Whenever one talks about luxury timepieces, we immediately think of Swiss-made items. After all, Switzerland is the birthplace of timepieces and the headquarters of world-famous companies such as Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. Switzerland, however, isn’t the only country that makes fantastic timepieces. Start by looking at some of the top companies and pieces that emerge out from another fashionable country, Italy.
Italy is known for numerous things, including the splendor of its traditional landmarks, car names such as Ferrari, the widely-known Milan fashion week, and, of course, its world-renowned pasta and pizza. Along with that, it is also rich in watchmaking culture, having given birth to some of the world’s most well-known brands and classic masterpieces. Here are some of their legendary and exceptional timepieces.
Table of Contents
1. Officine Panerai
For those with a basic understanding of watches, the first name that immediately springs to mind when considering Italy is Panerai. Giovanni Panerai’s first watch store launched in Florence in the 1860s, and the company has grown steadily since. Panerai began by not only producing timepieces but also military attachments with radioactive materials to make specialized illuminated weapon sights.
Panerai has identified itself through collaborations with popular organizations. Rolex first aided Panerai in the fabrication of movements for watches worn by the Italian, German, and Egyptian armed forces, particularly the naval units. In current times, luxury automaker Ferrari joined forces with Panerai to develop a special watch collection.
Luminor Base Logo
Panerai’s most recognizable timepiece in the recent era is the Luminor. While the Luminor had been available to the military for some time, it was made available to the public in 1993 and was an enormous hit. The Luminor Base Logo is the entry-level component in the existing portfolio. Its 44 mm diameter blends high-grade stainless steel housing with a simple black dial that showcases Panrai’s high-class Luminor lume.
Within the case, you’ll find good specifications as well, with a 3-hour power reserve driving a 21,600 beats per hour movement that are all protected to 100-meter water resistance. The Luminor Base Logo starts at $5,000 and variants with additional complexity such as day/date go from $11,000 to $14,000. If you don’t mind getting a little older Luminor, you can easily get one pre-owned for roughly $4,000.
Bvlgari is a varied fashion brand that offers a variety of products such as jewelry, perfume, and fashion items in addition to watches. While the company’s watchmaking lineage dates back to the 1940s, it has only been manufacturing on a large scale since the 1980s, initially through its affiliate Bulgari Haute Horlogerie SA. The Italian giant has now been acquired by LVMH, joining names such as TAG Heuer and Hublot in its portfolio.
Bvlgari has long been known for its great quality, and this hasn’t changed as the company has progressed into the twenty-first century. They have a large variety of models, all of which adhere to a pretty steady style guide, with skeleton components and models with a high amount of complexity often seen at the upper end.
Among the Bvlgari’s stunning range is the LVCEA. LVCEA pays homage to the sundial, one of the earliest timekeeping instruments grounded in ancient Roman culture, driven by the irreconcilable relation between time and light. LVCEA captures the power of light, or “luce” in Italian, with the luminosity of its spherical casing incorporating a sundial face, to link heritage with modernity. As an identifiable characteristic of the Roman Jeweler, a colorful gemstone is embedded in the crown of each clock. LVCEA mechanical movement timepiece comes with an automatic winding 33 mm stainless steel case, stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold bracelet, white mother-of-pearl dial, 18-karat rose gold crown set with synthetic cabochon-cut rubellite and diamond, diamond indexes, and 18-karat rose gold bezel.
Italo Fontana’s U-Boat timepieces, introduced in 2000, are inspired by the German submarine of the same designation, with their big and sturdy renditions. Fontana was inspired to create the watch after seeing ideas his grandfather had drawn out years before but had never implemented. U-Boat has become a worldwide recognized brand in a relatively short period, and they continue to operate from their headquarters in Tuscany.
Toughness and tenacity are the foundation of the brand. U-Boat timepieces are all developed with a specific set of tough circumstances in mind and are ideal for those who appreciate military stylings and something weighty on their wrist. They also retain some unusual characteristics, such as a left-hand side crown, which helps them stand out from the rest.
Darkmoon Red IPB Soleil
The Darkroom, a collection themed by the dark side of the moon, is one of its best-selling collections. The IPB casing is filled with a unique oil that highlights the dial, which is composed of red metal with a Soleil finish and hands and indexes treated with beige luminova, producing an optical appearance of more intense color and increased clarity. A novel locking ring system is also included, as is a rapid battery replacement.
In A Nutshell
That’s a brief check at some of the most well-known Italian watchmakers on the market, as well as some of their most notable and iconic models. If you’re looking for a watch, it’s probably worth looking into anything Italian, given the country’s penchant for high fashion and craftsmanship. While the individual movements are not specified, many Italian watches, particularly those mentioned previously, still use Swiss-made movements, so you can be confident that the quality within the case is often on par with what you’ll find elsewhere.