There are some geniuses in their own minds, and then there are others, subtle performers, who excel in whatever they do – they’re true legends. One such icon was Carroll Shelby, the eminent race car driver who drove an Aston Martin DBR1 along with co-driver Roy Salvadori to win the enduring 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959.
As a podium topper, Shelby was then awarded the Patek Philippe pink gold chronograph reference 1463 – rare and attractive pink gold chronograph wristwatch with tachymeter scale. The custom engraved watch has been a family treasure ever since. According to Carroll’s youngest son Pat Shelby, the watch has sentimental value – it marks one of the most memorable moments, not just for the family, but the entire car racing fraternity.
A prolific career
A Texas native, Carroll started off as a chicken farmer before making a spellbinding career in racing that saw him to fame. In addition to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he won three U.S. sports-car championships before being medically forced out of the seat. Shelby left the cockpit but not the love for cars, he ended up as designer, builder of some legendary sports cars.
Winning the Le Mans endurance race was the highlight of Shelby’s racing career and the fact that he received the Patek Philippe for winning the race set the stage for a new chapter of his personal life. He gifted the watch to Pat, a teenager then, who says he never wore it, much to the dislike of Carroll who wanted Pat to wear it.
The historic watch
Pat tells John Reardon of Hodinkee “I didn’t wear it, and it upset him. He said ‘You ought to wear it,’ and I said no. It was pristine, and I wanted to keep it that way.” The treasured Patek Philippe pink gold chronograph ref. 1463 is well preserved by the family over the years. It has never been serviced or polished and remains intact with its case. The historic watch has ‘Carroll Shelby. Aston Martin. 1st LeMans 1959. 2701 Miles’ engraved on the caseback.
The watch has now traveled out of the family circle and is for the first time, exhibited at the de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry store in Dallas, Texas. De Boulle is a Patek Philippe authorized retailer. The watch is on display alongside the Aston Martin DBR1 that Carroll Shelby drove to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is a recreated model with some parts and manufacturing process of the original race car.