If the reader is not familiar with the French term “Nouvelle Horlogerie”, it is the name of a horological genre launched by Audemars-Piguet/Renaud Papi with Richare Mille and Urwerk; and subsequently followed by brands such as Hublot, Hautlence, CVSTOS, Concord, REBELLION timepieces, Ladoire, Linde Werdelin and the temporarily hibernated Wyler Vetta.
The concept consists of building futuristic-looking mechanical watches with custom-made movements and space-age materials. As a matter of fact, the fields of automobile racing and aviation are often a source of inspiration for aesthetics. Everything about those watches is “stratospheric”… especially the price: it will cost as much as a real sports car to have one of those timepieces on the wrist.
Enters Luigi Aguzzi, an Italian watch connoisseur specialized in micromechanical development for surgery and dentistry. In 2009, Mr. Aguzzi decides to add his contribution to the world of Nouvelle Horlogerie watch making. He want to rely upon the best suppliers in the field to produce his own state-of-the-art timepiece with an Italian touch. Living in the Bergamo province, at a stone’s throw from Switzerland, our micro-mechanician travels by night to spend the next day visiting prospective suppliers and come home with a new clue to reach his goal.
For the design, he called upon Erminio Rizzotti, Industrial Design veteran and teacher at the accredited Politecnico university of Milan. Mr. Aguzzi took care of the 3D construction himself and decided to release his first collection under the latin brand Vergo Avius which roughly translates to “looking forward”. The collection name Leonardo comes after his own son.
The case, rated to 10 bar, is entirely built in Italy by Fim-Premec SRL from Modena. Each one of the 297 frame constructions takes several hours to be lathed on 5-axis machines, out of blocks of an aircraft aluminium alloy called 7068. The aluminum is nickel-plated before receiving a PVD coating. Some other parts are built in titanium G5 an alloy that Mr. Aguzzi is familiar with for its broad use in medical technology for its anti-magnetic and hypoallergenic qualities.
The polymer bracelets are built by Silcon-Plastic SRL from Forno di Zoldo, Italy; and the dials come from Fabbrica Quadranti of Mendrisio, nearby Switzerland.
For the movements, Mr. Aguzzi relied upon the slim and high-torque construction of the ETA 2892-2 movement, which in this case received a custom rotor built by Christian Gros SA. The assymetric dial display was achieved thanks to a module from reputed movement maker Soprod SA, who supplies prestigious companies like Baume & Mercier, Hermès and Perrelet. The modue features: retrograde day indication at 3 o’clock, retrograde power reserve at 6 o’clock and cyclical date indication at 9 o’clock.
To ensure that the watches will only be serviced by authorized watchmakers, they are sealed with custom-made screws that require proprietary tool for opening.
In total, there are 99 pieces per colour (Black, Sky Chrome or Gun Metal) and each model is sold for 5,850 EUR, an extremely competitive price if we consider the high technological added-value of these watches.