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wearing wrist watch over the shirt sleeve

December 25 2017 at 11:56 PM
Karl  (Login OysterCollector)
VRF Member
from IP address

Seasons Greetings to everyone!!
a few days before arriving in Australia, I spent a day in Milan - Italy and stopped by some of the watch boutiques.

Interestingly, I stopped at a very unique watch store which was a family business. One of the gentleman was in his late 80s and still helps out his grand children with the running of the shop. Please do not ask me how to find this store as I will still jet lagged and would have to have lightening strike me twice. He has worked there since 1948 and somehow we got into an interesting conversation with my limited Italian.

In the discussion, he mentioned that prior to wrist watches becoming mainstream, most people at the time would wear their wrist watch over the sleeve of the business shirt being a direct analogy of a pocket watch worn in the side pocket with the chain across the chest. He mentioned of Giovanni Agnelli (FIAT tycoon) and Luigi Oreste Anzaghi (Italian music composer and author of music texts) who can still be seen in some photographs wearing their watch this way. He went onto say that back then it was encouraged to wear a wrist watch this way as most of the wrist watches back then were made from 3 piece cases with snap on backs without a back gasket to avoid perspiration from the wrist into the crown and therefore just barely dustproof.

He himself had an oversize 39mm Longines with a sub seconds hand from 1945 which has been his every day watch since then where you could see an ivory damp section on the dial just near the crown.. Amongst his inventory, were prodominantly Rolex timepieces.

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John Ireland
(Login ffigcar)
VRF Moderator

Agnelli was always doing things

December 26 2017, 11:37 PM 

is a stylish but also eccentric way. He also wore his neck tie so that the narrower rear piece was longer than the wider front piece. Agnelli claimed that wearing his watch over the sleeve saved him time since he didn't have to pull his sleeve back to see what time it was. He would also jump out of his helicopter into the ocean and then swim up onto the beach. There is a good documentary about him on HBO.

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(Login OysterCollector)
VRF Member

It wasn't just Agnelli, but others as well such as

December 27 2017, 6:06 AM 

Luigi Oreste Anzaghi as pictured here


When the elderly gentleman in Milan mentioned this to me of this fine Italian music composer, I googled until I found a picture of him wearing it over his sleeve. I was still jet lagged but if I recall hearing correctly, he may have sold him that very watch wearing in the photograph as he was also from Milan!!

It appears that in the 1940's these oversized sub dial flat watches were the norm and to be perfectly honest I have always found them rather appealing, but unfortrunately they trap moisture and dust worse than a watch without a case!!!!

It would be interesting to see how many photographs of men wearing their watch over their sleeve really do exist.

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(Login bruzelle)
VRF Member

Yes, Agnelli was also infamous...

January 2 2018, 5:26 AM 

...for partially resembling a racehorse and therefore always made sure that he could be well seen naked on deck of his yacht, whenever a paparazzi-boat came close. Not sure if I would take him as a role model for my style.

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(Premier Login fantastictime)
VRF Managing Director

Sleeve pic...

December 27 2017, 7:40 AM 

[linked image]

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