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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

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