U-Boat

These U-Boat Watches have a look that seems very high-tech and modern to present-day eyes. Other watch designers have come out with looks that were slightly similar to this in recent years, and anybody could be forgiven for thinking these were also new. Those who think so would be surprised to learn that this luxury timepiece was originally conceived in 1942 for pilots and submarine officers in the Italian military. The designer, Italo Fontana, made the drawings but was unable to produce the watches due to Mussolini's rise to power.

Forgotten for more than 50 years, Fontana’s descendant resurrected the design for the U-Boat Watches in 2000, and the result can be seen here. These are some of the most durable, dependable watches in the world, and they don't look old-fashioned at all. Rectangular cases held together with visible screws contain round dials with sloped bezels. Numerals are Arabic with 12, 3 and 6 oversized and the other numbers smaller, except 9, which is missing to make room for the date window. In deference to the original purpose for which the U-Boat Watches were designed, each luxury timepiece has the crown on the left side so it can be worn on the right arm, leaving room for a depth gauge on the left arm.

Here we see this design interpreted in an array of colors. All the dials are dark and the numbers have superluminova, so these U-Boat Watches can be read without mistake under any lighting conditions. Each luxury timepiece has a see-through back to display the movement. All the straps are leather pierced with tiny holes to allow air to pass, decreasing irritation from sweat.

Notice that two of our U-Boat Watches are dual-dial chronographs with small second hands. The two chronograph dials are at 3 and 6 while the second hand is at 12. As with the crown, the two pushbuttons for the chronograph are placed on the left side of the case, not the right.

On one hand, it could be said that the U-Boat Watches are not ornamental at all. There is really no attempt at decoration here. On the other hand, it must be admitted that there is a handsome, straightforward attractiveness to every luxury timepiece in the line. While there is certainly something to be said for jewels and elaborate ornamentation, it is a refreshing change to find a luxury timepiece without them. Their bright numbers seem to almost leap off the dark faces. Among people who consider machines beautiful, these are among the most beautiful of all.