watches

filippo_loreti_womens_watchIf you follow the world of watch making you may have noticed a prominent newcomer in this overloaded market: Filippo Loreti. This company claims to deliver Italian luxury watches at a very competitive price by stepping outside of the traditional model of selling timepieces through dealers and retailers. It’s hard to argue with the prices, because they are more attractive than regularly priced items from typical luxury watch makers. What remains questionable is whether these watches are indeed luxury products and whether or not they are Italian.

I maintain a fairly comprehensive list of Italian watch brands. In order to make the list, a company must have a reputation, belong to a particular school of Italian watch making and genuinely adhere to the very best design traditions. It is true that in the recent decades many companies have begun to outsource their manufacturing to Switzerland and I try to make a note of that. So, how does Filippo Loreti stack up?

The company’s website started in 2015. That alone is not a huge problem, because in the traditional watch making areas in Italy there is plenty of talent that could be harnessed to make a statement with a new brand. Are you curious to find out what was the brand’s connection to Italy’s watch industry? If you click on “Our story” section of their website you will read a rather confusing tale with this rather mysterious sentence:

Remember the last time you felt a strong spark of creativity? A powerful attraction lit by Filippo Loreti’s amazing postcards did that for us in a major way.

You may think that Filippo Loreti was a designer or a craftsman who inspired the brand. But what’s the deal with the postcards? To find out I had to get to the older version of the same page, as found on Web.Archive.org:

As children, we spent summers with our grandparents in the countryside. There our grandfather would entertain us with stories of his adventures around the globe. Most captivating were tales of his dearest friend, Filippo Loreti, who sent him postcards from across Italy. Each was vivid and exciting, seeming to open a door to another world.

So, Filippo Loreti, the brand creators’ original inspiration, was just an acquaintance of their grandfather’s. He was just a regular bloke from Italy who had a good taste in postcards? What??

To the brand creator’s credit, they later visited Italy. And Italy looked good. Apparently it was enough for them to start calling their watches Italian? This is a very hard sell, in my opinion.

But what about the luxury part? Well, traditional luxury brands will happily tell you every detail about their products, most importantly the movement. Filippo Loreti’s website is exceedingly vague on this matter. Some online sources indicate that the company uses Japanese movements. I could not verify that, but if you want a Japanese movement shouldn’t you go for a well known Japanese brand?

One last thing. When I visit the websites of authentic Italian companies more often than not I discover that their command of the English language is not as good as one would expect from someone who sells their products world-wide. Filippo Loreti’s website boasts very good and elegant English. This makes a lot of sense, because this brand capitalizes on smart marketing. It may easily be that in a decade or so this company will gain a very solid reputation and will even somehow become more Italian (perhaps buy a local watch business in Milano?). But for now, buyer beware. Do your homework before you end up unhappy with your purchase.

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There is a long tradition of  luxury car manufacturers cooperating with luxury watch makers. This is probably a reflection of the mentality that can be summarized: “My watch is more expensive than your car. And you don’t even want to know how much my car costs”.

Italian luxury car companies are by no means opposed to this sort of co-branding.  At the moment, their partnerships stand like this:

Lamborghini – Tonino
Ferrari – Panerai
Maserati – Audemars Piguet

Note that only Ferrari watches are produced by an Italian watch maker. Also, Aston-Martin, a British car manufacturer whose design is very much Italian, proudly displays its logo on  Jaeger LeCoultre watches. When it comes to lower-end Italian cars, the watch brands are not so impressive. In fact, I was unable to find out who makes Fiat watches. But Alfa Romeo seems to work with Chopard.

See also:
Italian watches
Italian luxury cars

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Italian map watch

July 20, 2011

Jacob & Co. The Five Time Zone Watch: 4.50 ct. Italian Map design in Blue & White Pave Diamonds. 47mm Stainless Steel. As far as I know, Jacob & Co no longer carry this model. There are some  cheap replicas out there, but who needs these? I am unaware of any other watch maker that […]

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Panerai watches: How to spot a fake?

June 24, 2011

Panerai is on of the best known luxury watch brands. As a result there are many replicas and imitations that you can find on the market. In many cases these watches are explicitly sold as replicas, which leaves them in a strange gray area, in legal terms (unless they shamelessly use Panerai name and insignia). […]

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Italian watch brands – names and traditions

January 14, 2011

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 […]

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