- “It’s All About the Watch”: 24 Hours of Daytona Champ Scott Pruett Shows Us His Rolex Collection
“It’s All About the Watch”: 24 Hours of Daytona Champ Scott Pruett Shows Us His Rolex Collection
The 2019 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Grand Marshal and five-time overall winner dishes on his timepieces.
Scott Pruett has won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona five times overall (among other victories in his storied career) and fittingly served as Grand Marshal for the 2019 race that we attended with Rolex. While we were there, Pruett took some time out for a little show-and-tell with many of the Rolex watches that he's either bought for himself or won through the years through his racing career. While Pruett always made sure his driving contracts designated any won Rolex watches as belonging to him, not all of his watches have remained in his possession. As his three children each turn 21 years old, he gives each of them their pick of the Rolex litter. Here's what Pruett had to say about each of the eight watches he brought along to share.
1987 Rolex Submariner
"So we'll start from the beginning. This watch is a Submariner and this was bought in 1987. I made a deal with myself, I was very fortunate to win the championship in 1986. From there I was invited into the IROC, the International Race of Champions, and they have four open-wheel champions, four NASCAR champions, and four sports-car champions competing in eight identical cars. We were competing at Riverside, this was the last race at Riverside, the NASCAR weekend. Shortly after that they tore it down. I made myself a deal that if I won that race, I would buy myself my first Rolex—a blue and stainless and gold Submariner. Needless to say, I had contact with Roberto Guerrero on the last lap, I came up on the inside of him and shoved him out of the way and went on to take the win. That race means so much to me, it was my first IROC win and then the fact that it was the last race at this iconic track. A lot of good memories there. It's hard to believe—I mean, that's an old watch!"
1992 Rolex Daytona
"This is a really interesting story. This one is inscribed as "Winner" on the back, and you'll notice it's a Daytona in silver and gold, which is quite unique. This was the first Daytona that I received. We won in class [at Daytona] and finished second overall. I was driving the TWR Jaguar XJR12 and interestingly enough, [back then] they didn't give watches to anyone but the overall winners. So I contacted the Rolex people and said, "Oh my God, I've got to have one." They said, "What do you want?" I said you can do all stainless or stainless and gold. And I'm going to tell you a little secret here, maybe I shouldn't tell the Rolex people, they sent me the watch and they never sent me a bill! So I was very honored that they were so gracious. It's a great watch and a great memory. It says a lot about the company and their integrity. My oldest daughter picked this one, she's 30 now."
1994 Rolex Daytona
"This guy here was for my first overall Daytona victory. In 1994 I was driving for the factory Nissan team and we went on to take the win. You never forget your first and it was a great memory standing atop the podium. This was my first overall win of five."
1999 Rolex Yacht-Master
"So another one of those deals I made myself, this was from my last year of Indy cars. I made myself a deal that if I won a pole or won a race, I was going to buy myself a solid gold Yacht-Master with a blue face. That was the deal. So we started the season, I left the team I was with, Patrick Racing, went to the factory Toyota team, we went to our first test down at Homestead, Florida, and in two days we blew up 10 engines. And I'm thinking, "What the heck did I just do?" I started second-guessing myself thinking this was a bad move. And then as the season went on, we just kept getting better and better, and in Surfer's Paradise which was the second to last race, I qualified third, I think I finished third or fourth. Then the last race, I took the pole which gave Toyota their first pole—my average speed was just under 236 mph. Top speed was like 247 mph. Unfortunately, we broke the engine in the race. So I told myself I was going to have a gold Yacht-Master with a blue face, but Rolex didn't know when they could have one or if I could get one, but they had this one in stock and I had to have it. I love this—love the dial. It's an oddity, you don't see too many of these."
2004 Rolex Daytona
"So you talk about firsts, I went from IndyCar to NASCAR. Then the 2001 season didn't work out the way I wanted it to, I got really frustrated and left racing to take on a TV career. So I was working for ABC and ESPN as a commentator. I got a call from Corvette and they said, "Hey, would you be interested in doing all the long races with us?" They'd just come back from Sebring, so it was going to be Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. So I said, "Sure." So the only time I went to Le Mans, I won Le Mans with Corvette and it was a good way to go! That was the first win there for Corvette. I did a couple NASCAR races that year, we finished second and fourth. Going into 2002, I was working for SPEED commentating all the IndyCar races, went back to working with Chip [Ganassi] doing some of the NASCAR road-course races, again I think we had a second and fourth or second and third. About halfway through the season, I thought, "I've got to get back in a race car, I've got to get back." So because of my relationship with Jaguar, I signed on in 2003 and won the championship. Chip came to me at the end of that year and asked if I wanted to join with Lexus, he was starting a sports-car program in Rolex Grand Am. So I said absolutely, we took delivery of the car literally on Christmas Eve and we had a mad dash to get the cars turned around for the first test right after January 1. We came down here and had a horrible Rolex 24, we didn't have enough time for preparation. Then we went on to win the championship, so this is my first championship watch for 2004. That's one of five championship watches that I won. You ask any guy who's won one and they'll tell you, you win a trophy and it stays at home. You win a million bucks and you never see it again. When you win that watch, it's something you can wear every day."
2011 Rolex Daytona
"This guy here, 2011—another championship watch. The reason this is so special to me, and I almost hate to say this, but we almost had the perfect season. There were 12 races, we were leading here at Daytona and [the late] Justin Wilson was driving the car at the time. He felt a vibration and brought the car in, he thought he had run over something, unfortunately it was just a little rubber on the tire. We went on to finish second in that race. Then, during the season there was another race in New York and we had a leak in the valve stem. I was driving the car and was able to bring it to the checkered flag in second. So we had 12 races, 10 victories, and two second places and we should have had a perfect season. So this is the 2011 championship watch."
2012 Rolex Daytona
"So this is my final championship watch from 2012. We should have won the championship in 2013 as well, but we missed it by one point. The reason we missed it by one point is that there was a race at Detroit, because we were taken out the first lap and because we couldn't continue, the drivers couldn't get points but the team got points. So the team went on to win the team championship and the drivers ended up second by one point. So that was a total heartbreaker, otherwise I would have had six championship watches."
2019 Rolex Daytona
"And then we have the watch from last night [at the Rolex 24 Grand Marshal's Gala]. I really love the Grand Marshal 2019 on the back. It's a beautiful watch. The black bezel and the white face, I just think this is a gorgeous watch. It's cool that I've got the championship watches that are inscribed, the Rolex 24 winners watches are inscribed, the Grand Marshal watch is inscribed—it's a beautiful collection of watches."