April 10, 2009
by Ariel Adams
This is a pretty incredible new timepiece from Angular Momentum. The figurine is actually part of the watch, and is situated on one of Angular Momentum’s new Time Gallery watch cases. Even if you have no idea what Il Moretto (aka “moretto Veneziano”), or a Morcic figure is, this is a pretty significant departure from your typical luxury watch. Let’s go back in time for a moment a few hundred years to Italy and Croatia to understand the development of this symbol. A Morcic is a bust figure of a Moor. The figures always have Caucasian features with dark skin, and are luxuriously dressed while wearing a turban headdress. The idea of the figure was to be “exotic,” and was typically used a good luck charm. Sailors began to have Il Moretto figurines as earrings or pendants as a ward against pirates (mostly Turkish) , who often plagued sailors who sailed along the African coast and in the Mediterranean sea.
While the figure’s face does not have a specific analog, it obviously has influence from African, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures 0 but is supposed to be a Moor. Today such figures are rarely made due to being controversial in appearance, but are still made in small amount in parts of Italy (mostly Venice) and Croatia. In the 19th century, such Morcic jewelry was often gilded and studded with many precious gems. This made them very desirable to the wealthy elite. The historical significance of the character seems to be based on Moorish mercenaries that fought alongside the Italians during battles with the moors. This combined with the exoticism made for very good charms. Today, only a handful of craftspeople in Croatia and Italy still create Morcic jewelry, but the icon is still a part of some local culture.
Using what can only be described as perceptive analysis, the always thoughtful Angular Momentum has incorporated Il Moretto into their newest timepiece. The case itself is about 40mm wide with in 18k gold and pave set — which means the diamonds are placed on the bezel, while the dial is black enamel. Il Moretto himself is highly decorated as is the tradition. In addition to being in gold with enamel, gilding includes diamonds, sapphires, pearls, and gold leaf. The attached alligator strap completes the watch for a nice display. Moretti watches are not for everyone of course, but for those who enjoy the history and concept of Il Moretto will be taken but the totally unique timepiece offering. From a practical standpoint, you can still enjoy a view of the time from the hour and minute disc window — that is powered by an automatic mechanical movement. Further, the figurine on the watch face should not be so high as to make the watch difficult to wear. Another very interesting piece from Swiss Angular Momentum.
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