Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo has been producing wristwatches in collaboration with manufacturer and licensing partner the Timex Group for quite some time. My favorite Ferragamo watches continue to be in their longstanding F-80 sport watch collection — but that is a story for another day. Today, I look at another Ferragamo sport watch: the Ferragamo 1898, which is a diver’s watch GMT-style timepiece.
New for 2019, the Ferragamo 1898 Sport initially comes in a few versions, this being the blue and red bezel reference SFDU00419. This watch is modern and practical in a way that a fashion house watch should be. It’s got a well-made steel case and matching bracelet with handsome surface polishing to it. The overall aesthetic of the watch is meant to be classic, following in the spirit of the Rolex GMT-Master, but with a distinct take on the theme and with plenty of Salvatore Ferragamo brand DNA (if you know their legacy or wristwatches, that is).
Let me address the watch’s two downsides, as I anticipate consumer feedback. First, the watch contains a Swiss-made quartz GMT movement, as opposed to a mechanical one. That actually isn’t a bad thing, per se, but it does mean the likely consumer audience will be a bit more mainstream than your typical watch collector who might prefer an automatic GMT movement. The second issue is related to price. At retail, this watch is nearly $1,300 — which, in a vacuum, isn’t too much, save for the fact that a legitimate claim could be made that Timex and Ferragamo could have sold this 1898 Sport watch with a Swiss-made mechanical movement for around the same price.
Again, Ferragamo sells more to mainstream consumers versus watch collectors, but they do rely on the recommendations of watch nerds, such as my self and the aBlogtoWatch audience. As a watch, the 1898 Sport is certainly fashionable if not a bit on the conservative side. In fact, a lot of the Ferragamo watches being released today are certainly more classic/conservative in style, which I think is a function of the times we live in. Little details, such as the flared lower lugs and bottom section of the dial, are decorative and, in my opinion, necessary if you are looking to get a timepiece from an Italian fashion brand.
The steel case is water resistant to 200 meters with a uni-directional rotating bezel (a GMT is supposed to have a bi-directional bezel, but it matters little) with a red/blue aluminum insert and lume pip, and a 44mm-wide wearing size. It certainly is a large watch, but it is well-proportioned and comfortable on the wrist. The dial has applied hour markers in a gold tone, with a sloped flange ring for extra legibility. The flat sapphire crystal is AR-coated, making overall legibility and ease of reading the time very high. The dial design is attractive overall, but it doesn’t have nearly the personality of some other Ferragamo timepieces.
Attached to this Ferragamo 1898 Sport GMT watch is a matching steel bracelet with a polished center link and brushed outer links. It closes with a simple butterfly-style clasp. Again, quality is more than decent for a higher-end fashion watch but, like the rest of the 1898 Sport timepiece family, Ferragamo is going for familiarity versus novelty. One important fact to mention is that the entire watch — like a decent piece of jewelry — doesn’t have sharp edges that will hurt your skin or snag your clothing. Non-snagging wristwatches are clearly a good idea from a company that primarily produces other items of clothing.
For those who are fans of the Ferragamo brand, the Ferragamo 1989 Sport is a handsome and solid daily wear watch for those not interested in a mechanical movement and who want a classic style. That particular category of timepieces might be quite large — but then again, the marketing play here is the brand versus the specific design. Having this be a mechanical watch would have lured a lot of timepiece enthusiasts, but as it is, this should be a watch that timepiece aficionados can tell mainstream consumers will be decent on their wrists. And let’s face it, most consumers not educated in fine timepieces aren’t interested in the quirks of a mechanical movement, anyway they just want something nice and dependable on their wrist — which this is. The Ferragamo 1898 Sport SFDU00419 has a retail price of $1,295 USD. Learn more at the Ferragamo website here.