The place is Lucca, Italy. The year is 1942. Ilvo Fontana had a history of creating precise instruments for the Italian Navy. He was charged with designing and manufacturing timepieces that would hold up to the scrutiny and high standards of the Navy. However, prevailing circumstances did not allow Ilvo to realize his dreams. In the year 2000, Italo Fontana, Ilvo’s grandson, came across the designs which were a source of inspiration for the first U Boat watch.
The U Boat Chimera 46 is made from black ion plated stainless steel and bronze accents, a singular material in the world of watchmaking. U Boat takes this understated metal and weaves magic with it in many of its collections. As the name suggests, the Chimera 46 is indeed 46mm in diameter, while riding high on the wrist with a 17mm case height. All in all, the proportions of the case look great on the wrist. It is a big watch so naturally it carries an excellent wrist presence. The bronze color tones down the Chimera 46 so that isn’t gaudy or ostentatious but still makes a statement with its lefty crown and lefty chrono pushers.
The main crown carries a screw on cap that is ridged and also in bronze. The chrono pushers use two different styles. The start and stop actuator is flat and ridged for maximum accessibility, while the pusher responsible for resetting the chronograph is a classic T shape. The lugs which house the leather strap are also in bronze.
The dial is brown and features large bronze Arabic numerals at 2, 4, 8. 10, and 12 which are stenciled giving this piece a very military appeal. The remaining hour markers are displayed as indexes also in bronze tone. The hands are bicolor (bronze and brown) which go nicely with the color scheme of this piece. The chronograph totalizers are located at 12 and 6, with the small seconds in a larger subdial at 3 o’clock. The date aperture on this model is located at the 9 position.
The movement is displayed in an exhibition case back made from sapphire crystal. The movement which is a Swiss made Valjoux 7750 carries a power reserve of 44 hours when fully wound. For greater precision the balance wheel beats at rate of 28,800 VpH. The oscillating rotor is made with an interesting skeletonized design and carries the inscription “U-Boat”.
The crystal protecting the dial is also crafted from sapphire which is used in most high end watches due to its highly scratch resistant properties. This watch is secured by a traditional pin buckle. The Chimera 46 is water resistant to 100 meters making this piece an excellent choice for daily wear. This handsome timepiece designed by Italo Fontana is produced in a limited and numbered series of 300 pieces worldwide.
TAGS: Automatic Watches, Black Steel, Bronze, Chronographs, Date, Exhibition Case Back, Leather, Limited Edition, Mechanical Watches, Men's Watches, Power Reserve, Sapphire Crystal, Selfwinding Watches, Swiss Made, U Boat, Water Resistant