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We all know about the famous Ferrari racing cars but we hardly hear about Ferrari watches. Unlike other popular high end watches when it comes to Ferrari watches, we can`t talk of the founder, place and year of the establishment because all these are non-existent. Ferrari watches are a whole lot, a different scenario. Ferrari watches can be classified into three groups.
The saga of Ferrari watches all started in the 1950s, during the days of Ferrari`s founder Enzo Ferrari. He made it a custom to order and gift high-quality watches as motivation mostly to his victorious drivers. It was after Enzo`s death that the new Ferrari administration shifted their focus to commercializing Ferrari watches.
Initially, Enzo would just order six watches at a time, usually, exclusively from the Bolognese jeweller Gerardo Veronesi for his gifts commissions. Most of these early commissions were manufactured by Super Royal. Typical examples are pieces from Zenith, Longines and the Vetta chronographs, one of them was given to famous Eugenio Castellotti for winning the 1956 Mille Miglia in a Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti. This was the first group of Ferrari watches.
The second group is a mass luxury private labelled timepieces like the ones launched by the Movado Group, Longines, Cartier`s Ferrari Formula among many others. Except for Longines, these widely available timepieces were not really co-branded with the watch companies as they only had the Prancing Horse logo on the dial.
Last but not least, the third group consists of fine watchmaking companies that have managed to consolidate a reputable position among the Ferrari aristocracy and became Ferrari's true haute horology partners. Currently, Hublot and Movado are on the throne. Hublot only makes Ferrari`s most expensive watches while the more privileged Movado mass manufactures affordable Ferrari watches for the majority. Previously Ferrari was working with the famous Girard-Perregaux from 1994 to 2004 and then from 2005 to 2010 Ferrari made a deal with Cabestan.
Ferrari continued this system, ordering small batches of custom-made watches all through the 1960s and early 1970s from Girard-Perregaux (that is before they became watch partners) as well as from Rewel and Lemania. These simple timepieces are found at auctions ranging at a couple of thousands of dollars from private collectors and vintage-watch dealers. As the mid-1970s approached Enzo Ferrari was still alive and he struck a deal with Longines. These watches were affordable since, by the `70s, Longines` glory days had already passed, the deal was more of a co-branded collaborative affair. Apart from the commercially available timepieces, il Commendatore continued his custom of ordering custom made solid gold watches from Longines to give out as gifts.
After the Longines deal, Ferrari made a joint venture deal with Cartier. The deal was struck between Enzo and Alain Dominique (then president of Cartier) and was called the Ferrari Formula collection. Until his deathbed Enzo continued his tradition of giving private commissions in solid gold, the only difference was that this time they were from Cartier. His last gift was to Pope John Paul II.
The Ferrari Formula partnership didn`t last that long after Enzo`s death. The new Ferrari administration chose to take a different path, they struck a deal with Girard-Perregaux. The deal could be traced to the friendship between Luca (Cordero) di Montezemolo, former president (and now chairman) of Ferrari and Luigi Macaluso, at that time president of GP. The Ferrari/ Girard-Perregaux affiliation lasted for quite a while, a decade with extraordinary collections of high-quality timepieces dedicated to legendary Ferraris.
In 2005, Panerai took over GPs position. Nonetheless the Panerai/Ferrari affiliation did not go as smooth as the GP collaboration. It only lasted about five years with approximately only 20 limited edition models before the partnership dissolved.
After the Panerai/Ferrari deal fails, Ferrari was left without a long-term and high-end watch manufacturer so it continued its private label mass market watch efforts. They resorted to an incredibly costly and exclusively limited edition timepieces, only 60 were produced by the artisan watchmaker Cabestan. A typical example was the Scuderia Ferrari One. This was made by Cabestan, as a one-off project—at $300,000 a piece and was the most exclusive watch ever designed to honor automobile racing.
In all honest, Ferrari`s track record as a watch licensor was dubious. Thanks to Ferrari`s many capricious changes in direction, in 2011 Ferrari turned to Hublot. They struck a deal with Hublot's then-CEO (now-chairman) Jean-Claude Biver which they both announced to the public in November. As usual, the watch community was waiting for a bump, they didn`t have to wait for long! Just four months later, at the 2012 BaselWorld watch tradeshow, The Movado Group announced its own affiliation with Ferrari. According to the deal, Movado mass produces luxury watches (priced under $2000). The watches are sold in Ferrari lifestyle merchandise stores and a selected few Ferrari dealerships.
This deal didn`t go well with Hublot`s Biver. He insisted that the Ferrari/Hublot partnership was far beyond just watches and he does not see any relevance in the Movado deal. He considered the Ferrari/Hublot deal as a marriage and Ferrari cheated as he was quoted saying, “The watch is not the most important part of this partnership. Ours is an 'ambassador partnership,' where Ferrari is an ambassador of Hublot. Ferrari brings awareness, prestige, and exclusivity to Hublot in countries where (Hublot) lacks recognition (such as China, where Ferrari has a two-decade foothold). Ours is a marriage.”
Since 2010 Hublot was the sole manufacturer of Ferrari watches until late in 2012 when Ferrari made another deal with the Movado Group. Though the arrival of the Movado Group was quite a disappointment to Hublot, Hublot didn`t end its deal with Ferrari. To call a spade a spade, Hublot had its own share of Ferrari`s privileges, in 2011 Hublot was named the official watchmaker and timekeeper of both Ferrari and Scuderia Ferrari and also the official timekeeper of the Ferrari Challenge.
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