What’s old is new again ! Yup, that’s right… Those rusty, old and damaged looking watches are actually a fashion by design and 1 of the biggest trends in the watch industry. It’s been around for quite some time, but in recent years, I have seen a growing number of microbrand watches producing case design that incorporates either brass, aluminium bronze or CuSn8. So, I’ve been drooling to get 1 to try out and as it turns out, a watch brand that I’ve owned for years, just released a new model Enigma, which the case is made from solid German bronze. Immediately I approached the brand owner himself, Mr. Alessandro Baldieri to know more about the upcoming Enigma before I trigger the purchase. Being already an owner of his earlier model Magnum M48 Carbon, I knew his work would be an art of perfection but as we spoke further, he disclosed his plan to convert 5/100 pieces of Enigma into a limited edition lasered skull onto the original oxidised dial. So, my first thought that came through my mind is, Enigma itself is already special whereby it’s 100 pieces worldwide, each dial is different from the rest through the oxidisation process and now, 5 out of the 100 pieces would be lasered with a skull design ! How amazing is that !!!
It’s been a year plus since I’ve owned the Enigma Skull Edition, and I feel it’s only right that I shared my amazing journey with it and to share my thoughts on it. But before I proceed further, here’s a brief introduction of the brand Alessandro Baldieri and specifications of Enigma.
Everybody Has To Look Good…
The man behind the brand, Mr. Alessandro Baldieri believes strongly that “Everybody has to look good” and that is why whenever he design his watches, whenever it’s on somebody’s wrist, that somebody would feel the same too. Alessandro Baldieri was born in Italy and his talents honed in Rome and the USA.
His bold and extravagant inspirations pay homage to his roots in cosmopolitan Rome, its rich legacy in its distinctive history. In 2006, Alessandro Baldieri started a new chapter in his creative profession when his passion for beautiful timepieces inspired the designer instinct in him, and he ventured from designing homes into designing watches. His creative flair, love of luxury and keen eye for details have led him in creating a line of watches that reflected his own persona: international, stylish, contemporary and uncompromising in quality.
What’s the Enigma all about ?
- Movement : Miyota 9015 automatic 24 Jewels
- Case Size : 45mm
- Case Material : Solid German Bronze
- Case Back : Titanium
- Case Bezel : 120 Clicks rotating bezel with Luminous on 12 o’clock marker
- Crown : Screw Down
- Buckle : Titanium
- Strap : Italian Thick Ammo Leather
- Lug Width : 24mm
- Dial : Each dial is different from another through the Oxidisation process (Corroded Effect)
- Hour and Minute Hands : Luminous
- Second Hand : Luminous on the tip of the hand
- Hour Index : Luminous
- Date : Between 4 and 5 o’clock position
- Glass : Semi-Dome Sapphire Crystal
- Water Resistance : 20ATM
So, what do I think about it ? Let’s start with the case material, which is 1 of the main reason I gotten it. Made from solid German bronze, sized at 45mm (not too big, not too small) which sits nicely on my wrist very well. The bezel is also made from bronze and has the uni-directional 120 clicks, which feels very solid and firm during rotating. The screw down crown is also made from bronze and its slightly larger (~ 9mm) than normal crown size. It has an engraved AB logo on the crown as well. Overall, the exterior of the case is a full solid German bronze and ticks all the boxes for what a bronze watch should be.
Next, onto the dial… wow. My understanding is the dial was originally blue in colour, but after it has been oxidised, it produces an aging and discoloured effect that looks as if it’s been in the bottom of the ocean for more than a 100 years of age. The way that Alessandro Baldieri envisioned his design for the Enigma is that the oxidised / discoloured dial would match the tarnished case perfectly when it’s forming patina, which blends in together very well. With the laser skull in the middle of the dial, it amazes me whenever I look at it, even till today ! I also like how the hour indexes are designed where 3, 6 & 9 o’clock are in rectangular shape, 12 o’clock being represented with an AB logo and whereas the rest are rounded shape. Didn’t fancy the date window on the dial as I would have love it to be a clean dial instead. The luminous on the watch overall is acceptable, neither the strongest nor the weakest I’ve seen before. To complete the front look, the semi-dome sapphire glass is definitely a nice touch to give a clearer view of the tarnished and oxidised dial.
Caseback is made from titanium and each is numbered individually from the 100 pieces that is made. It’s simple but yet it has the proper information necessary, which is the branding, model, serial number of the 100 pieces, the year 1961 (representing the birth year of Alessandro Baldieri), water resistance of 20ATM and finally a skull logo. Even the buckle is made from titanium with an engraved skull and Baldieri wording on it. I did asked Alessandro, why don’t you do a full bronze including the caseback and buckle ? Well, he said that he did considered, but not every skin can adapt to bronze and that’s why he designed areas that is constantly touching the skin would not be made from bronze. Instead he opted to replace it with full titanium quality to maintain its’ philosophy “uncompromising in quality“.
Moving on to the standard strap that comes along with any Enigma, is the thick 4mm brown ammo hand-made leather strap that feels like suede finishing on top (which is not) and hand-stitched. On the back, it’s embossed with ARTISAN HAND MADE since 1961 and on the other side AB logo and BALDIERI wording. The strap comes with a fix and a floating keeper. For the skull edition, it comes with an additional red strap that is also hand-made and hand-stitched, with the same quality as the brown version. Only difference is that the red strap can be worn on both sides of the strap. What can I say… the strap is definitely a top quality because after a year plus, I’m still using ’em both regularly !
I’ve travelled frequently over the past year with my Enigma and have even tried on various type of straps on it, and each time delivering magnificent shots ! I have worn my Enigma on a rubber, nato, pilot leather style, crocodile-grain design, custom made Superman strap by Lionstrap, and even recently with a gold mesh ! Until today, I’m still getting compliments for the watch, and to be 1 of the 5 owners for the Enigma Skull edition, makes me feel proud to own it. The last I heard, there’s still 1 last piece of this beautiful Enigma Skull edition, and if you are not fast enough to buy it, then it’s gonna be gone forever. Shhh… if you mention my name “Alvin” to Alessandro Baldieri, maybe he can hook you up with a discount for it (no guarantees though !).
As a conclusion, I made the right purchase for my 1st bronze watch ! Never regretted the purchase since day 1. The only regrets that I have now is that I started building my love towards bronze watches and I’ve been looking to add more to my watch collection. And bronze watches are not cheap because of the process in producing it often requires more effort and the success rate from mass production are usually around 50%, which means every 2 pieces produced, 1 would pass and the other would fail the standards. Bronze watches may not be for everyone due to personal taste, but if you are ever in the market to get something different from your current safe collection (assuming those made from stainless steel, titanium, carbon or ceramic), then bronze watches would be the ideal addition. So get yourself an ENIGMA by Alessandro Baldieri !
Quick Facts about Bronze (Don’t quote me on this !)
- The use of bronze started way back in the 5th Millennium BCE (Before Common Era).
- The first timepiece that uses bronze was by Gérald Genta’s Gefica, launched in 1988, was made of a bronze alloy containing more than 90 percent copper.
- Bulgari bought the Gérald Genta brand in 2000 and in 2007 brought out an updated version of the Gefica, also in bronze: the Gefica BiRetro Safari.
- CuSn8 bronze is the recognised industry standard; a marine-grade alloy, it can withstand aeons in saltwater with very little signs of corrosion, other than the development of a gorgeous patina.
- CuSn8 contains 92% copper and 8% tin.