Girard-Perregaux

PARIS — Girard-Perregaux has struck up a partnership with Aston Martin, becoming the official timekeeper of the British carmaker ahead of its return to Formula 1 racing as a works team this year, bringing together the prestige of the two high-end labels at a key moment for both.

The labels plan to produce limited-edition watches together. In a statement outlining the partnership, they highlighted the curvy Aston Martin DBR1 from 1956 — and its side vent, which performs a key function — and, from the watchmaker, the three-bridges tourbillion, a functional element brought to the forefront as a design trait in 1867.

“The two brands can learn a great deal from one another,” said Tobias Moers, chief executive officer of Aston Martin Lagonda. The executive stressed the watchmaker’s reputation for innovation through materials and new technology.

The move marks important milestones for the companies, noted Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, citing the historic watchmaker’s 230th anniversary this year along with the carmaker’s return to Formula 1 as a works team — an industry term for a manufacturer that builds its own car and engine — for the first time in more than 60 years.

“Uniting our worlds to create something special is the perfect way to acknowledge and appreciate these milestones,” remarked Pruniaux.

Since taking up management of the historic watchmaker, which belongs to Kering, Pruniaux has focused efforts on a more select product assortment, reining in the number of novelties launched each year while running tightly focused communications campaigns around them.

The executive has also sought to introduce a more approachable communications style than others operating in the haute horlogerie segment — the label’s watches run upward of $150,000, while the lower-priced segment starts at around $10,000. A campaign last year featured youth setting up candles on a dock at night, for example.

The tie-up with James Bond’s famous carmaker kicks off a year of anniversary events for the label.

Bringing further visibility to Girard-Perregaux, Aston Martin’s Cognizant Formula 1 team cars will be stamped with the watchmaker’s name when the season kicks off in Bahrain in March, while the co-branded timepieces will be launched later in the year.

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO and principal of the carmaker’s Formula 1 team, noted both labels are focused on combining premium quality and technology.

In other notable links between watchmakers and car brands, Tag Heuer and Porsche announced a broad partnership earlier this month, spanning motorsports events and exclusive timepieces.

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