“I’m not interested in following trends. I’m not a ‘follower’ at all in fact. I much prefer to set my own trends. All my watches come from the same hand, the same head, the same source of passion.”
Step into the world of Italo Fontana, creator of U-Boat watches, and you immediately leave behind the somewhat dour Swiss watch industry in favor of something far less predictable and far more, well, Italian. Inspired by an original set of designs by his grandfather, Ilvo Fontana, and first created for the Italian navy in 1942, the unfailingly louche Fontana has spent the past decade developing a range of over-sized watches characterized by their legibility, limited production runs and classic aesthetic influences.
Proudly Made in Italy, the U-51 was U-Boat’s big new release at the BaselWorld 2010 watch fair and it made a triumphant return at this year’s 2011 show in a revised format, known as the Gold Crown Arrow. The generous 51mm case houses a Swiss-made chronograph movement with a date display at 9 o’clock alongside the left mounted 18k yellow gold winding crown secured in place by a screw-in cap that renders the watch especially watertight.
When combined with the gold chronograph pushers these elements add an extra 8,6mm to the total diameter of the piece and 36,6g of gold all in all. Less obvious, perhaps, but no less worthy of mention, is the dial. Made up of two separate watch faces laid one atop the other, there is a pleasing depth and texture to this particular part of the watch that in most instances is left purely one-dimensional. A hand-finished alligator strap with a gold personalized tongue completes the look.
A new version of acclaimed novelty, U-51 Rattrapante, but only seen from outside. Italo plays with colors using small gold details over the colossal 51 mm in diameter black case, not to mention the impressive crown cap and pushers. From the inside he changes mechanisms turning the watch into a Chrono for a limited edition of only 99 items in perfect U-BOAT style.
Top Soigné with black screws, rhodium plated, automatic mechanical chronograph personalized to U-BOAT specifications for date display and stem to be positioned at 9 o’clock. Frequency 28.800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hz. Power reserve 44 hours. 25 jewels. Height 7 mm.
Hours, minutes, chronograph, counter small seconds at 3, counter 12 at 12, counter 30 minutes at 6. Date window at 9 o’clock.
AISI 316 plus stainless steel, with subsequent treatment of coating IP black, 51mm diameter. 59.60 mm diameter including external crown-clutter. The bezel and the back of the case are locked together by external tubing and a customized key that ensures absolute water-proofing. Thickness: 19.60 mm. The winding crown is secured by an over-sized protection device, positioned at 9 o’clock, fixed on the carrure.External tubing and screws, protection device of the winding crown, chrono pushers frame and serial number plate in yellow gold 18K 2N. Total weight of the gold components is 36,60 g
Sapphire glass on the front and on the back case of the timepiece, both thick and flat with a double compression gasket fitted.
50 m, 5 ATM.
Made of two superimposed dials, first layer made of gold 2N, golden baton hands.
Hand made and hand finished alligator black leather, square scale, buckle with gold personalized tongue. Width 23/22 mm, hypoallergenic and color retain treatment, fasten to the case with screws.
Limited edition 99 units.
Please allow 4-5 weeks for shipping.