Ronnie Peterson was the fastest driver of his generation. Perhaps he lacked the consistency, mechanical sympathy, finesse or just plain luck to win the world championship but no one could touch him over a single lap or on his day. He was quite simply fast and spectacular. His rise to Formula 1 energized a nation not previously known for circuit racing and his death was a bitter blow to the sport as a whole for Ronnie was F1’s most popular star. [from MotorsportMagazine.com — Ronnie Peterson]
Ronnie Peterson’s 18 Karat Gold Carrera
Heuer sponsored the Ferrari Formula One team in the early 1970s, and under that arrangement, Jack Heuer presented 18 karat gold Carreras (Reference 1158) to the Ferrari drivers. (See our Definitive Guide to the Reference 1158 Carreras, for a history of these watches and a list of the Ferrari drivers who received them.) Jack Heuer also presented these watches to other brand ambassadors, and friends.
In 1972, Jack Heuer presented Ronnie Peterson with a gift of one of these Carreras.
The case-back was engraved — “Success” Ronnie Peterson from Jack W. Heuer. Jack Heuer has confirmed that this engraving did not celebrate a specific success in racing, or any other project or undertaking, but was a general wish for Peterson to have success in his racing career.
The 18 karat gold Carrera that Jack Heuer presented to Ronnie Peterson is a unique watch, as it seems to combine a standard production Reference 1158 case and a dial that was used in the later production Reference 110.515 CHN Carrera. This Reference 110.515 CHN dial has a Cotes de Geneve finish, with the dial divided by vertical lines, into three distinct areas. The registers are an oval shape, rather than the round shape of the Reference 1158.
We have published a posting that covers Ronnie Peterson’s Carreras — Ronnie’s Carreras — TAG Heuer Pays Tribute to a Hero. In this posting, we cover the purchase of Ronnie Peterson’s Carrera by the TAG Heuer Museum, in 2016; TAG Heuer’s creation of a limited edition stainless steel Carrera for the Swedish market, in 2017; and TAG Heuer’s sale of a one-off tribute to Ronnie Peterson’s Carrera, in 18 karat gold, in May 2018, for the benefit of the Ronnie Peterson Foundation.
Ronnie Peterson’s Autavia
In the photograph below, from 1973, we see Ronnie Peterson standing with Jacky Ickx and wearing a Heuer Autavia. Why was Ronnie Peterson wearing this Autavia? Where did he get it? Another gift or perhaps a purchase? And why don’t we see this watch in any other photos?
My best guess is that after Peterson became an ambassador for Heuer, but before he received the gift of an 18 karat gold Carrera from Jack Heuer, he received this Autavia. These Autavias were relatively inexpensive, at least compared with the gold Carreras, so perhaps Peterson kept the Autavia even after receiving the Carrera, but wore it only occasionally.
Ronnie Peterson’s Other Watches
Later in his career, we see photos of Ronnie Peterson wearing a gold Rolex President model, on a jubilee style bracelet. This watch appears to match the Rolex worn by his wife, Barbro.
Motorsport Magazine — Ronnie Peterson racing biography.
OnTheDash Posting — Ronnie’s Carreras — TAG Heuer Pays Tribute to a Hero.