By Jonathan Bues
Giuliano Mazzuoli cements his reputation for daring design with his latest creation.
As a child growing up in Central Italy, Giuliano Mazzuoli was imbued with a love for motorsport. He was enamored with cars from a young age, which eventually inspired him to race them. When, later in life, Mazzuoli entered the design world, his point of reference for industrial design was one firmly entrenched in the world of everyday objects. For him, this naturally meant objects from the automotive world.
Although Giuliano Mazzuoli is not a watchmaker per se, his penchant for horological design has become more deeply refined over the years. He has other successful projects such as fine-writing instruments and stationery, but it's his watches that have landed Mazzuoli his greatest successes.
Mazzuoli has been ahead of the curve time and again in his willingness to embrace unusual materials for his watch cases. He was among the first of the smaller independent brands to make a carbon fiber watch. He has even gone to Italy's famed Carrara marble mines in pursuit of the ultimate Italianate watchcase. And his penchant for finding inspiration from everyday life took an unusual twist when he stopped to observe some maintenance being done in his garden.
Mazzuoli immediately fell in love with the gray-green color of freshly poured cement, and wanted to make a cement watch that would keep this color without transitioning to a lighter gray. The key to locking in this hue came from a complex brushing and polishing process that is applied to each Italian-made Cemento case. The straps likewise hail from the workshops of Italian experts in the Tuscany region.
As with most of Mazzuoli's watches, the Cemento is large (45mm in diameter and 13.5mm in height) and features a Swiss-made automatic movement with incabloc anti-shock system.
On the more complicated end of the spectrum is Mazzuoli's Contagiri. This timepiece's central feature, which evokes a sports car's rev counter is, in fact, a retrograde hour display that is set by a lever incorporated in the caseband in conjunction with a rotating bezel. At the end of each 12-hour period, the central hand jumps from 12 to 1 in a manner recalling the steady rise and rapid fall of a rev counter during acceleration and subsequent gear changes.
Trasmissione Meccanica Chronograph
One of the more fluid expressions of modern watch design in the Mazzuoli line is the Trasmissione Meccanica Chronograph, a timepiece whose case is designed after the stacked, swirling gearing found in a car's transmission.
The lug-less case design, which is typical in the Mazzuoli range, incorporates an off-center winding and setting crown at the 2 o'clock position and chronograph pushers unusually placed on the left-hand side of the case. Yet, as anyone who has actually attempted to operate a chronograph while driving can attest, this orientation has the advantage of ease of use for right-handers.
Whatever he is creating, Giuliano Mazzuoli brings a philosophy of design to his projects that is uniquely his own.