21 maggio 2013
The early 1900s in Italy was a period when people really did use their time to good effect. They built a vibrant society in many sectors, with a financial situation that remained under control and a production output in many areas of the country that grew at an amazing pace. A period of expansion that saw the objects, discoveries and technologies of the industrial revolution invade the cities, transforming people’s daily lives by introducing new habits, interests and activities.
Italy entered the new century full of hope, in a climate celebrating modernity in which many people made efforts to emerge by exploiting their own special skills, skills they wanted to apply in a professional and entrepreneurial manner. 1911 saw a boom of new industrial and commercial ventures in Turin and one of the pioneers encouraged by these signs of progress was Geremia Fagnola, who with his wife Lucia opened a shop selling watches and an adjacent workshop on the corner of Corso Francia and Piazza Bernini.
This was a time when watches were only for a restricted public, objects treasured and passed down to children and grandchildren and only given as gifts to mark very important occasions, such as a graduation or wedding. But Geremia was not only an excellent technician, he also realised that times were changing. Requirements of a busier, more active life – whether at work or during leisure – meant it was more important to know the time, to keep track of minutes and seconds. This was also the period that
saw the beginnings of the future domination of wristwatches over pocket watches.
It was certainly an excellent decision to locate the shop-window in an elegant, upper middle class area of Turin with a display that off ered both traditional and more progressive brands, such as Zenith, Longines and Omega, brands attentive to innovation and the growing refi nements in precision engineering. In a short time the shop in Corso Francia could boast a numerous clientele that was not only offered quality products but also impeccable courtesy and reliability, fl exibility as regards repairs and new ideas.