In my last blog we had our feet firmly planted on terra firma as we explored the Terra, or Land collection, of the watches made by Terra Cielo Mare, TCM, of Italy. The next line of watches from the TCM collection pulls the feet from under us and looks towards the sky or Cielo for its inspiration.
The Cielo collection is made up of eight watches, and draws its vision from the pilots who dedicated, or at times, lost their lives soaring the horizon. This collection pulls heavily from the pages of WWII history for its design and historical intrigue. Pilots who soared the sky during this period often found little time to fidget with their timepieces, given all that was going on around them. As a result, they required a functional watch that was easy to read, simple to use, as well as providing a wealth of information to the pilots who wore them.
The first watch in the Cielo collection is the Il Sorci Verdi. This watch is limited to 79 pieces and makes it a great collector’s piece. The design of the watch is dedicated to the great air force squadron of Sorci Verdi “Green Mice”, the watch itself is designed to replicate the clock equipped on the Italian torpedo bomber SM79 (Sparviero or Sparrowhawk). All the watches in this series have a small metal plate taken from an original SM79 aircraft attached on the side of the watchcase. What really makes this watch unique is there is no crown to set the watch; instead the craftsmen at TCM designed a patented lever release system, which uses the bezel to set the time. When the lever is in the closed position, this automatic watch will charge. You set the time when the lever is open. This is one of my favorite watches in the TCM collection.
CM's Il Sorci Verdi (Front & Back)
The next two watches in the Cielo collection are the Crono Sorci Verdi Manicino and the Crono Sorci Verdi Manicino PVD. These two watches were made to honor the great aviators of the Sorci Verdi “Green Mice”(depicted on the dial) squadron. The buttons in these watches are on the left side of the case. This allows the aviators the ability to use their thumb to activate the chronograph button. You will also notice that the chronograph button has a red detail on it. This small feature is to honor the wives of the pilots. Wives of the pilots use to paint the fuselage of the SM79 aircraft with red nail polish as a symbol of good luck. The two watches in this collection are similar as far as the mechanics go, the slight difference is the use of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposit) used to give the watch a protective cover which is very resistant to scratches and wear.
The Toponi Officer and its rich cousin Toponi Officer-Oro are next in the collection. Parts of the Oro model are made of 18k pink gold and limited to 25 pieces. The aviation aspect of Toponi Officer is that by offsetting the dial by 2 hours, the pilots were able to keep track of time without their hands leaving the flight stick. A really cool feature of this collection? Every watch is equipped with a door on the back of the watchcase that opens. One could only image what secrets or battle orders were concealed in the secret compartments worn on an officer’s wrist.
The next watch in the Cielo collection draws many similarities to the Il Sorci Verdi watch. Just like the Il Sorci Verdi watch the Zero-Zen (a nickname given by the Americans in WWII) forgoes the crown in favor the patented lever release system to set the time. The craftsmen at TCM acknowledge the innovative design of the Mitsubishi A6M, perhaps the most important aircraft in Japanese war history. Besides being easy to read, the dial stays faithful to the original model found in the aircrafts, with the 12 hour clock on the outer ring and a 24 hour clock on the inside. Just like the IL Sorci Verdi, TCM has a piece of a Mitsubishi A6M attached to the side of the case. This piece too is a limited edition; only 88 pieces available that can be seen on the dial of each watch.
TCM's Zero-Zen (Front & Back)
The final watches in the Cielo collection are the Avio MK-II (available in 4 finishes: gun, white, classic, tropical) and the Avio MK-II Pelican. These watches honor the aviation engineers, mechanics and pilots who competed for the Schneider Cup (established in 1911). This group of individuals were driven to design and propel single engine planes to their maximum threshold of performance. When you first look at the dial of the Avio MK-II Pelican you’d think it was a stopwatch since the numbers on the outer face of the dial are calibrated into minutes, a very unique feature of the watch. The back case on all the watches in this series bear an engraving of a famous MC72 seaplane, an aircraft made famous by Marshal Francesco Agello, who set the world speed record in 1934.
For more historical information on the complete line of TCM watches you can visit their webpage http://www.terracielomare.it.
These and other watches from TCM are available in the USA and Canada through Iron Bridge Watch Co. Look in the coming weeks for the third of this three part series on TCM when I explore the Mare, or Sea line.