Italian watch brands – names and traditions

Striving to find a perfect quality wristwatch? Although Italy is not as well represented on the map of luxury watch manufacturers as Switzerland, Italian watchmaking has its own distinctive traits. Obviously, you can expect that technological traditions of Italy (Northern Italy, especially) ensure that Italian-made watches are every bit as precise and trustworthy as their Swiss counterparts. But what sounds better and conveys a mental image that appeals to you personally: “Italian design” or “Swiss design”? Italian luxury brands are all about the design and Italian watches are no exception. If you look at the specs of various models on Anonimo‘s website you will soon notice that there is a lot more space devoted to describing the cases than to anything else, including motion. That’s because Italian watchmakers, take great pride in the quality of watch cases. Some Italian luxury watch brands use Swiss motion and many, let’s face it, are manufactured in Switzerland (Breil, for instance, a brand known since 1942), but you should always look at the design that went into their cases if you want to understand what sets these excellent mechanisms aside…

Anonimo (Anonimo Firenze) – This name means “anonymous” in Italian. “Anonimo” is meant to be a very inconspicuous brand. Oftentimes you won’t even see the brand’s name on Anonimo watches. When Frederico Massacesi purchased Italian facilities of Panerai (the company was bought and moved to Switzerland) he saw preservation of Florentine watchmaking tradition as his chief goal. Anonimo style is often seen as drawing its inspiration from the military.

Breil – This Milan company was curiously named after a municipality in the Swiss canton of Graubünde. Currently the company is a part of the Binda group and it specializes in luxury items such as watches, jewelry, eye-wear, fragrances and leather accessories.

Brera Orologi – Another brand from Milan. Orologi means “watches” in Italian. This perhaps stresses the fact that, unlike countless other firms, Brera makes only watches. Well, maybe also watch accessories. Brera’s designs tend to me innovative and modern.

Bulgari – This well-known Italian company has been manufacturing watches since 1980. Note, however, that the branch of the company that is responsible for watch production is based in Switzerland.

Carlo Ferrara – Another Italian brand, but keep in mind that the watches are actually manufactured in Switzerland. The ingenuity of their design, of course, is clearly Italian.

Designer del Tempo is a manufacturer of authentic Italian watches. This company take pride in hand-making all of their watches in Italy, unlike many of their competitors who are all for cutting costs and outsourcing.

Ennebi watches are somewhat simplistic in design, but they are extremely rugged. This manufacturer combines the Florentine tradition of craftsmanship with advanced technologies developed to outfit the Italian Navy.

Haurex is another all-Italian brand striving to follow the most recent trends in fashion and manufacturing.

Officina del tempo – If you are paying attention, by now you should be able to understand why “Officina del tempo” proudly indicates that their watches are designed and made in Italy. Probably not a bad choice of a gift for a true patriot of Italy…

Panerai-Luminor-Submersible-Automatic-2Panerai (Officine Panerai) – This Florence-based company, founded in 1860, is now a subsidiary of Richemont. The product lines include Historic, Contemporary and Manufattura.

Raid watches position themselves as “flight instruments,” pointing to Italy’s aviation traditions.

TB Buti – Owned by a watch collector Tommasso Buti, this brand offers a wide variety of designs.

U-Boat – The original inspiration for Italo Fontano’s watch collection came from a 1942 project to create navy time-pieces. U-Boats are reliable, accurate and over-sized.

Vabene is a Milan-based brand that seems to be Italy’s answer to demands of a younger generation. At least as far as the looks are concerned.

Zannetti If you want to find out how much love and effort can be put into a collection of timepieces do yourself a favor and look up Zannetti watches. You will be blown away by the beauty and originality of these hand-made marvels.

It may sound like Switzerland has become the China of Italian watchmaking, but if you are interested in putting an Italian-designed watch on your wrist there are many outstanding options.  And if you choose an Italian watch with a leather strap you can be almost sure that at least that one part is authentic!

By the way, if you are giving someone a Panerai watch as a gift, take a look at this luxurious album:

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