Finally, a watch with all the excitement of an automatic transmission. It was sometime ago that I first learned about this interesting new mechanically-minded watch collection from Italian designer Giuliano Mazzuoli. Called the Trasmissione Meccanica, I was able to enjoy a nice long time with the watch which takes inspiration from a less commonly reflected part of the automobile – the transmission. Lots of watches are inspired by automotive design. Common elements include the overall body design, engines, lights, wheel, brakes, and of course instrument gauges. This is the first time I know of that the ol’ gear box is the base of a luxury watch design.
Mr. Giuliano Mazzuoli isn’t new to being inspired by uncommon elements from the world of cars. The watch that made the brand noteworthy was his Manometro collection. Giuliano was inspired by air pressure gauges often used for tires. The design was quite clever, and a pocket watch version that recently came out actually looks like an air pressure gauge complete with tube unless you inspect it closely enough. Later Giuliano Mazzuoli released the Comtagiri, which was based on tachometer scales. The Trasmissione Meccanica seems to be his first design not based on some type of actual gauge.
What ties each of the Giuliano Mazzuoli watches together are round cases with lugless designs. Lugless designs are not for everyone. Some people love them and others feel as though they make a watch look incomplete. In a lugless design the strap is often integrated into the case, and isn’t always removable. Much of the time the strap connects normally using a spring bar, but the connection points are merely under the case. It goes without saying that lugless watches tend to wear a bit taller as they need to accommodate the strap sitting underneath the case.
Also, lugless case tend to wear smaller. Lugs add a lot to the size of a case, and without them even larger watches appear smaller. Further, people often like the look of a watch whose lugs extend to the end of their wrist, and with lugless cases that often isn’t possible. Another consideration is the width of the strap or bracelet itself. In order for a watch to have a “beefier” feel the strap should be wide. This is often doubly important on lugless case designs as the concept can make even wide straps look narrow given the abrupt transition from case to strap.
Speaking of the strap, you’ll notice that the Trasmissione Meccanica has little metal wedges under the strap where they meet the case. These are there for comfort, and to prevent the straps from pulling down too far and looking bad. This also helps retain a nice flowing design from case to strap. Anyhow, we need to take a look at this seriously interesting case. Produced from steel, the 43mm wide case is available in either natural brushed steel or PVD gunmetal steel (also with a brushed finish). The sawtooth style cuts on the side of the case are meant to look like those distinctively angled transmission gears.
The case looks sharper than it is as the brand carefully makes sure to soften the edges so they aren’t rough or sharp. For the dial, Giuliano Mazzuoli took inspiration from a clutch. The complex design uses at least two dozen parts, each with their own textures and finishing. It is actually quite interesting to look at the dial closely as no doubt a lot of work went into perfecting it. Metal studs serve as hour markers, making it legible. Unfortunately there is no dial lume.