Driving is definitely his thing, but how about designing?
Michael Schumacher trying his hands at watchmaking while visiting the Audemars Piguet manufacturing facility in Switzerland.
Michael Schumacher, the Formula One motor racing ace, was personally involved in the design of an Audemars Piguet timepiece.
Winner of a record seven World Championship titles, the German driver has achieved more victories, more pole positions and scored more points than any other driver in the history of the sport. Elements of his career have now been integrated into the design of the limited edition Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.
Schumacher's foray into the world of watches began with a visit to the Swiss manufacturer's facility in Le Brassus where he acquired first-hand knowledge about watchmaking.
The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in a 950 platinum case with a cermet bezel.
"There is a similarity between car racing and watchmaking, principally in the fact that it is essential to take care of the smallest details because everything is connected," said Schumacher. "The performance of each component relates directly to that of another. This means that, in both cases, it is necessary to strive for daring solutions which result in greater functionality."
The design codes of the Michael Schumacher model have been drawn from the high-speed world in which timing is everything.
The watch features an anthracite grey dial subtly marked at the circumference of the tachymeter scale between the 12 and 1 positions with two blue and five red stars symbolising the Formula One driver's record seven championship victories, two driving for Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and five driving for Ferrari from 2000-2004.
The minute track is depicted with a discreet, black and white pattern evoking the design of a chequered flag while the galvanic chronograph counters feature raised frames based on the dashboard instruments of a high-performance car.
Inspired by the silhouette of a racing car's monocoque, the hour and minute hands are made from faceted gold with a white luminescent coating.
Extending the automotive imagery to the caseback, it echoes the look of a race car's wheel spokes and fitted with a sapphire crystal centre to reveal the selfwinding calibre 3126/3840 whose oscillating weight has two cut-outs based directly on the aerodynamic Naca ducts seen on high performance cars. Naca is the US National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to space agency Nasa.
"I discovered the world of Audemars Piguet around 15 years ago after being introduced to the brand by Jean Todt when he was team principal at Scuderia Ferrari," he said. "By then, I had already appreciated how watches were interlinked to the world of car racing, but it was not until that point I realised that the products of Audemars Piguet, especially the Royal Oak, are particularly highly prized by drivers."
Debuting in 1972, the Royal Oak was the first luxury sports watch featuring a steel case. The Swiss watchmaker took its iconic design while employing high-tech materials like forged carbon, ceramic and Grade 5 Titanium in making the case and elements of the Royal Oak Offshore.
Exclusive to the Michael Schumacher model, the bezel is made from cermet, a material that is seven times more durable than steel and secured with eight automotive-style domed and inset nuts.
The Michael Schumacher sports watch in a pink gold case, with the caseback revealing its mechanical selfwinding movement.
TRIBUTE TO A DARING REBEL OF THE 70s DESIGN SCENE
Presented at the Basel Fair in early 1972, a watch with an outsized steel case sold for a price normally associated with timepieces made of gold, stunning industry insiders. It was even rumoured that the sketch for Audemars Piguet's revolutionary timepiece had been created over the course of a single night by Gerald Genta, whose daring design initially came in for some criticism.
The stainless-steel breakthrough was called the Royal Oak. The name, which has been used for several different ships in the UK's Royal Navy, was inspired by an oak tree in which the future King Charles II was said to have hidden from anti-royalists during his flight from England during that country's civil war. Because steel is stronger and more resistant than gold, it was regarded as a much more suitable material for making sports watches. The Royal Oak set a new direction for haute horlogerie in not having to rely on precious metals and the focus in designing high-end sports watches shifted to improving the instrument's precision and the quality of the mechanical movement.
More Royal Oak models followed over the years and the Swiss manufacturer is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary with a travelling exhibition of 100 timepieces that have already been displayed in New York, Milan, Paris, Beijing and Singapore.
Eight new versions have also been introduced to mark four decades of this iconic watch which also features an octagonal bezel and a dial adorned with a tapisserie motif.
The 40th-anniversary collection of watches include the Extra-Thin Royal Oak with a 39mm diameter case. Back in 1972, it was considered completely outsized whereas today it is in tune with the trend for big watches. The dial comes with a "petite tapisserie" pattern, crafted in-house on historic machines using a technique which allows simultaneous cutting of squares interspersed with a gridwork pattern of fine grooves.
Other nods to history include the distinctive blue colour of the dial and the fact that the case middle, bezel, crown, bracelet and folding clasp are all made of steel, exactly like the original model. Since it also boasts the same mechanical movement as its antecedent, the new Extra-Thin Royal Oak comes as close as possible, all in all, to the world's first prestigious sports watch.
The 2012 Extra-thin Royal Oak comes as close as possible to the original model.