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20 Years of Anonimo: Past, Present, and Future


Anonimo celebrates its 20th birthday in 2017. The last two decades have been full of innovation, change, and diversity, with new products being inspired by new talent and new locations. Birthdays always inspire reflection, so here is a look back at the Anonimo that has been, and a look forward at the Anonimo yet to come.

The Beginning

In 1997, an era in which the digital watch was still king, Federico Massacesi sought to launch a business that would leverage, pay homage to, and develop the watchmaking traditions of Florence, Italy. The watches would be entirely mechanical and they would be beautiful — the ultimate tribute to the union of form and function that had made Florence such an icon of the early watchmaking scene.

When one of Italy’s oldest and most respected watchmaking companies, Panerai, relocated to Switzerland, it left behind many of its most experienced craftspeople — at around the same time, as luck would have it,that Massacesi was formulating his business plan. With Massacesi’s vision joining the ex-Panerai team’s experience, Anonimo was born.

ANONIMO MILLEMETRI - 1997
Anonimo Millimetri (1997)

One year after the brand was founded, it showcased its first collectors’ piece, the Millemetri, at Italy’s premier jewelry exhibition, Vicenzaoro. Crafted with a fully automatic movement, the deceptively simple design was designed to military standards and waterproof to 1,000 meters. It would set the standard for all Anonimo timepieces to come.

A Military Tattoo

As ANONIMO discovered which of its features most ignited the interest of aficionados, and professional divers, more and more focus was put towards the militaristic aspects of its timepieces. The ultimate martial piece – the Militare – was released in 2001, sealing Anonimo’s place among the watchmaking elite.

A patented crown-locking system ensured the watch’s functionality in all environments, and the 6 ‘o clock crown was secured by the mechanical pressure of the strap once it was adjusted to the wearer’s wrist — preventing it from being opened inadvertently while also giving great freedom of movement to the wearer.

Following a collaboration with Colonel Dr. Dino Zei, Italian ex-navy officer and former CEO of Panerai, the Militare and its successors – the Nautilo and Polluce – soon became favorites of both the military and the diving fraternity. The watches were both beautiful and robust. Some models could withstand water pressure down to 2,100 meters, as demonstrated by the CNS (Cooperative Nazionale Sommazzatori) in its oceanographic geophysics research GEOSTAR project off the Sicilian coast. 

The World’s First Diving Watch in Bronze

While horology buffs will know the story of the hunters who created the Gefica Safari — the first bronze-cased watch — in the 1980s, the beauty of bronze was slow to catch the attention of the public. Released in 2006, the first Anonimo bronze diving watch played upon the true changeability of the alloy. Far from apologizing for bronze’s tendency to tarnish, and thus record the progress of its travels in its patination, Anonimo realized the potential of bronze to tell its wearer’s story. Not only does the material look astonishing, but, as seafarers through the ages will attest, it holds astonishing properties: it tarnishes but never degrades, even when exposed to salty water, making it ideal for products used at sea – including diving watches.

ANONIMO POLLUCE BRONZE
Anonimo Polluce Bronze

While other manufacturers held back, unsure of the aesthetic appeal of, and consumer demand for, bronze — and hesitated over the viability of the alloy being used for jewelry (Would it cause allergies when worn against the skin for prolonged periods?) – Anonimo researched, experimented, innovated, and developed.

From there, every future model adhered to Anonimo’s ethos of style with substance. Handcrafted leather straps; strong fixings; crowns created to suit each watch’s particular purpose, whether easy access for the military or careful concealment for divers, and cases not cast, but rather painstakingly milled from solid billets of metal or alloy in a bid to secure quality over quantity — all were parts of a philosophy that continues to serve the brand in good stead.

All Change

Success is often marked by the ways in which your competitors view you, and in business the greatest form of flattery is a takeover bid. In 2013, Anonimo was taken over by European investors and moved to Switzerland. While some thought that this would spell the end of what had been a beautiful independent success story, the brand simply did what had made it a triumph in the first place: it listened to what people wanted, it evolved, and it innovated.

Still independent, Anonimo SA moved on to create a series of watches that would change with their wearers. There were still several bronze watches within the collection, each one a shining example of what can be achieved when craftsmanship is given free rein.

ANONIMO NAUTILO BRONZE
Anonimo Militare Chrono Blue & Bronze

 The Present

Today Anonimo is nothing if not a success story. Its timepieces are not designed to convey wealth or status, but rather as a statement of the wearer’s personality; each watch is elegant, yet robust and created for use rather than plain adornment. Hand-finished, finely detailed, yet durable, Anonimo watches are made to last. This is what appeals to the watch-buying public. The company now has a global presence, retailing in more than 15 countries across all continents and will likely see that coverage grow in the coming years.

 The Future

Anonimo Vintage Chrono
Anonimo Vintage Chrono

The year 2017 marks not only the platinum (or china, for the traditionalists) anniversary of Anonimo but also ushers in a new face for the collection. Looking to the future while acknowledging the past, the new Militare and Nautilo lines combine the elegance of traditional Italian craftsmanship, the impeccable movements of Swiss watchmakers, and the innovative spirit of today’s Anonimo designers.

Along with the beautifully bronze, classically styled pieces with which the brand has become synonymous, this summer also sees the debut of the Anonimo Nautilo NATO collection, with a vibrant stripe of color flowing along the watch’s textile straps. Accents of color and stainless steel highlights are among the key features of these diving watches.

ANONIMO NAUTILO NATO
Anonimo Nautilo NATO

This fall a chronograph version of Anonimo’s Vintage Automatic model will be presented in two versions, with an elegance worthy of Italy, its country of origin, and which will delight connoisseurs and collectors alike.

ANONIMO CHRONO VINTAGE PANDA NEWMAN
Anonimo Chrono Vintage “Newman”

 

With a more incisive dial treatment, these new Militare Vintage Chronographs come in two versions, commonly referred to as “Panda” or “Newman.” Very graphic, these Vintage models are mounted on a strap made of aged leather and give off a refined style that goes straight to the point.

For greater readability, an internal railroad minute track paces the turn of the chronograph’s timer. With its polished bezel and satin case, this new Militare reveals through a clear caseback its automatic movement with its engraved Anonimo oscillating weight.

As Anonimo looks forward to its next 20 years of watchmaking, it sees a future of innovation and adaptability, but also a future that continues to honor the tried, tested, and trusted techniques of the Swiss and Italian watchmaking artisans of the past who originally inspired the brand’s creation. If it ain’t broke, the saying goes, don’t fix it. And Anonimo is in its prime.

ANONIMO CHRONO VINTAGE - LIFESTYLE

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2 Responses to “20 Years of Anonimo: Past, Present, and Future”

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  1. Joseph Greenberg

    As a designer, collector, and observer: the Miltaire Vintage Chronograph Newman is innovative, beautiful, true to the brand and region DNA, and worthy of highest praise and desire

    Reply
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