Men are obsessed with watches. That’s a fact. They can deny it all they want. It won’t make it any less true.
Someone once said that a man’s choice of wrist watch is a sure tell of whether he’s successful or not. I probably butchered the quote. It doesn’t make the statement any less true, either.
Just consider this: good watches are expensive. Yet, even with the recession, the watch industry is positively booming.
You’ll see heads of State giving their hosts watches as gifts. Wealthy footballers would sooner buy watches than sports cars. A-list celebrities proudly brandish their luxury pieces at the red carpet. And respected men’s magazines are crawling with watch advertisements.
Let’s not even get started on the case of President Barack Obama’s Jorg Gray 6500 Chronometer. It was a gift to the president from his secret service security team. When it was identified, the timepiece’s commercial success was guaranteed.
Suddenly, owning that watch meant power. And men like being part of the powerful set.
The same is true of luxury Italian watches. You’ve heard the names – Officine Panerai, Bulgari, U-Boat, among others. The price tags are ridiculous. These watches are investments rather than plain arm candy. And yet men flock to buy them. Because owning one could mean they have “arrived.”
Why Buy Italian
The Italian watch has long been playing second-fiddle to its Swiss-made counterparts. Just say “watch” and you’ll have people eagerly spouting names of famous Swiss brands. But the Italians shouldn’t really be written off just yet. Here’s why.
- Italians are good watchmakers.
Italians have an almost obsessive love affair with watches. They’re avid collectors. So should it really surprise anyone that they’ll eventually try their hand at making them?
Just try visiting Florence. You can’t go a few feet without stumbling on a watchmaker. One of the better ones is the Ambuchi family. Small wonder then that Anonimo was quick to snap their services up.
But they’re not just situated in one place. MGC hails from Parma, Italy and has started to make waves in the watch industry.
Italian watch manufacturers are also pioneers in the use of PVD blackening processes on watches. Well before Switzerland did the same, Panerai was already blackening its creations.
- The Italian watch is made exceptionally well.
Many of the premiere luxury Italian watches had their starts providing the timepieces for the navy. That means that the timepieces are expected to be tough and resilient products.
On top of that, majority of them are hand-made, with watchmakers paying close attention to every tiny detail. This is why Italian craftsmanship is beyond compare. And while a number of famous brands have transferred operations to Switzerland, therefore making the inner machinations of the watch Swiss-made, designers opted to focus on creating superb watch cases in Italy.
These watches can last decades! Sure, you might need to spend a few thousand on one now, but just imagine that watch’s value in the next few years. It’s also bound to become a family heirloom someday.
- Hand-wound, not quartz.
Nothing can say luxury quite as well as a hand-wound watch. Many modern editions and brands rely on quartz, meaning they’re operated by battery and thus, automatic.
- They’re very fashionable.
Like almost every other European country, Italy maintains a firm hand on what’s fashionable or not. And its watches are no exception. Many luxury brands are exceptionally made with gold and bronze faces. And who can deny the absolute beauty of Italian leather in those watch straps?
- They’re absolute wizards at mixing traditional and non-traditional elements.
Ever seen a Meccaniche Veloci? The company manufactures racing-inspired watches. Because of this, one shouldn’t be surprised to see their watches made with the same materials that go into car carburetors.
Many would argue that the era of watches has come and gone. They should have taken the path to obscurity the moment cellphones were invented. And why not? Cellular phones do come with clocks. And they have a hundred other functions than just tell the time.
But surprisingly, the wristwatch remains resilient.
Going (and growing) with the Times
At the face of the world economic crisis, timepieces learned to evolve to meet customer demands. When men started balking at the cost of owning a Panerai, many Italian watch makers decided to create less expensive, but no less visually appealing options.
Many fashion houses partnered with watch designers to release time pieces that would work with their existing clothing lines. The look remained fashionably chic, but with prices well below the $500 mark. Some even go as low as $60.
And because of this, the Italians were able to keep up with the market. They’re also starting to create a buzz with international watch enthusiasts.
Italy is a country with a storied history in watch making. The watches they have on the market are good representations of how well Italian timepieces are made. And with their popularity starting to hit mainstream, it would not be surprising if 2014 becomes the year that Italian timepieces make a breakthrough and leave all the Swiss connection behind.