In Focus: Allemano, Italian Automotive Heritage Adapted Into Modern Timepieces - Oracle Time
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In Focus: Allemano, Italian Automotive Heritage Adapted Into Modern Timepieces

Allemano Misuratori del Tempo collection

Allemano Misuratori del Tempo collection

With its flush, fluid and (at the time) incredibly modern coachwork, the Fiat 501 Torpedo was a seminal Italian motor when launched back in 1919. The marque’s first serially produced car, it was responsible in large part for getting the Italian motor industry back on its wheels following WWI and remains a post-war automotive icon. It also goes hand-in-hand with Italian watchmaker Allemano.

You see, prior to 1919, Allemano were building steam-powered rollers for construction and, in that process, learned how to build accurate, reliable pressure gauges. So, when the new Torpedo needed just such an instrument, it was Allemano that Fiat went to, equipping each 501 with a signature Allemano Felice Torino device.

Allemano GMT

Allemano GMT, €2,690

That was the launchpad Allemano needed to start getting their pressure gauges, thermometers and dynamometers into cars, aeroplanes, ships – covering land, sea and air, anywhere that needed their level of precision. Possibly the brand’s biggest breakthrough however came in 1980 with the inception of their first depth gauges.

Obviously Allemano has historically been a big player in precision instruments. But perhaps the biggest question though is what does this have to do with watches? Well, that’s because, back in 2019, the brand first ventured into the world of precision timekeepers.

Allemano Man case

Allemano Man, €3,790

Dubbed the Misuratori del Tempo collection (literally, time measurers), the three-piece collection leaves no doubts from whence their aesthetic inspirations come. Indeed, in celebrating the 100th anniversary of their Fiat 501-based pressure gauges, they all but recreated the design, measuring time rather than pressure. The result is the kind of watch you’d expect to see on the wrist of a burly Italian restoring the coachwork on an old Ferrari. Forget the lovely, chunky leather straps; the perfect accessory for the range is a wrench.

With the strap attached at the very base of the case, the silhouette of all Allemano watches stands its full height above the wrist, creating an incredibly distinctive look, the kind of depth that hammers home its instrument inspiration. Even the hands with their crescent counterweight are taken in their exactitude from the original car-based designs.

Allemano Man

Allemano Man, €3,790

That’s particularly true of the Allemano Man (which you can read our review here) – taken from Manometer rather than anything overtly masculine – which separates out minutes and seconds, regulator style. Though honestly, the more toned-down DAY and GMT are the more wearable of the collection. Indeed, the addition of a red second time zone hand makes the GMT an incredibly attractive proposition, particularly with a retro cream dial.

Allemano Day

Allemano DAY, €1,800

Regardless of your choice of watch, you’ll be getting a Swiss automatic movement inside, ranging from the workhorse SW200-1 in the DAY to the SW 330-1 in the GMT to the exceptional ETA Fabior FW 98 Retrograde Manual Movement in the MAN. So, precision instrument on the outside, precision instrument on the inside.

Honestly though, Allemano isn’t a watch brand that’s easy to compare with others. Sure, they may share a similar specs sheet to plenty of timepieces from bigger and smaller labels, but looks-wise there’s nothing quite like them. The uncompromising adherence to vintage dashboard instruments, the charming, eye-catching silhouette that entails and the build quality you’d expect from a name that cut their teeth on pressure gauges, Allemano are a breath of fresh design.

They won’t be for everyone, but for those that do appreciate them, not much else will do. Thank God for the Fiat 501.

More details at Allemano.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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