Italians are well known for their amazing craftsmanship and design, especially when it comes to fashion brands, but that extends to their watch industry as well.
It’s a lesser known and underrated corner of the global watch industry, but Italian watch brands do create high quality and stylish timepieces.
You might be already thinking of Panerai, Bulgari, or Gucci, but know that these aren’t the only brands that craft superb watches for the world to marvel at.
There are quite a few other Italian watch brands out there that offer an impeccable style, outstanding craftsmanship, attention to detail, and of course, the obvious wow factor that the Italians love to have.
Sure, it’s true they love to put form over function, but that doesn’t mean their timepieces can’t hold their own against other more established brands in the industry, because they do.
Now let’s have a look at 20 Italian watch brands you should know about.
While not a traditional watchmaker per se, lifestyle brand Visconti has expanded its field to include watches as well.
You might know them for their legendary writing instruments, and it makes them similar to the French brand Montblanc, which had a similar path.
Visconti’s watch collection isn’t a big one, but it does offer a few premium timepieces characterized by superior quality and that cherished Italian craftsmanship.
19. Filippo Loreti
An even newer brand, Filippo Loreti, was founded in 2015, with the purpose of making luxury watches accessible to everybody, and they’ve succeeded in part, at least when you think about their prices, which start at around $70, and go up to ten times that.
Their watches are inspired by Italian design and architecture of the past, going as far back as the Roman Empire for cues.
Inside, their timepieces come with Japanese quartz movements, though some feature automatic movements from Japan or China.
What has allowed to keep their prices low, besides sourcing quartz movements from Japan, is their directly to customer sales model.
18. Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo is a luxury goods brand that was founded in Florence back in 1928. It became well known for its women’s footwear collections, but recently they’ve branched out to offer fashion forward watches as well.
While they aren’t a traditional watchmaker, relying on external companies to manufacture watches for them, their collection is interesting to say the least.
Salvatore Ferragamo timepieces follow Swiss watchmaking techniques but stays true to their Italian heritage, which is easily seen in their designs.
Zannetti is and looks truly Italian. They wonderfully make use of characteristic Italian elements to make their timepieces unique and representative of the style and culture of the country.
Zannetti watches are therefore more work of art than anything else.
Behind the form though, there’s function too, and one that’s at least as good as its aesthetic.
Inside their watches they use modified ETA movements, so it’s premium quality and functionality nonetheless.
16. Emporio Armani
Emporio Armani is better known as a high-end fashion brand, but they do make superb timepieces too.
Rooted in the Art Deco style of the 1930s and 1940s, Emporio Armani watches are beautiful, appealing to more fashion forward individuals who often spend their time in formal situations.
The main characteristic of the aesthetic of Emporio Armani timepieces is their opulence.
Despite that, their prices lean more to the affordable side than one would expect given who they’re aimed towards.
Gucci is also a big name in the fashion industry, but a lesser known fact about the legendary Italian brand is that they also manufacture watches.
They’ve entered the watch market first in the 1970s, but that didn’t last long due to financial troubles.
They’ve come back in 1997, and have begun offering some very cool looking timepieces.
Unfortunately, don’t expect to have the high end craftsmanship that comes with established watchmakers, as Gucci doesn’t offer anything close to that.
Their watches aren’t handcrafted, they’re assembled from parts made by other companies. On the good side, expect lower prices than for other brands.
Also, if you want a watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you’ll have high chances of finding it at Gucci, because they do offer some very playful and wacky designs you may not find anywhere else.
Unimatic is young, being born only in 2015, but it has already managed to get quite a large following thanks to its astonishing looking timepieces.
The aesthetic brings something between pure simplicity and practicality, with hints from other foreign manufacturers.
Their watches are known for their slim cases, innovative materials, and some very impressive features. Despite their inspiration from other watchmakers, they’ve managed to create an unmistakable style.
Breil’s story started in Milan in 1939, founded by Innocente Binda and named after a Swiss city.
Their watches are mostly affordable quartz timepieces, with some of them moving into the more premium level with automatic movements.
Overall, their offer isn’t something you’d call high horology, but they do have some interesting designs.
They don’t follow the watchmaking trends, a characteristic that gives them a certain appeal, but they do have quite a wide range of options, from flashy timepieces to intricate models and timeless classics.
12. TB Buti
Born in Florence in 2001, TB Buti, from its creator, Tommaso Buti, is a small Italian watchmaker not very well known outside of Italy.
Though relatively new, it has already managed to impress several countries with its high end luxury timepieces, among which North and South America, Russia, Japan, or the Arab countries.
TB Buti crafts their pieces manually in their Florentine workshop, and use Swiss movements for their watches’ hearts, encasing them in stainless steel, gold, titanium, and even carbon. Some of their most luxurious timepieces come with manually encrusted diamonds.
WeWOOD is probably one of the most unusual watchmakers in the world, and that mainly due to the materials, or the material, they craft their watches from.
It’s wood, as you’ve most likely deduced from the brand’s name.
The company is based in Tuscany, it’s young and with a very promising future, offering wooden fashion watches.
They also strive to be environmentally friendly, thus they plant a tree for each watch they sell.
Their collection offers very novel watch designs, with the cases and bracelets made from various types of wood, with quartz movements inside, making them very lightweight and affordable.
The price range is somewhere between $50 and $200.
Locman is an interesting brand, and what makes it so is that it takes inspiration from the ocean and sea world.
Their designs reflect the brand’s passion for these natural aquatic mediums, striving to make them as natural and as close as possible to this world.
The blend of unconventional and innovative materials with unique designs makes Locman a successful brand.
The company is based on the island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany, and was founded in 1986.
Initially, it was offering design services for some of the biggest Swiss watchmakers, and afterwards it started producing watches for other brands, before doing their own.
Another novel Italian watchmaker, Venezianico, combines the country’s flair, drawing much of their inspiration from the Renaissance period, and as their name implies, the Venetian traditions, with an in-house modified Swiss movement, the caliber MV145, creating some delightful timepieces.
Despite the heavy Italian influence, you can also spot some pieces inspired from legendary models, like the pepsi design of the Rolex GMT Master II.
Their prices range somewhere between $500 and $1,500, which is impressive.
8. Meccaniche Veloci
Meccaniche Veloci began in 2006 as a group of creative designers who wanted to create something fresh, modern, and different than what they were seeing on the global market.
Though it was born in Milan, the brand now operates from Geneva, Switzerland.
Their timepieces are very distinct, unlike anything you’ve seen before in terms of dial designs, inspired by the world of motorsport.
As an example, take their Quattro Valvole watch, which has a design inspired by the pistons of a car engine.
7. Giuliano Mazzuoli
Giuliano Mazzuoli is essentially pure art and the brand’s most recognizable piece, the Manometro, clearly shows it.
Taking inspiration from an air pressure gauge, the watch is both beautiful and unusual.
All of the brand’s collection takes design cues from something mechanical in nature, creating a whimsical aesthetic that gives its uniqueness in the watchmaking world.
Ennebi is an Italian watchmaker based in Prato. The brand was founded in 2004 and focuses on manufacturing extreme tool watches, primarily divers.
And when we say extreme, we mean it. Some of their divers come with a depth rating of 1000 meters, and even 6000 meters.
Though less practical, due to the extreme size which reaches 49.4mm, that is still a huge feat of watch engineering.
Besides the rare features, Ennebi also brings some rare designs to market, which combined with the small batches they’re produced in, makes them somewhat exotic.
U-Boat is Italo Fontana’s materialization of his grandfather’s sketches and designs that date back to a 1942 set of requirements for the Italian Royal Navy.
Despite the brand being young, founded in the early 2000s, its roots are actually a lot deeper in history.
U-Boat watches aren’t for everyone though, as they’re usually fit for larger wrists, with nothing below 40mm for men.
On the design side of things, U-Boat timepieces are just gorgeous, without a resemblance to any other tool watch on the market.
They’re definitely a unique take on watchmaking, with an authentic Italian feel to them.
Probably the most well known watchmaker from Italy, Panerai is on par with the likes of Rolex or Patek Philippe.
And with a history spanning more than a century and a half, it’s also one of the biggest watchmakers in the world as well, delighting enthusiasts and collectors everywhere with its exquisite and easily recognizable designs.
The company was founded in Florence in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai.
It eventually moved to Switzerland in 1997, but it stayed true to its origins, with collections like Luminor that continue to impress the world of watchmaking.
3. Officina del Tempo
Officina del Tempo evokes themes from the world of motorsports, with modern designs that somehow defy the passage of time.
The brand is a nice blend of classic and contemporary, with a very impressive lineup of watches, yet still underrated.
Most of their movements are quartz, but the attention to detail to which they design their watches is nothing short of impressive.
They scream high quality and are for sure worthy of more attention from enthusiasts all over the world.
Anonimo is an Italian watch brand born by following in the footsteps of Panerai.
When the latter brand decided to move away from Italy, Anonimo’s founder, Frederico Massacesi gathered the watchmakers who once worked for Panerai but were left behind by the brand’s move to Switzerland.
That’s the reason why some details of the Anonimo watches resemble so closely those on Panerai timepieces.
Anonimo eventually moved to Switzerland as well, but it keeps those initial design cues and true Italian traits.
Since the move, they’ve reduced their number of collections to only three, with only handcrafted timepieces and self winding mechanical movements, all of them catalogued as military watches.
Bulgari is one of the big names out there, with part of the fame coming from the fashion industry.
The iconic brand was born in 1884 in Rome, with Greek watchmaker Sotirios Voulgaris behind the name.
When it comes to watches, Bulgari offers several interesting collections, all of them appealing and timeless, and even surprising at times.
Despite their fashion oriented general direction, they do have a few timepieces that speak of sporty and industrial looks, showing the brand’s quest for visual innovation.
Following their distinctive jewelry collections, Bulgari timepieces are bold, borrowing materials and craft from their jewelry line to offer sophisticated and innovative designs.
Italy is an interesting country, offering plenty of goods everywhere you look, from fine wines to high fashion.
Often overlooked though is the Italian watch industry, which, as you’ve noticed, has quite a lot to offer to the world, even though not all brands are traditional watchmakers to their core.