Watches might not be the first thing that come to mind when you talk about Dolce & Gabbana; mostly because the brand hadn't really dipped a toe into the pool of high horology—until now. The brand has partnered with a manufacture in Switzerland to create an all-new Alta Orologeria (Italian for high horology) collection that captures the brand's opulent aesthetics.
After two years of painstaking work, the Alta Orologeria project (as the brand calls it) has birthed four pièce unique masterpieces, each of which was inspired by the operas of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.
True to the spirit of Dolce & Gabbana, the design of the watches are unabashedly ostentatious, with plenty of ornamentation. While the collection has been earmarked for men, we're sure some women would find pleasure in 'borrowing her boyfriend's watch'.
The Otello watch is most distinguishable by the ornate gold bezel framing the dial, hand carved in the Venetian Baroque style by master engravers. Movement-wise, it is the simplest of the four timepieces, with an antique manual-winding calibre from the early 20th century housed inside the case. The movement was painstakingly engraved by Italian artisans, lovingly restored by Swiss watchmakers, and took over seven months to complete.
Inspired by the opera of the same name, this watch is dedicated to the archangel Michael, whose gold-carved countenance graces the case of the dial at 12 o'clock, etched with flowing curliques, and bears rounded Roman numerals. A tourbillon is placed at 6 o'clock, and has a delicate bridge with the brand's initials. We're told that the designers initially wanted the full name of Dolce & Gabbana to be carved into the bridge, but unfortunately, even master engravers could not achieve that level of precision. The self-winding movement inside the Nabucco is apparently entirely structured around hand-engraved bridges, but only the sun-shaped rotor is visible through the caseback.
As you might have guessed, Verdi's opera Macbeth (itself based on the Shakespearean play) served as the inspiration for this creation. Like the Nabucco, it also has an engraved gold dial, but the Macbeth has second and minute counters, as well as a power reserve indicator. The watch also comes with an engraved bracelet and case, which are supposed to represent the relativity of time. The movement has an impressive 100 hours of power reserve, and includes a tourbillon as well as a monopusher chronograph.
Dolce & Gabbana's take on the secret watch comes in the form of the Don Carlo, which is the most ostentatious offering of the four Alta Orologeria watches. Its case covering is entire made of gold, and set with nine cushion-cut emeralds. Once opened, the case reveals a laser-carved jade dial in a lustrous deep green hue. This watch bears a tourbillon at 6 o'clock, and is also equipped with a minute repeater complication.
Love or hate these creations, we can't deny that the Italian brand has caught the attention of the watch world. After all, most brands wouldn't debut in the world of high horology with a minute repeater. Whether or not they will continue making watches remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure—no one makes watches quite like Dolce & Gabbana.
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