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High Performance Watches by Ermenegildo Zegna

Lately, it’s not unusual at all for a clothing company or other sort of fashion firm to come out with a watch. Italian clothiers Ermenegildo Zegna have in the past partnered up with the Sowind group, of which the Girard-Perregaux brand is a part. Previously, Zegna mostly worked with them on luxury watches made with expensive materials. Now, with their new High Performance series, they are going to start selling sports watches as well.

High Performance sounds like an incredibly generic name for an expensive watch, but it comes from the name of a clothing line by Zegna (actually, it seems like a flavorless name for clothes, too). There will be two watches, the High Performance Sea Diver and the High Performance Chronograph. Aside from the boring names, it looks like Zegna and their friends at the Sowind Group have done a good job with this one. The watches look clean and chic and simple, and are quite reliable.

In the High Performance Chronograph is an ETA 2894 movement from Switzerland, of great quality but not as exciting as it would be if it housed a movement by Girard-Perregaux. It does have a rotor that was custom-designed for Ermenegildo Zegna, which could be a perk. The case is a pretty standard 42 millimeters, and is made of black ceramic. It comes in varying combinations of colors, with a few extra options being available on the version with the black dial. The strap is black rubber or black textile cloth with red thread running down the side. The latter is a nice option, as it accentuates the red colors used in the dial.

It seems pretty clear that the designers were focused primarily on the dial of the watch rather than the other features. Large Arabic numerals mark the hours, except at the three o’clock, six o’clock, and nine o’clock positions, where there is a white bar instead. The numbers and bars are all in white with outlines in bold scarlet red, and the same deep red is used to mark “High Performance” on the dial, Some might say there is a little too much red, but it certainly is a part of what makes the watch interesting in the first place. It adds a little bravery to contrast with what seems like a timid name for the watch.

Aside from the red color, there are some other pretty interesting things happening in the dial. The hour hand is shaped like a snake’s head, diamond-like and quite wide. The minute hand is in the shape of a sword. Both of the hands fall short of the little marks indicating “in-between” minutes and seconds. This could affect the legibility of the watch, especially for people with poor eyesight. It looks like it isn’t going to be that big of a deal, though. Most people will still be able to read the watch.

On the dial are three subdials. At three o’clock there is a sixty-second chronograph indicator. At six o’clock there is a 12-hour counter. The last subdial, at nine o’clock, is a half-hour counter.  The dials are simple black and white, with dagger-like hands that are outlined in the same red as the numerals around the main dial. The date is displayed in a small window just after the four o’clock position. The rotating bezel includes a tachymeter scale written out on it, which is pretty much expected in this type of watch.

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