WATCHESPEDIA: My first question to you is, tell us about your relationship with Chopard? And how did it start? What are the shared values, and how did you see the relationship growing?

Jacky Ickx: I think, generally speaking, for all of us, it’s a matter of timing. Whatever it is, business or friendship or women or whatever. It’s those things when you never know what’s going to be next. And that’s your destiny. And what is nice about the timing is that you never know what’s going to happen. We meet today. Tomorrow maybe it’s something else. The meeting with the Chopard family, it’s a long story in a way. We met once. Not… we were not supposed to meet. Had a little problem with a bracelet for my wife, or it was Chopard’s bracelet. I was in Geneva and I knew someone who knew him. We met, okay. That’s year one. That’s, I think 29 years ago.


Jacky Ickx: The nice thing is that you can build it up through the years, a true friendship. Like those you have when you are at school. There are some boys and girls you see time to time, and who will remain always your friends through time. But with the Scheufel family, we build up something strong. Not related to any business deal. You know, basic interest. Economic interest. Just build up through… and in a way, he used to say that I became a member of the family, a kind of a brother in a way, because we had a lot of good feelings together, and we share a number of interests we have in common. And, amazingly, timing sits very well with racing drivers. Very often I was asked questions about what I did, whatever. I love to say you are what you are because there are a lot of people of high quality surrounding you, and they make it possible. I think … it was this morning at the the kick-off meeting. And at the kick off meeting, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele mentioned the people who worked for him a number of times. The designer, the people working in manufacturing, the unknown people who do these things but who do the job fantastically well. In a way, we also have that in common. The success of Chopard and the family, which is not a big corporation. It’s a family business depending totally on those who are part of the house. Most of the time, they are unknown, they are in the shade, but they do their jobs one hundred percent well.


Jacky Ickx: And it’s clear that this far, in the watch business, we have to be perfect, because we are going for precision, and they have a lot of artists creating the jewelry as well. That’s why, when I heard this morning, mention of all these compliments made to the people that you never see, that’s life in reality and it’s valid for all of us. There is always someone who is next to you who can give you an idea, a doubt, who can give you some…

WATCHESPEDIA: Good advice.

Jacky Ickx: Yes, Good advice. And that starts when you are at school. Why do you choose a road over the other one? Because sometimes you had one teacher who really…

WATCHESPEDIA: Believed in you.

WATCHESPEDIA: Or inspired you.

WATCHESPEDIA: Mentored you or…

Jacky Ickx: Yes. It’s a matter of inspiration. You have people who read the book or a sentence. And that’s the story.Between us. We’ve built upsomething nice. I’m part of the family. It’s a pleasure to represent them from time to time, but we don’t share every day or every week together. We have friendship. We need, we all need someone to give us some inspiration.

WATCHESPEDIA: Now, jumping on this. What’s your inspiration? Where did you get it? What’s your inspiration? Or who inspires you?

Jacky Ickx: Very often people asked me, why did you want to become a race driver. I never wanted to become a race driver. And you cannot even guess what I wanted to be when I was younger. I wanted to be either a gardener or either a game keeper.


Jacky Ickx: So you can see it’s miles away from the noise, the public.


Jacky Ickx: The track, the scream of the tires on the asphalt and everything. I spent part of my childhood being in the woods and in the countryside alone and everything, and, frankly, I thought that was going to be something nice to do. So, in reality, I never did what I wanted. So, now that I’m a little bit less young, now I can stop gardening and all these things and the… so…

WATCHESPEDIA: Tell us about your first watch? How did you acquire it? And do you still have it today?

Jacky Ickx: My first watch was, probably … It was an unknown watch, because when you’re 16, you don’t really pay attention to it. You had no digital watch. It’s not like… who was making fifty years ago? Maybe Beluga was doing electronic watches in those days. They were the very first one to do something like that at that time. And it was kind of successful because you could see the… not the movement… you could see the electronics in it and … but 29 years ago, I started a collection of Chopard watches with Mille Miglia. And also because Karl Friedrich always told me that, well, let’s make a series of Jacky Ickx watches and so on, and I always told him, why would you do that? Because I think you’re really taking a risk here. Who would care, who would care for a Jacky Ickx watch, and so on. Now we have the edition … five And, he always has the pleasure of saying each year, “I’m sorry, you have to hurry up, because if you want another one, it’s almost the end of the limited series.” So, you see it makes you smile sometimes. But the most important, thing, in my point of view, when we talk about this company, is that there is a huge difference between it being a family business or a corporate business. I think, sentimentally, there is difference that you can feel in the relationship, because when you have a leader who gives you inspiration, as you said, and the inspiration is the sister, the brother, the mother, and the father who created all those things, it gives you the same feeling for the member of the family. All those I have mentioned to you, the people who engrave, and the people who assemble the watches … and then you have, at the end, the different result, in my opinion. Jacky Ickx: So you know everything now. [Laughter] The best you cannot know.

WATCHESPEDIA: It’s true, the best I cannot know. Now, this is going to be simple one. What are you wearing today? What watch are you wearing?

Jacky Ickx: Today? My watch, Mille Miglia, from two years ago. Yes, two years ago. It suits me well because you know the problem with watches? It’s practical. So as I knew I was going to see you, I put on the most luxurious one, you know.

WATCHESPEDIA: In your view, what are the commonalities between motor sports and watchmaking ?

Jacky Ickx: We both fight against the clock. They fight for precision, and we fight for the fastest time. They do succeed, on all fronts, but we never … we don’t always succeed in having the fastest time. There is always someone who will beat you. So they are the winners.

WATCHESPEDIA: They are the winners. [Laughter]

Jacky Ickx: They are the winners. They are the winners.

WATCHESPEDIA: If you had advice for an aspiring racer, what would you tell him?

Jacky Ickx: [Sigh] I don’t know if I’m able to give advice. [Silence] Did you, did you benefit from the experience of your father, or recommendation from your father often?

WATCHESPEDIA: His behavior definitely.

Jacky Ickx: The behavior, yes.

WATCHESPEDIA: The behavior, yes, to a certain degree.

Jacky Ickx: But advice? Kids usually do the opposite they’re recommended to do. And I think in the end, you have to go through your experiences, good or bad. But the most benefit comes from the bad ones, if you think about it. If everything goes well, you don’t learn anything. The way to learn is the brutality, sometimes, of the effects of wrong decisions or wrong behavior. That’s my opinion. But advice in motor racing? It’s difficult.

WATCHESPEDIA: Okay. What are your three favorite vehicles of all time?

Jacky Ickx: It would have been easier to ask me, “What are the worst three you have driven?”

WATCHESPEDIA: That’s why I ask you a question. What I…

Jacky Ickx: And I tell you why because… [Laughter]

WATCHESPEDIA: Okay, we’ll do … we’ll do the three worst …

Jacky Ickx: I’ll tell you because I’m one of a few survivor from an era where everyone was doing all sorts of racing at that time. It’s not the speed that is attractive in motor racing or in competition. The motivation is to win, or to be one of the best if possible, or to reach the podium. But usually, when you look at the faces of the second and the third, they are not really happy because we all know there is only one – there is only one who can sit on top. And frankly, if I was so successful because, “It wasn’t the right car,” then you come back to what I said. What is destiny? To be in the right place at the right moment with the right people. I think, frankly, most of the time you can’t control that. It just happens. You have the talent, a certain … let’s say a certain talent, and then, if you are in the right car, it’s easy. If you are in a bad car, it’s very difficult in motor racing. You are at risk permanently and you pick on the great … so there’s no point. Racing or producing watches can be successful because you have a group of people …

WATCHESPEDIA: The best team.

Jacky Ickx: All of them count. Even the one who put in the last screw and fixed it correctly; it’s important. So, [Sigh] it’s painful to say what was the worst one, because when you reach a certain time in life, all these little details don’t count anymore.

WATCHESPEDIA: Is there any one? Is there any one?

Jacky Ickx: I will not answer your question, but not completely. In my opinion, the most important thing is to say how much you have appreciated the efforts of those who make it possible. And the contradiction is automobile racing. It’s a very selfish and individualist sport. You need in a way to be … I won’t say unfriendly … but you have to have only one goal, and you don’t care about the rest. That’s the advantage of being 20 or 25. You have no fear. You just look at the top of the mountain and …


Jacky Ickx: Up you go. At a certain moment in life, you make a calculation what is positive and what is negative, and then with time, you arrive at the conclusion like … I tell you, and it’s not a matter of what is the importance of the driver in a project. It counts for something, but not as much as you think. If you’re good, you have only one thing to do, to become as fast as possible and to stay on the road. That’s the basic idea that you don’t always do but …

WATCHESPEDIA: We try hard.

Jacky Ickx: But if you have the right toy, things are easy. I’ve driven for all the big names frankly, Ferrari and Porsche. If you drive a Porsche, for example, in motor racing, it’s clear you have a big advantage over the others, and also an insurance at the same time. Because when you drive for a professional team, and a company like Porsche, you don’t have to wait because there is a broken suspension. It’s replaced already in good time. You understand? But to be fast in that … it’s easy. If you have a car that doesn’t stay on the ground well, you suffer, I tell you.


Jacky Ickx: Yes, and not to be on the first row, to be on the last row then down … what a frustration. I have arrived at that conclusion because, with the time running you become more clever, then you have to think about a number of things. There is a journalist, like you, who came a few weeks ago to say, “Do you know how many of the long distance races you have won?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “You have won 48 long distance races.” It’s a lot. He said, “Do you know how many podiums you have had? That means first, second or third? I mean, the second and the third doesn’t count if I’m you.” When you start the calculation, it’s always good. It makes you feel good, 82. After that, you can only say thank you to the guys who have run with you because you are not alone, but even more so for the people who have made it possible. Motivation is totally different. If you want to be the first one, and if you do it, you are in the news spotlight. But for all the others, where is the satisfaction? To have done the job properly? To have done it to 100%? With passion and motivation? But you have no direct public return. So, in a way the treatment we receive is very unfair. When you win, you get everything and the rest get nothing. So I try to balance that. But when you build a watch, or you make a necklace, or you have to cut a stone, or whatever, most of the people do it in the shade, 100%. And that’s why this company does well. The people, the human aspect is the only one that counts in its success, in my opinion.

WATCHESPEDIA: Thank You for the Interview.