Last weekend saw the Antibes stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. It is an unusual association in the world of sport, since it is spearheaded on the personal initiative of the brand’s CEO and Panerai also enters its own yacht in the regatta.
The Earth’s landmass is huge, but the oceans are even bigger. This is why a number of replica Rolex watches for sale brands can be involved in sponsoring regattas without necessarily coming into contact with each other. Panerai has found its position mid-way between the giant Rolex and independents such as HYT. The Italian brand sponsors what is today the biggest international regatta circuit. Taking place from April till September, the Classic Yachts Challenge comprises nine races featuring some of the most beautiful classic yachts. Is it a sponsorship based on pure marketing? Not entirely.
It all started with Panerai’s CEO Angelo Bonati, who is crazy about classic yachting. The brand’s global sponsorship is therefore a direct result of the passion of one man, who has driven a partnership that has now been in place for eleven years.
Malgré l’immensité des mers, les vieux gréements ne se frôlent souvent qu’à quelques mètres durant les régates.
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One man, one yacht, one race
Last weekend in Antibes, Mr Bonati therefore eschewed any obligations, abandoned his schedule and interviews, put on his shorts and hat and stepped aboard Eilean, the brand’s own classic yacht. It is a moment of pure pleasure that he allows himself whenever his schedule permits. Away from the photographers and their flashes, Angelo Bonati savours even the shortest outing on “his” yacht with its crew, becoming an anonymous sailor who, on land, manages one of the flagship brands of the Richemont group.
This yacht, Eilean, is the second particularity in Panerai’s commitment to yachting. Very few brands actually participate in the competitions that they sponsor, since many are afraid of failure in their own discipline. Examples to the contrary, such as Marc Hayek driving his own Lamborghini in the Super Trofeo sponsored by Blancpain, are few and far between.
50 tonnes of Italian grace
Panerai acquired the Bermudan ketch Eilean in 2007, spent three years restoring it and now enters it into the Classic Yachts Challenge just like any other competitor. Built in 1936 – the same year as the prototype of the first Radiomir – the 22-metre vessel has a displacement of 50 tonnes and has been competing on the circuit for the past two years. The brand’s participation is all the more exceptional given the formidable competition that it faces in the regattas.
Eilean a été restaurée durant plus de deux ans grâce à Panerai. La marque a conservé autant que possible ses matériaux et pièces d’origine.
© Delos Communications
For the moment at least, Panerai does not produce any watches dedicated to these regattas. The Luminor 1950 Regatta, with its regatta countdown timer, is however an ideal timepiece for this type of event. In fact, a quick check among the skippers last weekend showed that most of them were wearing Swiss Made mechanical Swiss fake Rolex watches rather than the electronic watches used for ocean races. Eilean also has the privilege of having custom made cockpit instruments specially designed and engraved for her. The gift is in line with the vessel’s responsibility, since it is Eilean that upholds the craftsmanship of Panerai in all conditions. Designed in Italy, made in Neuchâtel.
Panerai a fait spécialement réaliser pour Eilean un jeu complet d’instruments de mesure de navigation.
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