Panerai And Ferrari Officially Break Up
It was a rocky relationship is there ever was one. Several years ago Panerai was given the contract to make Ferrari branded timepieces - luxury ones that is. Panerai was searingly hot in the mid 2000's, with popularity and demand at incredibly high levels. It seemed to make executive sense to have them design and produce watches with the famous Italian stallion super car moniker on them. Sources indicate that the agreement wasn't really something Panerai even wanted to deal with in the first place, but was pressured to engage in by parent company the Richemont Group. Nevertheless, in 2005 the famous Italian watch brand took on the Italian car brand under its horological wing (under a 5 year agreement).
Almost from the beginning the watches could not sell. Consumers disapproved of them, and stores couldn't move them. The watches that probably averaged in the $10,000 range were notorious for losing value - it was almost a joke if someone bought one. The sad thing was that nothing was inherently wrong with the watches. It was just not enough for the money - not nearly enough. For those who really did like the watches, it was a blessing, as you could get one at an incredible discount even brand new from a retailer. In 2005, the two companies began their five year relationship. With the contract due to expire now, neither side has any desire to renew. It is possible that the relationship was botched from the beginning. Ferrari itself seemed to have absolutely no influence on the watches, and Panerai fans just saw the pieces are more expensive, less attractive, and chintzy looking Panerai timepieces.
For those in the industry this is no surprise. The question now is who will Ferrari partner up with next? While Panerai is likely happy to be rid of the deal, others are likely drooling to get the Ferrari name license. Will it be another popular high-end brand? Will Ferrari go down market with cheaper watches that are affordable but don't do the nameplate justice? Perhaps Ferrari will go with another route altogether and find a smaller independent brands that can make high-end watches more akin to the Ferrari look and lifestyle. I will wait and see. Until then, this breakup seems to have no unhappy parties expect for those very few people that actually bought the watches.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.