BACKGROUND Italian born, Alessandro Baldieri once designed the homes of stars such as Lionel Ritchie, Nicholas Cage, Barbara Eden etc. Today his creative flair, love of luxury and keen eye for details have lead him into the world of watches, setting up offices in Milan, London and Singapore. The Magnum 48 is his latest divers model.
AESTHETIC The Magnum 48 has a distinct Italian military aesthetic. Whilst it shares its basic thematic cues such as an oversized case, a simple black dial and a brown Italian leather strap replete with large buckle, it is in no way derivative - that is to say that it hasn't borrowed specifically from anyone else. It is a big, bold, eye-catching and incredibly photogenic watch. You can see Alessandro Baldieri’s designer influences creeping in, which help give the watch a bit of contemporary twist.
DIAL The Magnum 48 has a ‘Suede Super Matte’ black dial with applied steel indexes and ‘AB’ monogram. What the rivet-style indexes lack in functionality (they are without any lume) they make up for with elegance. There are no seconds / minute markers either – I quite like this!
HANDS The handset includes a set of broad sword hands: the minute hand is in red and the hour hand is in silver – and the needle second hand (also in silver). ‘M-48’ (Magnum 48) has been printed in bold red lettering on the dial – apart from that and the white date window (should really be black imo) the dial is unfettered and clean making for easy reading of the time.
LUME The only lume that there is on the M-48 is what there is on the hour and minute hands. I’m not sure what kind of lume it is, but it’s very faint. I would rate the lume at poor.
BEZEL The M-48 is fitted with a 120-click type unidirectional rotational divers’ bezel. It has a lovely chunky form with clearly pronounced coin-edges. The markers are combination of studs and engraved numerals. I like the PAM-style bezel studs, but the engraved numerals (imho) don’t work. The font isn’t that great, but the main problem is that they have been positioned rather oddly. Whilst the clicks are nice and precise the bezel’s movement is extremely stiff – it requires some force to make it turn. On the plus side this means that there is zero play or slop!
CASE The M-48 boasts a complex and rather unorthodox looking case that took a whole year to make. It is a combination of soft angles and beveled edges. It has been constructed from 316L Stainless steel which has a satin (ultra-fine bead-blasted) finish. As its name suggests the M-48 measures 48mm in diameter. I’m not sure of its exact thickness, but would guesstimate 19mm.
CROWN The M-48 has a unique (at least to me) crown system that has a shroud that covers and protects the crown. The crown is accessed via an opening cut into the shroud’s underside. The crown has some fluting that echoes that of the bezel grip. It is signed with the 'AB' monogram. I found the crown system (opening, closing and setting) a little fiddly. However in terms of safety and security the shrouded crown system is very effective.
CASEBACK The M-48 is fitted with a large solid steel caseback the design of which has been carefully contoured to so that it fits very comfortable against your wrist. It is affixed to the case with 6 hex-screws. There is a rather unusual ‘screaming gorilla’ engraving along with some engraved text of its LE # / 300 and WR rating. Alessandro Baldieri chose the gorilla because he has a fondness and a respect for this magnificent creature that for him represents peace, love and respect!
MOVEMENT The M-48 is powered by an ‘Officine Baldieri’ IT3HD movement. It’s a bit of pretentious name for what is essentially a modified Chinese made, Seagull caliber with 25 jewel, but AB speaks very highly of its performance, which includes 42hrs of power-reserve. I’m no movement geek, so won’t pass judgment, but a Miyota 9015 might have been more appealing choice. Functions include: hours and minutes, and date.
CRYSTAL The M-48 is fitted with a domed K1 hardened mineral crystal. The dome is very nice, but it distorts at more oblique angles. Personally I quite like the distortion. I’m not entirely sure if there is any AR coating on the crystal or not, as AB doesn’t mention this, but the likelihood is that there is.
WATER-resistance The M-48 has a water-resistance of 200m. Whilst it isn’t a particularly high depth-rating it is deemed suitable enough for scuba diving according to most divers watch regulations. The M-48 wouldn’t be my first choice for a foray into the deep, anyway.
LUGS The M-48 has 'false' screwed lugs – that is to say that the large screw heads on the outer sides of the lugs are non-functioning - a pity. The strap is held in a more traditional manner via lug pins. There are two sets of lugs holes - one for the leather strap and a 2nd to accommodate an additional nylon strap.
STRAP The M-48 has a really lovely handmade brown Italian saddle leather strap with brown stitching. There are lots of details on the strap; I particularly like the ‘Since 1961’ embossed text on its underside. The quality is fantastic and the look of the strap works beautifully with the case. I love it!
BUCKLE The strap is fitted with a large Stainless steel buckle. The buckle has been satin finished to match the case. The buckle has a very slight Pre-Vendome shape to it, only chunkier and with a nicely pronounced design sculpted at its top.
BUILD Whilst it is a solid watch with some nice detailing, the M-48 can feel a little toyish. The engraved markers on the bezel, the bezel action, the fiddly crown operation and the lume or there lack of - all need some improvement. But like I said the watch is really solid, it doesn’t suffer from any unwanted rattles either. No doubt it will stand its owners in good stead for many years to come.
VALUE The M-48 retails for 750€ approx. 975USD. It's a little expensive
for watch with a Chinese movement, but not beyond the realms
of possibility. The Alessandro Baldieri brand name is not quite a household
name yet, but is gaining fans and recognition everyday.
on the WRIST The M-48 sits very comfortably on the wrist owing to the contoured caseback design. It weighs in at 160 grams so is no lightweight. It looks and feel great on the wrist. The leather strap is super comfortable.
also CONSIDER Got 3.5 times the budget? Great, then look no further than the Ennebi Fondale, one of the quintessential Italian Naval divers with its old school, Italian artisanal charms. If you haven’t got such a budget, but you still want a watch that has the desired Italian military flare – there isn’t much else its price category that would compare to the M-48. If you know of anything, please tell me.
OVERALL / 5
If we are to forgive the M-48’s minor shortcomings we are left with a very charming and stylish watch. Take a look at the photographic evidence and see for yourself! Alessandro Baldieri has created a watch that will appeal to those, who enjoy Italian Military-esque watches, but who are perhaps on a more modest budget. It is not a purchase of the mind, but more one of the heart as the M-48's character is one that charms and seduces us!