«  Bugatti Special <- Back to: General Automotive News JD Classics joins forces with...  »

Unsung Italian - Celebrated in Time

‘Cortese 56’ with white face

‘Cortese 56’ with white face

‘Cortese 56’ finely engraved map of the Circuito di Caracalla

‘Cortese 56’ finely engraved map of the Circuito di Caracalla

‘Cortese 56’ engraved stainless steel strap buckle

‘Cortese 56’ engraved stainless steel strap buckle

‘Cortese 56’ with black face

‘Cortese 56’ with black face


Franco Cortese. Who could he be? An up and coming football star for Roma or Inter Milan? A new sensation within Italy’s social media network or a man of charisma, with a great future in Italian politics?

You are not aware of Cortese, perhaps? Well, he represents none of these but, to motorsport historians and real connoisseurs of wonderful sports cars, he is so much more important. Indeed, to Simon Jordan, in company with others who appreciate and respect the finest icons of auto sport, Franco Cortese is not only a hero but the man they honour for putting the greatest motor racing marque of all firmly on the world stage.

For it was 70 years ago that gentleman driver Franco, gained the first ever victory for his employer whose name also just happened to be on the vehicle. This boss was called Enzo and the car? Yes, of course, it was a Ferrari!

On Sunday 25th May 1947, Franco Cortese took a Ferrari 125 S, with his race number 56, to its landmark victory at the Circuit Terme di Caracalla - the 9th Grand Prix of Rome.

Simon Jordan believes this piece of history should be celebrated and his company, Jordan Bespoke, was thus inspired to produce an outstanding timepiece in tribute to the man who made it possible. Launched in his honor, the ‘Cortese 56’ would naturally bring together only the highest quality of Swiss watch engineering with finest Italian leather.

Many will be familiar with Jordan’s passion for combining the pinnacles automotive excellence with craftsmanship and luxury design. He has been privileged to work with many great names in motorsport: Moss, Stewart, Lauda, among others and, throughout his career, he’s been immersed in the most iconic of world marques. As well as Ferrari, the manufacturers Maserati and Alfa Romeo, plus Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren and Jaguar are all in his portfolio. His work with several Formula One teams proudly features on his CV, as well. They all appreciate his drive and dedication to excellence, a facet of his character which shines brightly through all the products he designs so meticulously.

Since early this century, many will know Simon’s Caracalla brand which has been synonymous with individually stitched travel bags and crash helmet cases. All distinctive in both vibrant and subtle shades of Italian leather, they represent the most famous cars and teams in the history of motorsport. The ranges are finished with the iconic numbers of race winning cars and favourites of the drivers.

And so now Simon offers - exclusively for those dedicated to Ferrari - a strictly limited run of ‘Cortese 56’ watches. With a choice of either white with black dials, or black with white dials, just 125 of each will ever be produced, and every one is uniquely numbered.

With Swiss Made Quartz Movement and a selection of three leather strap designs, supplied by partner Hirsch, ‘The Bracelet since 1765’, these timepieces evoke the spirit of Ferrari’s inaugural victory seven decades ago, and come with a 12 month warranty.

And that’s not all for, additionally, these details and instruction booklet are supplied in their own three pocket Tuscan leather credit card holder, embossed ‘Cortese 56’ and designed to complement each watch - which are only available from Jordan Bespoke.

So, what is it that sets the ‘Cortese 56’ apart from every other chronograph? Well, that’s again testament to Simon’s obsession for accuracy and detail. He’s ensured the surrounding to the emblematic white no. 56 on the watch face match the numerals and the exact shade of Rosso Barchetta paint on Cortese’s winning car. However, the real signature element of this Ferrari celebration is to be found on the reverse side, where a finely engraved map of the Circuito di Caracalla is depicted. Just as it was back in 1947 when Cortese took the chequered flag to victory, after forty arduous laps of the track.

Each watch also has ‘Cortese 56’ engraved on the stainless steel strap buckle and is sumptuously presented in a special ‘Cortese 56’ box.

Within the cost of £895 (minus a time-limited discount offered to Anamera users), Jordan Bespoke will also include the shipping and delivery charges, World-wide, through FedEx.

For full details, further information and full specification of the strictly limited edition ‘Cortese 56’, go directly to www.JordanBespoke.com.

Back to the man himself, Franco Cortese. Was he a racer of note or merely an occasional driver? Well, he’s very much the former category. Cortese was born in February 1903 and began his racing career in 1927 when aged 24. He continued to compete until 1958 having entered 156 races achieving some considerable success at all levels. Both Formula 1 and Formula 2 Grand Prix, and with a record number of finishes in the Mille Miglia. Fourteen times in fact, but other than his first win for Enzo Ferrari, perhaps his greatest victory was the Targa Florio in 1951.

Cortese drove nearly all of the other major Italian marques; Itala, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Stanguellini, Abarth, Cisitalia and Fiat, in addition to many different Ferraris - 125 Spyder Corsa, 159C, the 166 MM S & F2, 250GT, the 500TR, TRC & Mondial among them. Overseas manufacturers included BMW, Bristol, Frazer-Nash (in which he won the Targa Florio) and he was even on the Mille Miglia entry list for 1953, with a C-type Jaguar. Franco Cortese survived the highly dangerous world of motor racing for more than three decades, as a true gentleman driver, and went on to live to the grand age of 83 before, ultimately, his death in November 1986.

Until July 15, 2017 Simon Jordan has agreed to offer a special discount price especially to Anamera users, for each order received, of just £795. That is a full saving of £100, per item.