Dialed In: Dolce & Gabbana's New Watches Celebrate Italian Creativity at Every Turn
It’s a forgotten nugget of horological history that from the 14th to the 18th century, the Italians (and also, for whatever reason, the Czechs) organized their days starting from sunset using 24-hour clocks mounted on their more illustrious city buildings, including the Duomo of Florence and the bell tower of St Mark’s Square in Venice.
Driven by movements that completed a full rotation only once a day, these meant that effectively the day began at a different time each day—half an hour after sunset, in fact—as the year wore on. On the upside, it was a handy way to know how many hours of daylight you had left for finishing up the day’s work.
The Firenze, another 24-hour model from the collection.
As a general rule, designer-brand watchmaking tends to steer clear of mechanical watch world and confine itself to entry level prices. That also means such watches are invariably quartz driven. Brave is the designer, therefore, who tosses his lot in with the big boys, the serious watchmakers.
Yet Milanese fashion duo Dolce & Gabbana have embraced watchmaking with a flagrant disregard for such horological conventions. All of them. At pains to celebrate Italian creativity at every turn, the pair created a line of watches, dubbed Manifattura Italiana, inspired by the decorative historical crafts of six cities including Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence, Naples, and Palermo. Two, the Firenze and Venezia (price upon request), are made from solid gold, limited to 10 pieces per year, and include displays driven by unique, 24-hour Swiss movements.
The Roma watch.
An ornately crafted clasp.
As you may have noticed, shy and retiring these watches are not. But instead of being simply blinged-out odes to excess, these limited-edition watches tell a story that few timepieces in this particularly ornate end of the watch market do. They celebrate in an unashamedly retro way the ancient arts and crafts of Italy, from high jewelry to gold and silversmithing, using hand engraving skills that date back at least as far as the Renaissance.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.