Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches Watch Releases

This may be the first time that I have discussed Italian Ennebi watches on aBlogtoRead.com but they are definitely worthy of your attention. Along the Panerai and Anonimo vein, Ennebi watches are Italian divers with a retro spirit and an even more intense retro vibe to them. As part of a new vintage collection these two pieces are the Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base and California watches.

Each of the models is limited to just 33 pieces - so not many will be available. The watches are in rather large 50mm wide steel cases but the lugs are stubby so they will look OK on most wrists. The cases are water-resistant to 1000 meters and have a domed sapphire crystal. I appreciate the crown guard as well as the design of the crown that makes it large and easy to grip for winding/adjustment but also low profile.

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches Watch Releases

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches Watch Releases

A lot of the vintage spirit comes across in the watch dial. Black with lume hand-painted into inset areas, there is a sort of hand-made look to it that appeals to many vintage watch lovers. The large amount of lume makes it easy to read and I enjoy the petite (but present) subsidiary seconds dial.

The two models have different dials and my favorite is the Fondale Vintage California (ref. 9693). It has (not surprisingly) a California style dial with Roman numerals on top and Arabic numerals below. The design of the subsidiary seconds dial is also unique to this piece. On the bezel, Ennebi places a very cool solid gold skull at the 12 o'clock position. Bad-ass.

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches Watch Releases

Ennebi Fondale Vintage Base & California Watches Watch Releases

For the Fondale Vintage Base model (ref. 9691), you have a more standard looking dial with Arabic numerals and baton markers. On this model, the solid gold marker at 12 o'clock is actually a small diving helmet. Inside each of the watches is a Swiss ETA Unitas 6497 manually wound movement with about 44 hours of power reserve. I prefer an automatic but I do understand that not everyone does.

Ennebi will offer two hand-made Italian leather straps with each watch. One strap will be black while the other will be tan. Once again, both of these watches will be limited to 33 pieces and will have a price of $3,300. You can get them at Gnomon watches here for the Fondale Vintage Base and here for the Fondale Vintage California.

  • http://www.jeromepineau.com Jerome Pineau

    Hey is that a skull at 12 o’clock on the case??

  • kris c

    Ridiculous. $3,300 for a ‘diving’ watch that has nothing a diver requirs, save the ability to go deeper than any human could ever hope of even getting close to. What am I missing here, because I don’t get it.

  • dshon

    I don’t mind these sorts of watches at a certain pricepoint, but at $3k+ these are a joke. Nothing more than a “me too” watch that tries to ride Panerai’s and UBoat’s coattails. And why the use of a manual-wind Unitas 6497? Well, they’re about $100 each in bulk and Panerai proved that you can install these in watches costing thousands of dollars and customers will still lap them up.

    FWIW, I own a PAM Zero and love it despite the fact that it is grossly overpriced from a watchmaking perspective. However, I don’t consider the watch as a whole overpriced because I believe that Panerai’s earned the right to price its watches at a premium because they nailed the design elements so well. Their genius has always been in design and marketing, and it’s a credit to them. You can’t say these things about the watches above.

  • Peter

    For what it’s worth, I believe that the people behind Ennebi are responsible for the original Panerai design (quick search on Paneristi). Additionally, the fact that these watches don’t require a screwdown crown is really amazing considering the 1000M WR.

    As someone who would like to purchase a Panerai in the future, I would definitely give Ennebi a look. Just my 2cents.

    • dshon

      This can’t be right- the original PAM design dates to the early 20th Century. Those designers are likely dead, and certainly retired from the watch biz.

      Since the Ennebi is $3300 and a Base PAM is $4400, why wouldn’t you just get the real thing?

      • Peter

        “The watch is created by Alessandro Bettarini and Luciano Nincheri. Alessandro was the head engineer at Panerai prior to the Richemont buy out. Ennebi watch is a company of engineres who used to work for the military.

        It is said that Alessandro designed this, the first 1000 meter dive watch, in 1980 and a few prototypes were made but none were ordered by the Italian Navy, so this model never went into production. ”

        And define what you mean by the ‘real’ thing? Would you also call Anonimo a rip off of Panerai? These companies are from people who were originally part of the Panerai brand and if anything, are what made Panerai what it is today.

        Once more, just my 2c.

  • Jeff

    Without the current ennebi owners, there will be no panerai. They designed all the panerai watches bar the 20th century radiomirs ( those were designed by rolex) . The current Panerai is a marketing machine funded by $$$ rich Richmont and of cos connection with Sly Rambo. Ennebi watches r handmade and raw, sticking to its italian roots, Richmont Panerai is much slicker and modern. Both brands built nice watches and cater to different market. Buy wat u like. :)

    • Fulvio

      Hear, hear.

  • hugo preciado

    This vintage is not like their other lines. Nothing but problems. Dont even consider buying one.