Richard Mille Ferrari Watch – Who’s On First?

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Richard Mille McLaren F1

Richard Mille has inked a deal to make the next upmarket Ferrari watch. Makes sense. Mille’s timepieces were born from the co-founders’ desire to build “a racing machine on the wrist.” RM’s banked big bucks banging out some of the world’s most expensive and ugly timepieces, including race car and race driver-themed watches. Mssr. Mille’s Ferrari collaboration will extend the tradition. Meanwhile, here are some of the watches that proceed Mille’s upcoming work . . .

Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari – $330k new

Hublot LaFerrari watch

Mssr. Mill inherits the rights to make Ferrari watches from the house of Hublot. The partnership between the previous Swiss watchmaker and the Italian automaker reached its apogee with this bizzaro bonkers horological monster: the 2013 MP-05 LaFerrari.

Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari drill

Neither legible, wearable nor particularly attractive (unless you like dung beetles), the Laferrari is famous/infamous for its hand-held power winder, spinning-up a 50-day power reserve. That’s days, not hours.

Hublot LeFerrari movement

Gearheads were more impressed – assuming they were – with the Hublot movement’s attempt to look like a Ferrari engine. Well, an engine, ’cause the high-priced Hublot’s powerplant looks nothing like LaFerrari’s mild hybrid V12.

The LaFerrari watch hasn’t held its value; a new-in-box example reserved at Chrono24 lists for $90k below retail. This spectacular, some-would-say-ridiculous range – the $550k diamond version is a total hoot – may have led to a parting of the ways between Hublot and Ferrari. If not, it should have.

Panerai Ferrari California Flyback Chronograph – $19k New

Panerai Ferrari California Flyback Chronograph

The Swiss [masquerading as Italian] Panerai watch brand went big with its Ferrari fellowship. Saying that, the Richemont sub offered timepieces produced under license from Ferrari in both 40mm and 45mm sizes.

Panerai Ferrari Scuderia Rattrapante

Panerai sold their Ferrari watches in a range of configurations: small seconds, bi-compax, tri-compax (above), LuminorGMT and my fave, the California Flyback. And not just because I use the term for Austin-based California refugees.

The OP XIX COSC-certified chronometer movement (base Valjoux 7750) is rock solid. As you’d expect from the brand that built watches for Nazi swimmers, the California’s water resistant to 100m.

Panerai Ferrari California casebackLike the Porsche Design Chronograph 911 GT3, the Panerai California’s tied to a car (the Ferrari California). Unlike the PD Chrono, you don’t have to actually buy the car to own the watch.

And yet, despite the name, the black and red OP bi-compax is more G-Wagon stolid than elegant Italian. For that we turn the clock back again to visit with Girard Perregaux.

Girard Perregaux Ferrari Watch – From $3k to $55k

Girard Perregaux Ferrari watch

Girard Perregaux has just announced it’s hooking up with Aston Martin F1. In the main, GP’s ’90’s affiliation with Ferrari was a subdued, mid-market affair: garden variety chronographs with the Ferrari horse kicking up its heels at the 12.

If yellow’s your thing, if you’d rather not wear a Panerai pie plate on your wrist and you’re not the kind of guy who buys a Ferrari to get laid, the 38mm Girard Perregaux Ferrari Collection Chronograph Stainless Steel remains as it was: an ideal homage.

Girard Perregaux Ferrari Rattrapante Gelbgold Chronograph

Moving up in both size and price, the 39mm yellow gold $12k Girard Perregaux Ferrari Rattrapante Gelbgold [split second] Chronograph  is perhaps the most debonair Ferrari watch yet crafted.

It’s the one to keep in mind when Mssr. Mille unveils his first ham sandwich-thick desecration of Ferrari’s reputation for svelte beauty. Just sayin’ . . .

Girard Perregaux Ferrari Limited Edition Monopusher Girard Perregaux took a couple of Hublot-like liberties with the Ferrari remit. The “distinctive” manual winding 31mm X 47mm white gold Girard Perregaux Ferrari Limited Edition Monopusher was a WTF swing-and-a-miss.

Riffing on the legendary TAG Heuer Gulf liveried Monaco, the engraving of a vintage 315 (hardtop?) on the closed caseback is the only visual tie-in with the Ferrari marque.

Girard Perregaux Tribute to Enzo Ferrari Tourbillon

And then there’s this Hublot-like shark jump: the 44mm platinum-cased Girard Perregaux Tribute to Enzo Ferrari Tourbillon.

Complicated yes. Enzo-appropriate no. Save, perhaps, the tachymeter where the minute markers should be. The price is a bit jarring ($55kish) and the lack of Ferrari branding startling. But then so is everything else about the watch.

Apex Ferrari Watch

Apex quartz Ferrari watch

In Ford vs. Ferrari Watches we highlighted the cheap quartz timekeepers Ferrari sells through its online store. Given stupendous margins and the sheer weight of numbers, the corporate mothership is unlikely to kick its addiction to timekeeping tat. And keep sucking up the high end horology cash, besides.

Richard Mille’s dance with the Italian automaker will be highly profitable – right until it isn’t. Just as Enzo would fire a driver without a second thought, just as Ferrari has worked its way through big name watch manufacturers, Ferrari will drop RM when the money dries up. For now, I can’t wait to see what over-engineered abomination Mssr. Mille will place in pole position.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In case anyone was wondering about the little Simon board game color wheel on the Girard Perregaux Tribute to Enzo Ferrari Tourbillon, that is the month subdial that encompasses the entire four year cycle.

  2. The “cheap quartz timekeeper” at the bottom is the best looking watch out of the bunch on this page! LOL!

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