I am often asked which watch I prefer. When I was younger, I used to wear a watch. Now, one is rarely worn for two reasons: firstly, I no longer need a watch to tell time and secondly, my wrist is now fairly large. Most watches I would like to wear are small on me. Last Monday, I was required to attend a rather important meeting so wearing a watch was necessary. Having to rush, my random choice was an Anonimo – a Militare Chrono Automatico.
The moment I strapped the watch to my wrist, I realized that I have made a wrong choice. But I was already half way down to the car park and I was late. I comforted myself that I only needed to wear it for an hour or two, and that even a wrong watch is better than no watch.
During the next hour, I caught myself taking the watch of the wrist at least five times. Chrono Automatico with it’s almost 44 mm x 15mm steel case felt as physically comfortable as brick and the stiff and rigid Kodiak leather strap was cutting off blood circulating. But for some strange reason, I kept putting the watch back on. Two hours later, I somehow developed tolerance to pain and being occupied with more important things to worry about, ended up wearing it for the rest of the evening.
Anonimo Ref 2007 is still on my wrist. Actually for the first time in many years, I even feel naked without the watch !
Anonimo is the Latin derivation from Greek anonimia meaning ‘without the name’ or ‘nameless’. In other words, this Florentine watch manufacturer wants to convince people that buying their product is much more than brand name. Anonimo is the pride and joy of Italian watch making, and represents the Italian industry at its finest. So think of it as the Ferrari of watches.
Anonimo is manufactured in ex-Panerai factory in Firenze by watchmakers who made Panerai watches but any attempt to link Anonimo with its older cousin will get you into trouble. For some strange reason some Paneristis are still having difficulties accepting this cold reality. (Funny enough, they are the very same people who are desperately trying to create meaningful historical links between modern Panerai and vintage Rolex).
In any case, you should have nothing to worry about because from the aspect of watch making, there is “nothing new under sun” since days of Breguet and Marie Antoinette. With the exception of Jaeger LeCoultre Art Nuovo masterpiece Reverso, but that is different story altogether…
The pillow-shaped case with its finely notched bezel, innovative crown locking device at 6 o’clock and perfectly nested sapphire crystal are what the Militare Chrono is all about. It is macho, eye-catching and cool high-tech. The sand-blasted and brush finished case is well complemented with high gloss chrono pushers cleverly positioned at eight and ten o’clock. Mechanically and aesthetically, the case is at least as good as any Panerai. The lack of the annoying PAM crown locking device is an added bonus! Overall I would not hesitate to rate the case at 9.8 out of 10.
Militare Ref 2007 comes witha well balanced black dial. The seconds subdial bears no markings which makes it easily distinguishable from the minute and hour counters. In attempt to remain faithful to the original design of Opera Meccana Militare watch line and the 12-03-06-09 hour format, ninth hour marking has partially disappeared. It is covered by sub sec dial. Although some purists may see this as a flaw in design, I personally find it a flamboyant expression. The only negative point is the size of the calendar window which is definitely to small and difficult to read. This particular edition of Ref. 2007 comes with straight hands with light green Super Luminova coating and a white sweep seconds hand with red pointer. Score: 9/10
MCA is base caliber ETA 2892 movement with Dubois Depraz 2035 chronograph module. Overall configuration is quite unusual with winding crown at 6 o’clock and chrono pushers on the left hand side of the case. Although not a chronometer certified, the watch is keeping excellent time and is factory adjusted to +4 sec/day. Good enough for me! But don’t be fooled with the total count of 47 jewels ! The base ETA 2892 is a rather common Swiss no-frills movement. For this reason alone, I am rating the MCA movement at only 6/10.
All Anonimo watches are fitted with a oil impregnated calf skin strap known as ‘Kodiak’ (patented). Apparently this is the only leather strap in the world guaranteed to survive 24-hours submerging in salt water. According to one legend, Kodiak straps are hand made and hand stitched by a 70 years old craftsman-belt maker, who is helped by his wife and daughter. Taking into account that total yearly production of all Anonimo watches is only 3,800 pieces I find this myth plausible. Whichever is the case, for the first day or two you will find the Kodiak strap fairly uncomfortable to wear. But as anything made of leather, it will soon mould perfectly around your wrist. The strap is unbelievably strong and very reasonably priced (replacement RRP $240). Overall rating: 9/10.
Anonimo MCA is definitely not your everyday ticker. It is a luxury timepiece designed and built for a true watch lover looking for an unusual and not-yet popular watch. A collector who migrated from Rolex to Panerai and who is now ready to push the envelope even further. According to yearly production data, Only 3800 Anonimo watches are made; 2000 pieces are sold to US dealers and remaining 1800 pcs are distributed worldwide. Production of Militare Chrono is limited to 350 pieces, with only 5 or so exported to Australia – to be sold to hard-core watch aficionados of Italian background. Summarized in two words, it is a macho eye-catcher with a real potential of becoming a cult, sought after timepiece. From the dealers' perspective, the only true obstacle is the high recommended retail price of over $A8,000. This is pushing the MCA into the same price range with Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor, IWC chronographs and even very close to Panerai Daylight. But then again, if this is your market, then you already know that the RRP on luxury goods is not to be taken too seriously.