Mamma mia! I finally got some hands-on time with the ultra, ultra elusive and exclusive Scuderia Ferrari One watch built by Cabestan only for VIP Ferrari customers. I originally wrote about this Cabestan Ferrari watch back here in 2010 when previewing it. Now I got some hands-on time with one of the rare pieces and can easily say that it does feel like a real Ferrari on the wrist.
In America boys are raised with cars as being the ultimate luxury toy that they desire from well before they can drive. It isn't uncommon for kids to have posters of super cars in their room and eagerly anticipate the day they may be able to afford even a budget model. That day doesn't come for many people but that doesn't stop them form lusting over these powerful and impractical machines. To a large degree that is what makes the high-end car industry so powerful - the fact that people are bred from a small age to want one. In at least the United States the same isn't true with watches at this time. Perhaps that will change in the future. I can hope and with the amount of marketing dollars being pumped into the media it might happen a bit sooner than later.
Maybe a good way of moving in that direction is the marriage of cars and watches in successful packages such as this. Ferrari has had an interesting history with watch brands. I think that this small partnership with Cabestan was one of the most successful in terms of creating an amazing product. Right now the only watch brand that will be making Ferrari-branded watches is Hublot. We will see what cool products will come as a result very soon.
For those people lucky enough to ever own one of these Scuderia Ferrari One watches life is good. Cabestan is a limited production Swiss brand with a truly fascinating recent history. Their master watch maker is one of the most talented guys around and this piece was designed by the idea-king Mr. Ruchonnet who is responsible for many of today's other most interesting watch concepts.
The Scuderia Ferrari One was a design evolution on the original Winch Vertical Tourbillon. The movement is mostly the same, but the case and concept are quite different. The case on the watch is beautifully designed and crafted. It feels so good on the wrist and hearkens the look of Ferrari engine parts and tools. It is possible that I am wrong but I think the case here is titanium. The little details that promote this theme are intense and highly engineered. I am not enough of a Ferrari expert to appreciate them all. The base watch itself has some wild features to it that just adds to how much this is a gear-head's watches.
Bulging corners on the watch part of the winch connection system. Only the top two ones are for operating the watch though. This is where the winch system comes in. Cabestan provides a tiny mechanical winch that you attach to the case. Attaching it to the left side allows you to wind the movement (which has a three day power reserve), and right side is for changing the time. It works beautifully in an oddly over-engineered manner. The winch itself is made up of about 40 parts. It is a testament to horology that something that like even exists as it sits on the tip of your finger and even has a sapphire exhibition window to see the parts. The internal mechanism mostly acts as winding limiter to prevent you from over-winding and damaging the movement.
As the winch detaches there is risk of losing it. It actually stores in a special compartment in the watch deployment clasp. Good thinking Cabestan. Lose the winch and the price is about 4,500 Swiss Francs for a new one. The winch system was fun but proved to be a bit impractical. Moving forward on watches such as the Cabestan Trapezium, the brand has engineered the need for the winch out of the watch concept. It will remain a special thing of legends in the watch world and a sign of things that can come out of this industry.
The Ferrari watch of course retains the winch concept, but the piece also comes with a stylus you can use for winding it and adjusting the time. It is a very unique system and you'll be amazed at the details if you ever get to play with one. The movement itself is a watch nerds dream. Most people will have no ability to appreciate it or understand what they are looking at. The movement combines a vertical tourbillon and fusee and chain transmission system. It is incredibly accurate for a mechanical watch and tells the time on moving drums. Overall indicators for the watch are the time with seconds, and a power reserve indicator.
The original Winch Vertical Tourbillon has two windows to see the dial with a middle section separating them. The Scuderia Ferrari One still has the middle section, but just one sapphire crystal over the entire face of the watch. This is where the Ferrari logo sits - on a carbon fiber middle rod. Very much in line with the Ferrari look. The movement itself is something anyone can enjoy. It is very cool to operate and watch in action. Cabestan has done an extremely good job with it. The concept has quirks of course, but you genuinely feel that it is something worth what they charge.
Ferrari is notoriously picky in the items they allow to have their name on it. Cabestan originally didn't expect for the project to go through - but the design and base watch impressed the Ferrari people enough to green light the project. As you can see on the rear of the watch, it is limited to 60 pieces. That isn't very many watches and Cabestan reportedly doesn't even know who most of the owners are as most were sold through Ferrari to customers directly. I am pretty sure you needed to have a Ferrari car to even be considered to buy one of these. Price wise it is actually like having a Ferrari on your wrist.
Is this the ultimate accessory for Ferrari owners? Probably. 100 years from now I wonder what people will think of it. Will they remember what Cabestan was all about. Will the watch make sense? Will they realize that it is a Ferrari approved design? Seeing things like this bring together so many worlds I love that it is hard not to get giddy. The Cabestan Scuderia Ferrari One is an interesting horological rarity borne out of passion and the mutual respect that two brands had for one another. The owners of these watches are more than lucky. Price was well north of $300,000.