If you’ve been following our Instagram feed these past few days you probably noticed we’ve been posting live from VicenzaOro in Italy. Hopefully you’ve already even discovered a few brands you’ve never heard of before (we certainly did.) Turns out it’s not just the Swiss and Germans that make cool and interesting watches, those cheeky Italians have also got a few cards up their sleeves. Read on to find out what we discovered on our whirlwind weekend trip.
NOW Plaza x VicenzaOro
After hopping a quick flight out of London on a sunny Friday afternoon we landed in Treviso and met up with our very friendly driver Michelangelo who would take us on to Vicenza. I speak passable Italian and his English was even better and so between us we managed to figure out that his wife’s relatives live in my home town back in Australia and that he had even visited twice before – what are the chances! An hour passed quickly and before we knew it we were pulling up at the incredible Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza’s Piazza Signori. The Palladiana -which was built in the 15th century – is home to one of the world’s few museums dedicated entirely to jewellery. Not to mention an epic terrace bar overlooking the square.
The Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza’s Piazza Signori
Check out that moon phase!
Now that I’ve set the scene for you I should probably take a step back and explain just what the heck VicenzaOro is, as I am sure most of you won’t know. In a nut-shell VicenzaOro is a bi-annual international Gold and Jewellery fair (and one of the most important in Europe, or so I’m told) with a strong focus on promoting the ‘Made in Italy’ brand. So, why were we there you ask? Well for the first time the fair included a special area dedicated exclusively to watches called NOW Plaza (NOW standing for Not Ordinary Watches). On display were a number of different brands showcasing watches made in Italy & Europe, including a few unexpected surprises.
Admittedly this was something of a detour from our usual coverage of high-end Swiss-made watches but I was interested to discover what the Italians had to offer. Plus who doesn’t love Italy in the summer (am I right?) Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. The whole idea behind the NOW Plaza was to give small brands a chance to get some much needed exposure to both the media and buyers that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. It’s really a fantastic initiative. I had never heard of brands like GaGa Milano or Terra Cielo Mare before but these guys are doing some really cool things – albeit quite different to what my tastes normally run to.
The Terra Cielo Mare BP Solar Compass
A simple time-only piece from Altanus Geneve
In total there were 12 brands on display in a dedicated 500sqm space, including:
- Altanus Geneve
- Gagà Milano
- Locman Italy
- Louis Erard
- Lucien Rochart
- Paul Picot
- Save My Day
- Sordi Spa
- Terra Cielo Mare
Despite the fact I had never heard of the majority of these brands I did see a lot of creativity and out of the box thinking which I must admit was quite refreshing. Some brands – like the Swiss made Paul Picot – have been established for decades, while others – such as Didofà, which specialises in fashion watches with gorgeous 3D dials – are only a few years old. It really was an interesting and diverse mix although I think I have to say my favorite pieces were those from the Italian designed, Swiss made Terra Cielo Mare (look out for a separate article on some of their pieces coming soon.)
Paul Picot GMT Firshire Megarotor – check out that Grand Feu enamel dial!
To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect when I visited VicenzaOro for the first time this year but I’m definitely glad I went. It’s always great to see small brands getting a bit of extra assistance whenever possible to help keep that creative spirit alive!
Gaga Milano Crystal 48mm for those who really want to stand out from the crowd
To find out more about NOW Plaza and VicenzaOro, please visit the official website: www.vicenzaoro.com