David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/13/21 9:41 a.m.

The first Indy 500 took place in 1911, with Ray Harroun coming out of retirement to win the race—pioneering the use of a rearview mirror in the process. He called it quits for good right there in victory lane.

A year later, Gallet, the watch company that traces its roots as well as its namesake back to 1466, released the first wristwatch for mass distribution sporting a full-size, constant second hand originating from the center of the dial. Motorsports, a fledgling activity at the time, now had an appropriate, easy-to-use timepiece. 

The two forms of machinery have been inseparable since. Captain Malcolm Campbell famously wore a Rolex Oyster while topping 300 mph in his Blue Bird in the 1930s. “I have now been using my Rolex Watch for some little while,” he wrote the company in 1930, “and it is keeping perfect time under somewhat strenuous conditions.”

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