sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012

Ermenegildo Zegna High Performance Watches

I like these watches but I struggle to envision a scenario where I would spend the money on them. Fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna recently debuted two watches in a new collection produced in collaboration with the Sowind Group. Based on the label’s “High Performance” collection of clothing, these new sport watches are fashionably (and practically satisfying). But are they worth your money compared to the alternatives?

Watch lovers probably know that Ermenegildo Zegna has worked with watch maker Girard-Perregaux in the past. GP is part of the Sowind Group (now part of PPR), which explains how the Sowind Group is involved in this latest collection. What I don’t know is how much Girard-Perregaux’s team is involved with the High Performance watches. GP goes so far as to produce Ermenegildo Zegna branded versions of some of their pieces, sold exclusively in Zegna boutiques.

Zegna has now moved from an extremely niche collection of high-end, gold-cased dress watches to those competing with the larger world of sport watches. Two watches will be available at debut, the High Performance Sea Diver and High Performance Chronograph.

While I know that “High Performance” is the name of a clothing collection for active urban office goers, it is an almost insultingly bland term. I would venture to say that it is even worse than the label “professional” on a watch dial. High Performance is merely an adjective. Consumers should demand to know why they are high performance rather than merely know that the brand would like for you to think they are. This type of blatant disregard for consumer intelligence irritates me – though it is mostly our fault. We consumers have allowed product makers to place baseless claims on their goods for so long that it is practically expected nowadays. We have become a culture of mostly unspecialized individuals, tending to rely on product makers to tell us how good their products are rather than the other way around. High Performance is practically an opinion. One that originated in a marketing meeting designed to arouse the notion of all day comfort and utility. If I made this watch I would remove the term from the dial and replace it with the more steadfast claim of “Works Just Fine” in bright red print. Enough about that.

Bot of the watches by the way are 42mm wide - which is a rather mainstream case size. Let’s discuss the High Performance Sea Diver first. It is a nice looking dive piece with a name so pulled from the soup of dive watch labels it is almost comical.

Most dive watches begin to look like one another because they share so many things in common. A thick case, rotating bezel, and easy to read dial with technical looking hands and indicators – the Sea Diver is no different. Its case is steel and the watch is water resistant to 300 meters. How deep can you go with Zegna High Performance clothing? The rotating bezel is classic looking and chunky with sharp edging and a black (likely aluminum) scale insert. These days it is hard however to accept non ceramic or sapphire inlay bezels on good dive watches. The dial is matte textured black with a combination of red and white Arabic numeral and baton hour markers. You’ll either love or hate the serpent-head hour hand and sword minute hand combo. Taken as a whole you can see a bit of the Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk Diver’s DNA in this piece. Just a bit. Part of me thinks there is a bit too much red in the dial, but I’d have to wear it for a while to really know. I will give the High Performance Sea Diver the benefit of the doubt until then.

While we know that all Ermenegildo Zegna High Performance watches will have Swiss ETA movements, it isn’t clear which one is in the Sea Diver. I suspect a 2892 automatic. An interesting note about the watch is the case back which is secured with a series of hex screws versus having a screw-down caseback. That is uncommon in a diver. Attached to the watch is a black rubber strap.

The second watch in the High Performance collection is the High Performance Chronograph. Neither the name nor design are particularly original, but again it does look nice. I suspect that the case size is the same as the diver, but in this instance the material for the case is ceramic. That is nice enough, and if the cases are anything like those on the ceramic Girard-Perregaux ww.tc models then they will be lovely.

Zegna uses the exact same hands for the Chronograph as they do on the Sea Diver. However, the dial space on the Chronograph is a bit larger so the hands end up being a bit too short on the Chronograph. Cost saving was likely to blame for this. The High Performance Chronograph is available with a black or white dial – with contrasting rings around the subsidiary dials. The red outlined Arabic numerals return as well, along with a few baton hour markers. I do like how bold the hour markers are, but only a long term test will help me understand how good they are on the eyes over the long haul. Around the dial is a tachymeter scale on the bezel. This element was practically guaranteed on a race-themed chronograph piece.

The High-Performance Chronographs compete in price and style with Porsche Design, almost too much so. At first glance I could see many people confusing these for Porsche Design timepieces. They clearly aren’t exact analogs, but there is a lot of “Porsche Design flattery” going on here in the Chronograph’s execution. Inside the High Performance Chronographs are Swiss ETA 2894 automatic chronograph movements. You can see that Zegna uses decorated versions of the movement with custom Ermenegildo Zegna rotors. Attached to the High Performance Chronograph watches are the same rubber straps as on the Sea Diver, or black textile straps with red contrast stitching.

While these timepieces aren’t priced up there with the Girard-Perregaux-made Zegna watches, they still compete with “name brand” watches. For the same money, what would you rather have? It is an interesting question as I have to ask myself in what instances someone wants a clothing maker’s name on a sport watch rather than a sport watch brand. Interestingly enough I care much less when it comes to dress watches. Even fashion types would probably opt for Omega, Porsche Design, or JeanRichard on a watch as opposed to the company that produced their button-up shirt. Would I wear these Ermenegildo Zegna High Performance watches? I probably would without hesitation, but not necessarily on my dollar. By the way, price for the High Performance Sea Diver is 2,500 Euros (2,800 Swiss Francs) and 4,500 Euros (5,000 Swiss Francs).

Tech Specs from Zegna:

High Performance Chronograph

Material: black ceramic with tachymeter engraved on the crown and side buttons and rubberised
Screw-down crown
Diameter: 42.00 mm
Height: 14.30 mm
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Case back: Stainless steel, secured by 7 screws
Water Resistance: 3 ATM

Automatic ETA 2894
Calibre: 12 ½'' '
Frequency: 28,800 Vib / h - (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Jewels: 37
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds, date and chronograph

Bracelets and clasps
Materials: rubber strap + 2 additional fabric bracelets
Clasps: stainless steel folding clasp engraved with "EZ" + clasp steel tip for fabric strap

High Performance SeaDiver

Material: stainless steel unidirectional rotating facet in alumunium black screw-down crown
Diameter: 42.00 mm
Height: 14.30 mm
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Case back: Stainless steel, secured by 6 screws
Water Resistance: 30 ATM

Automatic ETA 2824
Calibre: 11 ½'' '
Frequency: 28,800 Vib / h - (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Jewels: 25
Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds and date

Bracelets and clasps
Material: rubbery c
Clasp: folding clasp in stainless steel with engraving "EZ" on top

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario