Here’s a sad story I thought I would share with fellow Tag Heuer enthusiasts.
My father worked for Mclaren for over 10 years. In that time he has worked with many of the great drivers including, the greatest in my opinion, Ayrton Senna.
As a joke one day he asked Ayrton to swap watches with him if he won the 1993 world championship. Unfortunately Senna didn’t win but did wear the watch through the Monaco GP which he won and arguably Senna’s greatest race in the wet at Donnington in a poor performing Mclaren MP4/8.
At the end of the season in front of several other staff at Mclarens headquarters in Woking, Senna gave My dad his watch, a Tag Heuer S25.706C with modified brown leather strap. I think Senna would have been overjoyed to receive the Casio my dad was probably wearing.
I remember my dad coming home with the watch and couldn’t believe what he had. Being around racing all my life you hear of things like this happening and it all seems so usual, but I didn’t really appreciate how much of a fantastic thing this was to have happened.
When Senna was killed the watch had a strange aura around it.
Of course this was an actual item owned by the man and very valuable to us but also served as a stark reminder that he was gone and would never be around to joke with about the watch again.
For several years my father wore the watch on several occasions and eventually the battery went flat. He was so worried about the watch being lost or stolen whilst being repaired he rarely had the battery changed. Also due to vibration we believe that the small digital dial went black and again never pursued getting it fixed.
We ended up in some financial difficulty in the early 2000’s and decided to get the watch valued by Bonham’s not only for insurance purposes but possibly put it up for auction.
It seemed like a good idea to me to auction the watch around the 10th anniversary of Senna’s death and although we were in need of money I knew he really didn’t want to sell the watch. Being new to dealing with anything of any real value we were not completely sure of the procedures taken by Bonham’s agents.
Sadly I pushed for the watch to be sold as all I saw it as at the time was a nice watch with some history.
I made up an authentication page with some pictures and we got it signed by Joe Ramirez. Once the watch had gone to auction no body asked for it so I still have it here.
Midway through the value process the watch ended up being put on the list at a Monaco auction where it was sold for what I consider a small amount for such a special item. Convieniently it sold very close to the reserve value that bonham’s suggested.
We were very saddened to see it go as my father couldn’t really afford to pay the fees Bonham’s wanted to get the watch back from the list so in a way he was forced to go through with it.
A few years later we heard that the watch had be sold again to an American for a considerably higher price. These things happen and it’s not until something has gone that you really realize how special it was. After further discussion it appears thet he did get well and truly shafted by Bonham’s.
It’s probably more my fault that the watch is gone and when I think of what I could of held in my hands anytime, a small piece of motor racing history, it guts me to think I will never see it again.
It also hurts even more when I think how my father must feel at what really is a great loss. Because I now know that the money was never important but the gesture from one person to another was.
Because the watch was so special my dad asked for another S25.706C to be supplied in the same specification as senna’s watch, he still has that today.
I will add some pictures of this watch for interest value now we have a half decent camera.