Italian watches are known the world around for their precision craftsmanship and luxury design. They are also known for being pretty pricey too. Italian watches may not be as expensive as some Swiss brands such as Rolex or IWC, but they are still on the higher end of the spectrum and highly sought after by watch enthusiasts.
Here is a quick breakdown of our favorite watch brands and their defining features.
- Bvlgari – Best Overall Watch
- Anonimo – Best Luxury Watch
- Squale – Best Diving Watch
- Roberto Bianci – Best Warranty
- Officina del Tempo – Best Timekeeping Watch
- U-Boat – Best Selection
- Meccaniche Veneziane – Most Affordable Italian Watch
These are our top picks for Italian watch brands. There are a lot of details to cover here, so we put together this article on the top Italian watch brands. We will cover expensive and affordable consumer watches, as well as some watches with special features.
Top Italian Watch Brands
1. Bvlgari – Best Overall Watch
Bvlgari is a luxury Italian watch company founded way back in 1884 by Sotinos Voulgaris, a Greek immigrant to Italy. Since its founding, Bvlgari has expanded its offering to more than just watches,and now makes all kinds of luxury jewelry pieces.
Bvlgari currently offers 4 main watch models for men and several others for women. Their most popular models are the Octo, the Serpenti, and the Haute Horlogerie collections. As far as designs go, Bulgari watches stand apart due to their unique mix of eye-catching shapes and subtle accents. Bvlgari watches also show intricate craftsmanship, and many models are open so you can see the watch mechanics.
Bvlgari acquired Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth back in 200 and has since produced several new inventive models that they show at international conventions. The newest Bvlgari line of watches is the Octo Finissimo line, which launched in 2017.
Best for Men – Octo Roma. The Octo Roma features an elegant design and precision timekeeping, It comes in several colors and writs band styles including stainless steel and leather.
Best for Women – Serpenti Seduttori. The Serpenti Seduttori line of women’s watches features three shade4s of gold rose, white and yellow, with diamond variations on the bezel.
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Wide selection
- Sleek and stylish
- Few athletic or military-inspired selections
2. Anonimo – Best Luxury Brand
Anonimo saw its birth in 1997 when founder Federico Massacesi bought the old manufacturing facilities for Panerai watches after it was sold. After hiring some of the original Panerai designers, Massacesi launched Anonimo. The name “Anonimo” means “anonymous” in English and reflects Massacesi’s desire to focus on product quality, not branding.
Anonimo watches moved to Switzerland back in 2013, so they are technically no longer an Italian watch company. However, the characteristic features of Italian design are apparent in their watch lines. They currently focus on 3 main lines: Militare, Nautilo, and Epurato. Anonimo sets itself apart by its intricate craftsmanship and manual winding designs. Anonimo watches are designed for deep-sea diving as well as for military use.
Two features Anonimo is known for include its waterproof push buttons and patent-protected screw-lock system. Anonimop has built up a loyal following over the years and has appealed to consumers with its smart and durable designs. Each watch also comes with a relatively generous 2-year warranty.
Best for Men – Dino Zei Argonauta. The Dino Zei series of Anonimo watches feature an intricate dial with withe mechanical or automatic movements. The calfskin and leather straps add a level of comfort and durability.
Best for Women – Epurato Les Rencontres. The Epurato line features a modern, sleek design with minimalist accents and details. The slim case is great for any writs and the internal movement offers a power reserve of 38 hours.
- High-quality design
- Esteemed pedigree
- Patented systems
- 2-year warranty
- No slim models available
3. Squale – Best Diving Watch
Squale is known around the world for its line of durable diving watches. This Italian watchmaker was founded back in 1946 and used to be a Swiss-owned company. However, the company changed hands and they revamped their line in 2010 with some new models. The name “Squale” is Italian for “shark” and represents the company’s focus on diving watches.
Squale’s current lineup includes 5 main models: 1521 Collection, 2002 Collection, Matic Collection, sub-39 collection, and the T-183 collection. Several famous deep sea divers owned Squale watches, including world champion jJean Tapu and Maria Treleani.
Squale watches are noted for their waterproof design. It is rated for 500M and sits at the top end of the affordable spectrum. Despite its nautical focus, the brand has become a popular, affordable luxury watch brand around the world.
Best for Men – 1521 Militaire Mesh. The 1521 series is Squale’s flagship product and features a steel mesh w4ist band for comfort and a glass sapphire crystal glass plate.
Best for Women – 1521 Onda Pink. The Onda Pink series is a sleeker version of the 1521 Military Mesh. It features a stainless steel case and stingray leather strap, perfect for the water.
- 500M diving capabilities
- Stingray leather bands are unique
- Lines are bulky
- Relatively limited selection
4. Roberto Bianci – Best Warranty
Roberto Bianci is the creation of the Bianci family. Bianci is a certified gemologist and uses that knowledge to produce lines of gorgeous, accurate watches. Bianci watches combine the precision and engineering of Swiss watches with the luxury appearance and class of the Italian style.
Two of the most popular Bianci watches include the Diamond Line and the Florence Series. Both lines feature intricate gem work in the bezel and a durable band that will stand up to time and the elements. All Bianci watches are dustproof and hand-tested for quality before they are shipped out.
One of the best features of Bianci watches is that they all come with a 3-year warranty, regardless of the model. If anything goes wrong, you can get a full replacement, entirely for free. Of course, you most likely won’t have to use that warranty. Bianci watches are known for their quality and durability. The warranty also covers replacement parts such as gears or pins.
Best for Men. Benzo. The Benzo series of watches feature a large rectangular dial with a timepiece and stopwatch chronometer. The stainless steel case is durable and features a quartz movement and leather band.
Best for Women. Pietra. The Pietra series features a slim, rectangular dial along with a gem-encrusted band. The 26mm case is functional yet sleek and subtle/
- 3-year warranty on all purchase
- Varied styles
- 100 ft water-resistant
- Limited materials selection
- Can take a while to ship
5. Officina del Tempo – Best Timekeeping Watch
Officina del Tempo is a newer brand than many on this list, only having been founded in 200. The company was started by brothers Girogio and Roberto Emil. The brotherly duo have a long history as watchmakers and make watches for all kinds of occasions.
Officina del Tempo watches are known for their racing-focus. The watches include an accurate stopwatch for timekeeping and has a nice blend of classic and modern, sleek design; perfect for wearing on the racetrack. The company offers both mechanical and quartz timepieces. One of their most famous models is the Sail II Chronograph.
Best for Men – Officina del Tempo Competition. The Competition series of watches features a quartz crystal dial and is water-resistant to 100 meters. The watch also has a precise chronograph for keeping time.
Best for Women – Diamond Series. The Diamond Series is a great choice due to its softer, less angular design and slim profile. The rectangular bezel features encrusted gems and a genuine handmade leather strap.
- Excellent accuracy
- Precision timekeeping
- Racing-inspired design
- Wide selection of band materials
- Few slim models
- Shipping can take a long time
6. U-Boat – Largest Selection
Next up on our list is U-Boat. The U-Boat story starts way back in 1942, when Italian watchmaker Ilvo Fontano was commissioned by the Italian Air force to create a new watch model. The designs were kept private for over 60 years though, and the Fontano family released them to the public in the year 2000.
U-Boat watches are known for their practical design and military-inspired aesthetic. Their rugged designs are popular among collectors who like retro designs. U-Boat currently features four major collections: U-42. Chimera, Capsoil, and Precious, but also carries several others.
The Chimera collection is the most popular and features an iconic case, intricate bezel, and thick leather wristbands. The Chimera collection itself features four subordinate models: the Net Skeleton, Pearl, Bronze, and Sideview.
One of the best features of U-boat watches is the selection. They offer traditional rugged watches and also softer, more sleek watches with simpler features. U-Boat watches are in the middle of the price spectrum, though a handful of models dip close to the $1,000 mark.
Best for Men – Classico U47. The Classico series maintains U-Boat’s signature military-inspired design with a genuine leather strap and minimalist dial. Each watch has a crown and a unique serial number for identification.
Best for Women – Lady Collection. The new Lady collection is designed specifically for heer., and features soft colors and a slimmer profile than the Classico men’s line.
- Classic-inspired military design
- Wide selection of lines and materials
- Unique serial identification on each piece
- Handmade precision
- Many models are slightly bulky
- Buttons are large
7. Meccaniche Veneziane – Most Affordable
Last on our list is Meccaniche Veneziane. This Italian brand borrows from Swiss designs for its movement and currently features three collections: Rendentore, Nereide, and the Arsenale. Meccaniche Veneziane is known for its mixture of precision engineering and affordable prices. Most models cost an average of $1,500, but they have several pieces at around $500 for sale.
Meccaniche Veneziane is also a relatively new company. The brand laujnched in 2017 founded by Alberto and Alessandro Morelli. Meccaniche Veneziane originally started as a kickstarter project and the business has since seen much success.
Meccaniche watches feature a Japanese-design auto movement, and also features precious gems in the bezel, such as sapphire. Additionally, most watch models feature genuine handmade leather strips for the wristband.
Best for Men – Redentore Jubilee. The Redentore line of watches features a classic business design and a wide selection of colors. The Jubilee Line has a quartz plate and stainless steel case, with a steel wrist band.
Best for Women – Arsenale. The Arsenale Line of watches have a slimmed-down design and a wide selection of materials. Best of all, most watches in the line come in at under $600.
- Very affordable
- Excellent color selections
- Handcrafted pieces
- Pure mechanical watches
- Limited collections
- Only leather straps
Tips for Buying Italian Watches
- Pick materials carefully. High-end luxury watches are made from materials like gold, silver, and platinum. Many luxury brands also incorporate stainless steel for bezels and bracelets. Leather is also used for wrist bands for a more casual look.
- Check functions. Obviously, a watch will tell time. But Italian watches usually have other features like a barometer or stopwatch. Watches with more functions are more expensive, so make sure you know what you want.
- Specs. Other important spec include analog/digital, diving capabilities, calendars, or a chronograph.
- Price. Lastly, consider the price. A typical Italian watch will cost between $700 to $1,000 or more, though some brands offer lines of watches for around $500.
- Auto or mechanical. When it comes to Italian watches, there are two main types of look for. Mechanical watches use a mainspring to power the gears and turn the hands. Automatic watches instead use arm movements to spin a gyroscope that makes the watch run.
- Readability. What good is a watch if you can’t read the time? Italian watches feature all kinds of dial designs, such as arabic numerals, tick marks, or roman numerals. Make sure that you pick a dial design that you can quickly read at a glance.
Italian watches are among the best in the world and are highly sought after by watch enthusiasts. If you are thinking of buying an Italian watch, then any of these 7 brands would be a good choice for a starter watch. We ranked Bvlgari watches as the best overall watch, but the other brands are good for different purposes.
Whatever your decisions, just make sure you do your research before buying an Italian timepiece. If taken care of correctly, an Italian watch can last you an entire lifetime. So take your time when deciding and choose carefully.