One aspect of watch-making that has made a huge impact on the luxury watch market during the past three or four years has been the materials used. While many companies have focused on high-tech materials, U-Boat's Italo Fontana has been breaking ground with a more traditional metal: sterling silver. The new Classico 925 series is the perfect example of how the Italian watch manufacturer has taken advantage of the precious metal's unique properties to offer its clients rare and extraordinary versions of their popular models.
On their own, or coupled with more modern materials, precious metals like gold and platinum have been linked to high-end watches since the start of horology. Silver, however, has been somewhat excluded from the production of luxury wrist watches for men. The metal has mostly been used on pocket watches and ornamental jewelry watches for ladies. Perhaps this has been due to its inclination to oxidize and low hardness, but thanks to today's obsession with vintage items, the unique look that the silver's "patina" offers works perfectly. Available in November, U-Boat's Classico 925 series consists of the CA925 chronograph with a beige dial, and the A925 with a black a silver dial.
The U-Boat Classico A925 is based on the basic 53mm Classico watches. The case is entirely made of .925 sterling silver and is finished with a fine brushed polish. The A925 is equipped with a thick sapphire crystal and see-through exhibition back that offers a view of the infamous ETA 2824 calibre through a skeletonized silver plate. More silver is present in the dial's numeral and index hour markers. A black plate, placed on top of a silver one, has the hour indicators cut out of it to reveal the precious metal bellow. Basically the time is indicated on what is sometimes referred to a "sandwich" dial. A black leather strap finishes the simple monochromatic look of the watch. Combine this with the lustrous qualities of sterling silver and you got yourself as elegant a U-Boat watch as you can get.
The CA925 is part of the new Classico automatic chronograph collection. These run on ETA's 7750 calibre. This silver chronograph watch is available in 53mm as well as the more accessible 45mm size. The tan leather strap shows how these watches can be dressed more casually. The strap retains its luxurious feel with an alligator leather lining. The "sandwich" dial on the CA925 is made up of a beige plate revealing carbon fiber hour markers.
The U-Boat 925 sterling silver watches are for U-Boat watch enthusiasts, who demand a little extra. They will be produced in limited quantities and, as with the gold Classico models, offer the opportunity of customization with an engraving on the back of the case. The metal's softness and susceptibility to oxidation is an important aspect to note. While some may shy away from a watch that changes color slightly over time, the vintage style created by the "patina" (color created by the oxidization of silver) is the exact reason why many people have chosen these particular watches over their stainless steel counterparts.
Pictures: Two images of the Classico A925 with black dial and silver hour markers, and engraving on its side. Two images of the CA925 with a beige face and with see-through-back displaying the 7750 automatic movement.
Written by Marco who sells U-Boat watches at Matt Baily.