7 May 2013 marked the fiftieth anniversary from when Ferruccio Lamborghini signed the document founding his automobile company. He was already a successful businessman, with a lot of money, and a very practical outlook. This enabled him to reach his goals very quickly. In just three years, the Miura was on the road, giving the company great visibility. This was followed by all the other legendary Lambos: Countach, Diablo, Gallardo, Aventador... Today it is a global company, selling in 45 countries. Over the course of the last ten years, production has grown to almost 2,000 cars a year, while the workstaff has expanded from 400 to 1,000.
Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Lamborghini, said, "What really makes the difference is technical innovation. Every year we invest 20% of revenue into research. In addition, we have an ethical approach to our environment and our people. We aim at becoming CO2-neutral by 2015. We support the local area around our base at Sant'Agata Bolognese. We are convinced that Lamborghini has to remain a dream, for all the brand's fans, but we are also aware of our responsibilities."
Raffaele Porro, Director of Communications and External Relations at Lamborghini, described the 50th Anniversary Grand Tour. "This is the largest ever gathering of cars from the 'House of the Raging Bull,' with 350 supercars from all over the world. A hundred Lambos arrived last night and are already at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Others are sill arriving. By tomorrow morning, 8 May 2013, there will be 350, for a total of 190,000 horsepower. If they were all put together, they would form a 4-kilometre queue. They are from 29 countries, of which the United Kingdom has the most numerous representation, followed by Switzerland."
The Grand Tour will take the cars from Milan to Rome, and then to Bologna, and finally to the home of Lamborghini, Sant'Agata Bolognese. A concours d'elegance will take place in Bologna, where the best of show will receive a Blancpain watch.
Blancpain is in fact the main sponsor for the event, though the two companies have been involved in a partnership for more than four years. Alain Delamuraz, Vice President and Head of Marketing at Blancpain, said, "Our companies share the same DNA, the same values. Manufacturing a quality car, just like a watch, needs long-term thinking. Just consider that the time from concept to the prototype of a new watch is about five or six years, comparable to the development of a car. Like Lamborghini, we do as much as possible in-house. The process requires careful handcrafting as well as intellectual brilliance: each of our movements is assembled by a single watchmaker. We are committed to our relationship with Lamborghini: they have never had a partnership with another watch brand, and likewise, Blancpain has never had another car brand partner. At the end of the day, for both of us, respect, authenticity and passion generates emotion. Life is nothing without emotion."
An example of the way in which the partnership with Lamborghini has filtered into Blancpain's products can be seen in the latest addition to the L-evolution collection, the Ref. 8886F with flyback split-seconds chronograph and large date. Carbon fibre is used on the bezel, caseback and dial, and colours are black and red. The 8 o'clock pusher is reminiscent of a fuel cap. The column-wheel chronograph movement, Calibre 69F9, has 409 parts and 44 jewels, with a 40-hour power reserve. The split-second chronograph is a beautiful and demanding complication, so that intermediate times can be read. The split-second (rattrapante) hand is superimposed onto the chronograph sweep seconds hand, and when the split second function is activated by the pusher at 8 o'clock, the rattrapante hand stops to enable the intermediate time to be read, while the sweep seconds hand continues running. A second press on the pusher enables the split-second hand to catch up with the sweep seconds hand.
The Lamborghini-Blancpain story is built on solid foundations and shared goals. As Stephan Winkelmann concluded, "A luxury brand can never be a follower. We must always lead from the front – in design, in technology and, of course, in quality standards. Lamborghini builds extreme, uncompromising and Italian super sports cars. Quality is the ultimate value in our business – and the decisive basis for our success. We want to achieve the absolute satisfaction of every single one of our customers – a Lamborghini driver should be able to feel proud every day.”
Below, some more images from the event: