Ichnos (a Greek term for “footprint” – the original name for Sardinia) is a pretty recent horology microbrand, created on 2021 in the Italian island by Pierpaolo Cassoni and the young businessman Alessandro Mariani. A watch lover and YouTuber well-known in Italy for his channel Underseatime, Pierpaolo is one of the leading figures of the Italian horology Renaissance.
The Arcipelago is Ichnos’ first watch, proposed in five versions with different colors inspired by the Sardinian beaches of La Maddalena archipelago.
The main concept is to present again, with the aid of modern technologies and industrial finishes, the iconic Supercompressor case designed in the ’60s by Ervin Piquerez SA.
After six months of waiting (pre-orders started in February 2022), 500 watch enthusiasts can eventually wear their Arcipelago by the end of the 2022 Summer.
I chose the Duemari (Two Seas) version, inspired by the colors of the homonymous beach of Caprera island, as it seemed to me the most original and “summer” version.
The watch, fully assembled in Switzerland, has a 42 mm stainless steel case made in a Supercompressor design. It’s 9.8 mm thin (15.3, including the doomed sapphire glass with double anti-reflective treatment) and has a lug-to-lug dimension of 49.6 mm.
The movement mounted inside the case is the well-known Sellita SW200. The timepiece is WR 200 meters and offered with two straps: a tropic rubber band (made by Seacult) and a stainless steel mesh wristband.
A technical impression
My expectations were considerable, and the watch satisfied them completely (including the timing, which I understand was not so easy to achieve in the actual international and commodities context).
The Ichnos Arcipelago Duemari has a well finished case, brushed with a sunburst effect. The sides are instead shiny like the bezel, and the screwed case back is engraved with a rendition of the La Maddalena archipelago’s map and the technical information of the timepiece (including the serial number xxx/500).
The dial is impressive, with a stunning shade from light blue to yellow/green.
The yellow minute hand creates a perfect contrast and gives a professional look to the watch, as the applied indexes with their original shape (big triangles at 3-6-9-12, batons with a little triangle, like a small arrow, for the rest).
The dial may catch your attention at first, but looking better at the timepiece, you appreciate the excellent sapphire glass, thick and doomed, which reminds the typical ’60s style.
The two crowns (one at 2 to turn the inner rotating bezel, one at 4, to set the time) are very easy to use, give a good level of resistance in use, and have a snug screwing, safe and without friction.
The lume looks stunning and durable, obtained using both C3 and BGW9 Superluminova. All indexes and hands (including the inner bezel) have a bluish lume, except the minute hand displaying a green-tinged lume.
The Seacult rubber band is impressively soft and comfortable on the wrist: I can’t evaluate the stainless steel mash band yet – the company will send it later because of a slight production lag – but I am optimistic about how it will be.
The Ichnos Arcipelago Duemari feels very comfortable on my 190 mm/7.5 inches wrist. The case shape adapts very well to the wrist, and the soft band makes it easy to wear.
The box is very original, too. It is a wooden chest with a porthole on the top to make the watch visible even with the locked box. A well-made booklet and the numbers certificate complete the watch inventory.
This watch instills a great quality perception, and the materials and finishing care are comparable with the more affirmed brands. This makes the final price of 1,149 € aligned to the market; at the actual launch price of 849 € (and 749 € paid for pre-orders), it feels like great value for the money.
The Ichnos Arcipelago Duemari vs. the others
Or course, once I completed my analysis of the watch, I surrendered to the temptation to compare it with the other Supercompressor timepieces in my collection, a Fortis Marinemaster from the ’70s and a relatively recent Christopher Ward C65 Supercompressor.
Any comparison with the Fortis, of course, has to be limited to the look, as too much time divides the two watches: even if Fortis makes excellent divers, 50 years of difference took a lot of changes in the finishing of materials. The two watches are very similar in terms of dimensions and case shape. Of course, the finishing of the case and the dial are relatively higher in this Ichnos, and the sapphire doomed glass makes the difference compared to the acrylic one.
The comparison with C65 is fascinating, as it puts the Duemari against a competitive opponent, and the Ichnos surprises with its high quality and perfect finishing. Its case is a bit broader, just 1 mm, but it feels more substantial at first sight, and the shape of the Duemari is more faithful to historical supercompressors.
The case finishing of both watches stands on the same quality level. The C65 presents more successions of polished and brushed surfaces. Still, finally, it results in a more “fashion” look, making the watch appear just a bit more “posh” versus the more “professional” Arcipelago.
The crown usage is easy for both watches, with the same fluidity/resistance: the difference is that the C65 does not have a screwed crown for the internal bezel (which turns through 120 clicks). In contrast, the Arcipelago has a screwed crown (with a bezel turning continuously once unscrewed the crown), once again more “fashion” the first, more professional (and loyal to the original EPSA supercompressors) the second.
Both watches feature a screwed case backscrewed case back, with a sapphire crystal for the C65, and stainless steel for the Arcipelago. The C65s back is very well finished and lets the owner admire the movement (the two watches share the same SW200 core). But again, this watch displays a more dainty look versus the more toolish Arcipelago.
The C65 comes with a rubber band that is as soft and comfortable as the Seacult provided with the Arcipelago (I changed it with a tropic design as I prefer this kind of rubber band style). At the same time, the buckle (with logo) is more refinished on the C65 vs. the Arcipelago one, resulting in a more utilitarian, old-style feel for the latter.
The same considerations go for the crown: better finished on the C65 (crown at 2 with an orange ring to be easily identified, crown at 4 with brand logo), both finished with a vertical/horizontal lines engraving for the Arcipelago, less refined but more loyal to supercompressors standards.
A word of advice
As an enthusiast (and an early backer) I could not have been happier to see that my expectations were completely fulfilled, and I have to say, exceeded. Not wanting to sound “salesy” now, but I appreciate watches since a long time, and during my career as a watch fan, I have seldom found a combination of such technique, aesthetic quality, and perfect price/quality ratio – all supported by a hefty dose of passion which oozes from every element of this watch.
Ichnos, and Pierpaolo Cassoni, will be present at the next WOI 3 in Tortona in mid-October – so I am definitely looking to drop by and express my personal satisfaction to the owner of the company, with my Duemari strapped around the wrist.
Wrist is a freelance contributor to MBWW, passionate about watches, mainly divers, chronographs, and military watches. All photos in the article are shot by wrist unless otherwise noted.