This Young Italian Brand May be the Next Big Thing in Watches

And it's founded by a 26-year-old executive.
IMAGE D1 Milano

Italian entrepreneur Dario Spallone was learning about the global watch industry in Bocconi University of Milan when he decided to make a watch brand of his own. By 2014, D1 Milano was introduced in Italy’s capital, and now, the young watch brand is found in the United Arab Emirates, where its headquarters is located, the US, France, Switzerland, and just last January, in select watch boutiques in Manila. 

While an Italian brand, D1 Milano credits several countries for the creation of its watches. The entire watch is assembled in China, but its design and the calf-leather straps of some of its collections are from Italy.

Two of the four collections under D1 Milano take inspiration from the timepieces of the 1970s, a time described by the brand’s Asia Pacific manager Martina Zonta as a “great moment” for watches.

IMAGE: D1 Milano

IMAGE: D1 Milano

“By the ‘70s, Italy already recovered from the war. The economy has grown, people were enjoying life. It brought back colors, it brought back outstanding shapes [for watches],” Zonta shares to Esquire Philippines.

True enough, D1 Milano’s Ultra Thin and Super Slim watches are reminiscent of the edgy watch cases of that decade. Both collections sport octagon-shaped bezels with brushed finishes that complement the look of the stainless steel watch cases.

What is truly captivating about these modernized classics is how it looks and feel lightweight on the wrist, despite the edges. The stick dials certainly help to evoke this look. And with Italian calf-leather straps holding the entire piece together, these watches are pretty good for less than P25,000 each.

IMAGE: D1 Milano

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IMAGE: D1 Milano

Meanwhile, the brand’s most high-end entry, the Project 701 (P701) collection, is a complete departure from the polished and classic looks of the Ultra Thin and Super Slim watches. The collection’s watch face showcases the automatic skeleton movement embedded within the timepiece, a feature that can’t help but be compared to something like Panerai’s Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio. Still, the young Italian brand somehow makes it its own by keeping true to its signature stick dials.

According to Zonta, the P701 is the brand’s best-selling watch in the country, especially for the price, which isn’t as demanding as its Swiss counterparts at less than P44,000.

The Philippine market definitely personifies what Zonta shares as the brand’s main patrons: “the one who wants stand out [in] how they present themselves, that likes to be different.”

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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