In the driver's seat
Gulf Business|July 2021
A centuries-old Swiss watchmaker and a thoroughly British luxury carmaker recently joined forces, announcing the first timepiece as a result of that partnership
VARUN GODINHO

Only a few months ago, storied British carmaker Aston Martin was in dire straits. The company had gone public in 2018, but by early 2020, it was in deep trouble with sluggish sales, massive expenditures, and faltering product strategies. Surely, the pandemic would be the last nail in its coffin. That was until Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll rallied a band of investors and wrestled control of Aston Martin.

It’s been a stellar comeback since, with Aston Martin reporting that its revenue in Q1 2021 rose 153 per cent to GBP244.4m on the back of the runaway success of its DBX SUV which accounted for 55 per cent of the total number of vehicles sold in the first three months of this year. Stroll is raring for much more – by 2025, he wants the brand to make revenues of GBP2bn.

A major decision he took, apart from announcing a strategic partnership with Mercedes, was to return Aston Martin to the pinnacle of motorsport – Formula 1 – this year. The significance of the move is not lost on Marek Reichman, executive vice president and chief creative officer at Aston Martin Lagonda. “Aston Martin has just come back to Formula One after 61 years, and I think that gives you an idea of the future of the brand,” said Reichman, during a recent press meet to discuss the brand’s latest partnership with Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux.

In February, Aston Martin announced that it would enter into a long-term (neither would confirm how long) partnership with Girard-Perregaux. Swiss watch brands partnering with major carmakers and motorsport events is not uncommon – Richard Mille recently joined forces with Ferrari, IWC has a long-standing relationship with Mercedes, and Rolex signed up as title sponsor of Formula 1 in 2013.

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