REBELLION Racing wins the 4 Hours of Shanghai
Cars & motorsport

REBELLION Caps Off An Eventful Year Of Racing And Watchmaking

In 2019, the independent Swiss-based racing team and watchmaker competed against some of the biggest and came out on top.

By Josh Shanks

Racing and watchmaking go hand in hand, mainly because precision and craftsmanship resonate with fans of racing and watchmaking. Over the last century, a wide array of brands have found clever ways of merging the worlds of motorsport and watchmaking. However, few have put their money where their mouths are. Which is what makes REBELLION so special.

As a watchmaker (REBELLION Timepieces) and a race team (REBELLION Racing), the Swiss based company holds the unique distinction of being the only watch brand with a fully-fledged race team.

Sure, many other brands can claim to participate in the racing category via sponsorships, but REBELLION actually builds their own cars and participates across a variety of SportsCar and endurance categories. Let’s look back at what’s been an eventful year for REBELLION.

On Track Success

REBELLION started 2019 by skipping the 24 Hours of Daytona and keeping full focus ahead to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With two entries in the LMP1 class, REBELLION finished a respectable 4th and 5th in the legendary endurance race.

This is a historic victory for REBELLION Racing! A big thank you to Toyota for pushing us to constantly surpass ourselves to compete with them. Alexandre Pesci, President and Owner of REBELLION Racing

For the remainder of 2019, REBELLION participated in the WEC (World Endurance Championship) with a win at the 4 Hours Of Shanghai. The winning team comprised of Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes, and Norman Nato also captured a pole position in the race, which holds the distinction of the first pole for a non-Hybrid car run by a privateer team since 2012.

Shortly after the race, Alexandre Pesci, President and Owner of REBELLION Racing had this to say, “This is a historic victory for REBELLION Racing! A big thank you to Toyota for pushing us to constantly surpass ourselves to compete with them. Despite a complicated start because of the tires problem, the race was perfectly conducted by our trio of drivers and the whole Team. Congratulations to each member of the Team who has shown extreme resilience. The REBELLION Racing family dedicates this victory to its fans who have been supporting the Rebells for a long time.”

With so many on-track and off-track partnerships, I wanted to know more about what has surely been a busy year for the racing team. So, I picked up the phone and rang Calim Bouhadra (CEO REBELLION Corporation) to get the inside scoop. Boudara had this to say, “It’s true that we very active and more and more productive. The fact that we were the timekeeping for the Dakar, Pike Peak, and Tour Auto could be very significant for our brand, but I would say that coming to LeMans with two different art cars in LMP1 realized by RocketbyZ is definitely my biggest highlights! “

The Watches

REBELLION Timepieces has also been quite busy in their Lonay, Switzerland based workshop. The pursuit of performance doesn’t stop when the brand leaves the track, in fact, it's only just beginning. REBELLION’s passion for watchmaking extends across several model lines.

For 2019, the brand’s partnerships with the European Le Mans Series, Tour Auto, Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and the Dakar Rally resulted in limited edition timepieces befitting a spot on the podium. As official timing partners of a carefully curated series of events, REBELLION is well-positioned in the world of racing.

For the European Le Mans Series, REBELLION Timepieces crafted a watch from their Twenty-One series. The Limited Edition Twenty-One Three Hands ELMS is a 47mm cushion cased timepiece which is distinctively racy. A rich blue and orange motif serves as the perfect backdrop for this motorsports inspired piece. Two distinct “arms” extend from the axis towards the 2 and 10 o’clock indices. Almost creating an effect of a pedestrian bridge crossing a race track.

REBELLION’s Twenty-One Three Hands ELMS piece is a purely Swiss Made mechanical with a 38 hour power reserve. Plus, the winning drivers and team manager in the LMP2 class at the European Le Mans Series will receive a Twenty-One Three Hands ELMS. For last weekend’s sixth and final round in Portimão, Portugal Team IDEC Sport won race of the season and the European Le Mans Series title. And the team took home an incredible timepiece to mark the occasion.

Rebellion will race in endurance (WEC) in 2022, 2023, and 2024 with Peugeot! Calim Bouhadra (CEO REBELLION Corporation)

When I asked Bouhadra for a hint of what to expect from REBELLION Timepieces in 2020, he had this to say, “Lots of surprises, as always! We try to always bring new blood into this world. In a few days, we are going to announce that Rebellion will race in endurance (WEC) in 2022, 2023, and 2024 with Peugeot! This partnership will put Rebellion on the same level as the big manufacturers!”

Always the innovator, always the competitor, REBELLION is full steam (er Hybrid) ahead in the next decade!

Finding a balance

One would expect that Team REBELLION has to wear multiple proverbial and physical hats. Threading a delicate balance between watchmaker and racing team. From my discussions with REBELLION, there were two key elements that I think are worthy of highlighting. The first is giving back. As watchmakers, REBELLION participates in the biennial Only Watch charity auction, with a unique Re-Volt timepiece being donated in 2019.

It’s the same DNA really! Calim Bouhadra (CEO REBELLION Corporation)

Second is material innovations. As a racing team and a watchmaker, the symbiosis between the two groups at REBELLION is almost seamless. Pushing the boundaries on track and on the wrist. Case in point, the Predator 2.0 GMT Zenvo. A Hypercar inspired timepiece crafted from a single block of titanium and a movement resembling an 8-cylinder engine. Most remarkably, the new T2M Zenvo Edition boasts a power reserve of over 1,400 hours (almost two months).

In conclusion, I asked Bouhadra how he balances the two worlds of REBELLION, “It’s the same DNA really! One (group) brings to the other the energy to create the synergies who power the brand! We are definitely unique and really the only brand that can offer our customers a 360 degrees approach. Using our technology, knowledge, and experience to create watches, and leaving an immersive experience during our competitions while driving a car prepared by our factory!”

(Images provided by REBELLION)

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

Join Watchonista This Weekend At The Miami Concours

By Watchonista
We are thrilled to announce that we’re partnering for the third annual Miami Design District Concours. THE place to be this Sunday, February 16.

The Iceman Gets A Very Cool Watch: The New Richard Mille RM50-04 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph

By Viviana ShanksContributor
Ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, Richard Mille launched a new timepiece in collaboration with Alfa Romeo Racing driver Kimi Räikkönen, aka...

Rebellion Predator 2.0 Regulator Tourbillon

By Vincent DaveauContributor
Fusing exceptional watchmaking and racing car technology within the Predator 2.0 Regulator Tourbillon, the Rebellion brand hopes to steal a significant lead by...