The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was one of the most intense and controversial Formula One races in recent memory – and not just because it was in Saudi Arabia. The title fight between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen reached fever pitch, with a collision between the pair close to the end of the race inflaming tensions.
Hamilton ended up winning the race, with Verstappen handed a boatload of penalties from the FIA for his role in the accident (a decision that’s attracted a huge amount of criticism from F1 fans). Unbelievably, the pair became level on points going into the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi – talk about dramatic!
Actually, the only thing more dramatic than the title fight was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff‘s reaction to Verstappen and Hamilton’s bingle. The commanding Austrian was spotted ripping off his headphones and smashing them in reaction to the collision – a real tantrum. Thankfully, he didn’t damage his expensive watch: a rare IWC Schaffhausen model that’s literally designed to withstand huge shocks.
Watch Toto Wolff’s angry reaction to Hamilton and Verstappen’s collision below.
Specifically, Wolff’s watch is an IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL (ref. IW357201). Unveiled at Watches & Wonders earlier this year, this rendition of the famous tool watch is quite unlike any other previously devised. As the name implies, it’s designed to absorb shocks: its unique SPRIN-g PROTECT system can survive accelerations in excess of 30,000 g.
Essentially, the watch’s movement is housed within a cantilevered spring that cushions it against g-forces, allowing it to keep moving independently of the case before bringing it to a stop more gently. The spring itself is made out of bulk metallic glass, an exotic amorphous metal alloy that’s significantly more elastic than conventional metals. On top of that, the watch’s case is made out of Ceratanium: IWC’s signature scratch-resistant, ultra-tough titanium alloy.
Retailing for AU$119,400, they’re one of the most expensive watches IWC produces… Although good luck getting your hands on one, as availability is extremely limited. IWC is one of Mercedes’ major sponsors, though, so Wolff probably has as many as he wants. Good thing, too, if he keeps on smashing things.