Ferrari’s Big Bang Theory

Finali Mondiali
Scenes from the 2017 Finali Mondiali at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany

October 28th and 29th saw Ferrari host the Finali Mondiali (or Ferrari World Finals) at its Mugello circuit in Tuscany. Held every year, it marks the conclusion of the Grand Touring season. This year’s Finali was a particular highlight as 2017 is the 70th anniversary of Ferrari itself.

The event plays host to the final races of several Ferrari competitions – including those of the XX programmes, the Ferrari Challenge and the F1 Clienti – due to the mix of racing categories, all manner of rare and remarkable cars from throughout Ferrari’s history are on show. A record number were present this year, from F1 cars dating back to the sport’s earlier days, to more general track cars, road cars and also the first Ferrari ever built, the 125 S. A gala dinner held on the Saturday evening, provided the perfect opportunity to present winning drivers with their trophies and to unveil the new FXX-K EVO track car.

Ricardo Guadalupe at the Finali Mondiali
Ricardo Guadalupe at the Finali Mondiali
Martin Fuentes and Ricardo Guadalupe
Martin Fuentes, Ricardo Guadalupe

A sponsor of Ferrari for five years now, Hublot was on hand at Mugello to lend its support and serve as official timekeeper. Alongside the Finali Mondiali and Ferrari’s septuagenarianism, this year also saw the evolution of Hublot and Ferrari’s partnership, and of watch/car brand partnerships in general, with the release of the Hublot Big Bang Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph at Baselworld in March. A manually-wound monopusher chronograph housed in a skeletonised case, the Techframe was designed not by Hublot but by its automotive partner, Ferrari and its Head of Design Flavio Manzoni.

Manzoni says of the Techframe project, “We’re used to working on very complex projects at Ferrari and we have a very clear idea of what design is in the real sense of the term, not styling but design. When you design a Ferrari you cannot design a shape just because you like it, there also has to be a reason why… the link between form and function, form and performance is always present. It’s a must. Our approach is always very honest, the form should speak its own language: the values and meanings of the product. And this is what we tried to transfer to the watch.”

He goes on to add, “I don’t like to work fanatically in one field, it’s important to create a short-circuit between different disciplines. We drew inspiration from architecture and science fiction for this watch, not only cars. I think this is the key to our approach, a very open minded and transversal one. In a very natural way we could create something that is different, something that is not obvious.”

Hublot Big Bang Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph
Hublot Big Bang Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph
Flavio Manzoni and Ricardo Guadalupe
Flavio Manzoni and Ricardo Guadalupe

It should be noted at this point that this is not the first time an automotive designer has dabbled in watches, far from it. For instance, Giorgetto Giugiaro designed several watches for Seiko in the 1980s (which have become highly collectable and coveted pieces in their own right) and Gerry McGovern had a role in last year’s Zenith El Primero Range Rover. But, Hublot and Ferrari’s Techframe project stands as one of the few times a watchmaker has relinquished full control of a watch’s design to an automotive partner. And the outcome is incredible.

Hublot’s CEO, Ricardo Guadalupe, recalls, “Flavio came to me and said, ‘My team is motivated, I am motivated, we’d like to design a watch for the 70th anniversary of Ferrari.’ I’m really open to new ways of creating watches, I always say at Hublot we must be inspired by other fields. Flavio and his team started in three directions, but we decided on the Techframe design. I think it’s really something new in the watch industry; the case and its frame, it’s something totally innovative.” On the possibility of more Manzoni-designed watches in the future, Guadalupe simply says, “Absolutely”.