Invariably, the coolest watches, with their most durable designs, and those that conjure heroic deeds in the face of countless odds, were born as practical tools. Their evocative purposefulness is due to the fact that their designs were optimized for performance.
The lever-locking system of the Panerai Luminor Marina was used by Italian frogmen to stop water from entering the watch while they piloted large, unwieldy torpedoes. Before GPS, this was not only a design feature, but also a tried-and-true innovation. The lyre lugs and two-pusher design of the Omega Speedmaster is a unique iconography. Its bold, audacious tachymetric bezel scale (Panerai Ferrari Replica) makes it not only the most famous chronograph but also evokes the courage of the Apollo XIII Astronauts who used a Speedmaster as a tool to reposition their damaged spacecraft. It would have been fatal if either the calculations or performance of the watch had failed. The A. Cairelli Type 2 Chronograph, created by Zenith for the Italian helicopter pilots in the mid-1960s, channels that period cool.
A. Cairelli was not just a well-known Roman watch retailer but also a military subcontractor. In the 1950s the Italian Air Force - Aeronautica Militare Italia - ordered a predecessor to the CP2, called the CP1, by a company named Leonidas. The CP1 had a 39mm diameter and a Valjoux flyback hacking chronograph movement. By 1960, it was considered too small for cockpit visibility. A. Cairelli was contacted by the Italian military for an improved pilot's timepiece. Zenith was chosen as a supplier.
The goal was to make a watch that had all the visible indicators made more substantial, with increased amounts of luminous materials on the dial and a luminous triangle on the bezel. The watch was powered by a manual-wound Calibre 146 DP based on a Martelebauche. (Replica Rolex Datejust).
But it was the iconography of the watch - the form-follows-function pragmatism endowed with a healthy dose of Italian braggadocio - that created such a winning formula. The case was tripartite with separate case, bezel and caseback. The case was highly polished to show respect for the peace that prevailed in Europe. It also made it clear that the watch was not meant to be worn while engaging an enemy. The Dauphine hands are fitted with multi-sectional pieces luminous material. While the Art Deco bevelled chronograph second hand, with a luminous tip, is one of vintage watch history's most iconic symbols. The matte black dial featured luminous Arabic markers with a flair of Latin font design. The whole package was so damn good-looking.