Baselworld 2015 - The TCM Toponi Officer
What I liked the most about writing this article is not just the description of two new TCM Toponi Officer timepieces by Terra Cielo Mare, of which we already previewed one earlier in February (you may find it HERE), but the fact that I got to meet Luca Fontana, CEO of the brand and, moreover, a young guy with a great passion for watches and a clear vision for the brand, such as I've never seen in the Italian watchmaking industry so far. The TCM Toponi Officer, like the Tazzoli Marinis AES (HERE is our article), are just two of the novelties of a brand that has many projects in its roadmap and is paving the road, I believe, to become the first integrated manufacture in Italy.
The TCM Toponi Officer is a pilot's watch “designed in Italy”, where the word “design”, that in Italy is often improperly used to define a product’s style and aesthetics, actually stands for computer design and realization in Italy: the watch's case is CNC machined and finished in Italy, at a time when some big brands, even those with considerable budgets, choose to manufacture cases and components of some of their models in low-cost countries.
The TCM Toponi Officer is manufactured in Italy, except for the movement that is a classic caliber, the ETA Unitas 6498, beating at 2,5Hz and manual wind, one of the best sourced movements when it comes to a Type A-7 big watch, conceived from pocket watch calibers. In the TCM Toponi Officer it is visible through a smoked glass (pictured is a prototype) placed at the back, and covered by a stainless steel lid.
The TCM Toponi Officer belongs to the Sorci Verdi range, a growing collection that is perhaps the flagship of the brand.
If one were to place it on a table alongside a Marinis AES, as well as some timepieces from the previous management, one notices that the brand has put a lot of work into details (one only needs to look at one of the usually most overlooked details, the tang buckle), and on the watches’ perceived quality, which justifies the price increase (the TCM Toponi Officer retails at 3500€).
The repositioning of the brand has resulted in the making of a gold version, limited to just 25 pieces. The 43mm wide 316L stainless steel and marine bronze case has also been made in rose gold. The serial number is in roman numerals, and appears on a small plaque applied to the case's side. Arabic numerals and the Sorci Verdi logo are both applied to the dial, so why not also opt for an applied Terra Cielo Mare logo? The combination between a smooth leather strap and a rose gold case does not work as well as it does on the bronze and steel version. I would also advise TCM to think about providing a replacement Cordovan leather NATO strap, often used by those who choose a pilot's watch (especially in Northern Europe and the US).
The TCM Toponi Officer in bronze and steel will be made as a numbered edition watch (therefore essentially on request) but not in big quantities. Limited run, as I said, for the gold version, whose price is still not known at the moment. In a nutshell, we’re talking about a timepiece and a brand aimed at those who love to differ and who are looking for a handmade watch, produced in small quantities, with a clear brand image and nice mechanics and, in the near future, the opportunity for the buyer, I hope, to customize it, an option that is compliant with the mission of a brand that truly represents a small atelier of fine watchmaking. Now, as I suggested to Luca, they should design an ISO 6425 certified timepiece; it could be the very first Italian timepiece to adopt such a prestigious certification, that is granted just to Japanese watchmakers and, as far as I know, to only one prestigious Swiss brand.
Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter - Watches & Luxury