Between the 60s and 80s, watchmaking was in turmoil. Wristwatches evolved in search of new mechanical and stylistic solutions, watchmaking marketing experimented with new worlds, new forms of communication also thanks to the help of Ambassadors such as Jackie Stewart and a brand that has always been at the forefront in the development of philanthropic projects: Rolex.
Formula 1 champion, businessman, television commentator, Sir Jackie Stewart is simply an icon. A living legend linked to the Rolex brand for over 50 years.
On our Instagram account we have published several rare shots, which have intrigued many of you to see important actors and personalities apartments of royal families wearing ROLEX branded bibs intent on shouldering a rifle.
Sir Jackie Stewart was one of the top international clay pigeon shooting champions before turning to motor racing. So when he created the Sir Jackie Stewart Challenge, to raise money for charities such as leukemia research or Save the Children, he insisted on including a shooting competition.
After retiring as a racing driver in 1973, Jackie Stewart decided to get some practice again in clay pigeon shooting, the sport that had so amused and instilled confidence in his youth. So he called his friend Allan Jones and before long they had organized a shooting competition in which several celebrities took part, which took place at the North Wales Shooting School, a school set up by Allan's father.
Soon Jackie found support from Rolex, which became the 'title sponsor' of the event, however raising a few thousand pounds for charity. Convinced of the goodness of the project, Sir Jackie Stewart realized that in order for this event to grow, it was necessary to attract personalities capable of attracting attention... but also capital to be then allocated to charitable purposes.
The ideal charity event is a gathering where a significant amount of money is raised for a good cause and everyone has a good time. With this basic concept in mind, Jackie Stewart decided to organize a series of shooting competitions with high profile personalities, called Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Challenge. The project has evolved over time and the considerable turnout has allowed it to secure sponsors such as Rolex, British Aerospace, British Airways, Ford, Helwett Packard, Land Rover, Barbour…
Since 1985 the Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Challenge was now a success, with North Wales and Gleneagles shooting school (founded by the pilot himself in 1985) just a stone's throw away, Jackie thought of combining the two to create an even bigger event to raise even more funds to be donated to charity. Thus was born the Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Challenge at Gleneagles.
The caliber of the personalities was truly remarkable, if we think that over the years members of the Royal Families such as, HRR the Duke Of York, The Duke Of Wessex, HRH Princess Anne, HM King Hussein of Jordan, HM Queen Noor, HM King Constatin of Greece and HM Queen of Grecce, to name a few. Or entertainment personality such as Steven Spielberg, Sir Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Mark Knopfler; rather than sports champions like Derek Bell, Martin Brundle, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter and our very own Alberto Tomba.
We can only imagine how challenging it could have been to host such important personalities from such different backgrounds. However, as Sir Jackie Stewart himself recounts in his book "Winning is not enough“, the climate was very relaxing and gave rise to interesting and amusing situations. The well-known American director Steven Spielberg and the actor Harrison Ford obtained permission to film their “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" own at Gleneagles, while attending the Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Challenge, meeting King Hussein of Jordan introduced to him by Jackie himself. Until then, the Jordanian authorities had not considered Spielberg's request.
And what about our Alberto Tomba, late for the photo shoot for the cover of the magazine Hello! ?! Everyone arrived on time: Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew and Sean Connery. Alberto Tomba smiled and asked where his seat was, the then 007 thought about putting him “in his place” .. inviting him, with a big smile, to 'sit on his c… .o'!
In 1985 the charity event raised around £200,000 for the Scottish International Educational Trust and Save The Children, but the sums grew as the event's popularity grew. 1995 marked the last event in the series tied to the Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Shooting Challenge raising a whopping £650,000.
The Rolex Jackie Stewart Celebrity Shooting Challenge was held every two years from 1982 until the mid 90s.
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