Here is the review of two special models of EgoTempo‘s Preludio series: the Fiorenza and the Pontevecchio66.

I had the pleasure of meeting Gianfranco Rinaldi at a watch fair at Villa Castelbarco in Vaprio D’Adda (Milan). Walking through the wonderful eighteenth-century halls of that palace,  I’ve been immediately struck by his watches, shown into a huge glass cabinet, because as well as being fresh, bright and multicolored, he associated his never-seen-before horological masterpieces “EgoTempo” to some models from the legendary italian microbrand “EnneBi” of the Maestro Alessandro Bettarini.
Bettarini is one of the most eclectic and innovative figures in today’s world of watchmaking, since he – for those who didn’t know yet – has been in charge from 1980 to 2005 of the design and mechanical department of Officine Panerai.

When I stopped admiring the window of that cabinet, Gianfranco, with his grace and his nice confidentiality, began a lovely chat in which he shared with me his immense love for watches, which he is a greedy collector, and the story of his passion, merit of his grandfather, musician and watchmaker, who was able to revise and repair even extremely complicated calibers.

I have mentioned just before the coexistence of EgoTempo with EnneBi for a very specific reason: both brands share some of the workings of the dials and of the gold inserts, hand made by one of the most valid and internationlly known goldsmiths: Mauro Bandinelli.

In fact, the grand Maestro Bandinelli is the extra-value of high italian craftsmanship and goldsmith’s art that characterizes both EgoTempo and EnneBi, for which he realizes – completely hand made – enamelled and “sandwich” dials, and also – just upon very limited custom orders – personalized movements with dense and intricate carvings and engravings. He also manufactures the gold inserts, hand chiselled, like the ones you’re going to see in this review and which are positioned both on the dial and on the back of some extremely limited models.

Strada in Chianti is the homeplace of Bandinelli: a fraction of the small town of Greve in Chianti, in the province of Florence from which it’s approximately 10 km far. There, in Via Mazzini there’s the “Arte Orafa” workshop, a small store and lab that seems to have crystallized the time, because by crossing it’s door, you can breathe the true Made in Italy, that’s the main strength and the greatest pride of the EgoTempo microbrand.

 

The watches that I had the privilege of reviewing are two really special models:
Fiorenza, a special and numbered series of the Preludio line, which celebrates the city of Florence
http://www.egotempo.it/en/prodotto/special-series-preludio/
and
Pontevecchio66, a limited edition that recalls the 50th anniversary of the terrible flood of ’66 and celebrates the courage and strength of all the citizens of Florence
http://www.egotempo.it/en/prodotto/new-special-series-pontevecchio66/

Introduction to the review of EgoTempo’s Preludio

Watches like these, in my personal opinion, are aimed at “mature” collectors, those who have already gone far beyond the concept of “investment-watch” and who had also overcome the obsession for the “supercomplications” that every collector, sooner or later, falls into it’s journey.

In fact, this kind of timepiece is characterized by distinctive elements that are mostly based on the will of wearing something extremely personal (and customizable, obviously upon request), but at the same time very simple, unique and handcrafted by the great Italian masters artesans.

In fact, everything is exquisitely Italian in each EgoTempo watch: box, strap, buckle, case, dial, hands and – of course – gold inserts too.

Not for nothing, two well-known artistic personalities, such as Maestro Donato Renzetti, the famous conductor, and pop singer Silvia Mezzanotte, who is also remembered for her successfull collaboration with Matia Bazar pop band, have just commissioned EgoTempo two highly customized versions named “My EgoTempo“, in which they were able to decide every single detail, from the design of the gold plates applied on the dial, to the color of the enamelled dial, the carvings on the case and on the caseback and the gold inserts too, as well as the material and the color of the strap that can be completely customized to match the taste of each customer.

Personally, after having examined both watches deeply and in detail and having worn them for a few days, I can just share with you the pleasant feeling I had, being able to proudly show off so much beauty and Italianness; I also admit that I have also aroused interest and curiosity from many friends watch connoiseurs and colletors, like me.

So I can definitely state that EgoTempo watches, are excellent “conversation starters” when you are in the presence or in company of other watch experts and enthusiasts.

Important premise: I am NOT connected, directly or indirectly, with EgoTempo, so I just tried to describe and share – at my best – the impressions I’ve caught, wearing for a few weeks this two Preludio models.

Therefore, consider this review just as my personal opinion, because I have no income, nor will I perceive anything writing this article.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The dial is what immediately stands out from the first sight of who stares at this timepiece. EgoTempo have opted for a very large and luminous dial, easily legible, whose surface is obtained through a coloring and enamelling procedure that enhances the tint and the shades in every different angles from where the watch can be observed.

In certain lighting conditions, the dial shows us different perceptions of its surface and color, resembling the texture of fabric, or appearing slightly corrugated like a rock, or emitting brilliant reflections that recall some dial manufacturing process of the past called “stardust” from watch enthusiasts.

EgoTempo designers have defined “starry” their dials, since they sometimes seem to change their look, according to the intensity or direction of the glare that enlight them.

To give a further touch of class and preciousness to the dials of the special and numbered edition models, up to two gold and enamel plates are applied to the face. One at 12 o’clock with EgoTempo’s logo and another at 6 o’clock with various images carved: from the treble clef for the Maestro series, to the lily of Florence for the Fiorenza, to the ancient florin coin on Pontevecchio66, to the progressive numbering that certifies the uniqueness of the special edition models.


DAILY USAGE

In everyday use, the watch was pleasantly comfortable and sufficiently ergonomic on my 17.5 cm circumference wrist, despite its 45mm diameter, that is obviously not so small. The perfectly balanced mix between thickness and curvature of the case turned out to be imperceptible on the wrist during common usage in everydays operations. We certainly speak of a big watch with strong personality, but never out of place or intrusive. It’s clearly an aviator case, with a big crown easy to be gripped and adjusted. In both Preludios, the watch is an essential 2 hands model, without any seconds hand. The Fiorenza shows a fire red dial on two layers (“sandwich dial”) with California indexes while the Pontevecchio66 amazes and enchants with a very poetic touch, the dial colour fades from the blue of the sky to the brown of the mud, made to remember the tragic flood of November 4, 1966. The case finish has brushed sides and mirror-polished lugs and bezel. This kind of finishing under the light is really charming!


READABILITY

The watch, thanks to its essentiality, its big dimensions and the intense and vibrant colors, it’s absolutely instantaneous for time reading during day and night too. The California indexes of the Fiorenza are filled with Superluminova, the black gladius hands are also very bright and the two gold and enamel inserts stand out from the red dial imperiously, giving it that touch of exclusivity that makes it really unique.
In the Pontevecchio66 the nuance of colors and the corrugated texture absolutely catalyses the attention. On the other hand, the gold insert – a reproduction of the ancient florin coin – is just one, positioned just above 6 o’clock; the hands are beautifully blued and luminous too and the indexes and numbers are white, directly printed on the dial on a single layer, wery well fluorescent anyway. From an aesthetical point of view, it emerges that the vocation of the Pontevecchio is much more formal and dressy, while the Fiorenza is sportier and has some military connotation.

 

TECH SPECS

Movement

Swiss ETA 2824 “top grade” version, modified with the elimination of the date disc and some adjustment of the heights of the pinions, in order to match the considerable thickness of the dual layer sandwich enamel dials, with gold inserts applied.
It’s a reliable and widespread movement, whose robustness and precision are well known. Great for the simplicity of its architecture and the decent cost of service.

Case

round shaped case, made of solid 316L stainless steel, hypoallergenic and nickel free. Aviator style case design, the finish contemplates an alternation of satin brushing on the sides and some mirror polished parts (bezel and lugs).
The “flower” crown, with large diamond-shaped checkering and custom engraving on the top, gently rises from the case profile of approximately 3.5mm and has a perfect ergonomy for an easy regulation and setting of the time.

Crystal and caseback

the crystal has been specifically designed for this model and it’s a domed and concave mineral glass, with anti-reflective treatment. The curvature was conceived in order to accommodate perfectly the higher thickness of the multi-layered dials with gold and enamel inserts.
On other models, it’s also available an acrylic exalite crystal and in the future it will be available a sapphire crystal too, obviously depending on the depth of the dial.
The casebacks are made of satin-finished stainless steel, secured to the case with 4 screw, positioned approximately at 2, 4, 8 and 10 o’clock. Depending on each model, they can be simply engraved with the name of the specific series and water resistance, or they can host some amazing hand chiselled gold inserts, bearing the most varied motifs (the ancient “Ponte Vecchio” bridge, the Florentine lily, the historical florin coin, the treble clef with the musical pentragram, etc.). Of course, all kinds of customizations are possible, ranging from the initials, to a full name, to a dedication or to a gold plate, engraved and / or enamelled, made according to the customer’s tastes and specific needs.

Dial

it’s definitely the most important and connoting part of each EgoTempo. In fact, it has a strong personality thanks to the bright colors of the enamels, the corrugated texture, the three-dimensionality of the gold plates and of the dual layer “sandwich” face. The assonance with EnneBi’s dials is so clear and the hand of the Maestro Bandinelli is absolutely recognizable.
The chiselled and hand-engraved gold elements stand out majestically from the enameled brass base plate of the dial and give each watch a uniqueness that smells of goldsmith’s art and high Italian craftsmanship.

Diameter

45 mm, excluding crown. On the crown stands the logo of EgoTempo engraved: a beautifully stylized “E”.

Thickness

13 mm

Indexes and hands

luminous indexes and hands, are filled with Swiss Made SuperLuminova C3.
The Fiorenza has a California type dial with Roman and Arabic numbers; the indexes are recessed in a dual layer “sandwich” dial, while on the Pontevecchio66 it’s all on the same level, alternating indexes and Arabic numerals, both in white colour.
Gladius shaped black hands for the Fiorenza and magnifically blued in Pontevecchio66.

Lug to lug vertical distance

50 mm

Water Resistance

50 meters/164 feet/5 ATM

Lug Width

24 mm

Strap

24mm on the lugs, that shrinks tapering to 20mm at the buckle. Made of first quality genuine leather, thick and soft, of various colors, stitchings and materials. The mirror-polished buckle is laser engraved with EgoTempo logo.

 

MODELS AVAILABLE

  • The Preludio is available in a variety of colors, with or without the seconds hand, in limited series or simply in numbered editions, with or without gold inserts. The series are: My EgoTempo (completely customizable, upon customer’s requests), Maestro (special series, dedicated to music), Fiorenza (special series, dedicated to the city of Florence) and Pontevecchio66 (limited edition for the 50th anniversary, 1966-2016, of the river Arno’s flood).
  • The No Logo is declined in different colors too. It has an enamel dial on two layers, a lower white sector and an upper colored one, with the indexes (dots) pointing the hours. It’s a minimalistic timepiece, without any seconds hand and also without any writings, logo or insert.

PRICES

  • Preludio standard at € 1.950 EUR
  • Preludio numbered series with gold inserts at € 2.500 EUR
  • Pontevecchio66 at € 3.500 EUR (limited edition)
  • Fiorenza at € 3.500 EUR (numbered series)
  • Maestro at € 3.500 EUR (numbered series)
  • No Logo at € 2.500 EUR

CONS

In my humble opinion, although this watches have features of uniqueness and excellence, they could be easily improved following some of my tips and suggestions:

  1. 45mm is a huge measure not suitable for all wrists for sure: I’d like in the next future to see a smaller version available, preferably around 39-40mm diameter.
  2. I would opt for a sapphire crystal instead of mineral glass and / or acrylic.
  3. I would have appreciated way more to have included in the bundle, that currently contains 2 sets of straps, one equipped with the standard buckle, and the second one with a folding deployante clasp.
  4. The removal of the date wheel from the movement, should also provide the removal of the date click of the crown, in order to let adjusting the time with a signle latch of extraction. Unfortunately, the date click is still there with an annoying dead position of the crown. If you leave the date click, I would prefer then to keep the date wheel too.
  5. I would have appreciated a beautiful “shark mesh” steel bracelet included, adding a charming extra vintage look, with a custom laser engraved clasp with EgoTempo logo.
  6. I think that the price of the standard versions, without any gold inserts, could be adjusted within 1.500 €.

INFO & CONTACTS


FINAL NOTES

As stated before, I am NOT affiliated with EgoTempo, so I’ll not be able to reply to any of your questions and/or inquiries, so I invite you to contact EgoTempo directly through the official channels for futher informations, if needed.

The attached pics are from Viola Cappelletti, shot with a Canon 5D / Mark IV, into a white room softbox. Wristshots have been taken with my smartphone, a Samsung S7 Edge. No color correction or postproduction has been done to these pictures, in order to be as more realistic as possible.

The pics of the Master goldsmith Mauro Bandinelli are coming from his official website – www.arteorafa.info

I hope you enjoyed reading. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!