Podium Life’s new feature takes anybody you might find in a racing paddock and asks them what their favourite item in their collection is. Podium Life’s Jack Benyon starts with a special watch…
Working in motorsport it sometimes feels like you are consumed by watch brands and drivers wearing flash timepieces.
There’s the almost primal link between motorsport’s obsession with beating the clock and a good old fashioned wrist or stop watch, even if the timing stuff is done online these days.
I’ve been obsessed with watches ever since I saw Steve McQueen sticking two fingers up at Erich Stahler (Siegfried Rauch) in the movie Le Mans, because on McQueen’s wrist is the now famous Tag Heuer Monaco.
In 2021, at the conclusion of the first year of my freelance business trading, I decided it was time for a treat to mark the occasion and honestly there was nowhere else to go other than Omologato for a motorsport-themed watch at a reasonable price.
Indianapolis had an obvious connection for this so-called IndyCar journalist. But aside from that, honestly, just look at it!
The 70s/80s Seiko-style turtle case is a lovely, almost vintage diving watch shape and the crown being offset at four o’clock gives a lovely off-centre look that’s really playful and interesting.
The sapphire crystal has remained relatively unscathed despite well over 30 flights travelling abroad and general daily use, and the case has survived brilliantly, too.
The automatic mechanism is also fantastic. It’s not a custom made Swiss design, but the Miyota 8215 Automatic movement hasn’t skipped a beat under my watch (pun intended).
This model was developed in conjunction with the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team and features the squad’s papaya detailing on the second hand and in some of the face details. But there’s no McLaren or team branding, which was a must for a journalist not showing bias to any team in the paddock (Omologato and Arrow McLaren are no longer affiliated, but the watch is still available).
Even the orange stitching on the strap – which is Italian leather and so comfortable I’ve not even considered changing it – is subtle.
The green hour markers provide a glow in the dark vibe, and the second markers give the face a packed feel without being totally overloaded by the details. It’s so fresh! Even if green, blue, black, white and orange sound like a recipe for disaster, it just works.
Also, the more ‘spec’ timing movement does mean you’re getting a beautiful, motorsport-specific automatic watch for £380, which to me at least seems really reasonable when you compare with other niche watches in the automatic category.
The two best things about the brand is that, run by Shami Kalra, it’s a small business doing things in the right way. All the packaging has a professional but homemade touch to it and Kalra reinvests or partners with many grassroots sporting championships and venues as a true backer of motorsport’s foundations.
I know there are big watch companies out there that sponsor drivers, but very few can have a personal presence that Kalra offers at all levels and in as many different ways be it teams, drivers, championships and events.
His Twitter is always a fantastic scroll and there’s always updates as to what’s coming next. At the moment – to name a few – the brand’s partnered with Pikes Peak, Watkins Glen, the East African Safari Classic, British Superbikes and Monza. It has been worn by Sir John Surtees, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Marcus Ericsson.
I’ve not been paid by Omologato or given any watches by it for free – I paid full price for my Indianapolis – and I’m totally glad I did because it’s a watch made with proven components, but designed by a true motorsport fan with an eye for detail. The Reims model is up next on my list.
It was lovely to take my Indianapolis to the Brickyard with me for my first Indy 500 in 2022, and I hope that will be the first of many.
I thought the Indianapolis might quench my thirst for watches – and especially motorsport-themed ones – but it’s only worked to whet the appetite for more.
Is there an item in your motorsport collection, whether it be memorabilia, a watch, a piece from a car or something that was given to you by a racing personality? Contact us and we could feature you in the ‘Why I love’ feature on Podium Life!