U-boat is a watchmaking company that combines Italian heritage with Swiss precision. The brand is one of the youngest within the watch industry, yet its roots go all the way back to 1942. With an interesting story to tell behind its models and a broad range of retro looking designs taking inspiration from military watches from World War II, it’s easy to appreciate how these unique and bold looking watches appeal to those with a preference for off the wall designs.
U-boat was founded by Italo Fontana in the year 2000 having discovered his grandfather’s sketches of robust wristwatch designs from the 1940s. Italo’s grandfather, Ilvo had been commissioned to develop the watches for the Italian navy, however, the arrangement never came to fruition. It became Italo’s vision to achieve his grandfather’s goals and make the decades old wristwatches a reality. By doing so, he partnered with brand developer, Mounir Moufarrige who had already guided brands like Montblanc and Panerai in their development. It took U-Boat a total of 7 years to launch its first line of wristwatches.
Many designs that have launched since then pay homage to Ilvo’s impressive eye for detail. The initial pencil sketches depicted a robust watch that would guarantee maximum water resistance and a legible dial, combined with a distinctive and unforgettable style. Some of the key features of a U-Boat watch are its left sided crown and its large imposing case size. Authentic Tuscany craftsmanship gives each timepiece an unforgettable character, with Swiss movements that are assembled into place by artisans at the brand’s Lucca based headquarters.
It goes without saying that U-boat watches uniquely tell the time, but adding their exclusive feel on the wrist are various features that have enabled each collection to grow in character. The U-Boat Capsoil watch, for example, features an electromechanical movement that has been completely submersed in a special lubricating oil that flows into the dial to create a completely black and ever moving compensation bubble, maximising views of the hands from different angles.
The U-boat Sommerso watch collection is home to a line of diving watches available in all steel designs or bronze cases with vintage leather straps. Enabling the wearer to take full control over elapsed time underwater, the unidirectional rotating bezel on each of these U-Boast Sommerso watches is just one of its many valuable tools. The U-Boast Classico boasts a very visible patented crown protection system on the left side of the case, along with a classic and elegant style. The self winding movements fitted to the centre of these U-Boat watches are executed with exclusive U-Boast signature finishes. Other watches like the U-Boat Dark moon with an oil filled dial similar to that of the Capsoil and the U-boat Chimera with its crown cap and pushers have proved popular wristwatches to own.
The unconventional watch designs created by U-Boat enjoy widespread popularity today and have been worn on the wrists of Hollywood’s finest actors and A list stars including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise. Designs from U-Boat’s huge range of Classico sub-collections and those from the U-42 family continue to be popular among collectors and fans of the Italian watchmaker. The company continues to innovate bold and daring military-inspired designs that set themselves apart from anything else on the market, with unique features that meld the brand’s Tuscany roots with cutting edge Swiss technology.