Known for its long-time involvement in equestrian sports, Swiss luxury horologer Longines kept the time at last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and awarded special timepieces to the winners.
On May 6, the horologer continued the tradition of being the official timekeeper at the 143th edition of the Kentucky Derby, the first of the thoroughbred Triple Crown races. Under the digital Longines Kentucky Derby Countdown Watch, Always Dreaming galloped to victory, leaving behind Lookin At Lee on second place and Battle of the Midway on third.
To celebrate the triumph of Always Dreaming, the Swiss watchmaker presented Conquest 1/100th Horse Racing timepieces to the horse’s owners Vinnie Viola and Anthony Bonomo, trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez. The chronograph watch draws inspiration from Longines’ famed 1878 pocket watch that featured an engraving of a jockey and his horse at the back. Able to record time with a precision of 1/100th of a second, the novel timepiece, equipped with the quartz L440 movement, caters to equestrian professionals who wish to accurately track a horse’s performance. Water-resistant to 300 meters, the Longines Conquest 1/100th Horse Racing comes with a non-reflective dial and a stainless steel bracelet.
The official watch of the year, however, was not the sole timepiece that ticked at what Longines describes as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” While the label’s watches and branded clocks filled a display at the Churchill Downs’ facilities, the brand unveiled a women’s model from its DolceVita line during the Kentucky Oaks Day Fashion Contest. Epitomizing the gaiety of bucolic Italian life, the watch is rendered in steel and rose gold, adorned with diamonds and granted a silver-colored “flinque” dial with painted Roman numerals.
A longtime partner of the Triple Crown, Longines has made it a custom to gift watches to the winners of the Kentucky Derby. Last year, the label gave Longines Master Collection watches to the team behind the top horse Nyquist. In 2015, it decorated the owners, jockey and trainer of American Pharoah, the eventual Triple Crown champion, with Longines Conquest Classic Moonphase pieces.