a black dial and white sub-registers could be seen peeking out from in between the driver’s glove and jacket, and luckily for us, several photos of Jim Clark with the watch upon his wrist can still be found today. Again, this watch made use of the same hand wound column wheel chronograph movement that’s seen in the aforementioned Gallet, the Valjoux 72, which countless watch manufacturers also used, given the movement’s reliable and durable nature.
Finally, Clark would pick up a Ref. 806 Breitling Navitimer to round out his collection of sports chronographs. He can clearly be seen in photographs wearing the watch throughout the late 1960s, both in the driver’s seat, and on the sidelines at Le Mans. In the minds of Breitling enthusiasts and aficionados, the 806 is arguably the greatest reference in the model’s history, and with various rare sub-variants of the reference produced over the years, there’s surely a Navitimer out there to satisfy the needs of even the most scrupulous of collectors.
Know of another important driver with great taste in watches? Let us know in the comments!