NEWS FLASH! Richard Mille named a watch after a guy! The eponymous guy wears the watch! Okay, that’s not really news. It’s been done before (RM 27-02 for Rafael Nadal). What’s new: GQ’s claiming Squadra Azzurra football manager Roberto Mancini’s Richard Mille is the secret to his unmistakably Italian style. ORLY? Roberto Mancini’s Richard Mille RM 11-04 automatic flyback chronograph is a secret? Stylish? Unmistakably Italian? Where have I heard that before? . . .
The late Gianni Agnelli was famous for wearing his watch over his shirt cuff. It was a weird thing thing done by a celebrity known for his style – “The Rake of the Riviera” – copied by thousands of Fiat Chairman wannabes. A couple oddballs continue to mimic this odd horological flex. In fact . . .
There are novelty shirt cuffs for wankers looking to make a really bad statement about themselves.
Less provocatively, expert style makers suggest a “watch allowance.” No, it’s not about trying to limit the financial damage caused by your horological addiction. Here’s the fashion forward skinny from propercloth.com:
Selecting a watch allowance allows you to make the left or right cuff .25″, .5″ or .75″ larger than the other cuff so that it can slide over your watch comfortably. You’ll want to specify the watch allowance for the wrist that will have the watch (obviously).
Selecting between .25″, .5″ and .75″ will depend on the size of your watch, and how tight you’re making the cuffs in general. If you’re keeping the cuffs fairly loose you may not need a watch allowance at all. We generally find that .25″ is enough extra space for slim, dressy watches, but if you have a dive watch or otherwise particularly large watch you might need the .5″ to .75″ difference.
Useful information – for people who operate under the assumption that horological discretion is the better part of not looking like a pretentious prat, and buy custom tailored shirts. Anyway, that’s not how Roberto Mancini’s Richard Mille rolls.
Look carefully and you’ll notice that Mancini wears the watch slung low on his wrist. Like all stylish Italians, he would have made sure that the strap was sized just so, in order that the watch is always clearly visible below his shirt cuff.
Readers, you wear watches. “Slung low” means too loose, uncomfortable, sloppy. Furthermore, let’s not pretend that “the strap was sized just so” when the Mille in question has all the bespoke customization of the buckled resin strap on my Casio F-91W. You pick a hole and put the prong through it. Nobody came and took a tape measure to Roberto’s wrist and custom-molded a new blue rubber band. That’s just silly.
By the same token, I’m pretty sure Mssr. Mille’s jumbo beast – a 9mm thick movement – simply won’t fit under Snr. Mancini’s shirt cuff. Any shirt cuff? Plus RM wants that bad boy on display. Why do you think they gave it to the famous soccer coach? Or do they pay him to wear it? Best guess: both.
You’ve all heard of sprezzatura, the Italian art of stylish dishevelment in matters sartorial. Now get ready to wrap your lips (and minds) around the idea of staccare, which means to “detach” or “remove”.
It refers to the deliberate pairing of classical elements with something ultramodern and is most commonly associated with architecture. But it’s also an important approach in fashion. Take, for instance, the pairing of a finely tailored suit with a cutting-edge sports watch. That’s staccare. And, right now, the king of that aesthetic is the manager of the Italian national team, Roberto Mancini.
I take umbrage with Alfred Tong’s pronouncement. Properly deployed, the term sprezzatura means making things look effortless, regardless of the actual difficulty or effort expended. Simple principle: don’t look like a try-hard.
Clothing nerds took this good sense and perverted it. The proper spirit would lead to avoiding meticulously orchestrated ensembles and generally being a foppish popinjay. Anyone who’s watched these “tastemakers” in action knows that wasn’t going to happen.
Mr. Tong’s tribe decided sprezzatura means an affected faux inattentiveness layered onto dandyism (illustrated above by oebens.com). It’s much like Hollywood constructing a pretend messy room: gently lay some clean laundry around and tape up a crooked poster. My, what a mess! Clothing-wise, it’s fashion sans frontiers . . .
Cuff and collar buttons studiously left undone, narrow ends of neckties left too long and/or showing alongside the front blade. Stupidest of all: wearing double monk strap shoes, nicknamed dubmunx, (wait, I’m not done yet) with at least one of the fruity little buckles unfastened. The loose strap end flopping around, like those damned NATO straps.
But I digress. GQ wants us to know about staccare. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s staccare! Oops, that’s amore. Staccare means “to detach or remove.” The Quarterly defines it as “the deliberate pairing of classical elements with something ultramodern and is most commonly associated with architecture.” So like I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid, I guess. I hate it already!
But wait, how come a web search using keywords staccare and architecture gives this as a top hit: From Piguet To Panerai, The Influence Of Italian Taste On Watch Design. I’m getting a sense this is all so much marketing BS. Indeed, the term is floated by Mr. Daniele Pizzagoni (above), founder of London vintage watch dealer The Watch Club.
The proposed ethos: wear one jarringly modern (i.e., tacky) item that totally clashes with an otherwise tasteful and traditional outfit. No, not a pair of Air Yeezy‘s! They’re selling watches here. Which is just as well; you only get one “off” item (unless you’re a double wrister). Otherwise, the tackiness becomes overkill.
Is this aesthetic really unique or Italian? I seem to remember a famous American who wore a synthetic sports watch with his suit. He was doing this over two decades ago. His name was William Jefferson Clinton, and he was the President of the U.S. of A. The watch was a Timex Ironman.
But the GQ is using former
boxer Ray ‘Boom Boom ‘ pro soccer player and current team manager Roberto Mancini as the example. He’s a lean athletic man with a full head of hair who keeps his cigars in a humidor. Let’s not pretend that the overpriced Dickie Mille plastic watch is making his style. He’s a famous dude that is allowed an eccentricity. You’re probably not. Which gets us to the heart of the problem with this article.
Besides the fact that RM always looks awful and that celebrities are paid to wear them and do not pay to wear them. The big lie: you, you at home, you regular schlubs reading GQ, get to break tradition and wear one cornball item. Like when George Costanza wore Timberland boots to a wedding. Sheeplike wannabes love this myth: when you’re so-damn-good you can be transgressive!
It’s not an entirely invalid precept. If you’re a suit on the sidelines of an international athletic competition, you deserve some leeway. You can wear funny sneakers, or a ballcap, or a stopwatch around your neck. Or even Roberto Mancini’s Richard Mille. Outside the stadium, the suitability disappears. Know what I mean?