April 11, 2017
Germany’s Montblanc is appealing to automotive enthusiasts through a multi-year partnership with the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Drawing on its heritage ties to the motor racing world, the Richemont-owned watchmaker will be the official timing partner of the annual event for the next five years. While Montblanc is a relative newcomer to the watchmaking world, it incorporated a company with more than a century of history in timekeeping.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an event that dates back to the nineties, but its roots go further back. Held on the estate of the Dukes of Richmond, the event was formed to honor the memory of a former duke.
Freddie March, the 9th Duke of Richmond, was an auto mechanic trained at Bentley and a racecar driver. In 1936, he staged a private event for the Lancia Car Club at the estate.
Mr. March’s grandson, who is the Earl of March, launched the Festival of Speed in 1993, and it has been held each year since.
The 2017 Festival of Speed presented by MasterCard will be held from June 29 to July 2.
Mercedes-Benz sculpture at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014
This year's theme is "Peaks of Performance – Motorsport's Game-Changers," paying homage to driving machines that changed the competition. In honor of the theme, during the event, Montblanc will present a series of 10 Game-Changers.
With some of these models dating back to the 1920s, a Montblanc-branded plaque will tell the history of these cars. The machines will also climb Goodwood's hill over the weekend.
Taking this affiliation beyond the physical event, Montblanc and Goodwood will launch an online platform dubbed "Speed and Style" exploring some of the most coveted cars, as well as covering Montblanc's appearance at the Festival of Speed.
“Goodwood is the ultimate celebration of the traditions and achievements of automotive racing over the past century, while Montblanc’s heritage is closely tied to the chronographs used during the glory days of motor racing,” says Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc. “This partnership brings together two great traditions – one focused on pushing boundaries in the field of automotive innovation and racing, the other on innovating in the field of timekeeping performance.”
One of Montblanc's watchmaking facilities is the former manufacture of watchmaker Minerva.
Established in 1858, Minerva specialized in complicated movements, including the chronograph. In 1960, Minerva developed the "Rally Timer," which could time races more accurately.
Richemont acquired Minerva in 2006 and the watchmaker was absorbed into Montblanc's operations. In honor of Minerva's racing heritage, Montblanc will be releasing a masculine, technologically-driven TimeWalker collection around Goodwood.
Last year, automakers worked at full throttle to leave a lasting impression on attendees to the United Kingdom's Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The 2016 Goodwood Festival drew an average attendance of more than 100,000 each day and boasted hundreds of vehicles from the motorsport world. The ties to the racing world materialize in the appearance of top drivers and Formula 1 stars and their vehicles, but brands also use the festival to debut their latest vehicles and find other ways to make impressions, including high-tech offerings (see story).