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Maritime, and Marketing, Milestones  Feb 8, 10:28

First a bit of a maritime milestone, brought to you by our timing partner....

Seafaring and watch making have enjoyed a long, shared history. For many years now, GIRARD-PERREGAUX has been celebrating John Harrison’s invention of the maritime chronometer in the 18th century.

The inability to determine a ship’s exact position at sea posed major problems not only for the British Navy but for all its rivals as well. For centuries, sailors had been able to calculate their latitudinal position at sea by observing the stars. Longitude, however, proved to be a much thornier dilemma. That was why the British Parliament launched a contest in 1714 with a grand prize of £20,000 (the equivalent of several million today) for the ingenious person who could come up with a practical, workable solution to the problem of determining a ship’s longitude at sea with reasonable accuracy.

The winner of this contest, with a solution based on accurate chronometers, was watchmaker John Harrison, who won out over scientists and astronomers. The partnership between seafaring and watches had been established.

Speaking of milestones, one was achieved Downunder this (Thursday) evening as Girard-Perregaux was officially launched in the NZ marketplace by GP's Steve Rom at a function hosted by Team McMillan BMW in Auckland. In NZ, GP is being carried by Partridge Jewellers. Earlier in the day, Mr Rom had been the VIP "18th crew" aboard USA-71, which suffered some damage to her mast [story on our main team website].

This evening Steve took some good-natured teasing from the team about being the only change on the boat from past days, so obviously it was his fault! Of course it wasn't, and regardless he was impressed enough with the day's experience, and especially the seamanship of 71's crew in handling the situation, that tonight he offered his own very expensive Girard-Perregaux watch in a bet that BMW ORACLE would win the Cup. Our sources did not report whether he had any takers. ;)

Dicko and Australasian entrepreneur (and head of the Girard-Perregaux brand Downunder) Steve Rom, in Auckland this evening at Team McMillan BMW for the launch of GP in NZ.

BMW Supports World Youth Sailing  Jan 6, 08:42

Nice to see BMW New Zealand supporting the 420 World Championships being held this week off Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore. No real surprise that after three days of racing young Kiwis are dominating the event, currently led by defending world champs Carl Evans and Peter Burling. The top five:

1st NZL Carl Evans & Peter Burling – 5 points
2nd NZL Simon Cooke & Scott Illingworth – 14 points
3rd NZL Rowan Swanson & Bruce Kennedy – 19 points
4th AUS Sam Kivell & Max Taylor – 29 points
5th BRA Marcos Adler & Bruno Faria – 36 points

BMW Oracle Racing's sailing team will soon be training again in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf just north of this venue off Takapuna. Photo courtesy of Richard Gladwell / Sail-World NZ's continuing coverage of the 420 Worlds is here.

The 420 is the international double-handed dinghy for young sailors, a popular junior boat around the world that serves as a stepping stone to the Olympic 470 class. More on the 420 Class here. Nice photo in NZL's great summer sailing conditions courtesy of Ocean Photography.

Coming Soon...  Jan 1, 10:18 a Team Base near you (assuming you are a BMW ORACLE colleague), in addition, of course, to a new ACC yacht...

...the 2007 BMW X5.

"Brave Experiment to Burn Hydrogen in a Real Car"  Nov 23, 05:33

UPDATE: LOS ANGELES — The new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-drive luxury performance car, will make its worldwide debut at the upcoming (1-10 Dec) Los Angeles Auto Show.

Interesting story, and nice ink, from the Inside Line website....

First Drive: 2007 BMW Hydrogen 7
By Kevin Smith, Editorial Director
Date posted: 11-21-2006

We sample a brave experiment to burn hydrogen in a real car
BMWHydroWindmillsThe name tells you immediately what it is: The 2007 BMW Hydrogen 7 is a 7 Series sedan the automaker converted to run on liquid hydrogen. There is no intention to put this or any other hydrogen-fueled car into production yet. The point of the exercise is to gather experience with a hydrogen car in the real world. So let's go straight to the experience.

If no one told you there was a fortune in advanced technology and ground-breaking engineering packed into this car, you might think you were motoring about in a perfectly normal 760Li. Indeed, while looking hard for distinguishing characteristics during our test-drive around greater Berlin, we came up with just three suspects: a slight metallic rattle from the engine when accelerating (sort of like a diesel but less pronounced), an occasional hesitation or engine-transmission miscue on tip-in and less energetic acceleration, thanks to a power cut from 438 horsepower to 260 and a weight gain of 440 pounds.

That's it. Otherwise, the Hydrogen 7 is a perfectly normal luxury sedan. It is definitely not some weird science project that forces us to scale back our expectations about the personal automobile. "A vehicle that is not a BMW anymore is not acceptable to us," says the company in contemplating the future of mobility. And noting that the internal-combustion engine represents available and well-understood technology, BMW is placing a bet on adaptation of existing engines (the 6.0-liter V12 in this case) to burn liquid hydrogen as one way to move beyond fossil fuels.

Proving the concept in a regular car
From the driver seat, this is definitely still a BMW. The H-7 is smooth, polished, poised on the road, and still pretty spritely. Passing maneuvers and uphill on-ramps need a little more careful consideration than in a 760 because you don't have as much sheer thrust. But the difference is not fatal. (BMW quotes 0-62 mph in 9.5 seconds: leisurely but livable.) Furthermore, suspension calibration effectively hides the car's extra mass, so this is another BMW 7 Series sedan that impresses you with how lithe and responsive a heavyweight luxocruiser can be. Overall, there is precious little to indicate that this 7 is running on that wondrously abundant fuel, the one that promises to rewrite all the rules of transportation, economics, energy and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Klaus Draeger of BMW's board of management, calls the Hydrogen 7 "an important milestone on our way to an era of sustainable mobility," partly because the driving experience is "spectacularly unspectacular." We agree entirely.

Full story

The Hydrogen 7 looks like a normal 7 Series sedan and works much like one, too, even though power is down and weight is up. (Photo courtesy of BMW North America, Inc.)

Wired News: Road Testing BMW's Hydrogen 7  Nov 13, 10:18

By Bruce Gain
02:00 AM Nov, 13, 2006

BERLIN -- Jules Verne, in his 1874 novel The Mysterious Island, described hydrogen as an "inexhaustible source of heat and light." A little over 130 years later, BMW is testing the theory with an innovative internal combustion engine that burns the lightest element much like gasoline, only cleaner.

Wired News was invited to test-drive one of BMW's new Hydrogen 7 automobiles recently. It proved a serious step forward in using hydrogen as a potential energy source for cars, while showing defects that make the concept a clear work in progress.

BMW is the only major carmaker to bring a car with a hydrogen-combustion engine beyond the prototype stage.

The automaker's approach is markedly different than the more familiar concept of hydrogen-powered fuel cells, where energy is stored before it is converted into electricity. By contrast, BMW's Hydrogen 7 is powered by pumping hydrogen into a combustion engine and igniting it. The engine can burn both hydrogen and gasoline, and switches between the two at the flick of a switch.

Burning hydrogen is more efficient than converting it into electricity, making it the more practical choice for hydrogen-fueled cars now, according to BMW.

The automaker is taking that premise to the road with a limited test release next year. BMW said it will put 100 of the hydrogen models into circulation in the United States, Europe and Asia. The cars will be loaned to high-profile people, BMW says, such as celebrities and politicians. If the cars become sufficiently popular, BMW says it can go into full-scale production, without commenting how much the model will cost.

Full story from the Wired website

BMW produces its first street-legal car with a hydrogen-powered combustion engine. The automaker says it will put 100 of the Hydrogen 7 cars in circulation next year in the United States, Europe and Asia. Photo: Bruce Gain/Wired.

The 12-cylinder, 6.0-liter engine is sealed shut. When sensors detect that the housing is open, or if there is a hydrogen gas leak, the engine automatically shuts down. Photo: Bruce Gain/Wired.

Collectors' Item  Nov 12, 17:47

Our finely-tuned internet (and more) search engines returned this remarkable tidbit over the weekend at the watchusseek watch forums:

GIRARD-PERREGAUX BMW-Oracle Racing Limited Edition500pc

This watch is located in NYC and available for local viewing or nation wide over night insured delivery. Call Gil for more photos or info. Please say Mike sent you when inquiring about this watch to guarantee this special price.

BMW-Oracle Racing Limited Edition of 500 Pcs
Model : GP49905.11.651.FK6A
Size : 42mm
Series: BMW-Oracle Racing Limited Edition of 500 Pcs
Band: Black Rubber Strap with deployment buckle
Case: Stainless Steel
Dial: Carbon Fiber
Movement: Mechanical with automatic winding

The watch is keeping perfect time well within COSC specs and comes complete with both boxes, booklets, warranty certificate and accessories.

Congrats to GP on creating a watch that is garnering so much attention in the collectors' market."

"One to Watch" File  Nov 7, 11:37

vettelFrom a story posted today on

When Sebastian Vettel made his F1 debut on the Friday of the Turkish Grand Prix - assuming the role of 'third driver' from Robert Kubica, who in turn had been promoted to a full race seat following the 'departure' of Jacques Villeneuve - there were widespread shouts, not merely among race fans but within the F1 paddock, of "who?"

However, later that day, having posted the fastest time of the day, the sport appeared to have found the latest sensation.

All in all, it was a historic day for the young German, for not only had he edged out Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, he had, at 19 years and 53 days, become the youngest driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend. On the other hand, he became the youngest to receive a fine in an F1 car (speeding in the pitlane), incurring the fine just 9 seconds into his F1 career.

Full story

So, Mirko and Dr. Theissen, when do we get to meet this new driving sensation and have him to our base in Valencia for another F1-AC crossover promotion? As much as we liked having Ralfie and Jacques around, during Act 10 Nick Heidfeld was a lot more interesting and fun, and it sounds like you have found another winner -- on and off the track -- in Mr Vettel.

19yo Sebastian Vettel in action earlier this year at Monza.

One to watch in 2007.

BMW Strengthens Golf Partnership in the USA  Nov 1, 16:34

BMWGOLFBALLWOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- BMW has strengthened its partnership with the PGA TOUR as the official automotive sponsor of November's THE TOUR Championship, which will be played at the East Lake Golf Club, November 2 - 5, 2006 in Atlanta, GA. Although the sponsor of many golf tournaments around the globe, this marks the first time that BMW has sponsored a PGA TOUR event. It also serves as a precursor to its partnership with the Western Golf Association via the BMW Championship -- the third of four PGA TOUR Playoff tournaments that are part of the new FedExCup competition in 2007.

"THE TOUR Championship in Atlanta marks a natural progression for BMW and is a great example of BMW building on its golfing successes around the world" said Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO, BMW of North America. "As the automotive sponsor for the event, BMW is proud to be part of the historic changes and progressive developments in the sport."

BMW's partnership with the PGA TOUR and the WGA is part of the company's global three pillar sports marketing strategy, including partnerships with the US America's Cup sailing team, BMW Oracle Racing, and the BMW Sauber F1 Team. BMW continually aligns itself with the premier performance-driven sports and has been involved in international golf for more than 20 years. Golf and BMW go hand-in-hand, representing excellence, precision, aesthetic appeal and a cultivated lifestyle.

Full story

Nice Ink: Oracle's World of its Own  Oct 28, 09:34

openworld-featuredOctober 27, 2006
Oracle's World of its Own
By Erin Joyce

SAN FRANCISCO -- Reporter's Notebook: We came here from all over the globe, picked up our OracleWorld bags, and by night became a swarm of 42,000 attendees fanning out across the city by the Bay.

If you've ever wondered just how huge an installed base Oracle has to sell, wine and dine to, look no further than the extravaganza of the OracleWorld show, which literally stopped downtown traffic along parts of Howard Street this week. The city agreed to shut down parts of it for foot traffic.

Oracle was ready for them, starting with klieg lights flashing across the San Francisco skyline Sunday night. Red carpet through the cavernous Moscone convention center greeted attendees.

Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison even brought along his America's Cup racing yacht, and stuck it at the bottom of the escalators in the Moscone North section, just outside the keynote hall.

By Monday, the boat's sailing crew lined up to greet attendees and sign autographs. More than a few asked them: How'd you get that thing in here?

Full story

Meanwhile, Across Town...  Oct 26, 15:42

openworld-featured_bmwPreviewExceedingly nice ink from a column today by one of the IT biz's widest read and often curmudgeonly pundits....

Oracle rocks San Francisco
Commentary: Shows how to do an event right
By John C. Dvorak
Last Update: 1:20 AM ET Oct 26, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- I didn't ask to find out exactly which Hollywood producer or megastar event manager was behind the scenes of this week's Oracle confab in San Francisco but I have never witnessed anything close to an event this slick. And I can assure you that I have been on the lookout.

With an estimated 45,000 showgoers each spending upwards of $2000 to get in the door this gave the company a little leeway insofar as spending big. The topper was probably the party for 20,000 people in the 22 acres surrounding the Cow Palace highlighted by an Elton John concert.

The party included free flowing wines and gourmet food. At the same time other more exclusive parties were underway. More parties were scheduled for every day of the show.

I could go on and on about the elaborate aspects of this event, dubbed Oracle Open World 2006, including somehow getting Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's racing yacht into the passageway between the North and South Hall or the fact that the entire North Hall was turned into a monstrous theater for the Keynote speches. Or that for the first time The streets between the convention center were closed so huge food tents could be set up to feed the showgoers.

But that's not what the show was about. It was about the price of Oracle Corporation (ORCL: 18.62, -0.27, -1.4%) stock.

Yes there were third-party vendors there and plenty of meetings and educational sessions. But they almost seemed secondary to the glitz.

There was obvious to me that all this showing off and the extravagance was to let people know that Oracle is a big-time player, not a cheap operation like, uh, Microsoft. And it's definitely not like the low budget boys at MySQL.

To me the proof appeared just before the Larry Ellison keynote. The podiums were removed and special podiums were brought in along with Plexiglas side pedestals all of which said NASDAQ. I posted a picture of this for you on the blog.

It's not a bad idea to let people know you on listed on NASDAQ, Heck, maybe they'll buy some shares after the show, who knows?

And if the Ellison speech gets any press they'll catch the NASDAQ logo and perhaps people will make the association and buy the stock. Who knows.

The kinds of cross-promotions by the genius who was behind this event were, simply put, awesome. While Oracle was pocketing the $2,000 plus the fees from exhibitors the showgoers were getting the lunch from Wipro the hot laptop luggage from AMD an umbrella from Fujitsu and on and on.

The press facilities were impeccable with all the open computers anyone would ever need. And there was plenty of hot food for starving reporters.

There is always an air at these tightly focused events. Are people gloomy? Are they upbeat?

From what I could tell the showgoers were actually jacked up. In other words the energy was high and positive. Always a good sign for a company like this.
Never take this sort of observation lightly. I've been going to trade shows like this for 30 years and you can tell how things are going for an industry or a company when a large group gathers like this.

This attitude and energy, although completely subjective, usually gets reflected in the stock price. And when you come to think of it, what is more subjective than perceived value of a stock?

I'd keep an eye on Oracle. I was impressed.