U-BOAT wrist watches?
I am wondering if the watches in this photo I took are the world’s biggest? They caught my eye on a shopping prowl for a new watch last week. Boy did they stand out!
I went in the shop and tried one of the smaller models on my 7.5 inch wrist. It looked ridiculous! The case diameter was 50mm at least and the biggest model was 60mm +. The thickness was around 20mm. The movements were mechanical and quartz, both stated ‘MOVIMENTO SVIZZERO’ (Swiss Movement) made in Italy by Fontana at a place called Luca near Pisa. I had never seen such large watches in my life. They made the Panerai, Omega 45mm PO and the Breitling Seawolf look miniscule.
I thought why were these watches called ‘U-Boat’? I know that U-Boat stands for Unterwasserboot (Underwaterboat) from WW2 infamy. So why call a watch by this name? Did the Italian manufacturers source some old U-Boats from WW2 in which they found suitable gauges, removed them and put watch movements in them? They certainly gave me the impression that this what they wanted the buying public to believe. The owner of the store liked to think that was so as well. He also claimed that the reason for the huge crown being on the 9 o’clock side of all of these models was because it was more comfortable on the wrist for officers working periscopes! The crown was unique in that it unscrewed like a whisky flask and revealed the real crown inside, which adjusted the time etc. The dealer also stated that these watches are worn by officers of the Italian Navy. The models I looked at all had a stated depth rating of a mere 10ATM. Hardly a divers watch or even a watch to be associated with submariners with such a shallow depth rating.
The price range was from AU$895 for the quartz movement up to AU$6000 for the mechanical.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions.