Power Players

Last year, electric-car racing superstar Jean-Éric Vergne became the fourth man to capture the Formula E championship trophy. Now, he’s added a different kind of hardware to his collection: a new TAG Heuer chronograph.

By Max Prince

FIA Formula E, the world’s foremost electric-car racing championship, is on a roll. There’s the redesigned-for-2019 race car (beautiful) and the talent level of the drivers (exceptional). There’s also the new deal with officials in Seoul, where the series will hold a race starting next season. BMW now has a team. So do Jaguar, Audi, Nissan, and Citroën’s luxury subsidiary DS Automobiles. In 2020, both Porsche and Mercedes will enter the championship. Oh, and TAG Heuer, one of the series’ founding partners and official timekeeper, has also extended its sponsorship. Talk about momentum.

Vergne’s current choice, the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 chronograph

At press time, the 2019 Formula E Championship season is almost a wrap, and it’s been a wild one. Each race—or ePrix, in official parlance—has been won by a different driver, and the championship is up for grabs. One of the few certainties is that, after finishing second at the opening race in Saudi Arabia and later notching an overall win at the Sanya ePrix in China, veteran driver Jean-Éric Vergne is sure to be in contention.

Vergne, 29, is no stranger in the winner’s circle. Known as “JEV” to his fans, the Frenchman made a splash when he captured the French Formula Renault 2.0 title at the age of 18. He then took the British Formula 3 title, raced in Formula 1 for Scuderia Toro Rosso, and served as development driver on the Ferrari team. Vergne first joined Formula E in 2014, racing for Techeetah—which started out as a privately owned underdog among larger corporate teams— beginning with the 2016–17 season. Last year, he won four ePrix on his way to taking the Drivers’ Championship, cementing his place in history as one of electric-car racing’s first superstars.

That notoriety has paid dividends. In addition to capturing the 2018 Formula E trophy, Vergne also joined TAG Heuer as a brand ambassador. (His watch of choice? The new 45mm Carrera Heuer 01 Chronograph, contrast black-stainless case on a black rubber strap.) The partnership represents something of a electric-car racing power duo: Formula E’s greatest sponsor and its championship driver.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

Entering the home stretch of the 2019 season, we caught up with Vergne before the Monaco ePrix to talk history, watches, and the bright future of electric-car racing.

Watch Journal: You raced in Formula 1 before joining Formula E. How does driving a battery-powered race car compare to a V-8 or turbo V-6? What changes did you make to your driving style?

Jean-Éric Vergne: It changes a lot. But the main difference is the sound and the vibrations—you don’t get [those] anymore with the electric car. Then you have less power with the electric car, but you have quite a lot of torque. So you still have a very good impression of speed coming from the powertrain. But, with any type of driving, the tracks are so different that it’s very difficult to compare driving Formula 1 and Formula E.

WJ: You’ve been affiliated with some of motorsport’s top factory teams, including Ferrari. How is driving for a smaller team like Techeetah different? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

JEV: The last two years here we were a private team with the smallest budget. And it was quite fantastic for me as a driver—I had a lot of things to say in the team. I played a much, much bigger role than a driver would play on a factory team, because we were basically building this team from scratch. [My input] had a lot of implications in all the decision-making for the team. [A race team is] a little bit like a boat, you know? If you are small, you can steer much quicker in the direction you want. So that was our strength. I will say that was a big advantage. Then the weakness is that we did not have any testing days, because [that] was only allowed for the manufacturers. But, nevertheless, we were able to win in front of all the big manufacturers. That was quite nice.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19 during the Mexico City E-prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico.

WJ: In recent years, other racing series have been dominated by a single driver. Lewis Hamilton has won four of the last five Formula 1 titles. Sébastien Ogier has won the last six World Rally Championship titles. But Formula E has had a different champion in each of its four seasons. Why is that?

JEV: I think the level is so competitive that it makes it very hard for the driver to win every season, every championship. The other thing is that all the cars are extremely similar. We don’t see a [prominent mechanical] difference between the first and last team in Formula E, at least compared to Formula 1. Our budgets are also a lot lower than Formula 1 or the World Rally Championship. Which helps explain why, for example, a small private team like Techeetah was able to compete against a giant like Audi. I think that’s the main difference. This year, it’s more complicated—it’s been a bit of a weird season. But it’s still very difficult to say who’s going to win.

WJ: Last year, you won the Formula E Paris ePrix and finished first in the 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class, driving for the G-Force team. [The latter win was later revoked on a technicality —Ed.] As a native Frenchman, which was more exciting?

JEV: Winning in Paris was an absolutely crazy feeling. It was the best win I ever had, but winning Le Mans was so very special. Obviously as a driver, you always want to win the overall classification [which is LMP1, the class above LMP2] because, you know, that’s the first car finishing in 24 hours. So hopefully one day, I will be able to race in the top category of LMP1, or whatever new category they are going to come up with. I will give it all to win, that’s for sure. But this year, I’m already on a very good LMP2 team, and we’re going to try and win it again—and not be disqualified twenty-four hours later!

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

WJ: Speaking of Paris, how did growing up near the city inform your taste in music, culture, and fashion?

JEV: I think I started to learn all of that when I started moving away from France, started traveling around the world, and living in other countries. So I guess I’m a multicultural in terms of, you know, fashion, music taste, all of those things.

WJ: So why did you start collecting timepieces? We’ve always noticed the great watches sneaking into your Instagram feed.

JEV: You know, like every man, you love the cars, you love watches, and obviously the other stuff. When I was younger, I obviously didn’t have the money to afford nice cars—the cars that I wanted—but I have a little bit of money to afford the watches I liked. So I always tried to find good watches. To me, this is only jewelry that a man can wear. And watches are an investment as well. It’s a beautiful thing to have and this is something I love. I love to change watches, and that love just keeps increasing year after year.

Smoking during the Sanya E-prix, China.

WJ: What about watches appeals to you? Is it just the mechanical aspect, or something else?

JEV: Well, [the mechanics] obviously are very important to me when I choose to buy a watch. Also the number of watches being made, the rarity. And there is something appealing to me about the story behind the brand, the story behind a specific watch. When the watch is beautiful, but there is no story at all, it kind of bores me. TAG Heuer is an iconic sponsor of my sport, of my world, since I was a kid and TAG was collaborating with [the late Formula 1 champion] Ayrton Senna, and before that, Steve McQueen. When I see the Monaco, it reminds me of all the history, the great people that wore this watch. To me, beside the fact that it’s a beautiful watch, that is what really attracts me, you know? The story behind it, and the history.

WJ: TAG Heuer’s ad campaigns have also featured Michael Schumacher. He crashed into you at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012, and the television cameras caught a nice moment of you two talking. What was he telling you?

JEV: He said he was sorry. Then he said something else funny—but I can’t really say. [Laughs]

Vergne (FRA), DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19 chases Jose Maria Lopez (ARG), GEOX Dragon Racing, Penske EV-3 during the Ad Diriyah E-prix, Riyadh Street Circuit, Saudi Arabia.

WJ: Do you have a philosophy about time?

JEV: Time is everything to me, and you need to be as quick as possible. But everything in life is time, you know, from the moment you are born, until you die. So I guess what really matters is to make the most out of your time.

WJ: Last question: What does the future hold for the Formula E series, and electric-car racing in general?

JEV: That’s a question I cannot really answer. The only thing I know is that the Formula E is going very well. Manufacturers are getting interested, getting into the championship. We are now nine manufacturers, which is massive. I see a bright future for Formula E, and obviously I’m extremely happy to be part of it, to be able to write the history of Formula E. Hopefully I can write it even more—with more wins and more championships!

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Alex and Miles Pincus chart a course with Panerai and the new Panerai Luminor Due aboard Brooklyn’s Pilot

Photographs by Doug Young
Fashion styled by Justin Arroyo

Created for the Italian navy in 1950, Panerai’s Luminor was built for function above all else. Every element of its now iconic silhouette was designed for underwater excellence: the hefty, water-resistant case; the oversized, luminescent numerals; the crown-protecting lever. Unfortunately for Italian sailors, Panerai hasn’t been part of the official navy uniform for some time, but the watches still retain the rugged good looks (and focused engineering) that ensured each timepiece would withstand the rigors of life and combat at sea. Therein lies the ironic allure of today’s diving watches — they seduce with the promise of adventure, bringing some high seas swagger to civilians, even if the only diving most see is a few feet off a yacht.

Still, the bulky proportions that made the Luminor so beloved by sailors aren’t always compatible with life on land.  Panerai’s new streamlined Luminor Due offers a solution. It refines the brand’s classic dive watch down to its essence, resulting in the thinnest timepiece Panerai has ever produced. Its sleek, minimalist lines have all the hallmarks of the original, translated elegantly to scale. It easily pairs with suits (and not only those of the neoprene variety.)

Like all great designs, the streamlined Luminor Due is a master study in proportions. Two case sizes are on offer.The 42mm version is just 10.5mm thick, while the 38mm  model (the smallest diameter in Panerai history) comes in at 11.2mm thick. Both feature the new OP XXXIV automatic movement, driving a traditional date function and offering three-days of power reserve, a hallmark of the collection and its maker. For those customers and collectors who favor traditional Panerai sizing, the Luminor Due is also available in 45mm, equipped with a GMT function.

Beyond its versatile sizing, the new Due introduces a range of fashion-minded dials and straps. The latter come in a variety of colors, including a baby-blue alligator skin pattern and a handsome mint-colored leather, which are easily swappable. The message here is clear: This watch isn’t just for seafarers (or men, in general) anymore. While still resolutely sporty, the Luminor Due makes Panerai’s distinctive look more wearable for those who prefer taking to the water with a cocktail in hand.

The new Panerai Luminor Due can be configured with a variety of straps.

Which is precisely the spirit that inspired brothers Alex and Miles Pincus to open a fleet of nautical canteens in Manhattan and Brooklyn.(They also opened a seafood restaurant in New Orleans, called Seaworthy, in partnership with the Ace Hotel.) After growing up as avid sailors in Louisiana, the brothers were living in New York and “kept coming back to the premise that one of the best things about having a boat is sitting dockside and having a drink. “We just kept mulling it over, like ‘How great would it be to have a boat that you can enjoy without having to commit?’” says Miles.

At that time, Alex was working as an architect, Miles as a professional sailor and boat restorer; together, they set about refurbishing a historic schooner that would become Grand Banks, their breezy (and boozy) outpost docked in the Hudson River along Manhattan’s TriBeCa. Pilot, a racing schooner dating back to 1924, which now serves customers while floating off Brooklyn Bridge Park, followed soon after. “These boats have a history that new boats can’t even begin to touch,” says Alex, “It’s like a vintage, mechanical watch versus a brand-new smartwatch.” As both watch enthusiasts and men that divide their time between land and sea, the Pincus brothers sat down with Watch Journal to discuss the new Luminor Due and finessing the style out of the maritime lifestyle.


The Luminor Due 

How did you get into watches?

A: I studied architecture and I’m very into design. For a while, I really didn’t get watches. Then my friend took me to Analog Shift; I started looking around and realized that [watchmaking] is its own discipline of design with so many subtle ideas that are being worked through. I got obsessed, scanning all the watch blogs for what would be my first serious watch. I ended up getting a vintage Seamaster from the year I was born.

M: For a while, I really loved my watch — I have a Submariner — and thought it’s great, it’s simple, it’s nautical. Then when I got attached to my cellphone, I thought ‘Why do I need this? I’m checking the time on my phone’. I hadn’t worn it for about a year and a half but I put it on the other night and, with a little bit of a wind, it was back in business. That’s pretty impactful. Like, this thing is going to keep on going.

A: The first watch I ever got was my grandfather’s from the 1920’s: a really beautiful dress watch, really thin, with a couple diamonds and rubies on it. It definitely has not seen it’s moment in the resurgence of watch styles yet. When I’m 90, it’s gonna look really cool.

Do you guys generally share the same tastes, as far as style?

M: We often dress alike, which is terrible and funny at the same time. Like, we’ll show up at the same meeting with the same shirt on.

A: We both are reasonably nautical by default. I would say my general fashion aesthetic is ‘Don’t look like an asshole.’ It’s not much more complicated than that. We’re usually working on boats, so you wind up dressing a certain way. You have to do physical work but you also have to look presentable to be dealing with people in a restaurant.

M: It’s a funny look you have to choose because it’s always super hot out during our peak hours. Sometimes you’re dealing with management, sometimes you’re in the bowels of the boat fixing something.

Given how varied your days are, what do you look for in an everyday watch?

A: Something that’s comfortable, something that’s extremely durable.

M: My wrist will literally bang into a thousand things a day.

A: We’re walking around a lot of tight quarters on a boat, so you have to have something that’s resilient and fits well and is functional.

M: That, and not exceptionally heavy.

Alex and Miles Pincus aboard their bar/restaurant Pilot docked in Brooklyn.

Sounds like you could be describing the new Luminor Due. What did you think of it?

M: It feels great, super thin. It sat on the wrist really nicely. It’s a great watch for working on a boat. Even though it’s so thin, it doesn’t feel insignificant.

A: It’s a nice balance between having a big presence on the face and a thin, light feel on the wrist. I don’t wanna wear a monster on my wrist…[like I said,] I don’t wanna look like an asshole. Honestly, though, I’d rather be subtle in everything I do from watch to clothes to lifestyle.

I imagine that balance, between mechanics and appearance, is something you both know a lot about, having transformed boats into restaurants…

M: It’s definitely a balance we’ve grown into through the years. We showed up in 2014 with Grand Banks and the day we opened had a 200-deep line down the pier. It’s a big challenge to overcome, having a compact space with very limited water, electrical, you name it. We’ve had to be very creative about how we make it comfortable and familiar for people but still authentic to the boat and the idea we’re trying to present.

A: It’s actually a lot like a watch: we have a constrained space and there are certain components that aren’t going away.

M: It needs to tell time and it needs to fit in this big of a space…

A: And there are all these different moving parts that we need in order to function. It could be a Frankenstein, or it could feel natural like ‘Oh, of course, it always looked like this’. It takes a lot of consideration to get to that point. Like, a watch doesn’t all of a sudden look graceful and simple. So many decisions go into every little thing to make it feel effortless. We learned a lot with Grand Banks, tried to improve on that [at Pilot], and put that experience into a full renovation of Grand Banks to make all of the little pieces work together even better. By the time we do the next boat, we might have it down.

Montauk Oysters “A Kiss From the Sea.”

Interview: Lewis Hamilton, F1 Champion

Mercedes-AMG’s star driver talks Biggie, bling, and the possibility of designing a special edition IWC timepiece…

Watch Journal: Lewis! Thanks for taking the time to chat. How ya feeling?

Lewis Hamilton: Tired, dude. It’s been nonstop since the [Japanese Grand Prix, on October 7.] I’ve just been going. I’ve not had a night off, really.

WJ: Crazy. So, what have you got on your wrist right now?

LH: It’s a limited, limited edition of the Big Pilot Top Gun Edition.

WJ: Is that your typical style?

LH: I like the big, heavier watches, so yeah. The chunkier watches I quite like. And being black and red, this one goes with everything as well.

Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Boutique Edition, $40,800. (Sold out.) More at iwc.com

WJ: Like those shoes…

LH: Yeah! I just got these. They’re my favorite Pumas now. It’s a new addition they’ve just come out with. They’ve just gone into the NBA, you know? So this [the Clyde Court Disrupt Red Blast] is the new NBA look that they’re now working on. I’m so freaking happy with them.

WJ: They certainly fit the vibe. Of everybody on the current Formula 1 grid, you’ve probably got the most fashion sense.

LH: Well, I don’t know about that. [laughs] Everyone has a different look. But I’ve definitely got my own style, I’m very much involved in the fashion world.

WJ: When did you start paying attention to clothes, how people were dressing and all that?

LH: I think I was always watching. I was heavily into hip-hop as a kid. So I was always watching videos, Diddy and Biggie, and all those guys, how they dressed. I always wished I could dress like them back then, but I never had the money. So I didn’t really start paying full attention to fashion until my late teens. Even then, all the money went into racing. Then I went to Formula 1 [in 2007, at 22 years old], and suddenly I was being pictured all the time. I saw it, and was I was like, ‘Jeez, I really need to get my act together.’ I needed to figure out how I was going to dress, how I was going to look, to present myself. So I just started attending fashion shows. I wanted to see what was out there. It’s interesting, because at fashion shows, you really see people from all walks of life. Everyone’s completely different. It’s all an interpretation of dress. From there, I just started figuring out how to do it. And now I get to design my own clothes with Tommy Hilfiger. And get credit!

Clyde Court Disrupt Men’s Basketball Shoes, Red Blast, $120. More at us.puma.com.

WJ: Congratulations on that, by the way.

LH: Thank you!

WJ: How’d that whole deal come about? Did you two meet in the same circles, since he’s such a massive car collector?

LH: No actually! I just bumped into him on the street, in New York. Big as the city is, I was leaving a building that he happens to have a place inside, which I didn’t know. Then we kept bumping into each other at fashion events, the Met Gala, stuff like that. He was like, ‘We’ve got to do something together, mate!’ I told him I’d love to, of course. Bridging the gap between Tommy Hilfiger and Mercedes-Benz was the hard part. But it’s been really amazing. The response has been so great.

WJ: Whether you’re in the new Tommy or wearing something else, how do you fit watches into your overall look?

LH: I actually carry with me five different watches. Different faces, different bands. Different colors, of course. I love a lot of rose gold, a lot of silver. I even had my IWC blinged out, because they don’t have diamonds in them. [laughs] I don’t know if you’ve seen that one…

WJ: Yes!

LH: You have? Oh, I like to wear that out with suits. Like, if I’m wearing a suit, I want something that really screws it up. [laughs] My ultimate goal in the relationship with IWC is to one day do a watch.

WJ: Really?

Tommy Hilfiger x Lewis Hamilton Flag Logo Hoodie, $150. More at usa.tommy.com

LH: Oh yeah. Release a range of them, you know. Doesn’t have to be with diamonds, or a different material. Just achieved in my own unique way. It should be the piece you’d put on to really top off your look. Because I really do feel quite naked without my watch on. Not having that weight on my wrist. And I really do love the bling, I love diamonds, I love jewelry. And if I didn’t have this ceramic Big Pilot on, the rest of this [diamond bracelet, ring, and earring] just wouldn’t fit. I wouldn’t wear this all out.

WJ: Have you given any thought to what an IWC Lewis Hamilton Edition might look like?

LH: I’ve thought about it in terms of looking at the current IWC range that they have now, and how I would tweak them. Like, ‘Oh, I’ll change this, I’ll change that.’ Little things. In terms of doing a completely new one, I’ve not really to that point. But if I were to do something? I might do a different shape. I don’t know if that’s a square, maybe an oval. Round is obviously classic. I mean, just look at the [Le Petit Prince Edition Big Pilot], and I love the blue face on that, that shade of blue. But I’d actually want a tourbillon. So every time I win a championship, I’m like, ‘Yeah, is it coming?’ Okay, so I don’t know if it’s coming anytime soon. [laughs] But, hey, you never know. Maybe someday…


(Opening photo: Ashley Sears for IWC)

Q&A: Guillaume Néry (Panerai)

Freediving champion Guillaume Néry has explored the depth of the unknown, and in it found the limits of humanity.

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How did you get into freediving? What attracted you to the sport?

I discovered freediving by chance, doing a challenge with a friend on the bus to school. We were just trying to hold our breath the longest. I was 14 years old, and this was an experiment to [find] the limits of my body. That was fascinating to me. Because I was living in Nice, by the Mediterranean Sea, I decided I should try [doing it] underwater. It was much more interesting than just holding my breath on the bus! I fell in love with this feeling of going down deeper and deeper, like I was discovering an unknown planet. Today, the quest of the unknown, the exploration of human limits—these are still my passions. But lately I’ve [used] freediving for reconnecting with my own body, getting this harmony between the body, the mind, and the water. I don’t need to compete or break a record to experience it. Every time I go underwater, it feels like a moment of peace and happiness, whatever the time or the depth. Of course, as an athlete, I like world record attempts or world championship dives. I have prepared for so many hours, days, weeks, months, and you just have one chance to make it perfect. That’s the most challenging part. Freediving is all about relaxation, letting go, but it’s very hard to relax when you know you are about to attempt the deepest dive ever. In the end, the most enjoyable thing is when you can forget about all that, and just focus on the great feeling of gliding in the water.

What benefits does a good diving watch provide while you are underwater?

The watch is the only thing from my life on land that I bring with me into the deep. The watch becomes a link between my aquatic and outside life. The watch is a kind of symbol of the time passing, and when I am underwater on a single breath of air, life is time! I have to trust my body and the watch that [measures] the time I spend underwater. A good diving watch should be big enough so that you can easily read the time, but also not to heavy so that it feels like a part of your body. On top of that, I try to share the passion of the underwater world with the larger world, so aesthetics plays a huge role when people film me or take pictures of my dive. I try to be very careful in my movement underwater, to be graceful as I truly believe it helps the efficiency, and I want to wear the best outfit. The watch needs to have the best design and look that will combine my quest of aestheticism and performance. Today, I have found the watch that meets my expectations.

Do you ever get frightened before, or during, a deep dive?

Freediving is known to be a dangerous sport, but in reality we are doing a very safe activity. The main rule is: never freedive alone. I am always surrounded by my team when I am training or taking part in a competition. But, of course, sometimes you can experience the unexpected, and you have to be trained to deal with unpredictable situations. In 2015, I was trying to break my fifth world record, attempting a dive at -129 meters. The organization made a mistake on the rope measurement, and I dove at -139. It was of course too deep, and I lost consciousness a few meters from the surface [during the ascent]. It could have been very serious. I recovered after few days, because I was in a very good shape. But the deepest dives are not always the most dangerous. The main danger is overconfidence. It’s very important to stay humble and remember that we, as humans, are very vulnerable and small in this world, especially when we are deep down, like a small drop of water lost in the middle of the ocean.

Q&A: Géraldine Fasnacht (TAG Heuer)

Some get their thrill by climbing mountains.

Snowboarder, BASE jumper, and wingsuit pilot Géraldine Fasnacht gets hers by jumping off of them.

When was your first wingsuit flight?

In 2001. I prepared so much for it. Practicing my way out of the plane, my position to fly, my movement to safely open my parachute. But I could not imagine this magic feeling, to fly like a bird. It was so incredible that I just flew straight away from the airport and forgot completely to fly back. It took me two hours to walk back there, but I was the happiest girl on earth.

You’ve participated in many adventure sports, including BASE jumping, speed riding, and snowboarding. What’s the common thread in all of these?

It is like being a painter in front of a white canvas. I am an artist, I am drawing lines on the mountains, trying to follow the shape of the ridges, the light of the sun, to compose my flight or my [snowboard] ride, to be part of the elements. It is like a dance, a communion.

These sports can be dangerous, and you’ve experienced the tragedy firsthand. [Fasnacht’s husband was killing in a high-speed skiing accident in 2006.] What keeps you coming back? Would you ever retire?

I love being in the mountains. They are my inspirations and my way of life. It is my place and I feel lucky that I have found my passion where I can totally express myself and be part of the evolution of the sports. I will continue so long as my body is feeling good, and I [can maintain] the high level of training [needed] to realize my projects and objectives. If one day I cannot do these things anymore, then I will feel too unsafe, and I will retire, yes.

Can you explain the differences between wingsuit flying from an airplane and wingsuit flying from a mountaintop? Is the sensation different? Is one more exciting than the other?

It is totally different. From a mountain, just the way up makes it already special, climbing or walking to the top, being aware of the weather conditions, the shape of the mountain for the exit and the line I would like to fly, getting geared up at the summit and enjoying the view. Then I am analyzing the conditions again to decide my way down, visualizing and memorizing my line. There is just me at this present moment, composing with the shape of the nature. I know that my movements have to be perfect from the take-off to the landing. No mistakes.

From the plane, you are flying in the middle of the sky, starting from 4,000 meters high. When I am doing my last checks before my flight, like, when I prepare my plane before taking off, I am very focused. Then I walk to the edge of the cliff and I do my countdown—3-2-1 BASE!—and draw my line along the mountain.

In YouTube videos, you sometimes see wingsuit pilots throw a stone off the mountain before taking off. What is this ritual, and where did it come from?

It was our way to calculate how many meters vertical drop we had to jump off the cliff. One second equals five meters. Two seconds equals 20 meters, three seconds equals 45 meters, four seconds equals 80 meters, five seconds equals 122 meters, six seconds equals 176 meters, seven seconds equals 240 meters, and so on. Now I use a laser. It is much more precise and more convenient, as I can also know the exact [grade] of the slope below, to know if it is steep enough to fly over. This is very important for the technical jumps, like the top of Mont Rose, which is 4,634 [high] and [has a] 60-meter vertical drop, as I have a very short drop to take off.

You grew up in Switzerland, near Verbier. What do the mountains symbolize to you? What do you love about them?

I feel lucky that my parents always let me do what made me happy. Being outside in nature, playing with my friends, snowboarding, skateboarding, building huts in the forest. Not so much “girl” activities. The mountains are my inspiration, and growing up here made me imagine more possibilities. Not only the way up, but also enjoying the way down. I was born at the perfect time to live an incredible evolution of snowboard free-riding and wingsuit flying. I could explore and open a lot of different lines that were not possible before. Enjoying the mountains in winter make me imagine lines for summer, and knowing the fields in summer made me able to realize lines with my snowboard in winter. My first flight was from the top [of the Matterhorn] in 2014, which I imagined after snowboarding down the east face in 2009. I just had to wait to have a wingsuit high-performance enough to do it!

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