Staged within the cavernous halls of Teatro Armani, the private preview saw 51 brand new models on display, with expert craftsmen demonstrating their trades in the background. But this year’s presentation was more than just about the novelties; it was also a showcase of Emporio Armani’s newfound (or rather, newly acquired) watchmaking capabilities in its first foray into serious horology.
Launched in 1997, Emporio Armani watches quickly grew into a widely recognisable fashion-branded collection backed by its iconic designer Giorgio Armani, but despite their strong style statements, their technical side remains wanting. The fact is, men buying luxury watches buy into the heritage and technical expertise of the brand, something that is real and not just a fad, which is why the focus tends to be on the movement rather than the face. So when Fossil Group acquired the movement company Swiss Technology Production (STP) some two years ago, Emporio Armani, whose watches are produced by the Group, finally has access into the world of luxury timepieces for the very first time.
“The automatic gold plated watch with lizard strap from the Swiss Made collection makes me particularly proud. Fabric fluidly draping and flowing with the body’s movement is the core inspiration behind the lines of this collection, and this design wants to be an homage to the style of the 1930s and 40s.” -Giorgio Armani
Touted to be more premium by way of branding and watchmaking, the Emporio Armani Swiss Made collection scores on the technical precisely because of its Swiss make. “We wanted to combine the beautifully tailored style [of the brand] with the time-honoured tradition of Swiss craftsmanship,” says Armani, “The result is, at least in my opinion, the ultimate expression of elegance and sophistication.” And that basically sums it: traditional horology dressed by a world-class couturier – a natural progression from the existing collections that focuses on tried and true classics rather than groundbreaking innovation (at least for now) as Emporio Armani tests the waters of a vast and deep watchmaking pond.
Inspired by the 1930s and 40s, the Swiss Made timepieces reflect the subtle sophistication of Armani’s aesthetic with signature elements like fine leather straps (same as those used in the apparel line) and elegant bracelets, cabochon crowns, and a luxurious colour palette. There is also an elevated sense of refinement via a discreet adjustment of details – for example, moving the eagle logo from the dial to the clasp – to signify the shift from fashion to horology. The collection consists of 51 new models in mechanical automatic, quartz and quartz chronograph versions, all classified within an anthology of new selections:
Melting Gold stands out with rich and warm cognac hues on the dials.
Glowing Rose features a new and sophisticated shade of rose gold, underscored by the discreet elegance of grey and the luxury of fine leathers.
Bright Mesh is marked by the impeccable craftsmanship of metal bracelets, achieved by the alternate hand setting of links in pale gold, rose gold and silver. “The simplicity and softness, both real and metaphoric, of everything that bears the Armani label is our point of difference.”
The limited edition Black Magic is the epitome of Armani design, a masculine model with black matte velvet plating, superluminova indexes and hands, and rubberised alligator straps. The monochrome look is carried through to the movement, which is visible through the case’s smoked glass.