U-Boat: photos from manufacture, history and watches

U-Boat: photos from manufacture, history and watches

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As I search every day for interesting stories on watches and watch manufacturers, I run into different people and companies that reveal information to me which I can post here in my blog.  It has been and will be a constant learning process, and I find out things that I never knew about and run into plenty of agreable surprises which brings me a lot of joy.

Let’s take a look at U-Boat.

In 1942, Ilfo “The Watchmaker” Fontana was commissioned by his country to
produce a timepiece that would become the pride of the Italian naval officers. Those
distinctive watches had to meet the navy’s standards and specifications. The family
company rose to the call but for unknown reasons, the deal was aborted before the
production started.
These designs and prototypes lay dormant for decades until Italo Fontana, Ilfo’s
grandson, rediscovered them in 1999. The old drawings seemed still relevant even
after all those years and they became the foundation of today’s U-BOAT collections.
U-BOAT watches are characterised by their strong identity, large size, perfect
legibility in all light and weather conditions, along with its bold and distinctive design;
the left crown protected by a specially designed safety cover.
Every individual U-BOAT watch is handcrafted in Italy and each tiny detail is

overseen by Italo Fontana.

Below you find pictures taken from the manufacture:

 Sketch of the U-42 (limited edition):

Last year, U-BOAT unveiled a 65mm monster – the U-1942. Each of the 29 collector’s pieces were made of Grade-5 Titanium with the widest sapphire glass available in the world. This year U-BOAT have launched its little brother, a 53mm version limited to 999 pieces worldwide, the U-42.

Armed with the U-28 Movement, this resized edition has a 40 hour power-reserve and is water-proof to a depth of 300m. The U-42’s winding crown was built in two parts: one is attached to the movement stem whilst the other is hinged with a pivot. This flexible joint configuration allows the crown to protrude considerably from the watch for winding and setting, yet returning it to a protected, hidden position. This type of crown is imperative under extreme conditions, designed for when wearing protective gloves whilst operating underwater or during expeditions at Arctic temperatures.

The U-BOAT trademark has always been its distinctive left-hook opens up wrist movements and, in everyday use, it simply doesn’t dig into your hand. Most U-BOAT pieces have a double crown system that reinforces its water-resistance; the U-42’s crown has been reinvented to lock it in and lock it down. The water-tight crown protection attached to the stem is secured by a clipping gasket in energised Polytetrafluoroethylene and by an O-RING twin-arrangement.

The dial is another story. It is made from a brass slate. All engravings on this piece are carried out by mechanical pantograph, including the brass dial which is galvanized and finished with a bright enamel paste. It is based entirely around the original models where no-nonsense dials were key to the U-BOAT project. Today’s renditions have seen these brilliant billionaires’ beach-watches span the globe in a rebirth like no other.

Classico 53

(Information and pictures courtesy of Samuel Kessler)

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