One could argue that if Officine Panerai had not been sold to the Vendôme Group in 1997, Anonimo watches may never have seen the light of day. It was only once the Florentine brand had been sold that Federico Massacesi turned to the craftsmen at the Ambucchi workshop, who had been making watch cases since 1939, to found Anonimo, assisted by none other than Colonel Dr. Dino Zei, the ex-Italian navy officer and former CEO of Panerai. The company did not just safeguard the Florentine watch heritage but further developed it, adding 45 new models and filing several important patents in just twelve years.
One of these patents was the Kodiak k® process for leather treatment, which was actually patented by the Cuoierie Mecchaniche Brelli at the request of Dino Zei. The special treatment sealed the leather and, while it did not make it water repellent, it meant that it could absorb water without it degrading the leather. Still today, these CMB straps are a reference in heavy-duty leather watch straps. Anonimo was also the first watch company to produce a diver’s watch with a case made of bronze.
A second chapter in the brand’s history opened in 2009, when the company was rebaptised Firenze Orologi and looked beyond its national borders to conquer new markets with an international distribution. At the same time, the collection was focused around four lines: Sport, Professionale, “Dino Zei” and Militare. The latter is still one of the cornerstones of the Anonimo collection with its distinctive articulated crown protection system at 12 o’clock.
In 2013 Anonimo was acquired by an investor who relocated the company to Switzerland, renaming it Anonimo S.A. in order to manufacture under the “Swiss Made” criteria, whilst retaining the unmistakable Florentine style. At this stage, just two collections were retained, the Militare and the Nautilo, using Swiss Made movements from Sellita. The signature designs remain, with oversize 12, 04 and 08 on the Militare, steel or bronze cases, high water resistance and high-quality, hand-made Italian leather straps and the collection is attractively priced from around 1,900 to 5,000 Swiss francs.
Milestones in the first 20 years of Anonimo
1997: Founding of ANONIMO SpA, in Florence, Italy.
1998: Presentation of the Millemetri, water resistant to 1000 metres. Two models are ‘tested’ by the CNS (Cooperativa Nazionale Sommazzatori) to a depth of 2100m during their GEOSTAR project off the Sicilian coast in October 2002.
2001: Creation of the Militare model, recognisable by its patented crown positioned at 6 o’clock.
2005: Presentation of the “Dino Zei” line and its first model: Nemo.
2006: Dino Zei develops the first Nautilo watch. The Polluce model is presented as a tribute to the Anonimo watches used by the professional divers who saved the treasures from the boat of the same name, shipwrecked in 1841.
2007: “10 ANNI” Special editions, including the Marlin, with its 55mm diameter.
2009: The structure evolves further with Firenze Orologi and international distribution.
2012: To mark the brand’s 15th anniversary, Dino Zei brings out a book, limited to 800 copies.
2013: The brand moves to Switzerland and is renamed ANONIMO SA.
2015: Presentation of the new collection with the Militare and Nautilo lines.
2017: Anonimo celebrates 20 years.