Shanghai is a city in transition, poised for a major breakthrough as the metropolitan beacon of mainland China, simmering with its potentially massive luxury market. Shanghai’s space-age skyscrapers rise ambitiously into the smog, juxtaposed with the low-slung pagoda roofs of decrepit and doomed old neighborhoods. VWs and Buicks clog the bustling streets, having replaced scores of old-fashioned bicycles, and a shiny new luxury shopping mall purveys the latest fashions from Prada, Gucci, and Ermenegildo Zegna. In recognition of Shanghai’s progress and promise, Girard-Perregaux chose this dramatic city for the debut of the Enzo Ferrari watch, its latest groundbreaking timepiece developed through the decade-long partnership with the Italian automaker. The Enzo Ferrari watch was inspired by the supercar that was introduced last year as an homage to the company’s founder.
“It will go down in history as the pinnacle association between watches and cars,” says Ronald Jackson, president and COO of Girard-Perregaux North America. “Here you have the most extreme Ferrari introduced in 60 years along with one of the most extreme watches we’ve ever produced.”
Like its namesake car, the Enzo watch races into new technical territory with an unprecedented number of complications. The watch marks the first time Girard-Perregaux has combined a perpetual calendar with a chronograph, moon phase, and 24-hour indicator—all powered by the brand’s signature three-bridge tourbillon movement. The gray dial features 11 hands and four subdials that ingeniously display dual chronograph and perpetual calendar functions: The date hand and second counter are combined at the 12 o’clock position; the 24-hour counter and moon phase are paired on the subdial at 3 o’clock; the 12-hour counter and days of the week are indicated at 6 o’clock; and the subdial at 9 o’clock displays the minute counter and four-year counter with the automatic correction for months with fewer than 31 days and leap years.
When you turn the watch over, you are rewarded with a view of its beating heart: Girard-Perregaux’s three-bridge tourbillon hand-wound movement, a descendant of a movement originally developed for a pocket watch in the mid-19th century. “The movement required two years of development, but it is the result of two centuries of skill,” says Maurice Spiri, commercial director of the Sowind Group, Girard-Perregaux’s parent company.
Subtle design elements offer discreet nods to the Enzo car and its Formula 1 connection: The year-cycle indicator at 9 o’clock displays the bright colors used on racecar instrument panels, and the barrel drum on the back of the movement, above the tourbillon, has a spoked-wheel motif inspired by a part of the Enzo’s engine. Girard-Perregaux extends the racecar theme to the presentation box. It is a huge red lacquer case, inside which sits a mechanical device that resembles part of an automotive engine outfitted with a manual winder mechanism that keeps your Enzo primed when not in use.
Girard-Perregaux will produce no more than 399 pieces (priced at around $210,000 in 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold, and $220,000 in platinum), a number that corresponds to the number of Enzo cars produced. But what is even more limiting is the company’s capacity to produce only 15 to 20 pieces per year. In addition to the standard model, Girard-Perregaux will offer a customized version for the select few who were able to acquire one of the Enzo cars. “We want to personalize it for the Enzo car owner,” explains Luigi “Gino” Macaluso, president of Girard-Perregaux and CEO of Sowind Group. “When he buys the car, he can choose the color or dash dial styles, but the body and engine are the same. The watch would have the same movement and case, but you can change the aesthetics—parts of the dial or the finishing of the movement or case.”
Some may be taken aback by Enzo’s restrained and sporty design for a timepiece of such high complication, especially considering that it shares a name with a car that struts its F/1-inspired flamboyance. But Macaluso is a devout believer in purity—purity of image, product, quality, and manufacturing. “We decided to produce a very nice watch, not a gadget,” he explains. “A lot of people design strange watches because they don’t produce the movement. There’s no quality control, no knowledge, so they try to astonish the public with a strange design. Here, we maintain our persona: It is a GP design, not Ferrari, and it is GP technology completely produced in-house. It is for the true, cultivated connoisseur, not a follower of fashion.”