225 years of Hausmann & Co., a Maison of German origin, with its heart in Rome
Legend has it that Rome has a bell tower for every day of the year but, whether this is true or not, towards the end of the XVIII century, those bells started to lose their time-keeping function as more and more gentlemen began to flaunt elegant watches, soon destined to become authentic status symbols. It was then, in 1794 to be precise, that Giovanni Romano Ricci opened a boutique selling watches in the heart of papal Rome, at Palazzo Piombino in Via del Corso, which at the time was already one of the city’s most important streets, on a par with Via dei Condotti, where the two mono brand boutiques stand today: the new Patek Philippe Boutique and the Rolex Boutique, which opened last year. 1870 marked the start of a business venture between Innocenzo Ricci (Romano’s son) and Ernst Hausmann, who took over the boutique soon after and set up a partnership with Hermann Frielingsdorf, another young watchmaker who had left Germany in search of a quiet haven, as indeed the Papal State was considered at the time. Everything else, as the saying goes, is history. A history, that of Hausmann & Co. - now represented by Administrators Francesco Hausmann and Benedetto Mauro (Joe Frielingsdorf’s son-in-law) and by the fifth generation: Giulia Mauro and Daniele Maffia - spanning 225 years. More than two centuries, during which Hausmann & Co. has become one of the most important names on the luxury timepiece market and, in time, also in the luxury jewellery business. A story which, in the course of time, has become increasingly intertwined with that of the city. Starting from 1903, the Maison actually became a restoration workshop and the official supplier of the Vatican City, as well as being responsible for four historical clocks in the heart of Rome: in Largo Goldoni, on the corner of Via della Maddalena and Via delle Coppelle, the one above the famous early 1900 newsstand in Via del Corso, close to Palazzo Sciarra, considered to be the oldest in Roma together with its look-alike in Piazza San Silvestro, and the clock on the Palazzo of San Luigi dei Francesi, on the corner of Corso Rinascimento and Via del Salvatore. The Hausmann & Co. workshop counts on skilled craftsmen able to produce and restore timepieces of great charm, experts of those tiny mechanisms which, in their precision, seem to be the only really perfect things of this world. However, they are also flanked by skilled goldsmiths who can sign their creations with the 12 Roma stamp, one of the most ancient stamps of the Capital. Miniscule masterpieces which, since 2010, have been proudly displayed not only in Via del Corso, but also in Via del Babuino, Rome’s other quintessential street for fashion. Here, as well as their own watches, Hausmann& Co. offer some of the most refined vintage models which have made timepiece history and some of the most prestigious brands, such as A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Blancpain and Longines.
Along with the opening of the new boutique, Pateck Philippe has celebrated this important anniversary with a series of limited edition timepieces, with which the Geneva-based brand has paid a tribute to its historical partner and to the city of Rome. Five vintage models: two unique pieces whose dial depicts Piazza di Spagna and Castel Sant’Angelo; two Calatrava watches, in rose gold and platinum, with newly created dials indicating the XII hour in Roman numerals and an Ore del Mondo model with a hand-crafted Guilloche motif in the centre, in cardinal red, a Roman colour if ever there was one, and indication of the City of cities on the time-zone disc. As Francesco Hausmann commented “two family businesses that span the centuries to become one.”