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Twenty Years on the A List

Anonimo focuses on diving, bronze and respecting its Italian origins.

With its bronze cases and deep-diving watches, Anonimo has held tightly to its independence since its founding twenty years ago. Emerging from the schism set forth when Vendome (now Richemont) purchased Panerai Officine in 1997, Anonimo consisted of Florentine-based watchmakers, case makers and designers who excelled at creating dive professional-level dive watches with a distinctive Italian personality.

Anonimo CEO Julien Haenny wears his firm's Militare Chrono Vintage.

Now ensconced in Switzerland, but mindful of its roots on the Arno river, Anonimo in 2017 has been celebrating its twentieth year of operation with new watches that directly recall the technical focus of those early years. New Anonimo CEO Julien Haenny, the firm’s former marketing director who previously worked at Jaeger-LeCoultre and Technomarine, took the reins just over a year ago and immediately went to work to update the collection and to re-animate one of Anonimo’s best-known design features: its bronze watch cases.

The Anonimo Militare Chrono Vintage.

“We presented a new bronze with a kind of rose color that is warmer in color and gets a slow, consistent patina,” he explains. Patina is essentially a coating on the bronze case that naturally forms due to oxidation, slowly creating a thin blue-hued layer. The alloy and its patina repel the formation of surface pits that can mar metal when exposed to seawater.

At Anonimo, patina has always been important. Because bronze has long been a favored alloy within the nautical realm due to its corrosion-resistance, Anonimo considered it a natural alloy to utilize for its dive watches. The brand was likely the very first to highlight bronze within its collections.

Anonimo's bronze cases age according to wear. On the left,the case is shown new and on the right side it is pictured aged.

Today, as many watch companies seek to add a bronze model or two to their lineups, Anonimo collectors recall with pride that the Florentine company has been offering the alloy on cases since 2006, well ahead of the current rage for bronze dive watches. It was Anonimo’s co-founders Federico Massacesi and Dino Zei who developed an alloy with aluminum and nickel, a formulation usually associated with ‘marine bronze.’

Warmer hue

Anonimo’s bronze alloy, made just slightly warmer in appearance this year with a bit more copper, results in a distinctive patina that will differ with each Anonimo owner. The firm suggests that by wearing your Anonimo bronze watch everywhere you go, “you become an artisan, crafting your own timepiece. Its appearance will alter, though for the best and without affecting the quality of your timepiece– enabling you to forge your own identity.

The Anonimo bronze case.

“Of course, nearly half of our collection is in bronze, and again each watch is unique,” he adds. Indeed, customers return to Anonimo specifically for bronze-cased watches, he says, which means Anonimo will continue to offer new bronze designs (which we’ll show you those later in this story.)

Two collections

The Anonimo Militare Chrono Vintage.

Anonimo's Nautilo with a bronze case and blue ceramic bezel.

Developed in 2001, Militare is now embodied in three variations: Militare Automatic, Militare Chrono and Militare Chrono Vintage. The line is immediately recognizable thanks to it crown positioned at 12 o’clock, a feature of pocket watches. This design, which differs from the earlier Militare 6 o’clock crown position, enhances water-resistance. Top crown models also generally reduce wrist irritation, and for many wearers accessing the crown at the top of the case is an easier operation.

Anonimo's patented crown, here on a bronze case.

The newest Militare dials are graphically cleaner than previous models. Each also features a subtle hand-brushed finish created before the color is applied. The shape of the Anonimo ‘A’ logo can be traced between the 12, 4 and 8, the only numerals visible on the dial, which Anonimo also created to focus the eye to the crown at noon. And finally, Anonimo has added a transparent caseback to the collection.

The Militare collection also includes a few limited editions called Alpini, each with unusual textured dials. These are made in numbered editions of ninety-seven watches and can be ordered with the initials of the buyer engraved onto the caseback.

Anonimo Nautilo models feature a raised crown guard.

The brand’s second primary line, the 44mm Nautilo, also offers a distinctive crown. But rather than the case-top crown of the Militare, Nautilo’s crown is at 4 o’clock.

Nautilo is also recognized by its distinctive arced crown protector that appears as a raised section on the right side of the case just above the crown. This year’s models are somewhat thinner than previous examples and now feature ceramic bezels. Echoing the dot at midday and the numerals 20 and 40 engraved on the bezel, there are double baton appliques at 12, 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock, reinforcing the brand’s traditional triangle time display and its Anonimo “A”.

Anonimo's Nautilo in four colors and NATO straps. This year’s models are somewhat thinner than previous examples and now feature ceramic bezels.

New and Vintage

As part of its twentieth year celebration, Anonimo has just debuted its newest model within the Militare collection: Militare Chrono Vintage. Built in the same 43.5mm size at the Militare automatics, this new collection is identifiable thanks to the contrasting subdial designs that echo those seen on many vintage chronograph dials.

Anonimo's Militare Chrono Vintage, with Panda style dial.

One of the two new Militare Vintage chronographs comes with a white dial and black subdials design collectors typically call a Panda style in reference to a panda bear. The contrast is reversed with the second model, nicknamed Newman for the famed Rolex worn by the film star Paul Newman.

For greater readability, these Militare Vintage chronographs display their small seconds counter only marked off by tens. A few notes of red enhance the 30-minute counter while an internal railroad track marks the edge of the dial.

The Nautilo dial, showing date.

Like the Automatic edition Anonimo debuted at Baselworld this year, the indication “MILITARE VINTAGE” is also found at the center of this new dial.

As with the Militare automatic (non-chronograph) models seen earlier this year, these new vintage designs offer a peek into the movement.

Here, Anonimo displays Sellita caliber SW300 with a Dubois Dépraz 2035M chronograph module that was developed exclusively for Anonimo to allow the crown to be positioned at noon. The oscillating weight is engraved with Anonimo’s logo. The firm’s A-shaped logo forms the red end of the chronograph seconds hand.

Finally, the new series of chronographs mounted on aged black calf leather straps to drive home the classical chronograph profile.

The Anonimo Nautilo with blue rubber strap.

Anonimo also debuted several other special editions this year, some to mark partnerships with specific ambassadors and others to denote its 20th anniversary. They include the Militare Alpini Camouflage Limited Edition, a Nautilo Sailing Limited Edition (200 pieces) bedecked in a red and black NATO strap, and Nautilo Leopard Limited Edition (97 pieces) with a blue and black NATO strap.

Anonimo's Nautilo Leopard Limited Edition with a NATO and a rubber strap.

While all these celebratory models offers a new range of choices within a (pared down) overall collection, Anonimo CEO Haenny hints that a new collection may be on offer soon.

“Stay tuned as a new line might arrive,” he teases. “Anonimo style, but with a smaller diameter.”

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