The Mika Häkkinen challenge

For race car drivers, nothing counts more than time. It sets the rhythm of each race, each step, each moment. And there’s no other object that symbolises a driver’s relationship with time more than their watch.

The Mika Häkkinen challenge

Double Formula 1 world champion Mika Häkkinen came to Artisans de Genève with a personalisation that would reflect his philosophy in life: to keep moving forward, no matter what the obstacle.

The result, the Mika Häkkinen Challenge, is the perfect blend of classic watchmaking traditions and the high-speed world of Formula 1.

“Time can be your ally or your worst enemy,” says Häkkinen. “My whole career has been about being on time. When a race begins, it’s my only objective.

“The technicality played a key role in the project, largely through the watch’s skeletonised movement. When I met Artisans de Genève, I was immediately struck by their passion and their quest for perfection.

“Owning a personalised watch is a real privilege, and this project was the culmination of everything I’d wished for.”

The former Lotus and McLaren F1 driver chose orange and light blue, two dynamic shades to recall the race tracks he triumphed on. The titanium dial is entirely openwork – a symmetrical design reminiscent of car racing exclusively developed for Häkkinen.

Mika Hakkinen watches

Mika Hakkinen watches

Artisans de Genève is an independent company specialised in the personalisation of timepieces. Artisans de Genève is not affiliated with Rolex SA nor authorised by them to intervene on their products for any reason whatsoever. This personalisation was ordered for his private use by a customer who owns a Rolex® timepiece.

The hour and minute hands are sandblasted in the centre and polished on the outside, and the second hand makes a statement with its hand-painted orange arrow.

The bezel has a patented titanium finish exclusively developed by Artisans de Genève. An orange border was added to the middle of the crown, giving the customisation a sporty edge.

To embody the fusion of codes, Häkkinen’s timepiece comes with an oyster bracelet and a deep grey alligator leather strap.

The 4130 movement of Häkkinen’s watch has been skeletonised in homage to an F1 engine – a design that demanded extreme precision, finesse and exceptional skill. Each piece has been cut out, sandblasted and angled by hand. Every element conjures the spirit of a race car.

Häkkinen wanted to combine this bold design with a manual-winding movement, a trademark of vintage watches.

Artisans de Genève removed the watch’s automatic rotor to offer a maximum visibility to the skeletonized movement, while maintaining the 72-hour power reserve of the movement.

The original caseback has been replaced by a titanium one with sapphire crystal, allowing the skeletonised calibre to be seen beneath.

The Mika Häkkinen Challenge’s specifications

Base: Rolex ® 116520
Bezel: Grade 5 titanium, with an anthracite treated surface, patented technology
Dial: Skeletonised and sandblasted, anthracite treatment, blue and orange
Hands: Minute and hour hands sandblasted at the centre, polished on the outside
Movement: 4130, sandblasted, bevelled, nickel palladium finished, manual-winding calibre, 72-hour power reserve
Case: Extra-flat titanium caseback with sapphire glass
Bracelet: Oyster, plus deep grey alligator leather strap
Pushers: Millerighe pushers
Water resistance: 100 metres

Find out more here

shares
comments
Williams won't sacrifice brand for "last drop of sponsor money"
Previous article

Williams won't sacrifice brand for "last drop of sponsor money"

Next article

What to expect from 2021 F1 winter testing

What to expect from 2021 F1 winter testing
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021