Swiss watch brand Edox has been sponsoring motorsports events since the 1980s and it is a relationship that it continues to cultivate. We ask Adrian McGilivray of the brand’s UK distributor Ferndale UK some questions about the links between the timepiece brand and fast cars.
WatchPro: Can you give us a potted history of Edox’s association with motorsport, and what it has meant to the brand over the years?
Adrian McGilivray: Edox has been associated with motorsport for many years – initially by low key sponsorship of saloon car rallying in Switzerland in the mid 1980s, but more recently, since 2009, it has been the Official Timing Partner of the FIA World Rally Championship. There are normally 13 race meetings each year with the first rally this year being held in Monte Carlo in mid January. From there the rally moves to a different location each month, visiting countries such as France, Germany, Portugal, Argentina and New Zealand. This year the UK meeting will be held in South Wales between September 13 and 16, with the race village sited in Cardiff. Like most major sporting events, rallying creates enormous interest with each event being attended by large numbers of spectators either on the course or afterwards at the race village, where they can mix with fellow enthusiasts, technicians and drivers alike, whilst observing the cars being repaired or prepared for the following day’s races. Besides the WRC, Edox has this year been appointed the Official Timing Partner for the World Dakar Rally Series, which was held in South America earlier this year. This rally is all about endurance, with the cars travelling for long distances through the harshest of conditions.
WP: How do your retailers benefit from the motorsport partnership?
AM: Naturally our retailers are supplied with all the necessary merchandising material – display, model rally cars, etc – to promote the brand’s connection with the WRC events, which if displayed correctly and with flair will create interest and bring potential purchasers in to stores. In addition, we welcome their input to any ideas they may have to promote the rally event in their areas.
WP: Can you describe the importance of motorsport sponsorship to your brand?
AM: These events have given Edox a fantastic worldwide platform to promote the brand uniformly, as there is synergy between motorsports and watches in terms of attention to design, functionality, manufacturing tolerance’s and most importantly split-second timing. Edox has been associated with the motor sport industry for some years and it gives the brand the ideal vehicle with which to interact with consumers and followers of rallying and motorsport in general.
WP: What influence has your involvement with motorsport had on product development over recent years?
AM: Edox has developed the WRC watch collection, which features specialty timing pieces unique to Edox. Set in steel or titanium cases, many with chronograph functionality and left hand oversized crowns and pushers, the Edox WRC range aims to appeal not only to the rally drivers and navigators alike as a functional timepiece designed specifically for their sport, but also the enthusiast. It gives them the opportunity to touch the dream of rallying – the danger, the adrenaline, the trials and tribulations – by owning an Edox WRC timepiece. In addition, this year will see the launch of the Edox WRC Classic Collection, a range of watches designed to remember the early days of rallying and one which pays tribute to the great names who forged the contemporary motor industry of the 1970s and 1980s.
WP: How would you describe the return on investment in motorsport for your brand? Has this changed over the years?
AM: It’s very hard to quantify monetarily vis-à-vis global distribution, but without question the Edox association with rallying and Off Shore Power Boating, Edox’s other great sponsorship connection, has clearly created interest worldwide and put Edox on the world stage as one of the main manufactures producing functional sports watches.
This article was taken from the August 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out now. To view a digital version of the magazine click here.