Are remarkable timepieces de rigueur for companies wishing to mark a milestone in their existence? Short of a hard-and-fast rule, examples certainly aren’t lacking. Take Pininfarina, which began a long-term collaboration with Bovet with an anniversary model for the Italian design firm’s 80th anniversary. More recently, Ermenegildo Zegna, which celebrated its centenary early July in Shanghai, turned to Girard-Perregaux for a timepiece that would commemorate four generations of the Zegna family at the head of the firm. Fine Watchmaking has already shown its irresistible lure for couture companies in search of diversification opportunities, as the joint enterprise between Ralph Lauren and Richemont confirms. This new collaboration suggests the trend is far from over.
While only the Italian couturier’s signature features on the dial of this anniversary model, there is no mistaking the characteristics of a Girard-Perregaux watch, in particular the many similarities with the 1966 Annual Calendar and Equation of Time model, from the hands and markers to the display, in particular the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and the month in an arched aperture at 5 o’clock. The model which Girard-Perregaux has created for Ermenegildo Zegna is, however, mechanically less complex, being equipped with the Calibre 3300-0042 with a single complication, namely an annual calendar which requires manual adjustment just once a year.
The Italian group posts revenues of some €800 million thanks to a global network of 555 stores, including 311 own-name stores. For CEO Gildo Zegna, this incursion into watches was a natural development: “My great-grandfather Angelo was a watchmaker by trade before moving into textile, hence we felt that creating a Centennial watch had special significance. I was first introduced to Gino Macaluso, CEO and owner of Girard-Perregaux, by a mutual friend. We immediately sensed we could create something together. We share the same values and a particular affinity for the finest craftsmanship and precision instruments. Our two brands have a rich heritage and a family vision of business. And we are both obsessed by the same passion for quality.”
For Girard-Perregaux and its 219-year history, a collaboration such as this, which celebrates Italian entrepreneurship dedicated to luxury, is tailor-made.