This time we are in Florence. In Montecatini Terme, the city which is considered the homeland of Officine Panerai, which we witnessed its history, pleasant moments are waiting for us. Did you know that the cathedral, which took 140 years to build, features a very different clock than what you have seen so far?
We continue our trip full of Panerai. After having a pleasant time at Mr. Ferretti's store, we set off for Florence. Everyone shares what he sees with each other and we thank dear Giammaria for offering us such an opportunity.
Giammaria Varriale is one of Panerai’s young and successful executives. From the day he started to work in the company, he attracts attention with his innovative ideas and diligence. Our friend, who does not hesitate to show his sincerity at every opportunity, sets an example for all of us with his professionalism. The success of the young manager, who worked side by side with Angelo Bonati for a long time, continues increasingly in sales and marketing.
When we arrive in Florence with slight tiredness, a meaningful gift awaits us in our hotel room. Many thanks to dear Giammaria for this gesture.
The next day, our first stop is the boutique, which has an important place in the history of Panerai. The place, which started operating after a long renovation in 2001, is located in Piazza San Giovanni, one of the known spots of Florence. The boutique, which was renovated last year with a successful operation, serves the enthusiasts of the brand in an area approximately four times larger than it was before. Boutique director Patrizia welcomes us in the newly prepared VIP section.
It is possible to find almost the entire collection in the boutique, which takes on a completely different shape after the revision. The boutique, which has a new face with the design of Patricia Urquiola, has become a place that must be visited by those who visit Florence.
We learn that our trip will continue with a private tour organized for us in the famous Florence Cathedral. After having a pleasant lunch again, we start walking towards Duomo. We step in through a door, where visitors can only exit, as special guests and wait for our tour guide.
We learn that Leonardo is one of the most experienced guides in that area. We start with brief info about the cathedral. Then, we stand in front of the clock, the main object of our trip, and start listening to the information that Leonardo gave in his unique style.
The dial, prepared by the famous Renaissance artist Paolo Ucello in 1433, is a work of art. So how does this watch display time?
Although many people do not know it, we can call the time system we use now as French Time. The historical clock that we stand in front of displays the “Italic Time”. According to this system, the dial has a 24-hour indicator instead of 12. The clock, which measures the time starting from 0 to 24 sunset, does not have many examples known worldwide. For the clock that displays the time with a single hand that moves counter-clockwise, Leonardo says that the clock's functioning is adjusted because the sunset is considered the start time to pray. It is also stated as one of the possible reasons for the design of the watch to be adjusted according to the sunset time of workers working outside in agriculture and similar works.
Paolo Ucello has done wonders on the dial of this artwork, which is one of the oldest mechanical clocks still in operation. The diameter of the dial, featuring Roman numerals, is over 2 meters. The mystery of human heads placed in four corners is not fully resolved.
The famous Florentine watchmaker Angelo di Niccolò made the movement of the clock in 1443. As Leonardo continues to tell us the story, we realize that we are in an area that is closed to normal visitors. Our guide starts walking towards a tiny door on the lower left of the clock. He opens it with the key in his hand and tells us to climb the stairs.
When the clock needed maintenance a few centuries after its production, “Della Volpaia”, one of the famous families of the time, accepted this task and repaired the watch. In the meantime, we learn that the narrow corridor that we are climbing will take us to the small part where the clock’s movement is. It is not surprising to hear that the last maintenance of the movement, which we saw a little later, was made by the watch brand Officine Panerai, which has recently identified with the city.
Although we look at this movement, which looks very different from conventional clock mechanisms, for minutes, it is not easy to understand the working logic. We enjoy the moment we are and though the environment is not very suitable for photography, we do not miss the opportunity. Our journey in narrow tunnels continues. After leaving the movement room, we climb a little more. Then we find ourselves in open corridors slightly above the clock. All the beauty of Duomo is before our eyes. Besides the ceiling, the details on the floor are also incredible.
After enjoying this episode, we pass through a narrow door. The view we see is truly incredible. We suddenly start walking on the private terrace outside the cathedral. The postcard-like image captivates us. "Assassin’s Creed" that I was addicted to years ago comes to my mind. We take countless pictures by framing our watches and continue to the last stop of our trip.
After walking for a while on the terrace, Leonardo opens another door by choosing one of the keys he has. This time we are in the section where the special tools used during the construction of the cathedral were kept in the 1300s. We thank Leonardo and have his word to discover different parts of the Duomo in our next visit.
After our dinner with the conversation of these special and exciting moments that we fit into two days, we once again understand why Florence, the city where the Renaissance movement started, inspired many artists while smoking our cigars in Piazza Republica.
Once again, I would like to thank Giammaria Varriale and Özgür Bayoğlu for their kind invitation. It was a great chance for all of us to make such a trip together with Mustafa Sandal, who can add unlimited energy to every environment he is in with his humble and sincere personality. I send my endless love to him from here.
I hope you enjoyed it. My similar travels will continue. My notes from the IWC Schaffhausen factory tour will be on Horobox soon.