Two very different forms of motorsport, on opposite sides of the world. The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, back after an enforced two-year break due to Covid (remember that thing?) And the Croatia Rally, round three of the World Rally Championship, held on the twisty roads around Zagreb.
It’s all part of the job if you’re working in international motorsport. And that means a lot of time spent on planes, automobiles and occasionally trains as well. Not to mention boats. In fact, this was my itinerary over the last few weeks: drive from London to Italy (via the cross-channel ferry), spend a few days in Italy, then fly to Melbourne in Australia (via Singapore and Sydney). Fly back to Italy, a few more days there, then drive to Croatia. After the rally, drive back to London – through Austria and Germany. And then to WatchGecko HQ in Tewkesbury the following day.
Along the way, there were too many different adventures to recount: from watching the new generation of Formula 1 cars trackside in Melbourne, to eating horse salami in Italy, to having a close encounter with the Slovenian police. But there was one constant through the controlled chaos that I like to call work. And this was the FORZO Enduratimer that stayed on my wrist throughout the approximately 26,000 miles travelled over three weeks.
There were various reasons for taking it on this odyssey, but the main one is its obvious motorsport heritage, with FORZO being a brand inspired by the golden age of motoring. And I was also closely involved in the brand’s creation, so there’s something indescribably gratifying about wearing a watch that you have helped to exist.
It goes without saying then that I like it. A lot. The nod to the Rolex Daytona is there of course – perhaps the archetypal motorsport watch – especially in timeless cream with panda subdials. But the Enduratimer is sufficiently different to have its own personality, being somehow neater, more compact, and even more jewel-like than the Daytona.
So I was itching to put it on and take it on some adventures. Having now travelled more than one lap around the circumference of the Earth by distance, it still looks just as pristine and desirable as when it was new, despite the inevitable knocks from airport security machines all over the world. Because there are some things you only find out by wearing a watch non-stop. For a start, how easy it is to set the time: an activity you’re often indulging in when hopping from time zone to time zone (dead easy, with a pleasing mechanical feel from the crown that is neither too tight nor too loose).
Also, how resistant it is to bangs and chips and scrapes. It feels bullet-proof: believe it or not, when I banged my wrist against a plastic table in Italy, a tiny chip of plastic came away from the table but the watch remained unblemished. Not to mention how it tells the time (perfectly accurately, despite me fiddling with it, but that’s a Seiko-derived mechaquartz movement for you: the best of both worlds).
Perhaps most importantly of all – given that you can get the perfectly accurate time whenever you want from your phone – you only discover after a while how the watch makes you feel.
In the case of the Enduratimer, I would describe it as ‘at home’. Several people in many different countries tried it on: they all liked it (and interestingly, over-estimated its purchase price). One person thought it was a Daytona, while it was also mistaken for a panda dial Speedmaster on another occasion. In the end, there are probably only so many ways to skin a cat – or make a chronograph.
The point is that the FORZO Enduratimer fitted seamlessly into this exalted company, which is part of that comfortable ‘at home’ feeling. Unusually, on Rally Croatia, I also managed to put the chronograph to practical use, timing the gaps between the rally cars. It feels like a quaint thing to do now, a bit like dressing up in period costume for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but at the time this was the standard method for timing all competition cars – and the Enduratimer, as the very name suggests, is a constant reminder of that. Part of a tradition, which is one of the things that draws you to this watch.
Those who are into rallying, of course, can get a dedicated version of the Enduratimer with a dial that’s blue – in tribute to the some of the sport’s most famous liveries – which was created in collaboration with DirtFish: rallying’s leading media outlet (just check out www.dirtfish.com)
The colours that the Enduratimer comes in (from red, in collaboration with multiple motorbike champion Carl Fogarty to light blue – one of the best-sellers) are all distinctive. But the classic colour scheme, which I’ve been living with, speaks more quietly but no less authoritatively.
That’s why I’m planning to hang onto the cream and black Enduratimer for a little while yet. Next up is the Miami Grand Prix, and – paired with a sharp cream suit – I reckon it could look rather Miami Vice…