From the moment you land in Louisville for Kentucky Derby Week (kentuckyderby.com), the excitement is electric. It’s time, once again, for the longest continuous sporting event in America.
Longines (longines.com), the 187-year-old Swiss watchmaking brand, plays a part not only as the official partner, timekeeper and watch of the much-celebrated Kentucky Derby, but also of Longines Kentucky Oaks. Preceded by the Longines Prize for Elegance, a hat and fashion show that takes place on a pink carpet every year, Longines Kentucky Oaks is just as exciting as the Derby. (I had a grand time helping pick the 2018 winner alongside Longines U.S. Brand President Pascal Savoy and then-reigning Miss America Cara Mund). Given to the most elegant contestant who embodies the brand’s “Elegance is an attitude” tagline, the title also comes with the official watch of the Kentucky Oaks, which, most recently, was a 25 mm watch from the Master Collection.
The brand’s horse-racing history in America begins in the 1880s. Longines pocket watches—with their supreme accuracy—were used by officials, bettors, spectators, buyers and more. Almost everyone in the New York racing world employed their watch to get the most accurate of readings for their beloved sport.
At both the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, Longines is not only on hand to keep time in the most precise way, but also to award each winning jockey, trainer and owner with a watch. The 2018 Longines Kentucky Oaks winner, Monomoy Girl, and last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Justify—who went on to win the Triple Crown—both received a Longines watch in celebration of their hard-earned wins.
Whether you’re watching this year’s race from Millionaires Row (or how about the uberexclusive, ultraluxe, invitation-only The Mansion—the best seat in Churchill Downs) or from the comfort of your own home, know this: It’s already time to book for next year. And remember to pack your best hat to try your odds at winning the Longines Prize for Elegance.