February 2, 2015
by Ariel Adams
Reviewing the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara watch allowed me to learn a few things about this surprise 2014 watch hit; it wears really comfortably, marble doesn’t make a poor watch case material, and people really like to give this watch attention. In fact, almost no other watch I wore during 2014 captured as much attention from people as the Carrara did. Not only did people like how this Carrara region marble rock-cased watch looks, but once they know the case is marble, they cannot resist touching it and “ooohhing” at its soft-feeling polished surface.
aBlogtoWatch debuted the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara watch here in early September of 2014. About a month later, I was able to personally meet with Giuliano Mazzuoli himself to discuss the timepiece and the man behind it. What you need to know about Mr. Mazzuoli is that he more or less designs and does what he wants to do. He has a true artistic approach to the creation of timepieces, and he is rewarded for having a rather good eye for design. I do recommend that you actually read the above article for a bit more background on why he created the Carrara, but to make a long story short, he produces watches based on those things that inspire him.
You might also recall that the Carrara is the first watch collection from the Giuliano Mazzuoli brand not inspired by something automotive. His first watch – the Manometro – was inspired by a car tire pressure gauge. Now that Giuliano has explored sculpting, it was time to create a rock watch for the modern generation. The last watch we wrote about produced from stone was actually not really stone but rather concrete. This was the Concrete watch by Dzmitry Samal on aBlogtoWatch here. Prior to that, the most famous watches with stone cases were the Tissot Rock watches from the 1980s, I believe – which, notoriously fragile, were produced from various colors of quartz crystal.
Marble is the luxury stone of quarried rocks, so it is a fitting material for a luxury watch. Carrara is a region in Italy where this particular stone is quarried – hence the name. I have to say that the promise of a milky, lustrous, and soft to the touch marble rock is delivered in the watch – even if it is just a small amount of actual stone compared to that bathroom counter and floor you’ve been hoping for. Maybe if you go that route you can have some remnant stone turned into a watch for you.
True to the Giuliano Mazzuoli aesthetic, the Carrara case is lugless, and very much fits into the theme of the brand. The straps attach directly to the case between the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara marble middle section and the steel caseback. there are metal wedges on the underside of the strap which increase comfort and reduce wear on the strap itself. The metal screws on the outside of the strap holding this steel wedge to the strap offer another interesting dimension to the design as well.
One complaint people have made about many of Giuliano Mazzuoli’s designs is that the cases are disproportionately large to the width of the strap. This is true, but Mr. Mazzuoli’s response is simply “that is their opinion; I like it.” And honestly, it doesn’t look bad – it just makes for a unique look. The case itself, being make of rock, is going to be more delicate than steel. So don’t drop the watch. The inner case is actually steel, which the marble fits around like a hard doughnut. Holes are drilled for the crown and chronograph pushers for those models.
I do actually like the crown design a lot, as it is very complex compared to the simplicity of the case. Speaking of the case, it should be stated that each case is going to be unique. That is because each piece of marble is unique, and has its own inclusions, etc… That adds an additional “exclusivity” flavor to the ownership proposition. One issue with the crown is the white rubber “o-ring” that sits around it. This was added for the color as well as to help operate the crown. It works, although it is small and loose enough to either fall off or break off. You could easily pull it off with your fingers if you really wanted to. I would have preferred this element to be engineered a bit better or for Giuliano Mazzuoli to include a bunch of spare rubber crown o-rings when buying the watch. As is, I think if people want replacements, the brand should offer them for free.
You’ll notice that the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara comes in both three-hand and chronograph styles. Each of those further has three dial colors (with matching straps) which are white, slate gray, or blue. The dials are actually produced from sunray polished ceramic – which is pretty cool. What is also easy to love are the applied, raised, geometric hour markers. The simplicity and the depth of the Carrara dial are part of what makes it so beautiful to look at. There is some lume on the dial, but only on the hands. Overall, the legibility and artistic merits of the dial seem to overcome other more “practical issues” I might have with it. This, for me, is pure horological wrist art.
In terms of durability, the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara is water resistant to 50 meters and has a domed AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial. It isn’t a sport watch (and given the case, please don’t drop it on a hard surface), but it will put up with daily life. On the wrist, the case is 44.5mm wide and 13.5mm thick. This is a nice “larger but not large” size that will appeal to many people. The lugless design in this case is comfortable (not true for all lugless watches), and I feel that the ergonomics have for the most part been thought over and reflect a nice degree of the refinement you’d expect at these prices.
The real question for many people will be, Carrara automatic or Carrara Chronograph? Yes, the two Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara models are both attractive and interesting in their own ways. While the three-hand Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara models contain Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical movements, Giuliano Mazzuoli includes a Swiss La Joux-Perret caliber LJP 7771 automatic chronograph movement in the Carrara Chronograph. This movement is laid out to offer a subsidiary 30-minute counter for the chronograph and a subsidiary seconds dial for the main time.
During my review, I wore both the three-hand and chronograph versions of the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara. I think I like the three-hand more in the end when weighing everything together. First of all, the chronograph costs a full $3,000 more than the three-hand automatic. It is true that the chronograph requires a more expensive movement, dial, and case (with the pushers), but it is a large premium, to be sure. It is enough to dissuade some people who are mainly interesting in the watch for the overall design and Carrara marble case. You can buy “a lot of chronograph” for almost $8,000 elsewhere, if that is mainly what you are looking for.
The three-hand Carrara is also more straight-forward and purist in its approach to the theme of the timepiece. I would argue that while the Chronograph is nice, it simply isn’t that necessary. I am sure Mr. Giuliano Mazzuoli would disagree, and that is one of the reasons it is his name on the brand – he gets to make these decisions. As someone advising potential consumers, I will say that most all of the experience you want in the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara is available in the three-hand. The color choice is up to you as they are all pretty cool.
The Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara straps are all produced from Tuscan calf skin leather and come on folding deployant clasps that are thankfully pretty diminutive. Overall, the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara is not without its quirks, but it is a lovely watch that is worth picking up. Few beautiful European things are without their quirks, anyways. The design is both interesting and attractive at the same time, while also having an exclusivity element for less money than some people might guess. We all know what unique materials can command in terms of watch case prices, thanks to the work of brands like Hublot and Richard Mille. So having a great-looking marble-cased watch for about $5,000 will sound really good to some collectors.
Retail price for the Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara (ref. CRRA06 with the gray dial, ref. CRRA07 with the white dial, and CRRA08 with the blue dial) is $4,900, and the Carrara Chronograph (ref. CRRAC06 with the gray dial, ref. CRRAC07 with the white dial, and CRRAC08 with the blue dial) is $7,900. It is just me who finds it ironic that the reference name for the watch (chrono models) “CRRAC” sounds like “crack.” giulianomazzuoli.it
>Brand: Giuliano Mazzuoli
>Model: Carrara & Carrara Chronograph
>Price: $4,900 and $7,900 USD
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Design (and sculpture) lovers partial to items from Italy looking for a unique timepiece.
>Best characteristic of watch: Design of marble case is refined, comfortable, nice to touch, and visually attractive. Good looking dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Crown o-ring might be too fragile. Does not like being dropped (even once). Chronograph version perhaps not enough extra value for the extra price.