Dany Bahar declared:
“This May, Formula One legend and Group Lotus ambassador Jean Alesi is taking on a stirring new challenge – to race in the Indianapolis 500. Lotus, of course, has a glorious history at the 500 having won it with Jim Clark in 1965. His Lotus 38 was the first mid-engined car to ever triumph at the Brickyard. Lotus returned to IndyCar last year and has stepped up its involvement in 2012 by manufacturing its own engine and powering no less then five cars. Innovation has always been key to Lotus’ DNA, and it’s something shared by Lotus’ newest partner, Swiss watchmaker F.P.Journe. The shared values help to explain why the exclusive watchmaker’s decided to support Lotus and Jean with his first Indy outing. In addition to partnering with Lotus for the Indy 500, Jean Alesi will be wearing the F.P.Journe Centigraphe Sport watch, the first all-aluminium mechanical wristwatch. At just 55 grams, its lightweight philosophy is perfectly in line with Lotus, and its high-tech aluminium alloy is normally found in aeronautical engineering and Lotus’ acclaimed chassis technology”.
On 27 May 2012 the legendary Indianapolis 500 will witness a double grand premiere: Jean Alesi will race at the Brickyard for the first time in his celebrated career, wearing the Centigraphe Sport on his wrist, and F.P.Journe will be emblazoned on the side of the black-and-gold Lotus.
This partnership between watchmaker F.P.Journe and Lotus will promote the launch of the F.P.Journe lineSport, and marry the shared values of these two companies: Innovation, precision craftsmanship, performance, exclusivity, and lightness through its use of aluminium. When Lotus won the 1965 Indianapolis 500, it was the first time a mid-engined car had triumphed, a layout long-since copied by every other constructor. F.P.Journe is bound to set the same trend in building the first all-aluminium wristwatch.
The partnership will also cement the history of two friends from the south of France who met through a love of beautiful technology – Jean Alesi and François-Paul Journe.
The Indy 500 has been held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the Memorial Day weekend every year since 1911. It is the fastest motor race in the world, with cars reaching speeds of 400 km/h, and averaging over 380 km/h. It is also the benchmark for American auto-racing, due to its exceptional 500-mile length, the nature of the 2.5 mile track, and the huge passionate audience in the stands and watching at home.
The oval shape of the Speedway, which accommodates a sell-out 400,000-strong crowd, means that there are no chicanes as on Formula One tracks. The driver slows only ever-so-slightly for the oval’s four large turns despite minimal aerodynamic grip compared with its F1 cousin. It is extremely intense, even compared to the pressure of a Grand Prix with which Jean Alesi is so familiar. The Frenchman raced in F1 between 1989 and 2001, winning the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix and finishing on the podium 32 times.
F.P.Journe is thrilled and inspired by Jean’s new racing challenge and is certain that the alliance of prestigious watch machinery and a fast racing car will result in an Indy 500 to savour.
THE CENTIGRAPHE SPORT ON JEAN ALESI’S WRIST
First model of the F.P.Journe “lineSport”, the Centigraphe Sport, is made entirely in aluminium – just like the first Lotus to win the Indy 500
F.P.Journe has launched the first collection of ultra lightweight state-of-the-art mechanical sports wristwatches. A world first, they feature a new all-aluminium alloy case, bracelet and movement. Available both with automatic and manual winding, the lightweight lineSport is in keeping with the philosophy of motor racing pioneers Lotus, of which F.P.Journe is a partner at this year’s famous Indianapolis 500.
There will be a double premiere as Formula One legend Jean Alesi is entering the Indy 500 for the first time in his celebrated career, and for F.P.Journe that will emblazon its colours on the black and gold Dallara. The British marque won the race in 1965 with the groundbreaking Lotus 38 – the first mid-engined car to win at the Brickyard. Now, of course, all single-seat racing cars are mid-engined. Lotus set the trend, as did F.P.Journe with its new lineSport.
F.P.Journe shares Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s quest for lightness, innovation and engineering excellence. Painstaking research into light, yet resistant materials, as well as the highest standards of Swiss horology, have led to the creation of the Centigraphe Sport, which Jean Alesi will wear during his historic Indy debut.
The Centigraphe Sport is the first wristwatch made entirely of high-technology aluminium alloy, which is also used in Aeronautics. The movement, case and bracelet are all hewn from this alloy. In the search for absolute comfort and extreme lightness, the timepiece weighs just 12 grams and, including the strap, 55 grams.
The journey from 18K rose gold – used in all other F.P.Journe movements – to aluminium was not without difficulty. F.P.Journe took their research to a higher level in an aesthetic quest to complete an appropriate contrast in colours. F.P.Journe also perfected different methods of special processing in order to make the aluminium scratch resistant and give it anti-corrosive and anti-allergic properties.
Rubber inserts are fixed with an outstanding process to the end of each link of the aluminium bracelet, the sides of the case and the crown in order to efficiently protect the watch from any dents, just like the bumper of an automobile. The folding clasp in aluminium, engraved with F.P.Journe’s signature, is also covered with a rubber coating. In addition, it offers an adjustment system of a half link size (4mm approx.).