For the longest time, “Italian” has been synonymous to luxury and style. Just mention Italian leather and you’ll have your audience swooning. It’s rather unfortunate, though, that they don’t get as much credit for watches.
Any reference to luxury watches would immediately bring up the names of Swiss-made timepieces. What many people overlook is the fact that Italians are rather avid watch collectors. Why not? Italy boasts of many highly specialized watch designers. And many of them are just starting to get noticed.
Italian Brands List:
Historic Luxury Italian Watch Brands
Historically, there are 2 Italian watch brands that are most familiar to the rest of the world: Bulgari and Panerai.
Bulgari – the best of both worlds
Ask anyone to name Italian watch brands and Bulgari will always be included. Founded in Rome in 1884, Bulgari is hardly your typical watch company. Alright, if we’re being technical, they’re not even really a watch company.
The company produces luxury goods – jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics and accessories. Bulgari Time SA, its watch production subsidiary, was just founded in 1980. Interestingly enough, that’s based in Switzerland.
Everything inside a Bulgari watch is Swiss-made. But everything that makes them fashionable, stylish and classy on the outside is Italian-made. With a partnership like that, it’s no wonder that the most basic of Bulgari watches will already set you back by at least $3,000. But surely, to have one of the most precise and enviable watches in the world is worth the price tag, don’t you think?
If you want tradition mixed with contemporary, then Bulgari is the watch for you.
Interested in buying an Italian Made watch? check out the following Italian brand whole sale directory:
Panerai – Limited Edition
Like Bulgari, Panerai has been around for a few hundred years. Unlike Bulgari, Panerai has been making watches for longer.The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1860. They also have been making diving watches for the navy for over 50 years. Richemont bought the company in 1997 and brought the company to the new millennium, mixing tradition with contemporary techniques. The result was one of the best diving watches the world has seen.
A Panerai stands out due to its distinctive oversized shape. Some editions are made with full carbon casings and always entirely by hand. Panerai only produces 4,000 watches per year, making their limited edition timepieces a must-have for any serious collector.
Panerai watches, far from just being good investments, also speak of unparalleled quality and impressive history.
Extreme Sports and Italian Timepieces
Luxury Italian watches don’t normally share space with extreme sports. But in the last decade, many enthusiasts began looking for timepieces than can keep up with more active lifestyles without sacrificing style and craftsmanship. The demand gave rise to smaller production brands creating exceptional watches that deliver in dynamic environments.
If there’s one thing Florence has in quantity, it’s highly skilled watchmakers. This is something Federico Massacesi wisely exploited when he bought Panerai’s old manufacturing facilities. Hiring the famous Ambuchi family of watchmakers, he launched Anonimo. Their claim to fame? Quality casings for deep sea diving.
Anonimo’s watches are all hand-crafted, with even the simplest ones requiring at least 20 steps to create. One of their more popular styles? The 2000 meters waterproof Professionale. It has a U-lock system to protect it from the damage intense water pressure can make.
If you prefer being on air to underwater sports, then Lucca-based company U-boat is the perfect choice. The irony of a flight-centric piece named after a water vessel isn’t lost on owner Italo Fontana. However, he did start the company based on his grandfather’s designs from the 1940’s. So maybe it’s not so bizarre a name after all.
U-boat’s signature design is a large-faced watch with the crown located on the left. Why? So it would be easier to read even with goggles on. It was primarily made for Italian Navy pilots. The irregular crown location ensures pilots can use it even with gloved hands.
If you need any proof at all that U-boat has made its place among Italian luxury watches, then look no further than the wrists of Giorgio Armani, David Beckham or Tom Cruise. Each one of them proudly wears his U-boat regularly.
Quattro Valvole, or “Four Pistons,” is the Italian watch brand collection of choice when it comes to mixing luxury and the need for speed. Quattro Valvole watches have faces resembling pistons.
Parent company Meccaniche Veloci frequently collaborates with leading Italian racing and industrial companies to create high tech watch components and materials. They’ve been known to use things like ergal, from racing car carburetors, to produce sleek timepieces.
Fashionably On Time
Europe is one big fashion house. And Italian luxury watches can’t be left behind, can they?
However, many watch enthusiasts are looking for fashionable watches that doesn’t scream luxury investment piece. And many gladly took the challenge.
One of the better ones out there is Officina del Tempo.
Founded by brothers Giorgio and Roberto Emili in 2000, Officina del Tempo watches are a showcase of innovative and attractive designs. The long-time watch collectors from the medieval town of Senigallia have since been making waves at the annual Basel Fair. It’s only the most important watch event in the world.
There’s also MOMO Design and Brera Orologi. Similar to Officina del Tempo, the two companies produce modern and fashionable watches at a fraction of the price of a Panerai or a Bulgari. Most of their watches are stainless steel, with quartz or automatic watch movements.
These watches, though, do not increase in value over time. But they are good stand-ins if one cannot afford the more luxurious brands.
Whatever your personal style is, there are luxury Italian watches that would fit you. The world of Italian watch-making is just brimming with this high-quality, amazingly-crafted and uniquely-made timepieces. And if the trend is any indication, these Italian pieces will soon be giving their Swiss-made counterparts a run for their money.