This week saw a first major news from Girard-Perregaux as it enters its 230 year anniversary and the news is continuing a long tradition of teaming up with cars and racing. Trying to understand the actual cooperation, it seems for the moment that Girard-Perregaux is becoming a sponsor of the newly formed Aston Martin F1 team for next season.
I think for now it is too early to actually interpret what that will mean for GP and the collection, but I would expect that we will see some special watch releases celebrating the new partnership. One thing though is clear, sponsoring an F1 team requires a significant Marketing budget. I have for long criticised that GP is not doing enough to increase brand awareness and spends T.W.O little on Marketing, so I consider this a good move in the right direction. Whether sponsoring an F1 team is the most effective is to be seen, but I could see this making an impact.
One thing is for sure, the cooperation/sponsorship of Aston Martin is by far not the first car/watch cooperation from GP, in fact, there have been many in the past, more than the well-known Ferrari connection.
Let’s go back to the 1960s. Although there was no formal partnership, watches and racing was a natural connection and measuring lap times or sport races with Chronographs, like the first Olimpico series was evident in advertising themes.
However, cooperation and watches dedicated to specific cars / Rallye driving / manufacturers really started off with Luigi Macaluso being an importer of Girard-Perregaux watches and coming from a Rallye car racing tradition. As far as I know, he first dedicated some GP Chronographs (4900) to Lancia in the late 80s. Watches dedicated to Lancia had been seen throughout the Macaluso years after he took on ownership of GP, like the below Lancia Stratos Rallye dedicated watch.
Most known and famous however, is the cooperation between GP and Ferrari that started in the 90s and was probably one of the most successful car/watch partnerships ever. Go and read my background/report for more details.
But there were more. When you have Lancia and Ferrari, of course FIAT is not far away. In fact, GP delivered service dedication watches to the FIAT car company, a gold time-only and a steel chronograph, Ref. 4948.
While FIAT dedicated watches are not exactly popular, the Chronograph 4948 is often seen as a very solid design as it is one of the few automatic Chronographs from GP that has no date window.
Finally, let’s also remember the cooperation with BMW and Roll’s Royce. RR being part of the BMW Group resulted in the coolest dash clock ever, unfortunately only a prototype.
A Vintage 1945, Ref 9985 with a special case constructions, mounting the watch in the dashboard and then take it out to attach it to the strap. BMW on the other hand released a BMW 760Li Individual with a built-in watch box and GP watches.
So it is quite evident that such cooperations and partnerships can be very fruitful. Aston Martin is a fantastic brand with a long tradition and history. Admittedly I admire more their classic rather than their modern cars, but that’s a general preference for vintage I guess.
Let’s wish all the best to GP and Aston Martin that this will be a successful partnership for both companies.