Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition
Johnny McElherron reviews the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition and describes the appeal of this eye-catching model.
This detailed review of the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition includes live images and pricing.
Few things remind us of the relentless passage of time as much as an anniversary, a birthday or a seasonal holiday. It’s usually at times like these that we pause and think, ‘Was that a year ago? Where on earth did it go?’
And so, when I recently received the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, my mind slipped into a subliminal vortex which allowed my thoughts to drift back to when my original Manometro arrived in 2005. Back then, it was a nervy newcomer entering an unfamiliar, competitive arena.
There was little cause for concern because the Manometro’s quirky case, with its large and tactile off-centre crown at the 2 o’clock position, quickly found favour. Its inspiration was an unremarkable workday instrument which, by coincidence, was also something of a design classic in its own right, even if it was uncelebrated. Indeed, when I first saw the Manometro’s unusual form it seemed completely new, yet strangely familiar. I was sure I had seen it before, and I had – every time I put air in my tyres.
For Guiliano Mazzuoli the man, his eponymous watch brand is almost a second career, and arguably one he fell into. Born into a family printing and typesetting business, the young man showed scant interest in his dad’s occupation. He was an avid rally fan and pursued his passion up to the point where he became a regular competitor on the Italian rally scene, in his semi-works Alfa Romeo. However, when home, he began spending more time working at the family business and later, upon the passing of his father, he assumed control of the company.
It was here that Mazuoli’s penchant for design began to emerge as a viable sideline to the business. Soon, his products took on a momentum of their own and he was in his element.
Having gained a reputation for his designs, Mazuoli’s thoughts turned to creating a wristwatch and he chose the humble air pressure gauge, found lying around and unloved in garages all over the country, as inspiration for his inaugural watch. The result, his original Guiliano Mazuoli Manometro achieved every designer’s dream – it was unlike any other timepiece, yet it was familiar, it was attractive and functional, and it was also unmistakably Mazuoli.
The seeds of what would become a cult watch were sown. Initially, my Manometro fought off all comers for the position of my ‘daily wearer’ and, since then, although I have bought and sold on a great many watches, I still have the Manometro and it remains one of my favourites.
Why? Well, to understand that, one would also need to know that the Manometro did not only strike a chord with myself. Indeed, a great number of watch writers shared the same enthusiasm for this timepiece and today I can think of at least five fellow owners. To put that in perspective, I know a good few people who own the Omega Speedmaster too, but one would have to agree that there is a bit of a difference between the might and marketing clout of a globally recognised powerhouse, producing hundreds of thousands of watches per year, and an independent Italian guy. In other words, it’s not just me.
The Manometro takes its name from the Italian for ‘hand gauge’. Its design keeps true to its inspiration and name and, looking at the Anniversary piece for this review, I can see that very little has changed in the ten years since the original first appeared. The polished stainless steel round case has a flat caseband with ‘Guiliano’ inscribed on its side and which rounds off as it forms the bezel. Here the sapphire crystal is ever so slightly domed, where my original sports a flat glass.
The individually hand-numbered dial is a lovely aged ivory colour, with segmented seconds/minutes markers printed in black around its edge. The Arabic numerals are neat and unobtrusive, while the hands too are slender, with a thin strip of Super LumiNova to provide reference in low light environs.
The seconds hand, which dutifully circumnavigates the dial, is a thin red arrow shape with a tiny luminous tip at its extreme. The effect of all these elements combined really does call to mind the look of that classic air pressure gauge.
At 45.2mm and 14.8mm tall, it is certainly not a discreet piece, although its uncomplicated lines and complete lack of protruding lugs suggest slightly smaller dimensions. Moreover, thanks to the little steel ‘shoulders’, where the strap meets the case, it wears very comfortably too. Unusually, the strap actually feeds into the case and is secured in position by two screws which also serve as caseback fastenings. Another notable evolution of the original design is the Mazuolli logo which now juts out slightly from the steel tang buckle.
Inside, the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition still contains the same reliable ETA 2824/2 automatic self-winding movement as the original. Whilst the top of the case band is rounded to form the bezel, the bottom of the caseband, adjacent the screwed on caseback, is squared-off.
Over the ten years, the success of Mazuoli’s Manometro has seen it appear in a number of variations and limited editions. We have seen a chronograph, special editions for his beloved Alfa Corse racing team and a 27mm ladies Manometrino, as well as examples made in carbon fibre, 18Kt gold, Carrara marble and even, brand new for 2016, the Cemento, made out of cement.
Demonstrating the power of excellent design, the Manometro’s arrival in 2005 set in place what would soon become a firm foundation from which the Guiliano Mazuoli’s reputation would grow, reaching a worldwide audience.
Despite the onset of years, in my opinion, the Manometro has weathered the test of time, being one of only three pieces which I have never considered parting with, and I have no plans to change that any time soon. Indeed, it has been a loyal horological partner, there through thick and thin, and its quirky, yet practical, shape still looks as attractive as it did the first time I held one.
The fact that the Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro 10th Anniversary Limited Edition has changed so little from the original 2005 design is testament to its staying power. I’m not in any hurry for the next ten years to rush by, but I would not be surprised if my Manometro is still in my frequent rotation box in 2026.
- Price: £3,750 (RRP as at 9.6.2016)