In recent years, we’ve seen a fair amount of wildly unconventional materials used in watchmaking — from cigar tobacco dials to wooden tourbillons to bezels made of rusted steel from the Titanic. The latest off-the-beaten-path timekeeper from iconoclastic watch designer Giuliano Mazzuoli, called Cemento, carries on this tradition of bold horological experimentation: it’s the first wristwatch with a case made of cement.
Mazzuoli, a longtime native of Florence, Italy, inaugurated his eponymous watch brand with the launch of the Manometro watch, whose unique dial design was influenced by the pressure gauge on an old air compressor. He later created the automotive-inspired Contagiri and Transmissione Meccanica models, and followed these up with the Cemento’s direct predecessor, the Carrara, a watch with a marble case that Mazzuoli says reflects the Renaissance DNA of Florence and the spirit of Michelangelo.
Mazzuoli says that the inspiration for the Cemento came to him while he was observing maintenance work being done in the garden outside his home. “I stopped to watch the workers who were preparing some cement,” he remarked. “I thought of that mixture to build a new case and the subsequent phase was to maintain the gray/green color [of the Carrara’s marble case] that attracted me so much but that normally is lost when the material dries and matures. A careful polishing and finishing process gave the surface an incredible and pleasant touch.”
The cylindrical case of the Giuliano Mazzuoli Cemento — measuring a rather prodigious 45 mm in diameter and 13.5 mm thick — is made in Italy and features a screw-down, logo-engraved crown with a black O-ring assisting in its water-resistance of 50 meters. Under the convex, nonreflective sapphire crystal is a matte black ceramic dial with a simple three-handed hours/minutes/seconds display and and raised, three-dimensional rectangular minute indices.
The Cemento’s movement is ETA’s automatic 2824/2, with Incabloc shock protection, a 28,800-vph frequency, 25 jewels, and a power reserve of 40 hours. The strap, made in Tuscany, is calfskin leather and features a deployant steel buckle. It is obvious that Mazzuoli has poured (sorry) his heart and creative soul into this extraordinarily unusual timepiece.