Panerai unveiled its newest product, the Ferrari Engineered by Panerai watch collection, at the Ferrari test track in Maranello, Italy. Designed in collaboration with Ferrari, the new watches are an attempt to distill the unique DNA from both iconic Italian brands and the result is an interesting blend of both companies. Even the casual watch person can recognize that the new collection is from Panerai and the watches have design cues taken from Ferrari cars, including the prancing horse and the instantly recognizable Ferrari logo.
When the agreement between Ferrari and Girard-Perregaux expired, there was an opportunity for Panerai to step in and cement a relationship that certainly makes sense; two Italian brands that share many common values — long standing Italian tradition, technical excellence, exceptional quality and unique design identities.
"We took inspiration for these watches from the Ferrari cars and we took inspiration from Panerai," details Angelo Bonati, CEO, Panerai. "You can recognize the shape and designs from Panerai, but it is a totally new case expressly made for Ferrari. Every time, step by step, we showed our work to Jean Todt and the Ferrari team, and they approved it or they asked us to go back and look at the cars, to provide us with inspiration. They were very kind to us, because they allowed us freedom to work; they allowed us to adapt the DNA of Ferrari and Panerai. We cannot forget Panerai, because it comes from our heart, but on the other side we need to show the face of Ferrari. You have to recognize that this is Ferrari. When you see the watch, you can tell it is a Panerai watch, but you also have to recognize that it's Ferrari."
Ferrari is solidly behind the partnership with Panerai. "Made in Italy is very important to us," says Jean Todt, chairman of Ferrari. "I have followed the development of the watches very carefully. I want Ferrari people and Ferrari drivers to be wearing these beautiful watches."
There have long been rumors about how Panerai was going to be doing the Ferrari watches, from just slapping a Ferrari logo on existing watches to wild, multi-colored straps, and all of them turned out to be very, very wrong. The new watches have been designed from scratch and are not part of the Panerai collection, and never will be.
"We had to take experience and knowledge from Panerai in watchmaking, of course, but we created a Ferrari watch engineered by Officine Panerai," Bonati clarifies. "These new collections are Ferrari watches, with the Ferrari name and logo on the dial by itself, but on the back it is signed 'Engineered by Officine Panerai.' We are trying to establish a Ferrari brand."
The Ferrari collection will consist of two lines, one that is sport/elegant, the Grantourismo, and another that is more aggressively sports, the Scuderia line. The watches will be distributed through Panerai's existing retailers, but there is a chance that some Ferrari dealers will carry the watches as well. "In Italian, we have a phrase, 'Baker, do your job!'" Bonati details. "If you sell cars, you don't sell watches. Maybe somewhere in the world, there might be a Ferrari dealer that will sell the watch, but in most cases, not."
In addition to the two Ferrari lines, which will retail between US$5,000 - US$30,000, with the core of the assortment between US$5,000 and US$15,000, there will also be limited edition watches, the first one being a GMT featuring Panerai's in-house movement, the P2002/02 with eight day power reserve. "The limited edition is part of the philosophy of Panerai and we will continue to do some things that are exceptional for Ferrari," Bonati details. "It all depends on how things happen in the future. If Ferrari invents a new car or wins a championship, we have to celebrate it."
Panerai turned these first two lines of Ferrari Engineered by Officine Panerai around quite quickly, in eight months, which is quite a feat. Getting it right wasn't easy, but Bonati is satisfied with the products which will be unveiled to retailers at the upcoming SIHH. "We suffered for many months because I wasn't happy with the designs, but finally we found the right solutions," he said. "It wasn't technical, because we have the technical know-how, but it was the design I wasn't happy with it."
Panerai has signed a long term agreement with Ferrari and based on their close and reciprocal relationship, Panerai will continue to offer interesting and innovative Ferrari for many years to come.
For more information, please visit www.panerai.com