Thursday, February 24, 2011


Telling Time with Iguzzini Watches
The backcase of the Mars Explorer:
Just one of Iguzzini's cool signatures

In the age when having things made in small quantities for the knowing few, strikes as a selfish philosophy to some,  watch company IGUZZINI proves, doing impeccable time pieces for the few has more heart in it than snob.

In an exclusive look into the company by THE EDGE, CUTTING the EDGE is honored to bring you Iguzzini watches' inspiring story of charity and quality, something so rare and important that the world ought to know.


Iguzzini's story is the stuff  East-meets-West tales talk about, things that Ermenigeldo Zegna for this season (menswear) has highlighted and also those thick, dusty textbooks we leaf through for school that prove all so romantic. The Western, hearing of exotic, far-off places and the promise of wealth, comes in the form of Italian entrepreneur Federico Iguzzini, who ventures off into Asia, landing at the developing Shanghai city, to start his own watch company. 

In 1903 he started assembling the finest watches for the Eastern elite and would continue doing so for nearly four decades. Due to Asian historical turmoils such as the Sino-Japanese conflict and the closing of China from the world, Iguzzini's watches had to shut down. Despite his search for relocation, Iguzzini would have failed at his attempts since death had loomed near. 


Centuries after, brothers Lander and Stephane Michel decided the company was worth the resurrection. Not only were they touched by the story of Iguzzini, since they were sons of the world, but they believed bringing in this time and age high-quality time pieces that manage to balance both luxury and charity was an honorable obligation to everyone. 

Spearheaded by the Michel brothers, Iguzzini watches are back with lines that celebrate stories of the world and of human life and heritage. They produce only a limited number of items and are distributed to select retail stores. But what's most moving---if you will, about the second life of Iguzzini watches is just how much heart they put into it. Sure these pieces are assembled with utmost care and materials are sourced only from the finest points of the globe, but also a handsome portion of the profit are donated to various charities spread about in different places. One of which is found here, in the Philippines. The Michel brothers have spent years of their lives here in the Philippines which is why the very controversial watch Independencia de Filipinas was inspired by a national hero, Jose Rizal and also has such deep history engraved with it. 

To borrow from the company's background, their goal is to "create products meant to inspire" and at the same time educate their patrons of the different depressing issues our world is suffering today. Their chic, brilliant and novel designs are not just works of art, but of the drive to help alleviate the troubles of poverty where poverty is heavy.

All their lines are just as blessed with story and the past, culture and how it affects the present and most definitely telling of the times to come...


As Iguzzini continues to "Change the World Through Time", here on THE EDGE, I am thankful to have access to information and photos from the company itself to share with you readers what they offer now and hopefully, inspire you to start changing the world along with them...

India Explorer's back case
India Explorer's Front

Old Shanghai Explorer's back case

The CIVILIZATION line tells the story of some of the world's most famous civilizations, celebrating their cultures by way of using their characters for the dial and recognizable iconic figures and places for their beautiful back cases. 

Lunar Explorer Chronograph
My second favorite back case after the Mars Explorer Chronograph's
The SPACE EXPLORERS is personally, the most handsome of the collections. The sleek black strap, thick and masculine is the perfect partner for the silver lug and band end piece and the very complex dial and watch face. But the back case is incredibly framed with beautiful, almost haunting shots of Mars and the Moon. The value of this one will puncture the ceiling since Iguzzini's only made 30 pieces of the model. One stellar investment for sure.

The engraved side of the Grand Bleu Dive Watch

Grand Bleu Dive Watch

This stunner, is one of Iguzzini's most promising...Meet the GRAND BLEU DIVE watch. Also made in a quaint number of 30, the Grand Blue Diver's Watch could plunge and stay water resistant to 2000m...And that's one of the farthest, deepest a watch could go. Expectations will sky-rocket with this one, since it's a new model and THE EDGE is one of the few whose privileged to learn of this. Also available in a younger, orange face. 

Independencia de Filipinas watch
A lesson in Philippine History: the first flag of the Philippines on the case-back
The watch's beautiful box

The complete Mi Ultimo Adios on the box's inner lid

The much talked about Philippine watch or more specifically, the INDEPENDENCIA de FILIPINAS watch retails for $6,000, a portion of which goes to ERDA  Foundation here in the Philippines. This watch has so much to offer both Filipinos and foreigners. Stephane Michel, who was responsible for the genius design of this timepiece, felt it best to honor the Philippines (which he called home once in his life) with a watch that celebrates one of our history's most pivotal moments: the fight for the country's Independence. National hero Jose Rizal's perennial first three stanzas of Mi Ultimo Adios--- a poem written by Rizal just hours before his execution, is microprinted on a papyrus-colored background as the watch's dial. Eight important provinces which ignited the battle for freedom word the inner rim of the watch, including Tarlac, Cavite and Laguna. Superb quality flows even unto the genuine crocodile strap that comes in custom colors. An automatic watch made of Swiss materials, this piece is housed inside an elegant box that comes with an extra strap and a magnifying glass that enables one to read the poem on the face of the watch and also the complete work on the box's inner lid. There's style to consider most definitely, since this one fits heroic status that parallels with the story it comes with. The history, inspiration and love Stephane Michel has poured unto this timepiece is a noble work, and what's incredibly amazing about this watch is just how much knowledge of Philippine history (Michel knows) it could educate foreigners and Filipinos alike. 

Much gratitude, I owe to Sophie Leroy of Iguzzini Watches for giving me the exclusive information and photos of the company, ROGUE magazine for picking this story up and that first Iguzzini person who spotted my short mention of their watches. 


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