Shark 1973. Not just the name given by Allemano to its newest model – it marks, in fact, the start of a new chapter in a story that began 167 years ago, even before the unification of Italy. That’s the point in time where events begin to take shape. (Here all our posts about Allemano)
It was 1856 when, in Turin, Giuseppe Allemano founded the company, initially working in heavy construction and the manufacture of steam rollers for road building. You may be asking what all this has to do with watchmaking – the answer dates back to the early 20th century, when the son, Felice, perceived the potential of the growing demand for precision instruments.
These were becoming increasingly useful in a number of fields, from maritime to automobile applications, soon to be joined by a fledgling aviation industry. This was the period when the Allemano story became more eventful, and the company gradually became a symbol of Italian industrialisation, with its epicentre in Turin.
Here, the Allemano F. & Figli factory, as it was known as from 1929 onwards, became the location for the conception, design and production of instruments that contributed to the success of a number of significant achievements, including many sporting feats.
The first type was the pressure gauges that in the mid-1950s equipped the legendary D24, which dominated the most prestigious circuits and races, from the Targa Florio of 1954 with Piero Taruffi at the wheel to the 21st Mille Miglia with Alberto Ascari, the Carrera Panamericana of 1953 with Juan Manuel Fangio and the 1956 Formula 1 World Championship won by Fangio in the Ferrari-Lancia D50.
The human factor played an important role, of course, but these successes were also the result of mechanical innovations. This was an area where Allemano’s skills and resources had a crucial impact, to the extent that they became a hallmark of the company and nowadays the words “Fabbrica Italiana” can still clearly be seen on the dial of watches in the Shark 1973 collection.
Allemano and the sea
These timepieces show that the sea had also begun to play a central role in the development and diversification of the Turin-based company’s offer. Before manufacturing divers’ watches Allemano made a name for itself in the assembly and calibration of diving instruments that were used in hyperbaric cameras, decompression meters and depth meters.
The latter two instruments were marketed under the names Crab and Shark, and were very popular in the 1970s. This was not a question of chance, and the instruments developed by Allemano were valued for their great reliability and precision. This was based on a unique innovation, a metal membrane that was extremely sensitive to variations in pressure, a mechanical feature that provided a very precise bathymetric measurement.
Allemano Diver Shark
This was a very important stage in the Allemano story, now celebrated in the 1973 Collection, which the Diver Shark is part of. Launched at the opening in Turin of the brand’s first single-brand boutique, it features a vintage look evoked by the domed design of the 42 mm steel case and the dial, whose aesthetics draw inspiration from the original depth meter.
This model is offered in blue or black, against which the gold baton hands stand out in an elegant cream colour. Its function as a diver’s watch is clear from the unidirectional knurled bezel and the helium escape valve positioned at 9 o’clock.
Water resistance was a crucial consideration, and the Shark 1973 was developed to be water resistant to a depth of 300 metres. The same model is also available in a version with yellow dial, the colour of the bezel of the depth meter produced by Allemano in the 1970s. It is also paired with a Crab depth meter. The entire collection, including the version with yellow dial, is powered by an automatic Swiss Sellita SW 200-1 movement for hours, minutes, seconds and date with lens at four o’clock.
It was a short step from the sea depths to the world of sail yachting, and last year Allemano took on the role of timer as technical partner of the Vele d’Epoca d’Imperia classic yacht regatta, one of the most important classic and vintage yacht events. The Allemano story always includes a few surprises!