U-Boat Watches – Rugged and Unique
Unless you’re one of those people who stays on top of what’s happening in the world of luxury timepieces, it’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of U-Boat watches.
It’s not that they’re particularly obscure; it’s that the company just hasn’t been around that long. They were founded circa 2000 by an Italian named Italo Fontana. His grandfather had designed timepieces for the military during World War II, though they were never put into production.
Fontana found his grandfather’s designs and started a company to build luxury watches that used those designs as inspiration. The resulting products are unique, interesting timepieces that are simultaneously both retro and modern and feature quality materials, oversized faces and extremely durable build quality.
They’re not for everyone, but if you like industrial or military-inspired design and want a timepiece that should run forever, you may find U-Boat watches to be right up your alley.
Read on for the full U-Boat watches review.
U-Boat watches are unusual among luxury timepieces in that they are entirely designed and assembled in Italy; a strong contrast to the dominance of the Swiss in this field. Don’t be fooled, however; these are durable, rugged timepieces that feature ceramic, gold, carbon fiber, titanium and stainless steel cases, sapphire crystal and well-built mechanical movements.
Water resistance is up to 300 meters on some models, so these are going to be durable, long-lasting wristwatches that should last for many years with proper care.
The movements are automatic mechanical, which are well made and highly reliable. You’ll need to wear them regularly to keep them working properly, but otherwise, they should work well for years. These are Italian made, just like the rest of the watch.
Most of the innovation comes in the styling, which is certainly unusual. All of their watches feature oversized faces and cases, and many of their models have the crown on the left side of the watch. That’s great if you’re left handed, but perhaps a bit inconvenient otherwise.
Their face designs are a bit unusual, with some of their models displaying some numbers but not all, and others showing no numbers at all. Chronograph models may have inset dials or they may use gauges instead.
The styling was based on World War II military needs, and it shows. These are somewhat industrial-looking timepieces that don’t even remotely resemble anything else on the market. They’ve got steel, rubber, or leather straps and some of their models include gold.
While their timepieces are mostly round in shape, there’s plenty of diversity in their product line and most of their models are limited editions, which will ensure that whatever you buy isn’t going to be particularly common. As these watches are oversized, you’re probably going to benefit the most from them if you’re larger than average.
These are high quality, precision mechanical timepieces, so they are going to require service every few years. The company suggests having your watch inspected every three or four years to ensure that it’s working properly and that the watertight seals remain intact.
You’ll want to rinse your watch with fresh water and dry it carefully if you’ve been near salt water and of course you’ll want to keep it away from extremes of temperature. Store it in a cool, dry place and make sure you wear it at least once a month to keep it running properly. Storing it in a watch winder would be even better; that way, you’d know it was working and accurately keeping time.
The warranty is for two years from the date of purchase against defects in workmanship and materials. These are high quality, finely crafted timepieces that are tested thoroughly before leaving the factory, so defects are probably relatively rare. As luxury watches go, we’ve found that two years is about the average duration of warranty.
You’ll find that as luxury brands go, prices are expensive, but not extraordinarily so. The pricing is going to depend on the model, the case materials, features and whether the product is part of a limited edition.
Their models range in price from about $1900 to $40,000. This might seem like a rather broad price range, but actually, about 2/3 of their product line falls into the $3000-$5000 range. That makes them expensive, but far less so than for watches from Rolex or Hublot, for example.
Like many high end watchmakers, the company tries to restrict the sale of their products to their own stores and select authorized dealers. They do this to keep demand high, which also allows them to maintain high prices.
They don’t wan to dilute their brand name or their pricing by making their products “too available.” They’re luxury timepieces and not common commodities. Officially, you can find the brand for sale at their own stores and a few high end jewelry stores. Unofficially, you can find them for sale online through a few retailers, and that’s the only way you’re going to be able to buy discounted models.
We’ll freely admit that U-Boat watches aren’t for everyone. For starters, they’re huge. If you’re not a fan of really large wristwatches or if you’re simply petite, you might not find them to your liking. They’re also rather retro in their styling; they were inspired by 1940s designs and it shows in their products.
On the other hand, their designs are quite innovative, with a few features you simply won’t see in any other company’s product line. They’re adventurous in their styling and features and if you want to be seen wearing a watch that no one else you know either owns or has ever seen, you’ll probably do well to give U-Boat watches a good look. They’re rugged, durable and definitely eye-catching.