Italian Design Watches

Versace Headquarters in Milan, Italy

Il Bel Orologio

The importance of fashion in Italian culture dates back hundreds of years, particularly to the period between the 11th and 16th centuries when Italian artistic evolution reached a pinnacle. One need simply mention the names of such Renaissance artists as Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli to grasp the creative relevance of those formative years. This overwhelming artistic growth inevitably spilled over into the realm of bespoke tailoring and other fashion-related goods including cosmetics, jewelry and watches.

To this day Italians maintain their desire to satisfy “la bella figura,” or “the beautiful figure,” a symbolic expression that refers to a guiding principle in which the awareness and desire to make good impressions extends to all areas of life. Such care and concern for refinement is why modern Italy remains a global fashion trendsetter with Milan as its epicenter, a city considered by many as the world fashion capital.

It goes without saying that Italy is also home to many of the most highly imaginative fashion designers, from the trailblazing giants who built the great fashion empires, to the independents who march to the beats of their own drums and represent tomorrow’s innovators.

Most of these designers and design houses now include watch collections in their lineups of fashion accessories. A close proximity to Switzerland allows many of them to incorporate Swiss made movements and parts, which makes for an impeccable combination of quality and style.

Firenze – The Empires

Via Tornabuoni is a street in Florence on which Italy’s most successful fashion brands operate boutiques. Fabled fashion houses including Ferragamo, Versace and Cavalli all open their doors in the vicinity.

Ferragamo Boutique in Florence, Italy


Each brand is a study in creativity, perseverance and success. Salvatore Ferragamo made his mark as a world-class shoemaker; Gianni Versace propelled fashion into popular culture; Donatella Versace took the Versace and Versus brands to new heights after the loss of her brother, and; Roberto Cavalli was a pioneer of textile technologies. These Italian designers turned their creative brilliance into fashion powerhouses and are now mainstays on the world’s runways.

Using their long reach in the fashion business, these brands leverage their reputations and expertise into the design of their accessories, including watches. Watches produced by brands such as Ferragamo and Versace reflect the luxurious lifestyles to which they have always catered. These Swiss made designer watches are among the most sumptuous available, built and designed to satisfy the indulgences of the most demanding, well-heeled clientele.

Roma – The Cosmopolitans

Others Italian watch designers and brands gain popularity for being outside the realm of universal recognition and serve a different audience. These watches are no less sophisticated, but emphasize playfulness and panache over high fashion.

Designer Fernanda Gattinoni is a fashion icon. At one time she was a designer to the likes of Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn, working out of an atelier on Via Toscana in Rome. Extending the Gattinoni collection into watches was a natural progression, with a current lineup that represents contemporary, affordable luxury.

Fernanda Gattinoni in the Via Toscana Atelier in 1966


Glam Rock is another watch brand with an Italian design connection, namely designer Enrico Margaritelli, who started the brand with his design partner and wife, Isabelle Maujean. Glam Rock’s approach to watch design is as cosmopolitan as the designs themselves – free from severity, customizable and vibrantly themed.

Amalfi – The Coasts

For Italians especially, good fashion sense and taste are not limited to cocktail parties and the lives of the glitterati. Casual life, in urban Naples or seaside in nearby Amalfi, is but another opportunity to make a good impression.

When it comes to relaxed wear, nothing beats a dedicated sports watch. These watches need not be expensive, but they do need to be versatile and comfortable enough to wear in any weather, especially when summer rolls around and short sleeves are an everyday conclusion.

Like every other fashion category, Italian minds are behind many of the coolest modern designs in sport watches. Maurizio Bianchini and Giuseppe La Giusa, for example, are the originators of Haurex Italia, a brand that produces large and colorful sport watches for men and women. Haurex watches, and Italian sports watches in general, do not mince words: they are bold and expressive, and provide the chance to proudly display one’s colors.

Italy is a treasure trove of beauty: its profusion of fine art, architecture and natural landscapes make it easy to understand why Italians are so enchanted by romance and “la bella figura” – they come by it honestly, and the sentiments are deeply rooted. This way of living, along with a direct connection to design antiquity, helps drive the country’s aspirations to shape the present and future of beauty in fashion, watches and all parts of life.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury watches, Swiss made watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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