The second edition of Watches Of Italy, held in Tortona on 25 and 26 September 2021, showcased the notable energy and creativity of Italy’s brands and microbrands. Here is our selection of 15 highlights at Watches Of Italy, in ascending price order.
1. Fumagazzi Spritz
For Fumagazzi, watches are a constant source of entertainment, and their watches comprise a healthy portion of fun in addition to their technical qualities. The Spritz is one of a series dedicated to favourite aperitifs, and it is hallmarked by its bright orange strap and bezel. It has a Miyota self-winding movement and a 100-metre water resistance, making it ideal as a sports watch, and for fashion-conscious aesthetes who want their timepiece to match their drink during poolside aperitif parties. There is more about Fumagazzi in this article, or you can visit the Fumagazzi website. €249.
2. Aion Puro Elemento Automatic
The Aion Puro Elemento Automatic has a case made by 3D printing from the natural polymer PLA with carbon fibre reinforcement. This additive manufacturing technology can be used to create complex geometrical shapes with minimal material wastage, and the natural poly-lactic acid polymer makes this a very ecological, recyclable watch. Another benefit is extreme lightness: parts of the case can be made reticular instead of solid. As a result, the complete watch weighs just 50 grams, and the strap is heavier than the case with the movement. The dial is also printed using the same technique and has an intricate pattern resembling guilloché. The watch is 40 mm wide, 11.5 mm thick, and it is powered by a Japanese Citizen calibre 8215. Read more on the Aion website. €249
3. Mondia Aviator
Mondia was originally a Swiss brand founded in 1935; it later became part of Zenith, and after weathering the quartz crisis, it was purchased by Italian company Sordi S.p.A in 1990. Now based in Voghera, near Pavia, it specializes in watches with quality movements and Italian design. The Aviator shown here has a Seiko calibre NH35 automatic movement and costs €299. Read more on the Mondia website.
4. Viqueria Prometeo
Viqueria began life as a company making Italian leather watch straps from 2012, and in 2019 they decided to make their own watches as well. The brand name derives from the Ancient Roman denomination of their town of origin, Voghera. The Prometeo is a very attractive 43-mm watch featuring a graded red, blue or grey dial with a small seconds subdial and a creative use of SuperLumiNova, enhanced by a sapphire crystal watchglass and a luxury leather strap. The mineral glass caseback reveals the hand-wound movement, which can be either the Unitas 6498, or the Chinese-made version of the same movement, the Seagull ST36. List price for the version with the Seagull is €294, while the version with the Unitas costs €649. The watch is available on preorder (up to 15 October 2021) at prices of €197 and €429 respectively, 100 units per type. Order online on the Viqueria website.
5. Asia Leader Atto Verticale
Atto Verticale is a watch based on a hand-wound calibre manufactured by a small Chinese company and derived from Vincent Calabrese’s baguette movement brought to fame by Corum’s Golden Bridge (read more about Vincent Calabrese in this article). The combination of this unusual movement revealed by the sapphire watchglass and caseback, and a lightweight titanium case with IP colour treatment, creates an attractive timepiece. The strap is simply passed through the lugs and it provides a colourful backdrop for the movement. Steel versions cost €294, titanium versions €394. Read more on the Atto Verticale website.
6. Vertigo Hippocampus
The Vertigo Hippocampus has an internal rotating bezel controlled using the second crown, making it possible to measure intervals of time. The solid caseback and robust construction gives it a water resistance of 300 metres. The use of differentiated blue and green SuperLumiNova makes it attractive in the dark as well. It is powered by the Miyota 9039 calibre, and it has an attractive steel Milanaise bracelet. Available on pre-order up until the end of 2021 at €350, later rising to the list price of €570. Browse the Vertigo website here.
7. Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide Dante 700
Meccaniche Veneziane is based in San Donà di Piave, near Venice, and they make watches with fine design and quality mechanical movements. Nereide Dante 700, presented at Watches Of Italy, is a limited edition celebrating Dante’s death on 13th September 1321, with 100 black watches inspired by Dante’s Inferno, and another hundred dedicated to the Paradiso in white colour scheme. The white or black straps are decorated with the opening lines of the respective chapters, and the dial also features curving lines of text in relief. The edition number is engraved on the caseband. The 42-mm case is in stainless steel, with a unidirectional rotating bezel, 20 atm water resistance, and a CAL.MV145 self-winding movement, the Seiko NH35. Read more on the Meccaniche Veneziane website. Price still to be announced, but it will be around €500.
8. echo/neutra Cortina 1956 Chronograph in bronze
The latest watch by echo/neutra, a brand based at Piove di Sacco, near Padua, is the Cortina 1956 chronograph in bronze, in black and green versions. They showcase the brand’s superb design skills, and their character is determined by the use of CuSn8 bronze, a solid-solution-strengthened copper alloy with 8% tin, giving it particularly high strength and wear resistance. The case is beautifully engineered with contrasting bright and brushed finish, and the bronze material will gradually develop a patina over time, making each watch a unique piece. The timepiece is 40 mm in diameter, with a 10 bar (100 metres) water resistance, a ceramic bezel with telemeter scale, and an oversize crown, useful when winding and setting the watch. Inside it has a Swiss Sellita SW510M BH b movement, hand-wound. The black and green versions are two limited editions, each 50 pieces, available for pre-order soon on the echo/neutra website. €1,590.
9 – TFP Time For Planet Windrose Total Dark Red
The latest version of the Windrose sports watch by TFP is this Total Dark Red piece, with a 42.5 mm steel case with Ox-B finish that gives it a dark gunmetal look, bezel with compass markings, and a dial featuring an unusual geometry based on the line from 8 o’clock, with the crown, to 2 o’clock with the date window. The watch has a 200-metre water resistance, and it is powered by a Swiss-made Landeron self-winding movement. This piece is a limited edition of 18 watches. Read more and order on the TFP website. €1,900
10. Memphis Belle Heritage Manual
Memphis Belle, based in Ivrea (near Turin) makes watches of military inspiration. This version of their Predator SS Heritage dedicated to the Italian Xa MAS anti-submarine fleet has a case that has been artificially aged to give it the appearance of a watch that has spent 50 years on the seabed. The display caseback reveals the attractive Swiss-made MB DB9 hand-wound movement providing 53 hours of power reserve. The watch has a suitably distressed leather strap. €1,680. It is also available in an automatic version that costs €1,480. Read more on the Memphis Belle website.
11. Gruppo Ardito Watches Turquoise
As announced in our previous article on Gruppo Ardito Watches, a brand based in Alessandria, one of their latest releases is the Turquoise version of their sports watch Lince. With a 42-mm case in titanium, sapphire watchglass, distinctive blue degradé dial, blue strap and the name of the watch in blue on the caseband, this is a quality timepiece, with a water resistance of 100 bar (1,000 metres). Swiss-made automatic Sellita SW 200 movement. More information from the Gruppo Ardito Watches website. €1,700.
12. Calamai MC 72 pilot’s watch
Orologi Calamai, based in Fiesole, near Florence, specializes in pilot’s watches, and their latest piece is this MC 72, with bidirectional inner rotating bezel controlled using the second crown. This gives the three-hand watch a handy timing function. The dial layout is classic pilots and privileges high legibility. It is powered by a Sellita automatic movement. The thickness of just 11.3 mm makes this watch very wearable. More about Orologi Calamai in this article. You can purchase their watches on the Calamai website. €1,700.
13. AS Watches B1S
This new version of the tough “B1S” watch has a case in grade 5 titanium with a water resistance of 120 bar, 1,200 metres. The case has a large and well-protected crown, not screw-down but specifically designed to attain the excellent water-resistance rating. The watch has a Swiss-made automatic movement. Read more on the AS Watches website. €2,100
14. Marc & Darnò Ora Siderale
Marc & Darnò make high-quality watches at their base in Pelucco, near Asti, Piedmont. They specialize in astronomical and calendar complications, and have developed moonphase watches of remarkable accuracy, with a tolerance of one day in over 120,000 lunar cycles. One of the latest pieces is this very beautiful watch with a super-simple display and lots of space on the dial. It shows conventional time on the 12-hour dial below, and sidereal time at the top. Sidereal time is important for astronomers, because a star seen at a certain position in the sky will be seen at the same position on another night at the same sidereal time. It differs from common time, which is affected by the earth’s axial rotation and its orbit around the sun. Sidereal time gains 3 minutes and 56 seconds every day. To create this display, Marc & Darnò added a plate with a gear train that converts the passage of time from solar to sidereal. The two readings can be adjusted separately from the crown. The base movement is the Swiss-made automatic ETA 2824-2 calibre, in a 39 mm case. For more information about the brand, see the Marc & Darnò website. €2,800
15. Allemano Man with retrograde minutes
Allemano specializes in watches that resemble manometers, for a good reason: the company, founded in 1856, made pressure gauges and other instruments for military vehicles, aircraft and Fiat cars. In 2019 the brand began making watches. The top of their range is the “Man” watch, a cool name that identifies it as a masculine model but also underlines the connection to manometers, and indicates that the watch is manually-wound. Its regulator display sets it apart from most other watches, with retrograde minutes at the top, hours with the large central sweep hand, and seconds on the subdial at 6 o’clock. It is powered by a Swiss-made ETA hand-wound movement. ETA, part of Swatch group, no longer sells movements to companies outside the group, but this policy can be sidestepped as long as the purchaser modifies the movement. Another distinctive and unusual feature of the watch is the fact that it is supplied with a certificate providing details of the watch’s precision – which also reflects the company’s origins making instruments of measurement. The two dial versions, cream-white or black, are both very attractive. Allemano is based in Grugliasco, near Turin, and they have recently opened a boutique at the centre of the latter city. Further information from the Allemano website. €3,790