In early September, I will be headed to Hong Kong for the 2014 Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair and the primary reason I am excited about it is that I expect to see a lot of bold new – not necessarily great, but undeniably new – designs and concepts. And while European and US-based shows do offer an in-depth look into what the big guns and important independents are about, it is important to look elsewhere too to find new and different sources of innovation. Despite a number of respectable exceptions, most major brands act slow when it comes to coming up with new concepts or value propositions – allowing the "new guys" in the business to steal some of the attention from the big guns. Today, we are here to discuss one of these positively surprising new brands (that will also be present at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair) and one of their key models: the ITAnano Phantom Carbon Automatic 49 watch.
You'll notice that the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara comes in both three-hand and chronograph styles. Each of those further has three dial colors (with matching straps) which are white, slate gray, or blue. The dials are actually produced from sunray polished ceramic - which is pretty cool. What is also easy to love are the applied, raised, geometric hour markers. The simplicity and the depth of the Carrara dial are part of what makes it so beautiful to look at. There is some lume on the dial, but only on the hands. Overall, the legibility and artistic merits of the dial seem to overcome other more "practical issues" I might have with it. This, for me, is pure horological wrist art.
"I bought this watch in the hopes that I would be able to keep track of time while I was scuba diving in volcanic lava. After only one 20 minute dive the watch stopped working for some reason. I sent it back to Zenith and they claimed the watch was not lava resistant past 30 feet. I was only diving in 20 feet of lava so I told the CEO to his face that he was a big fat liar. Then I drove to their manufacturing facility and broke in during the night to procure myself a new watch as they refused to replace the first ninety thousand dollar piece of crap I bought from them. Once inside Zenith's top secret facility I confirmed what I had suspected all along. A room full of Umpa Loompa's rebadging Casio G-Shock watches with a cheap titanium exterior and stamping 5,000 price tags on them."
As you can quite readily tell from the photos here, this is a skeleton watch (and that's what squelette translates to from French – skeleton). I've been spending more time looking at and thinking about skeleton watches in the last year or so, and I have come to the conclusion that they are particularly hard to do. There are some brands that have it absolutely nailed down on the higher end of the luxury spectrum; when you start coming down closer to the realm of the "affordable" watches, things become hit-and-miss.