• Welcome to 'planet Rolex' and it's inhabitants

Archive for day September 14th, 2013

Eric Clapton: King of Rolex
by admin



Pic.: Eric Clapton with his Submariner and B.B. King in the back seat with his inevitable yellow gold Rolex President (not visible)

Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, in the UK, on March 30th, 1945. His mother, Patricia Molly Clapton, was only 16 years old when Eric was born. His father, Edward Walter Fryer, was a 24-year old Canadian soldier, posted in the UK during WOII who returned to Canada after the war. Being a single teenage mother, Patricia was not capable of dealing with motherhood and her mother and step-father, Rose and Jack Clapp, decided to undertake this task. Eric’s family name originates from his grandfather on his mother’s side, Reginald Cecil Clapton.

Eric grew up in a very musical household. His grandmother was a talented pianist and his grandfather appeared to be a decent pianist as well.
When Eric was told the truth about his grandparents and mother – he thought they were his parents and sister – , he turned from a good student and popular boy into a reserved person who lost all motivation to study. However, at the age of 13, he appeared to have an outstanding talent for art and he went to the art department of the Holyfield Road School.
In that time, 1958, rock and roll had caused an explosion within the British music scene. As a present for his 13th birthday Eric asked for a guitar and he was given a cheap Hoyer made in Germany. But he found it difficult and painful to play this steel-string guitar and he let it slide.
It was not until he was 16 that, after being admitted to the Kingston College of Art, he was eager to get back to the guitar. Eric’s examples were blues guitar players like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Alexis Korner. The latter inspired Eric to buy an electric guitar, which was relatively rare in the UK in those days.
It was also at Kingston that he discovered something the lifelong impact of which would be almost equally great as the guitar: booze.
After the first time of getting drunk, at the age of 16, he woke up in the woods, alone, covered with vomit and penniless. Eric remembers ‘I couldn’t wait to do it all again’. It obviously did not take long before he was removed from school.
From 1963 on, Eric started hanging around in bars in London West End where he played with The Roosters, and Casey Jones and The Engineers for short periods of time. In order to get by Eric worked in the building trade.
In October 1963, Eric was invited to play with The Yardbirds, scoring his first commercial hits ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ and ‘For Your Love’. In 1965 he left the band and was substituted by the guitarists Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Later they would be considered the best rock guitarists ever.
After some time, in 1965, Eric joined the John Mayall & the Bluesbrakers blues band that would record the ‘The Bluesbrakers with Eric Clapton’ album one year later. This record established Eric’s reputation as one of the greatest guitarists of that time. With songs like ‘What’d I Say’ and ‘Ramblin’ on My Mind’ Eric won the very flattering epithet ‘God’, resulting from graffiti in the London underground saying ‘Clapton is God’.
Despite this success, Eric left the Bluesbrakers rather soon and a few months later he created the rock trio Cream, together with the bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Braker.
They played songs like ‘Crossroads’ and ‘White Room’ and after making three successful albums -Fresh Cream (1966), Disraeli Gears (1967) and Wheels of Fire (1968)- in addition to the extensive tour in the USA, Cream had gained an international superstar status. However, after two final concerts in the Londen Royal Albert Hall, Cream fell apart due to conflicting egos.


It would lead too far afield to reveal Clapton’s remaining musical history entirely.
The period between 1970 and 1987 was characterized by complete ambiguity. Clapton achieved tremendous musical successes (e.g. he wrote the song ‘Layla’ to express his desperate affection for Pattie Boyd, the wife of Beatle George Harrison), but his personal life was a mess. In the early 70s he was addicted to cocaine for three years and as of 1979 he had been a heavy alcohol abuser. One divorce after another followed, Clapton committed adultery and fathered two illegitimate children.
In 1987, Eric gave up drinking with the 12-step aid of the AA and he has been sober since. Even in 1991 when he suffered a great personal tragedy. His son Conor died after he fell from a window in his mother’s house. In connection with this tragic event Clapton wrote the song ‘Tears in Heaven’.
In 2002 he married Melia McEnery with whom he has three daughters, Julie Rose, Ella Mae and Sophie. Sober for the first time in his life, Eric greatly enjoys a stable family life.
In 1998, he founded the Crossroads Centre, a alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre, and in 2007, Clapton’s autobiography was published.


Pic.: Eric Clapton wearing his Rolex Daytona Paul Newman with a ‘fatstrap’ like the one Newman used to wear

Eric Clapton is a collector of vintage Rolex watches and he is also an ambassador for Rolex.
Recently, two very rare samples from his collection were auctioned the proceeds of which went towards the Crossroads Centre.

This stainless steel Rolex Daytona was auctioned a few years ago and the bidding went up to $ 505,000, which was a worldwide auction record. What makes this watch very special is the ‘Albino’ dial, as it is extremely rare.


The Yachtmaster Daytona was a prototype of Rolex and was never put on the market. The prototype had the ref 6239/6242 and only three samples of this model are known. The first was Clapton’s, the second John Goldberger’s and the third is included in the private Rolex collection (this one has a special frame with ref 6542).


Clapton’s Yachtmaster was auctioned in 2003 by Christie’s for $ 125,000.

Other watches from the collection include:

-Ref 6062: in 18-carat gold with diamonds on the dial, considered the best Rolex ever.


- Ref 6036: gold with various gems and a romantic patina finish


- Ref 6239: gold, white and anthracite with matching tachymeter ring


- Ref 6236: the sports version of the Compax series from the early 60s


- Ref 3525


- Ref 6263: Oyster chronograph


Jaap Bakker

September 14th



Ferrari 250 GTO: of unprecedented beauty
by admin



The Ferrari 250 GTO is a GT car which was made by Ferrari from 1962 till 1964 for the homologation of the FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. The ’250′ in the name represents the one-cylinder capacity expressed in cubic centimetres and GTO stands for ‘Gran Turismo Omologata’, Italian for ‘Grand Touring Homologated’. A new GTO could be purchased for $ 18.000 in the US and buyers were to be approved of by Enzo Ferrari himself and his dealer in North-America, Luigi Chinetti.
In 1962/63, 36 GTOs were manufactured. In 1964, the ‘Series II’ was introduced with a slightly different appearance. Three of those cars were manufactured and four ‘Series I’ were converted to the 1964 version, adding up to 39 GTOs in total.


Pic.: Ferrari 250 GTO ‘Series II’

The 250 GTO was designed in order to be used in GT Racing. It was based on the 250 GT SWB. Chief engineer Giotto Bizzarini removed the 3-litre V12 motor from the 250 Testa Rossa and put it in the chassis of the 250 GT SWB. He and designer Sergio Scaglietti jointly designed the coach. After Bizzarini and the majority of the remaining Ferrari engineers were fired following a difference of opinion with Enzo Ferrari, the development route was passed on to Mauro Forghieri. He worked together with Scaglietti to further develop the exterior of the car, including the wind tunnel and track testing. Contrary to most of Ferraris, the 250 GTO had not been designed by an individual or particular designer bureau.


Pic.: the V12 of the 250 GTO

The remaining parts of the car were typical of the Ferrari technology in the early 60s: a hand-welded tube frame, A-arm front-wheel suspension, ‘live-axle’ back-wheel suspension, disc brakes and Borrani capstan wheels. The five gearbox originally designed by Porsche was new in the Ferrari GT racing cars; the metal plate inside which the gear lever was changing became traditional to Ferrari and can still be found in the new models. The interior was extremely basic, even with lack of a speedometer on the dashboard. Many of the switches were from the Fiat 500.


Pic.: the 250 GTO interior

The 1962 FIA regulations required that 100 samples of a car be built in order to be homologised for the Group 3 Grand Touring Car races. However, Ferrari produced only 39 samples of the 250 GTO: 33 ‘normal’ cars, 3 with the four-liter 330 motor (also called the 330 GTO, recognizable by the large bump on the bonnet) and 3 ‘Type 64′ cars with an altered appearance. Ferrari circumvented the FIA regulations by not numbering the chassis numbers in sequence, suggesting the construction of cars that did not exist.
The 250 GTO made its debut in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1962, driven by the American Phil Hill (Formule 1 world champion at that time) and the Belgian Olivier Gendebien. Although the pair was initially annoyed that they had to drive a GT class car instead of a full-race Testa Rossa competing in the prototype class, the experienced couple deeply impressed themselves and everyone else by finishing second behind the Testa Rossa of Bonnier and Scarfiotti.
This was followed by convincing victories at Goodwood in England and in France on the Auvergne and Monthlery circuits where the Ferraris claimed four out of five highest positions.
At Le Mans Jean Guichet and Pierre Noblet won the GT class and they finished, unbelievably, second with an average speed of 113,077 mph (182,673 km/h) only to be exceeded by the speed of the winning Ferrari 330 LM, 115,245 mph (185,469 km/h). The other GTOs were outpaced and finished third and sixth. Later that year they finished second again twice, on the Nürburgring and the Bridgehampton circuit (USA).

In 1963, the achievements were comparable to those in 1962. Overall victories were gained at Daytona, Florida (Pedro Rodriguez), Spa in Belgium (Willy Mairesse), during two important Goodwood races (Mike Parkes and Graham Hill) and in the Tour de France (Guichet/Jean Behra). At Le Mans the 250 GTO won again the GT class and finished second overall.
Eventually, the 250 GTO was to win the FIA International Championship for GT Manufacturers in the < 2 liter class in 1962, 1963 and 1964. The 250 GTO was one of the latest front-engine cars to remain competitive in the top of car racing.



Below you will find the main technical data of the 250 GTO:

Typefront, longitudinal 60° V12
Bore/stroke73 x 58.8 mm
Unitary displacement246.10 cc
Total displacement2953.21 cc
Compression ratio9.8 : 1
Maximum power221 kW (300 hp) at 7400 rpm
Power per litre102 hp/l
Maximum torque-
Valve actuationsingle overhead camshafts per bank, two valves per cylinder
Fuel feedsix Weber 38 DCN carburettors
Ignitionsingle spark plug per cylinder, two coils
Lubricationdry sump
ChassisFrametubular steel
Front suspensionindependent, unequal-length wishbones, co-axial coils and telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspensionlive axle, twin radius arms, semi-elliptic springs, co-axial coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers
Transmission5-speed + reverse
Steeringworm and roller
Fuel tankcapacity 130 litres
Front tyres6.00 x 15
Rear tyres7.00 x 15
Typetwo-seater berlinetta
Length4325 mm
Width1600 mm
Height1210 mm
Wheelbase2400 mm
Front track1354 mm
Rear track1350 mm
Weight880 kg (dry)
Top speed280 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h-
0-400 m-
0-1000 m-
Note to the Technical Details:

The listed details are those published by Ferrari at the model’s presentation. For the models produced in the participating in these two categories) and Gran Turismo. (the road-going cars, many of which also took part in various international races).
first years no external measures of the body were given, because those could vary from car to car. All models from Ferrari have been divided into three categories: single-seater, Sport/Prototype (theThe year of all the models’ introductions is the debut in competitions for the single-seaters and Sport /Prototypes and the official presentation as far as the Gran Turismo are concerned.







Jaap Bakker

September 14th