When designer Stefano Ricci decided to create his first watch, he aimed high—2,431 feet up, to be exact, in the hills of Fleurier, Switzerland. The Italian clothier, known for fine Florentine tailoring, had been a collector of high-quality timepieces for years, so it’s no surprise he turned to Vaucher, an elite movement manufacturer that supplies the likes of Parmigiani and Hermès, to provide the inner workings.
“We had a good relationship with Vaucher, and we really wanted to partner with a company that could provide us top-class service worldwide,” says Filippo Ricci, Stefano’s son and the creative director of Stefano Ricci.
The collaboration resulted in 60 limited-edition numbered models that include a chronograph, an annual calendar and a perpetual calendar. Each has a hunter-style hinged caseback topped with one-of-a-kind engravings in the style of antique English hunting guns, created by hand in Northern Italy. Ten diamond-encrusted perpetual-calendar models will feature unique engravings of nature’s most majestic creatures, such as a lion, an elephant, a tiger and an eagle, the Stefano Ricci mascot.
Two decades ago, the company started its own in-house jewelry department, creating everything from gem-set cuff links to a solid-gold belt buckle encrusted with diamonds. “When we realized the collection needed a timepiece, we decided it had to be connected to our jewelry department,” Ricci says, and so all models can be optioned with diamonds on the case and bezel.
The unconventional shape is inspired by the octagonal geometry found in the architecture of Stefano Ricci’s hometown, Florence, including the Baptistery, Brunelleschi’s rotunda and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The watch, set on a strap of blue crocodile for the chronograph model or black crocodile for the perpetual and annual calendars, comes packaged in a crocodile box with a retractable cuff-link holder and document pouch containing the instruction manual and warranty papers.
The white-glove treatment includes direct contact with a boutique manager, along with a dedicated staff member who will pick up the piece for servicing and return it in pristine condition, in person, anywhere in the world. Stefano Ricci’s Octagon timepieces are priced between $120,000 and $220,000.