Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog

It is official: summer is here, and with it comes short sleeves, more casual attire and a host of wonderful outdoor activities — many including water. As such, this is a good time to offer a little insight into the right watch strap to wear during the summer, as we often get questions about rubber straps, bracelets and leather.  If you are thinking of switching a strap, or even buying a new watch for summer, here are a few pros and cons to know about the variety of straps on the market for both men and women.

Rubber Straps

Pros: Rubber straps generally offer a sporty look and can withstand many of the outdoor elements, including sun, rain, water and rough activities. The fact that rubber can weather the elements makes this material great for water sports, kayaking, boating, swimming and more. Generally, it dries quickly, as well, and it shouldn't lose its color or fade.

Cons: Perhaps the only drawback to a rubber strap is that if you live in a hot climate, and are not indulging in water sports, the inside of the strap could get a little sticky in humid weather.

Leather Straps

Pros: Very comfortable, leather straps come in innumerable colors, leather types and textures. From calfskin to exotics, such as snake, stingray, iguana, alligator and more, leather straps can be thin or thick and can look brand new or have a distressed, vintage appeal. Variety is a great plus here, because you can pretty much find the look you want with no problem at all. Because leather straps are relatively easy to take care of, and can be cleaned with just a wipe of a damp cloth and dish detergent, they are a good choice for anytime wear. The look is not as casual as a rubber strap, and can easily go from  weekend to work.

Cons: However, like rubber straps. In severe heat and humidity, certain leather straps also tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.

Fabric Straps

Pros: Fabric straps are a great alternative for summer. Also available in a variety of types, fabrics and colors, the most prevalent fabric is canvas or nylon because they are rugged and durable. Fabric straps do not get sticky with heat or humidity and dry quickly once out of the water.  Many people prefer a fabric NATO-style strap because the system of attaching the strap acts as extra security, because there are no spring bars.

Cons: Sometimes NATO straps can be a bit confusing to change. The strap usually slips through the top lugs, passes over the case back and then loops though the bottom lugs. However, until you have changed them a few times, it can be tricky.

Metal or Ceramic Bracelets

Pros: These bracelets can go the distance with you, especially if the they are made of titanium, high-tech ceramic or stainless steel.

Cons: Gold bracelets generally scratch easily, so we don't recommend taking the gold watch bracelet mountain climbing with you. Additionally, the heavier material will feel heavier on the wrist and could induce perspiration.


Ever wish you could start your own watch collection? Maybe join one of those watch groups out there? You can. Many people, both men and women, enjoy buying, wearing and collecting watches. There are just a few things to keep in mind as you start building a watch wardrobe.

Number of watches

There is no set number as to how many watches constitutes a collection. But if you can’t count the watches you own on more than one hand, then you probably aren’t there yet.

Types of watches

Generally, your basic watch collection should include the following:
• One everyday watch for work (Women, remember that a watch with discreet diamonds on the dial or bezel can do double duty for work and evening.);
• One bracelet watch in either white metal, or the much more versatile two-tones that are currently enjoying a renaissance. If you have the budget for gold – go for it. Gold on a brown, black, or neutral colored strap can also do double duty for work or evening. Additionally, rose gold looks great on both men and women and on all skin tones.
• One sporty, comfortable weekend watch that can reflect your hobbies or interests (chronographs, divers, and the like);

• One cool watch that offers either bold and daring design or some color to infuse your style with a little fun;
• One dress watch for elegant evening wear if you are the type that enjoys socializing;
• One complicated watch. It doesn’t have to be a high complication like a tourbillon or perpetual calendar (unless your budget permits), but a simple moon phase or dual time zone can go a long way.


We always advise our customers starting a collection to have a budget in mind for every watch purchase. Sure, we know that sometimes you will go over budget for the right watch, but having a budget in mind helps keep the wallet in check. This is important because we also know that once you start your watch collection, you will get hooked on watches and they will become a passion.

Stop in anytime to talk with us about the benefits of building a watch wardrobe and how we can help.


Still searching for the perfect Father's Day gift? Ditch those shirts, stop searching and visit us. With life being so busy, and there never being enough time, we suggest you give dad, or the father of your children, the gift of time — in the form of a wristwatch. Don't stop reading here because you think this is going to break the bank. It isn't. There is a watch out there for every budget. There's still time to stop in and take a look at our vast selection of watches for the dad in your life.

Sport watches make a great gift because they are versatile and can be a great weekender or an everyday watch. In fact, one of the hottest trends in the watch world right now is the sport watch with a car-inspired design. Often these have bold looks with a masculine overtone. Also important are sport watches equipped with functions. There are dive watches, pilot watches, watches with altimeters, chronographs and even a compass — in case dad gets lost easily.

Another important trend for men this year is the shift to colorful watches. No longer does the watch on his wrist need to be basic black or brown. This year, watch brands have introduced a host of great watches in both sporty and classic designs, but with bold colors including green, burgundy, rich royal blue and slate gray. Color is a great way to add a pop of fun and fashion into dad's life.

For those living in warm climates, you may want to get dad a bracelet watch, and this year many of the brands are stepping up the design of their watch bracelets. Easily one of the more classic looks is the Milanese mesh bracelet, which also takes on a sporty look when done in stainless steel. Two-tone bracelets are also making strong headway, as they offer more versatility and hit a more popular price point than solid gold. This is a great year to buy a bracelet watch because watch brands are not only focusing on aesthetics, but also on comfort, offering more supple links that won't tug on the hairs of the wrist.

This is the year to give dad the gift of time. It is a gift that will have him remembering you every time he glances at his wrist.


Many of you will be participating in wonderful water activities this summer. But, before you jump in, please make sure that the watch you are wearing is water resistant enough to keep up with you.

You can see the water resistance rating of your watch by taking a look at the dial or case back. If your watch is water resistant, it will be stamped water resistant to a certain depth. Beware, if it doesn't say "water resistant" somewhere on the watch, don't take that timepiece in the shower let alone swimming.

Additionally, if the watch says it is water resistant it helps to know the most commonly used depth measures: Meters, Bars and ATMs.

Depth Guide:
1 Meter = 3 feet rounded (actual is 3.28 feet)
1 Bar = 33 feet rounded (33.455 feet)
1 ATM = 1 Bar or 33 feet rounded

If a watch is water resistant, it will most likely be rated to 30 meters or more.

Be cautioned that even if a watch stamped with a water resistance of 30 meters it may not be suited for ocean activities for a host of reasons, including exposing the watch to different angles of water spray. Generally, experts suggest that if a watch isn't water resistant to at least 50 feet it shouldn't go into the water, as it most likely is not equipped with the proper gaskets, screw-in crowns and more, and water could get inside, leading to condensation under the crystal and even corrosion.

If the watch says it's water resistant to 50 meters, it is most likely properly equipped to take a dive in the pool or a swim in the ocean. If you are planning a snorkel trip, though, you may want to look for a watch that is water resistant to 100 meters for better protection.

If you are diving, we suggest a watch that is water resistant to 200 or 300 meters, even if you are not going that deep. This is because watches with deeper dive water resistance are equipped with a host of extra protection that runs the gamut from screw-in crowns, screw-down case backs, extra gaskets and lock protection. The very best even have helium escape valves. Planning a water trip? Stop in any time to find the right wrist companion.


College graduations are in full swing and Father's Day is around the corner, so it’s time to give thought to the perfect gift for your brilliant son, top-notch father or wonderful husband. We have the answer: a gift of time in the form of a watch on the wrist.

Today, time is omnipresent on our cell phones, dashboards, computers and more, but that is precisely what makes a watch so special.  Every time he glances at his wrist he will be reminded of the fact that you cared enough to give him a statement that offers time and distinction. The cell phone just can't make the individual and personal statement that a watch can make. A timeless gift, a watch also shows that you took the time to consider his likes, hobbies and interests. Not sure what type of watch to get? Here, we bring you four important factors to consider when buying a watch.

Consider Your Budget. It is important to note that there is a watch to fit every wallet size. From affordable to over the top, there is great variety on the market. Before you even consider which watch, though, have a budget in mind. It's OK to deviate from that budget a little, but starting with a  budget puts you at ease with the process of selection. Have an opening price in mind, and a cap off price, and don't be afraid to tell the sales associate helping you in the store where your budget lies.

Buy from a reputable, authorized retailer. This will bring you peace of mind that the watch is covered under warranty or guarantee, and that if the recipient wants to exchange it, that won't be a problem.

Think about the person you are buying for. What are his hobbies or interests? Is he a sports enthusiast who may like a chronograph, a car lover who may like a watch with auto-inspired detailing. Does he dive, or swim, or sail? There is a watch genre for every type of sport, even camping, hiking and running. Also, think about the person's age or career path.  If you're buying for a graduate, a nice clean stylish watch with a sporty, chic appeal that can go from work to weekend is a great choice. Buying for the father of your children? He may want something more sophisticated or complex, especially if he already owns some watches.

Think about where the person lives. Some watches may be better suited to certain climates than others, thanks to the strap or bracelet. For instance, warmer climates are great for bracelets so the strap doesn’t get clammy or sticky on the wrist. Cooler climates are great for leather straps, where metal could feel cold. Water lovers may want a rubber strap that can easily get wet time and again.

Still not sure? No problem. Stop in any time and let our knowledgeable staff help you work out the answers and find the perfect gift of time for the grad or dad in your life.


Did you know that something as simple as using a cell phone (especially with a rechargeable cell phone cover), going through airport security and even flying can affect the accuracy of your mechanical watch? Microwaves, handbags with magnetic closures, certain electrical instruments and some medical testing equipment can also have a negative impact on your mechanical timepiece.

Essentially, when a watch that is not deemed "anti-magnetic" comes into contact with a magnetic force field, the inner escapement of the watch can stutter, causing a slight-to-moderate impact on timing accuracy. Some people have reported that in certain instances, their timepiece just stops working. This is why certain watch brands take steps to ensure that their watches — especially pilot watches that are exposed to magnetic fields when flying — are anti-magnetic.

The concept of anti-magnetism in watches was first developed back in the 1930s when military pilots had issues with their watches stopping or becoming inaccurate. Generally, IWC Schaffhausen is credited with developing the first-ever anti-magnetic watch, and it did so by building a soft iron inner case that could reside within the outside case, but cover and protect the movement parts that were made of metals affected by magnetism. For decades, that inner iron case was the only way watch brands could find to protect the movements, and certain brands developed their own inner anti-magnetic iron cases — predominantly for pilot watches.

In recent decades, though, the use of high-tech alloys in watch movements have helped to render these watches anti-magnetic. These alloys include silicon, Glucydur, Elinvar and more. When mainsprings, escapements and hairsprings inside the watch are made of these materials, the watch becomes anti-magnetic without needing an iron inner case to protect it.

Essentially, an anti-magnetic watch can run with minimal deviation in time tracking when exposed to magnetic fields. The International Organization for Standardization has issued a standard for magnetic resistant watches: ISO 764 Horology - Magnetic. It states that a watch must keep its accuracy to +/- 30 seconds a day to be deemed magnetic resistant.

If you are continually exposed to magnetic fields, and have not experienced any timing issues with your mechanical watch, bravo. If you have had some issues, stop in any time to let us help you find the right watch for your wrist that is anti-magnetic and still suits your personal tastes.


We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian(R) Legend watches kick it up a notch.

Avid watch lovers familiar with our blog know that we have a special affinity for Swiss watch brand Baume & Mercier. Perhaps it stems from the fact that this brand has such a wonderfully inspiring roots story — founded by a husband/wife team more than a century and a half ago – and dedicated to creating innovative product with good value. Perhaps it is because over the past three decades, we have formed a strong relationship with the brand and its leaders, who seem spot-on in terms of direction. Or, perhaps it is the products and the projects that this brand takes on – and executes brilliantly – that draws us in.

For whichever reason — or a culmination of all of these influencing factors — Baume & Mercier is near and dear to our hearts. What’s more, the brand may well be near and dear to the hearts of many around the world, and especially in America, thanks to its very focused course of partnerships and product unveilings over the past half a decade. From partnering with Shelby American about four years ago to revive the beloved Carroll Shelby and Shelby Cobra names in Capeland watches, to the recent partnership with “America’s first motorcycle company” Indian Motorcycle, Baume & Mercier is striking a chord that goes to core of America and of motorsport enthusiasts globally.

Baume & Mercier Teams with Indian Motorcycle for new Clifton Club Indian Legend watches.

One has to admire the vision of Baume & Mercier CEO Alain Zimmermann, who not only engineered the first partnership for the Capeland Cobra, but also had the foresight last year to unveil a new collection of “sport watches for gentlemen” – the Clifton Club – to offer quality and value. Did he know then that the next partnership – the one unveiled last year with Indian – would need a watch collection to call home? I’m pretty certain of it. Zimmermann has always had a long-term look toward the future.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout watch.

In fact, Zimmermann has his fingers on the pulse of changing times, embraces the digital world and does his best to understand today’s millennial customers and their spirit for adventure and for stories. As such, the very first Indian watch unveiled by the brands – whose synergies are many – revolved around a man who dedicated his life to breaking speed barriers with his Indian motorcycle: Clifton Club Indian® Burt Munro Tribute 1967 watch. While that story resonated amongst motorcycle and auto enthusiasts, it also translated a genuine feeling in the timepiece. With designs codes from Burt Munro’s racing accomplishments at the Bonneville Salt Flats built into the timepiece (from colors, to numbers, leathers and more), the watch was an immediate hit.

The case back of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Scout watch -- with Indian chief logo. (Photo: R. Naas)

Speeding Forward With Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian® Legend Tribute Watches

Now, rounding out the first collection, Baume & Mercier unveils the new Indian Chief and Scout chronograph watches – inspired by Indian motorcycle engines and accents – that are guaranteed to turn heads. The two limited-edition watches embody both Baume & Mercier’s commitment to top Swiss craftsmanship and Indian® Motorcycle’s 117-year commitment to adventure and top-notch American quality.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout watch takes its design cues from the motorcycle.

Baume & Mercier’s Design Director Alexandre Peraldi and Indian’s Industrial Design team in Minnesota worked tirelessly together to capture the DNA of both companies. Peraldi, who has been with Baume & Mercier for years, is another shining star. His uncanny ability to embrace and adapt the environs of the partner brand, and incorporate them into harmonious designs that are at once symbiotic and individualistic is his strong point. Add to that his passion for design and his view for the future generations of a collection, and you have a winning result… as with the Indian® Legend series of watches.

Baume & Mercier's Alexandre Peraldi with Indian mood board. (Photo: R. Naas)

Both of the new watches that complement the earlier-released Burt Munro Indian version, are inspired by Indian® motorcycle designs and features. Both feature the Indian Motorcycle “Indian head” logo meticulously etched into the case backs.

The new Clifton Club Indian chronograph watches include the Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief® Limited Edition, inspired by the Chief® motorcycle powered by Indian’s ThunderStroke 111 V-twin engine, and the Indian Scout® model reflecting the lighter-weight motorcycle. Easily one of the more intriguing marks on the watch — and a look that seems to be a signature now with Baume & Mercier’s auto-inspired watches – is the fact that the chronograph’s center seconds hand features a stylized Indian® logo “I” as the counterweight. (In the Cobra series, the famed “Cobra” logo was the counterweight.)

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout watch

The back of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute watches feature the Indian head logo inscribed on it and the numbered edition.

The Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout watch – with a brown leather strap made by Horween, which also makes the Indian® leather seats – is an automatic chronograph with tachymeter for measuring speed, and date indication. It is crafted in stainless steel with a fixed bezel in ADLC black for a true stealth appeal. The watch features an open-worked opaline gray dial (the livery shade of the Scout motorbike models) and black subdial chronograph counters designed to recall the motorcycle’s speedometer.

The Indian spirit shines through in a host of additional accents that include riveted indexes and hands that are coated with SuperLuminova C1 that exudes a green emission, a beige chronograph seconds hand (with aforementioned counterweight in stylized script “I”), and a date disk with “1901” on the 19th day of the month to indicate the year Indian® was founded. This 44mm watch is powered by a self-winding Valjoux 7750 caliber that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers 48 hours of power reserve.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief watch.

Clifton Club Indian® Legend Tribute Chief® Limited Edition watch

While the Scout exudes super sporty appeal, so, too, does the Chief, but with a bit more finesse – after all, it is the Chief. Also equipped with an automatic movement with 48 hours of power reserve, and with the black ADLC coated fixed bezel with tachymeter scale, this chronograph — with vertically placed subdials — features an opaline black dial with silvered subdials and bold red central seconds hand and stylized “I.” Instead of a leather strap that will develop its own patina over time, the Chief is offered with a three-row stainless steel bracelet with matte and polished links.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Scout watch -- with strap made by Horween, who makes the motorcycle seats. (Photo: R. Naas)

Each of these Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian® Legend Tribute watches is created in a limited edition of 1,901 pieces and each retails for $3,900.


Over the past few days, a host of important auctions by top houses, such as Christie's, Phillips and Sotheby's, took place in Geneva. The results were nothing short of stellar – proving that buying new watches today could lead to great profits tomorrow.

In fact, with these watch auctions as the ticking point — or pulse of the vintage and resale market — we can bet that there is a very healthy watch collecting world poised for even more excitement as the auction season continues. If the most recent sales are any indication, top lots still in high demand are from brands such as Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, among others.

Significant sales included a white gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6265 “Unicorn” selling for $5.9 million at the Phillips Auction entitled “Daytona Ultimatum.” The "Unicorn" is the second-most-expensive Rolex Daytona sold at auction – second to Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman Daytona that fetched $17.5 million last year at Phillips. That watch’s incredible value was due in large part to the fact that it belonged to and was worn by the famed Paul Newman, who made the “Paul Newman Daytona” reference famous.

Another important watch sold this past weekend was an Omega owned by Elvis Presley. The somewhat feminine looking watch with diamond bezel and Tiffany dial sold for $1.8 million – making it the most expensive Omega watch sold at auction. Of course, the watch had belonged to The King and that also is an important provenance.

Additionally, a host of historically interesting pocket watches sold well, as did a number of pilot and aviation watches from various brands, including IWC and Breguet, dating back to the late 20th century. While the big-ticket, flashy-provenance watches get the most press attention, a host of other timepieces went up for auction and sold without so much fanfare.

Also at the upcoming Sotheby's auction next week, some very significant watches by Cartier, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey, among others, will be making their marks in auction history.

As mentioned, these important results are just another demonstration that buying a watch today can yield increased value down the road. Of course, you need to know which watches to buy. That, or you need to become somewhat famous to ensure your watch (or watches) will have a provenance to promote in the press and at the auctions. In the coming weeks we will present a series of articles about how to find the right new watch that may increase in value over time.


This upcoming Sunday is Mother's Day, the very special day to celebrate your mom or the mother of your children. We know you are considering a lovely brunch or dinner out somewhere, because, let's face it, everyone wants to pamper mom. However, the crowds and long lines can be horrendous, and the meal won't last forever. That's why we suggest giving mom something much more personal and long lasting: time — in the form of a watch. Flowers die, candy gets eaten, but a watch will last for years or even generations.

According to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation, Mother's Day spending is expected total more than $23 billion. Jewelry and watches are a top category for those looking for a nice gift, and we have watches in all price ranges to fit any budget. Mom won't care how much you spend. She will care that you took time to look for something special instead of running by the local grocery store at the last minute for flowers or candy.

Selecting a watch shows her that you took the time to think about her — about what colors she likes, or what hobbies or interests she has. Is she a runner or jogger? Maybe a chronograph will help her time those runs. Is she a swimmer? Try a great water-resistant watch that can weather the elements. Is she all about fashion and style? A nice colored strap watch or even a link bracelet watch could be right. Maybe you have a bigger budget and know that mom or the mother of your children loves diamonds.

In the end, you will be giving her something that will last a lifetime and that will remind her of you every time she looks at her wrist. We invite you to visit over the next few days. Our knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect Mother's Day watch.


We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This first-hand account by Roberta Naas first appeared there.

Justify, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, wins the 144th Kentucky Derby, the wettest in history, on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Longines, the Swiss watch manufacturer known for its luxury timepieces, is the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines/AP Images)

This past weekend I had the wonderful fortune of being invited by Longines to the famed Kentucky Derby. In the middle of America – Louisville, Kentucky, to be exact – I would get to sport grand fascinators and hats, drink mint juleps (the official cocktail of the Derby) made with Woodford Reserve bourbon (one of my favorites), and wear a Longines Conquest V.H. P. watch for a couple of days. I would get to hobnob with celebrities that included Miss America, Aaron Rodgers and his Packers football teammates, Anthony Anderson and others, and to sample cuisine by renowned chefs as I relaxed between races in the six-story “Mansion” at Churchill Downs — where Longines reserved a portion of one of the six floors as its luxurious and comfortable home base. Naturally, I jumped at the invitation and am glad I did because it was everything I expected and more.

The Official Watch of this year’s Kentucky Derby is the Longines Conquest V.H.P. (Photo: R. Naas)

Churchill Downs

First of all, Churchill Downs is huge. Think of a football stadium… and then think of three football stadiums put together … the space is expansive. The grounds include the original construction with the famed twin Spires atop the equally as famed original jockey club and the forbidden Speakeasy, several newer buildings including one just finished a week before the Derby that houses hundreds of private suites for viewing the races, as well as hundreds of tables in windowed rooms throughout the three-story building.

The famous twin spires of Churchill Downs served as a beacon for early derby goers in the late 1800s.

And then there is the Mansion – a six-story building that has a different decor and theme on each level. One floor of this building plays home to the TurfClub — where most of the celebrities hang out. The top floor is reserved for guests of the main Derby sponsors and partners. Created with a trackside view and a huge balcony, this floor resembles a true mansion living room, complete with fine progressive dining all day long and a huge bar where, of course, Woodford Reserve is served non stop from morning until night. The full name of the Run for the Roses is actually the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, and the official drink of the Derby is the Mint Julep – made with bourbon and fresh sprigs of mint (farmed locally) and Woodford Reserve (see recipe below). There is also a Spires drink that is pretty refreshing and is made with bourbon, cranberry juice and citrus. Yes, I sampled each of these drinks (more than once).

The 144th Kentucky Derby was run at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky on May 5, 2018.

Outside of the these buildings, the grounds range from the famed Millionaire’s Row — where all of the owners sit outside to watch the races — to the paddocks, where the horses are brought before the races, the barns where the horses are groomed and cared for with incredible love and adoration, and the fair grounds — complete with food stands, alcohol stands, gift shops and more. In fact, the entire weekend is a huge festival (this year nearly 160,000 people attended the event) where just about $200 million is bet on the ponies, where hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on food and drink (a Mint Julep on the fairgrounds costs about $11, and the very special limited edition Woodford Reserve mint bourbon sells for $1,000 a glass — until it is sold out) and where fashion and hats are all the rage.

Hats, Fascinators and Fashion

Hats at the Kentucky Derby: the bigger, the better.

Famed around the world for the style and fashion, the Kentucky Derby — also known as the “fastest two minutes in sports” — may be the only outdoor sporting event where women wear dresses and huge hats or fascinators (a smaller but fancy bow, feathers, plume or cap attached to the head via a clip or a headband), and men dress in dapper style. This year’s Derby day was wrought with rain — sometimes light and sometimes pounding — that drenched everyone who didn’t cover up with a plastic overcoat — but that didn’t stop race-goers from dressing up — they just wore clear plastic over their clothes. For the owners and the people in the infield, heels came off and the women walked barefoot in the mud. The rain will not deter this crowd. In fact, since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has never been canceled due to inclement weather — making it the single oldest continuously run sporting event in North America.

Miss America was one of the judges of the Longines Prize for Elegance fashion show at Churchill Downs.

On Friday, the Longines Kentucky Oaks racing day, Longines was the title sponsor of the Prize for Elegance fashion show. This year, 200 entrants walked the pink carpet, where four judges — including Miss America and Pascal Savoy, head of Longines in America — selected the most elegant fashion of the day. Men and women, old and young, showed off their styles, colors and hats for a chance to win a Longines watch. The show is designed to underscore the elegance displayed at the Kentucky Derby, and to reinforce Longines’ famed tag line: “Elegance is an attitude.”

Pascal Savoy, Longines US Brand President, presents Meghana Rajadhyaksha, of Miami, with a Longines Master Collection timepiece following her win of the Longines Kentucky Oaks Day Prize for Elegance fashion contest, Friday, May 4, 2018 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Longines, the Swiss watch manufacturer known for its luxury timepieces, is the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines/AP Images)

Justify Wins

With all of this excitement going on, we can’t lose sight of the reason we are there; the races. The Kentucky Derby, also lovingly referred to as “The Run for the Roses” because of the huge blanket of 400 red roses sewn together into a blanket and given to the winner, is all about the incredible horses that are born and bred for racing. Throughout the two-days that comprise Derby weekend — which is the largest sporting event in America — nearly two dozen different races take place. The culmination is the Kentucky Derby race.

This year, 20 horses entered to win the 144th Kentucky Derby. Thanks to the rain, the dirt track was a muddy track that had thrown off the “easy picks” of earlier races — with some long shots who had a bit of mud racing experience coming in first. However, there were several favorites for the Kentucky Derby and Justify, the winning horse, was one of them.

Jockey Mike Smith smiles after riding Justify to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, the wettest in history, Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Longines, the Swiss watch manufacturer known for its luxury timepieces, is the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines/AP Images)

Justify is a three-year-old colt who had not run the Derby at the age of two. He is only the second horse to have won a Kentucky Derby that he did not run when he was two years old. Meaning — he was new to the one-and-a-quarter-mile track. He was ridden by a 52-year-old jockey named Mike Smith and is owned by Baffert — no newcomer to the ponies. The purse: $2 million. Longines, which timed the race, clocked Justify at the finish line at 2 minutes and 4 and 1/5th seconds.

In addition to the aforementioned 40-pound blanket of roses, and the $2 million purse, the owners of Justify also received the nearly two-foot tall solid gold Kentucky Derby Trophy. Made by a company in New England, the 14-karat gold trophy features an 18-karat gold horse and rider atop it. With a base made of jade, the trophy is said to be worth about $200,000. Additionally, the owners, trainer and jockey all received a Longines Conquest V.H.P watch.

It takes nearly 2,000 hours to make the Kentucky Derby gold trophy.

Longines and the Kentucky Derby

Longines has been the Official Timekeeper of the Kentucky Derby and the Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby since 2011. It is also the title sponsor, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the Kentucky Oaks race. The brand peppers the Churchill Downs grounds with about a dozen clocks, including a triple-faced clock nearby the Paddocks. A specially made Longines chronometer times each race.

It was a muddy track on the day of the Kentucky Derby 2018, where for the seventh year in a row Longines is the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch.

This year, the Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby — the one awarded to the winner — is the Longines Conquest V.H.P. quartz watch with a blue dial and red accents. The 43mm men’s version is crafted in steel and retails for $1,050. There is also a women’s automatic watch that is an Official Watch of the Derby — also crafted in steel with blue dial and diamond markers.

Longines Official Watches of the Kentucky Derby 2018. (Photo: R. Naas)

I have written extensively about Longines’ involvement in equestrian events on my Forbes.com "Perfect Timing" column, about the 10 most interesting facts relating to the Kentucky Derby and Longines on TrueFacet, where I am the Executive Editor, and about Longines timing and the Conquest V.H.P. watch that is the Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby on World Tempus. You can visit each of those sites for details. Here, we opted to bring readers this behind-the-scenes look at the fun, crazy and incredible moments with Longines.

The watch that started the love affair between Longines and the Equestrian world. Made by Longines in 1878.

More than a dozen Longines clocks keep time at Churchill Downs.

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