Automobiles, aviation and sailing. These are basically the three fields of sponsoring invested in by around 80% of men’s watch brands. Beyond that perimeter lie a handful of sports shared out between the industry’s juggernauts, such as golf, football (Hublot), equestrian sports and tennis (Longines), along with a sprinkling of more exotic disciplines such as speleology (Louis Moinet) or tightrope walking (Jeanrichard). Gaining credibility in these three leading disciplines therefore calls for strong and consistent investment, which is exactly what Eberhard achieves through a clever strategic approach.
Motorsports: finding the right niche
The automobile world ranges from the classic cars of the Concours d’Elégance Richard Mille to the state-of-the-art Formula 1 racing cars sponsored by TAG Heuer. But there is one particular niche that Eberhard has basically cornered: historical Italian racing cars. Doubtless a highly specialised pigeonhole, but a world that is entirely in tune with the brand identity.
The latter introduced its first chronograph in 1919 and 1992 saw the creation of a model in tribute to the Italian racing driver Tazio Nuvolari that would become a pillar of its collections. The Italian connection continued in 1996 with the Traversetolo, in 2005 with the Temerario, and in 2014 with the Contograft.
At the start of 2015, the collector of classic cars Corrado Lopresto has also chosen to share Eberhard & Co.’s journey through the world of historical cars by becoming an official brand ambassador. This Milan-based architect and entrepreneur is one of the best-known figures on the international classic car scene, thanks to an incomparable collection and a track record including more than 200 prizes, as well as a record-winning four gold cups in the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elégance, the most important in Europe. The collector and Eberhard have just sealed their partnership at the Rétromobile car show in Paris.
From workbench to race track
Above and beyond these exhibition partnerships, Eberhard has supported other events of a similar nature. In January 2015, for the first time ever, Eberhard & Co. was the official timekeeper – in the “veterans” category – of one of the most daring competitions: the “Winter Raid” that crosses the Alps. 53 vintage cars, presented in their original configuration, vied with each other on the snowy roads from St. Moritz to Kitzbühel. At that particular time of year, the route certainly poses a challenge even for perfectly equipped modern cars. These vintage cars and their drivers, timed by Eberhard & Co., certainly needed a double dose of daring and courage.
Also in Italy, Eberhard & Co has for the past three years been serving as official sponsor of the ClassicTeam, the historical Mantuan racing stable, which it sponsors in major rallies. This commitment even extends to personalising the “Tazio Nuvolari” chronographs that Eberhard & Co places at its teams’ disposal.
In the past three months alone, Eberhard has sponsored the Rally Legend, along with the Grand Prix Nuvolari which it has been supporting for more than 20 years, all to the tune of the brand’s charming Italian ambassador, singer Laura Pausini. At the end of the day, it’s hard to see which automobile territory might still be up for grabs for watch brands seeking to develop their image there. What one can say for certain is that Italian classic car racing has become the undeniably exclusive preserve of Eberhard & Co.