Zenith Chronograph | Ferrari-signed | Steel
Gift from Enzo Ferrari
The story begins at Monza, on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd September 1950. It was the final race of the season, of the very first Formula One world championship. The title was still within reach of a number of drivers. Ferrari brought-out two, 375 F1 cars with new engines (bored out to 4,494 cc) for Alberto Ascari and Dorino Serafini (standing in for the injured Luigi Villoresi). On lap twenty-two of the race, Ascari's Ferrari broke its rear axle, with Alfa Romeo driver Juan Manuel Fangio losing his gearbox two laps later.
When Fangio commandeered his teammate’s car, Ascari took Serafini’s, to give chase to fellow championship contender (and Alfa Romeo driver) Nino Farina. Although he pushed hard, Farina ultimately took the win, claiming the first Championship title, at his home race. This was to be Serafini’s only taste of a World-Championship F1 race, but Enzo Ferrari was so impressed by Serafini’s performance (in support of Ascari), that he was presented with a special Zenith chronograph, shortly after the race.
This commemorative, chronograph has a light, sun-brushed silver dial with “Scuderia Ferrari” text and an iconic, yellow prancing-horse at 6 o’clock, uniquely depicted on this watch. The faceted hour indexes are applied, with small squares at 3 and 9 o’clock, accommodating the chronograph registers and Arabic numerals at 12 and 6. The Zenith star is applied at 12 o’clock, above the classic “ZENITH" font. The dauphine-hands are sharp and filled with luminous material, for optimal legibility. Further to his, the dial also features a clear outer-track - suited to motorsport timing - with 1/5 second demarcations and larger, Arabic numerals for 5 second increments.
The 37mm case displays a mixture of polished and brushed surfaces, showing light wear consistent with use. The flat-crown is correct, carrying the Zenith star in relief (with a small ‘z’ at the centre), with corresponding, original pump pushers. On the reverse, the screw-down case-back features “ZENITH, SWISS MADE” - “SHOCK & WATER PROTECTED” and “NON-MAGNETIC, STAINLESS STEEL” alongside the watch’s unique case number - corresponding to the original guarantee papers.
This Zenith chronograph houses a Zenith-signed, two-register, column-wheel chronograph movement from one of the great ébauche manufactures of the time - the St. Imier-based, Excelsior Park. The movement is a descendant of the oblong Calibre 12/13 (explaining the spacing of components within the case), known for its quality and innovative design. The movement has been fully serviced and keeps excellent time, despite visible tarnishing on the metal.
It is widely-documented that Enzo Ferrari regularly requested custom-branded watches, ordered from manufactures such as Super Royal, Vetta, Longines and Zenith (in exceptionally limited numbers). These were offered as gifts to his drivers and other VIPs - each representing a unique place in racing history - with this Zenith example one of the most notable to have been gifted. This rare Zenith chronograph is the only example known in this configuration, further enhanced by its direct link to the event it was presented.
The watch is accompanied by its original, Ferrari-signed, Zenith box, along with its original guarantee papers (assigned to Dorino Serafini). It also comes with several photographs of Serafini, Enzo Ferrari, the 375 F1 race-car and other memorabilia. The watch is fitted with a grey suede strap and a period-appropriate, non-original, Zenith buckle.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Movement:||mechanical column-wheel Excelsior Park chronograph|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes|
|Features:||unrestored dial, Ferrari-branded, gift from Enzo Ferrari|
|Case:||37 mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet:||suede strap, period Zenith buckle|
|Box & papers:||original Ferrari-branded Zenith box, original signed guarantee papers, photographs and memorabilia corresponding to the watches provenance|
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