Michael Schumacher improving, his $229,000 watch debuts

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Like many sportsmen, German race-car driver Michael Schumacher fancies watches. The former Formula One champion was an ambassador for Audemars Piguet, the famed Swiss timepiece manufacturer.

Five years ago, Schumacher, who is now still in guarded condition as a result of his tragic skiing accident on Dec. 29, 201, issued a challenge to the watchmaker.

According to a recent article the Wall Street Journal, Schumacher said to Francois Bennahmias, the CEO of the Audemars Piguet: “You say you are the world’s best watchmaker. Then make me a watch that times laps one after the other.’ ”

Bennahmias detailed in the article that timing consecutive laps was only feasible using two separate chronographs. (A chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch complication.) He also told Schumacher after a few months that the driver’s wish could be a reality.

Audemars Piguet's Michael Schumacher's rare watch.
Audemars Piguet’s rare Michael Schumacher watch.

After three years, the watch prototype was given to Schumacher. But when the race car driver’s accident occurred, the manufacture of the watch stopped.

The Schumacher family, however, insisted the unique watch project continue. The result: The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher, priced at $229,500, is now available. It will have a run of 221 timepieces, the number represents the number of career races in which Schumacher scored points.

The watch has forged-carbon case is 44 millimeters wide and 12.7 millimeters thick. The bezel, case edges and caseback are made from Titanium and the pushpieces from ceramic and pink gold.The blackened open worked dial, like the back of the watch, is protected by a glare-proofed sapphire crystal with the watch being supplied on a black rubber strap with a Titanium AP clasp.

According to Schumacher family spokeswoman, the race car driver is aware the rare watch has been completed.

Schumacher is also “making progress,” according to a report the Express, a London-based newspaper. Sabine Kehm, the driver’s manager, told the newspaper “people must always keep the seriousness of his injuries in mind.”

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