Italian-designer Giuliano Mazzuoli is no stranger to unusual watch cases – both in design and materials. Whether it’s a slick cement case, a smooth marble case, or a watch made entirely representative of an automatic racing transmission (Giuliano Mazzuoli Trasmissione Meccanica watch reviewed here), a unique approach is more or less guaranteed from the brand. The new for 2017 Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage is no exception. Featuring four versions with thick, colorful camouflage cases and a unique “canvas-stamped” leather strap, Giuliano Mazzuoli delivers a vivid new model to the typically racing-inspired Manometro collection.

Camouflage isn’t new to the watch or fashion industries, but it seems to be enjoying some popularity among mainstream watch brands recently. TAG Heuer released a Camo Aquaracer last year, and we recently looked at the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 – both could be classified as safe for some hefty outdoor activity. The Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage, on the other hand, seems to be positioned more for the chic urbanite than the semi-rural squirrel hunter or gun-hoarding survivalist (with a taste for niche independent luxury watch brands). Another major difference is that Giuliano Mazzuoli took the much rarer and more difficult approach of putting the camouflage pattern on the case rather than the dial.

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The watch itself boasts the reliable Swiss ETA 2824-2 time-only workhorse movement operating at 4Hz with a 40-hour power reserve. The crown residing at 2 o’clock (as is a trait of the Manometro collection) is a further quirky element on an already eccentric watch, and many watch enthusiasts will approve of the conscious omission of a date display (which the 2824 offers). The watch’s 50m of water resistance is a little disappointing, in my opinion, as I would kind of like to think that the rugged pretenses of its texture and pattern reflect more than fashionable styling.

The most unique and arguably the strongest selling point of the watch is its unusual case. As mentioned above, Giuliano Mazzuoli is known for using unconventional case materials. He’s used marble in the Carrera (full review here) and cement in the Cemento, as well as carbon fiber and other materials. The Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage is based on the Carrera case, but a new coating – a “mixture of colored powders and composite materials” (the brand does not elaborate much more) – gives the 45mm x 13.5mm case a very unusual matte and porous-looking texture. One would be forgiven for assuming it is some form of stone or concrete like Giuliano Mazzuoli’s other watches.

And because each case is manually crafted, we are told the texture and pattern will be slightly different on each, giving the wearer the satisfaction of a unique timepiece. Paired with the glare-deflecting convex sapphire crystal, the dial should be very legible. Each dial features raised indices and a matte finish that complements the cases well – for a busier case design like this, a simple dial was probably a good idea. The Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage watch will come in four colors; green, blue, black, and tan, and each watch will be fitted with a neat canvas-stamped leather strap.

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While the camouflage and (faux) canvas would suggest the rugged, military, tactical, or badass, it seems that the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage really isn’t designed for intense outdoor activity. The low water resistance, leather strap, and lack of luminous aspects (though it appears the hands have thin lume strips) give it away as probably destined more for chic cocktail bars than walks in the woods. That’s fine, and as a fashion statement with boutique appeal, an unusual look, and a lot of character, it should perform well.

Despite that the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro Camouflage does not have the specifications of a rough-wearing tool watch, there is a significant amount of “cool” to it, in my opinion. While the unusual case texture is intriguing and the execution of the camouflage pattern is commendable, final judgements will likely come down to personal taste. All four models will be priced at $3,900 each, which is at least partly reflective of the development and manual attention required for producing the cases.

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