Talking Watches with Massimo Frascella, Head of Design at Jaguar and Land Rover

After all these years of hearing about it, I finally understood the meaning of sprezzatura once my meeting with Massimo Frascella was over. The man exudes style and class in an effortless way that makes you want to sit down and talk for hours – and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Frascella is responsible for some of the biggest automotive news of recent years; he’s the man who spearheaded the redesign of the wildly popular Land Rover Defender. Fear of change often prevents us from taking leaps that lead us to a brighter future, and through careful balancing Frascella has ushered the Defender into modern times with great fanfare. The man has a sense of design, so it goes without saying that his watch collection would reflect that.

over shoulder view of man drawing car with pen
interior view of a vehicle manufacturing and design studio

This is Talking Watches with Massimo Frascella, Chief Designer of Jaguar and Land Rover – press play for an engaging conversation about design, watchmaking and collecting with a guiding philosophy.

Tag Heuer Kirium watch on black background

It all started here, with this watch, for Frascella – sort of. It is designed by Jorg Hysek and perfectly encapsulates the design of the late 90s and early 2000s.


Panerai Luminor 8 Days Ref. PAM 510

Panerai Luminor flat lay watch on a green background

It was one of the first watches in Frascella’s collection. An Italian watch for an Italian designer – perfectly fitting.


Unimatic Truppe Alpine Ref. U4-TA

Unimatic watch lying flat on a red background

In the United States we have the 10th Mountain Infantry Division which specializes in alpine warfare; in Italy, there is the Truppe Alpine. Frascella served in the Italian Army at the time and was assigned to this legendary unit. This Unimatic limited edition marks its service.


IWC Mark XI ‘Hooked 7’ Ref. 6B/346 From 1952

IWC Mark IX watch on an orange background

Ask any military watch aficionado what’s high on their grail list and you’re sure to get an IWC Mark XI answer. But as Frascella notes, this is a watch that transcends its military roots and also appeals to people who appreciate clean design. Frascella falls on both sides.


IWC Caliber 89 Dress Watch Ref. R810 From 1969

IWC dress watch flat lay on a green background

In simplicity, there is truth. It’s no wonder Frascella connects with this design – it’s clean as a whistle. Caliber 89 is a widely respected movement, which has been around since 1946. It is also used in the Mark XI.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin

AP Royal Oak watch on green background

This giant watch marks a giant occasion in Frascella’s life. You’ll have to tune in to hear him explain what it is.


IWC Big Pilot Ref. IW5010-01

IWC Big Pilot watch laid flat on a black background

The Big Pilot is a staple for stoic, thoughtful design. This is one of the themes that emerged when we talked about Frascella’s collection – symmetry and balance coming together to help create something functional.


Grand Seiko Spring Drive ‘Snowflake’ Ref. SBGA011

Grand Seiko Snowflake watch flat on a green background

The first Grand Seiko watches that are signed with Seiko at 12 and Grand Seiko at 6 are having a little trouble, but Frascella was on those a long time ago. He sees the balance in the dial with this layout.

Rolex Explorer watch laid flat against an orange background

Here’s one that design fans (Stephen Pulvirent comes to mind) still love for its near-perfect balance. So it was no surprise that this watch appeared in Frascella’s collection. And this particular example he sourced in Italy has aged gracefully.


Seiko Mono-Pusher Olympic Chronograph Ref. 5717-8990 From 1964

Vintage Seiko chronograph watch laid flat on a cream colored textured background

There is an interesting historical connection to this Seiko that Frascella appreciates, not to mention an interesting design. It’s an aspect of Frascella’s collection philosophy that I particularly appreciate – it treats watches from all ends of the spectrum with the same level of admiration.


Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5164A

Patek Aquanaut watch on cream background

A gift from Frascella’s wife for her 50th birthday, this legendary Patek also marks another achievement in the automotive space, but you’ll have to watch the video to see what it’s all about. It’s not the defender.


Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A

Close-up view of a Patek Philippe weekly calendar on the wrist

Image: Courtesy of Massimo Frascella

The latest addition to Frascella’s collection is one of those watches that, when you see it in the metal, sings. Frascella loved it when he saw it on the screens, but loved it when he had it on his wrist. He particularly likes the “bohemian” touch of such a classic design.

About Robert L. Thomas

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