Diving Watches: From Sports Watches to Certified Icons
Peacocks on parade! Twice a year, the “who’s who” of men’s fashion meet at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy to proudly display the latest trends. But what do watch enthusiasts get out of it? Not only is there often an overlap in watch fans and fashion aficionados, but there are also some extraordinary timepieces photographed as a part of the fashion expo. That’s why it’s so exciting for us!
Florence, 1972: For the first time, Italian manufacturers of men’s fashion gathered here to present their finest wares. Their original goal was to promote Italian craftsmanship in menswear beyond the country’s borders. Today, around 1,300 brands participate in the expo, including numerous labels with an international reputation, such as Borelli, Drake’s, and Zegna. In contrast to the major fashion shows in Milan and Paris, the focus here has always been establishing a connection to the buyers; it’s often possible to order directly from the manufacturers. More than 30,000 visitors will flock to the Tuscan city between the 8th-11th of January. The most extroverted among them are known as the “peacocks”, men in tailor-made three-piece suits of the finest wool with perfectly matching accessories, who gladly pose for the photographers’ cameras.
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Due to social media trends and the increasing relevance of streetwear, these pictures no longer wind up in print magazines, but rather get posted directly on Instagram. That’s why Pitti has become the most important catwalk for fashion bloggers, influencers, and photographers in recent years. With 715,000 pictures shared under the hashtag #pittiuomo, the hype is real. In January 2019, you can expect more than a few Instagram users to fill their feeds with images from Florence. This time, take a closer look at the wrists of those well-dressed men!
Fashion and watches are both worlds in which one can lose oneself all too easily. The special haptics of a cold steel case, the shine of a ceramic bezel, the feeling of winding a manual movement, an enamel dial or the patina of a “tropical dial” – all this attention to detail is echoed in high-quality clothing as well. The movement is like the inside of a suit: the lining, which determines how the jacket fits and how perfectly it falls against the body. The wool used determines the longevity of the garment, and, upon careful inspection, the structure of the British tweed reminds us why we don’t buy suits off the rack! Furthermore, it is the history of certain luxury watches, such as the Omega Speedmaster or the Rolex Explorer, that makes them so compelling, and such stories are present in the fashion world as well. After all, “necessity is the mother of invention” – and this is why the trench coat, for example, was developed for the officers of the British army in 1901: to serve as a functional raincoat for their work in the trenches.
This receptiveness to good stories and high-quality products is not lost on watch brands such as Omega, which is why some dare to venture into this world and participate in Pitti Uomo with partners of the brand.
Of course, there are also those for whom these stories and watch features are less important. For some, a watch is a purely stylistic element: “the only legitimate accessory for a man”, as it’s often put. Whether that’s true for many men at the expo, I can’t say. One thing is clear: In recent years, there have been many wrists adorned with interesting watches that match the menswear – that’s a treat for any watch fan! If we look at some snapshots from past expos, we can get an idea of what to expect at the first Pitti Uomo in January.
In the classic film “American Psycho”, the main character Patrick Bateman wears a bicolor Datejust 16013 with a gorgeous linen dial, thus illustrating the motto of the New York yuppie generation: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”. How could that be expressed better than with a Rolex watch in gold and steel? It’s the opposite of today’s minimalist trend, if you will, but today it can be assumed that those flaunting such decadence are doing so with a nod of recognition to the cultural significance of the 1980s. This gentleman apparently wasn’t attracting enough attention with his blue Glen plaid suit and burgundy overcoat, so he added a bicolor Datejust as the ultimate eye-catcher.
This gentleman is hiding his wrists, leaving us to speculate which watch would have best completed the look. Military patterns were particularly en vogue this year. From second-hand M-65 jackets to tactical trousers, the military look is just as popular as vintage watches. True fashion aficionados playfully put what was intended as purely functional clothing together with a blazer or cardigan. This particular “peacock” goes one step further to create a layered look, combining earth tones such as green and brown with colorful accessories. The Panerai PAM 735 with its 45-mm titanium case and matte green dial would fit perfectly. This watch easily fulfills the criteria for vintage and military style and also has an Italian flair due to the brand’s history.
Those who feel that a suit is too formal can combine the military jacket with a loose-fitting T-shirt and blue chinos. The perfect fit in this case is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A, perhaps the most sought-after luxury sports watch on the market today. The watch’s designer, who has sadly already passed away, Gérald Genta, certainly wouldn’t have minded that many fashion enthusiasts now choose the Nautilus as their “daily driver”. In addition to being known as a sporty and elegant stainless steel watch, it has maintained an “enfant terrible” reputation since 1976 for breaking with Patek’s dress watch tradition and being marketed as the most expensive watch in the world. That’s probably why fashion rebels still love to wear Patek!
We can’t wait to see what the fashion and watch trends will be at this year’s Pitti Uomo 95!