Since the turn of the year, I’ve been patiently awaiting the launch of the Anoma A1. Until a month ago, I hadn’t even seen a prototype picture, but I had heard enough from Matteo Violet Vianello, the man behind Anoma Watches, to get excited about what would come. Following a period with A Collected Man, Matteo left the London-based reseller of rare and collectible watches to step back and decide what future path he wished to take. The first sketches of what has since become Anoma Watches were only weeks away.

It’s tempting to opine that we are immune to marketing, that David Beckham doesn’t make us more likely to buy a Tudor, and that the TAG Heuer branding on almost every F1 podium doesn’t affect us. However, I’ve been following the Instagram account of Anoma Watches for many months, and without even a teaser of any product shared, I became acutely aware that the marketing was working on me. I reached out, presumably like many other followers, for more information. Although I learned very few secrets, I eventually got to see some prototype images to keep me sated. Then, recently, I was able to spend a little time with the Anoma A1 before its launch.

Anoma A1

Influences and influencing

If you were following Anoma’s Instagram account in anticipation of the unveiling, then you’ll remember the stream of shaped watches, Hollywood icons, furniture, and other artifacts all sharing the same spirit and presented with an overlayed, consistent color palette. Honestly, I didn’t feel a strong connection to the content of most of those “inspiration” posts. There were watches with styling I appreciated but would probably never wear, movie stars about whom I feel ambivalent, and furniture that would look out of place in my home. Yet the overall theme that Anoma built lured me in. That Instagram content has disappeared, but the audience is ready. There is no need to refer directly back to any of those images and explain the connection. For those who experienced the slow burn, the spirit is evident in the Anoma A1.

Anoma A1

The shape of things to come

The largest determiner of the A1’s character is its shape. It’s the first thing you notice, and it will likely draw you in or possibly leave you feeling slightly irked. Round watches are generally the most comforting, while square and rectangular cases are less common. Triangular ones, though, are an extremely rare sight, apart from a Hamilton Ventura or a few others. That said, the A1 is more about the balance of symmetry and asymmetry, softness and sharpness, and boldness and subtlety than the shape itself. The inspiration for it comes more from the Cartier Pebble than the Hamilton Ventura.

You’ll notice that the case, in reality, displays two rounded triangles, with one slightly offset inside the other. Although the outer silhouette of the case offers some symmetry between the top and bottom halves, the dial opening rotated by 15 degrees or so curbs this. The result is a combination of soft corners and an ever-changing width of polished steel. The absence of any visible lugs and the clever recessing of the crown aid the organic form.

Flip the watch over, and you’ll see that the push/pull crown is exactly where you’d expect it to be. It sits flush with the case and with enough of a gap to pull it out to set the time. Manual winding is not a comfortable or fruitful task, though. The case also curves away towards a flat bottom, resulting in a fairly small contact patch between the watch and wrist.

Anoma A1 dial

Asymmetry continues through the dial

Contrasting the soft and sweeping case lines, the dial is a more rigid affair with thin, crisp white indices and a crosshair spanning the sea of blue. The case’s triangular theme echoes through to the dial with three alternating surfaces. The lightest area switches between a shimmering teal and less contrasting admiral blue depending on how it catches the light.

Moving inward, the pattern of blues follows the same shape as the dial outline. The indices’ orientation, however, follows the more symmetrical outer case shape. As a result, the hour markers sit within the darkest segment of the dial but don’t align with it. Only two hands are present. There is no running seconds hand and no date window to spoil the cleanness. Only fat and highly polished leaf hands tell the time.

Regarding branding, the Anoma name sitting in the bottom half of the dial comes from “anomaly.” The name is almost palindromic, and that almostness is quite fitting. Looking closely, we see that the “N” and “M” are the same width, with a perfectly circular “O” between them, yet that near balance is punctured by the two letters not quite matching. The dual concepts of cohesion and tension run through the whole watch, from the soft organic lines of the case to the sharp dial print. Both the dial and case are a constantly engaging joy.

A small automatic movement

The caliber chosen to power the Anoma A1 is the Sellita SW100. Due to the 39mm diameter and triangular shape, Anoma may have felt backed into a corner as only a few movements would fit the available space. Thankfully, the SW100, most often used in women’s watches due to its size, is up to the job. Automatic winding is much appreciated due to the awkward hand-winding action through the crown mentioned above. A small-diameter watch might often house the slimmest available movement, but the presence of the Sellita with a self-winding mechanism here means there is a little more bulk to accommodate than you might ideally wish for.

The A1 measures a shade under 9.5mm thick, which is perfectly acceptable for most watches, but thinness isn’t a key attribute of this one. Whether the movement dictated that or Anoma designed the A1 this way, the thickness does help with the rounded and shapely feel.

Anoma A1 wrist shot

Wearing the Anoma A1

Although the case might be 39mm long, where the strap meets the case is an even shorter distance on the right-hand side. Consequently, there’s a lot more strap showing than with most watches I tend to wear. Perversely, and owing to irregularity, this accentuates the watch head itself. I suppose the upside is that the A1 will feel at home on wrists much smaller than my 17.75cm (7″) one. Anoma also makes it clear that this is a unisex watch.

Anoma A1 pocket shot

The 18mm strap fitted to the A1 is a grained Italian leather, and the sand color is a good choice due to its soft, warm tone. I was pleased with the quality and color as it wasn’t clear whether strap changes would be an easy DIY job. After some instruction and gentle encouragement, I was pleased to see nothing more daunting than a standard spring bar and lug holes hidden within the case openings. Once the strap is removed, the picture becomes clear. I suspect that thicker straps may have a problem fitting into the recess, but there will still be enough access for a wide range of more suitable options if you choose to swap the stock strap.

Concluding thoughts

After analyzing both the case and the dial in some detail, when taking a step back to consider the whole watch, I’m left appreciating just how effectively Anoma has included its influences. The most direct of these is a freeform table created by Charlotte Perriand in the 1950s, which lends its soft triangular outline. But the style and spirit of shaped watches of the 1960s and 1970s are also present. So strong are these roots that it leaves me wondering whether I can fully appreciate the watch without also fully appreciating all of its influences.

The A1 will only be available for pre-order for one month. After that time, orders will be closed. The price of £1,300 (excluding taxes and import fees) feels like excellent value for such a different and well-considered timepiece. For more information and to preorder, visit the Anoma Watches website.

Watch specifications

Blue sector dial with printed white indices
Case Material
316L stainless steel
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 39mm (length) × 9.45mm (thickness)
Sapphire with internal antireflective coating
Case Back
316L stainless steel
Sellita SW100: automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, 25 jewels
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50 meters)
Sand-colored grained Italian leather (18mm width) with pin buckle
Time only (hours and minutes)
£1,300 (ex. taxes and import fees)