From the very earliest days of the automobile, timing laps and rally stages required precision and consistency. As such, motor racing and wristwatches have always gone hand-in-hand, with enthusiasts of one almost inevitably being drawn to the other. Here at OGB, we started out as racing enthusiasts who first heard of Rolex, Tudor, and Tag because of their involvement in racing. If you’ve been a watch person for a long time, you already know that we missed out on a LOT of awesome tie-in events. One of the most awesome of those had to be this: the Zenith El Primero World Stratos Meeting.
Zenith has been building watches in Switzerland since 1865, so they’re a known quantity in the luxury watch market. Similarly, Lancia’s iconic Stratos is a known quantity in the motorsports world– and one that’s particularly aspirational for the watchmaker’s “affluent Gen Xer” target market. In a bid to get some Lancia fans to cross over and become Zenith fans, the company sponsored a the World Stratos Meeting to get all the surviving rally cars in one place at one time back in 2016.
From the pictures we found, it looks like a massively successful– and massively awesome!– event for all involved. You can check out some of the pictures, here, and head over to the source links for even more great pictures of what had to be the Lancia event of the last decade.
Zenith El Primero World Stratos Meeting
It was ambassador and consultant for Zenith Watches, former Formula One driver Erik Comas — and 2015 Italian historic rally champion at the wheel of his Zenith-sponsored Lancia Stratos — who had the idea to create a meet to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stratos victory at the 1976 world rally championship.
In recognition of the global status of the legendary Stratos, which continues to fascinate generations too young to remember its heyday, Zenith Watches decided to organise the El Primero World Stratos Meeting in Biella, Italy.
This Piedmont town is known as the Stratos capital, with Biellesi test driver Claudio Maglioli creating his workshop here in 1977 to continue the development of this rally queen after the official Lancia team withdrew from competition. It was then that the French team Chardonnet, the Lancia importer and their driver Bernard Darniche won the greatest successes in the Lancia Stratos’ career.
The Zenith Watches El Primero (“the first”) World Stratos Meeting took place in Biella on the 24th, 25th and 26th of June, 2016.