Coggiola watches is based in Rome, Italy and the watchmaker Sebastián restores old English pocket watch movements into contemporary timepieces. Every timepiece is handcrafted and made in-house – not something every independent watch maker can lay claim to.
My journey into Coggiola watches began in October 2016 when I visited the website and we corresponded via email. Dealing with Sebastián is a pleasure, every so obliging in meeting your requests. And because he is in this trade, you can exchange ideas with him and he can give you his take on what the final product should look like. But in the end, it is still your choice. You can customise it to what you want and in most part, the fact that he mills and manufactures many of the parts himself, he can create a customised piece using the same movement. That way, no two pieces are alike – case material can change, the hands type can change. It is all entirely up to you.
I found the movement clean and because it is vintage, I preferred it without the seconds hand. A few emails between Sebastián and I and we settled on the case material as well as the hands type. As I had stated before, other than the movement, the entire watch is built ground up. The case material I chose was bronze and I change the baton hands to feuille type ones. Sebastián went into details about the case shape and even down to the lugs.
But I had wanted a timepiece that is made by the watchmaker, one that is envisioned by him – pure. So other than changing the case to bronze and hands to blue feuille hands, I left the rest to Sebastián. Sebastián takes a 20% deposits and told me it would take about 3 months to complete the timepiece. What is interesting is that Sebastián keeps you updated on the progress despite his busy schedule.
A couple of emails later, the first images were coming through and we finally changed the blue feuille hands to silver ones for more contrast. The final product when delivered was what I had envisioned it to be – a well made bronze cased vintage timepiece.
The 40mm case is a two part case in bronze made by Sebastián without the use of any CNC machines. It starts out as a block of bronze and then cut and milled into shape. Winding of the timepiece is via the crown which is also handcrafted. The needle at the side at 4 o’clock needs to be depressed to adjust the time – remember that this is made from a pocket watch movement where the winding crown was for winding up the main spring and in order to adjust the time, one had to depress the pin to engage the mechanism.
The stepped dial is unusual to say the least and I like the raw feel of such a dial – the wheels, jewels and blued screws all clearly visible.
The hands are made entirely from scratch. The hands are hand turned and hand-shaped and polished to a shine. I originally wanted blued hands but after several consultations with Sebastián, we decided to leave it as polished steel to provide contrast.
Excellent feuille hands.
Notice the frosted finish on the plates.
For those who noticed two sets of numbers, one on the movement base and the other on the main-plate dial side, the number 33192 refers to the ebauche maker while the number on the movement side is that of the movement number.
I also like the frosted finish on the main-plate dial. The steel bezel is also done by hand and Sebastián originally wanted to fill the markers with blue enamel to match the blue feuille hands. But he felt (and correctly so) that the whole timepiece will be too “heavy”.
The movement, manufactured in the late 1800s is made in brass. When one thinks of the three-quarter plate structure, we think German and in particulate Glashutte. But the Robert Roskell movement and many of the English movements of that time also had the three quarter plate construction for stability and accuracy.
The movement number 74450 is thought to have been part of a batch of high grade movements made for Robert Roskell, Liverpool. The movement number is engraved on the back and signed.
According to Sebastián, when he acquired the movements, they were in very bad condition – dirt and rust. He has to take apart the movement, clean it, changed the main spring and ratchet wheel and restore it to full glory. Some parts cannot be fully restored so some scratches gives a glimpse of the old vintage movement.
I especially like to look at the balance wheel and listen to the ticking of the old movement – at night when it is all silent, you can hear the ticking. The movement beats at 18,000 vph.
Now to the buckle. The buckle alone is made up of 7 pieces – all handcrafted.
By the time I receive the timepiece from Coggiola, some patina has already formed. Sebastián told me that it was a humid time in Rome when the timepiece was finished. I intentionally left the piece in an uncleaned condition just to show off the patina on the bronze case – no disrespect to Sebastián and his work.
Timepiece is not water resistant and the power reserve is about 30 odd hours. 10 winds later gives the full power reserve. Having owned the timepiece for slightly more than a year, the patina really makes this feel totally vintage. The timepiece gets quite a bit of attention from friends and is quite a conversation piece.