Roland Iten commemorates the Mille Miglia race with a very special belt buckle
Roland Iten, creator of purposely playful, mechanically sophisticated, esthetically elegant and tactilely sensual accessories for gentlemen, is a main sponsor of the Mille Miglia 2014. As a tribute to this iconic Italian road race, the Swiss inventor has issued a limited edition of four high-precision belt buckles.
Roland Iten creates the finest, most complex belt buckles in the world – designed and crafted using the same state-of-the-art machinery as used in Swiss watchmaking. The Mille Miglia commemorative R8 MKII buckle, which launches a new "The Driver" collection, is a limited edition of just four pieces crafted in gold, titanium and steel. Each of the four is engraved with the name of one of the main cities on the Mille Miglia 2014 route – Brescia, Padova, Roma or Bologna – in effect making each exclusive buckle a unique piece.
Roland Iten’s mechanical luxuries go hand in hand with the legendary Mille Miglia race. Roland studied car design at the Swiss campus of the Californian and draws on his automotive knowledge when creating his high-end men’s accessories.
The proportions and lines of Roland Iten's belt buckles echo those found in sports cars. His buckles also allow drivers to maneuver more easily in and out of low-seated roadsters.
Roland Iten is racing in the 2014 edition of the Mille Miglia, which takes place from Thursday, May 15th to Sunday, May 18th. During the 1000-mile, 4-day rally, he is piloting an historic 1953 Porsche 356 Pre A Coupé 1500 with Dutch co-driver Joop de Hoogh. Their Porsche features a 70hp, air-cooled, 4-cylinder Boxer engine and can reach a top speed of 170 km/h (105mph).
“The Driver” R8 MKII commemorative belt buckle – a tribute to the Mille Miglia
Crafted from solid gold and steel with a titanium architecture, “The Driver” features a five-axel construction comprising over 110 components – more than many high-end mechanical wristwatch movements – including moveable roller bearings, plates, levers and hinges, as well as a patented “double ardillon” tang to ensure a super secure grip of the luxuriant leather strap.
“The Driver” buckle has two positions, tightening or loosening the belt by exactly 35mm, which is the two-thumb measurement a Savile Row tailor traditionally incorporates into a bespoke suit for added comfort. The buckle can be operated by just one hand for an instant, ergonomic and discreet adjustment. Should you need to maneuver to and from a low-seated sports car, “The Driver” offers a stunning, highly technical yet elegant solution.
The Mille Miglia commemorative "The Driver" is a limited edition of four unique pieces, each 100% made and hand-finished in Geneva, Switzerland.
Roland Iten – Mechanical Luxury for Gentlemen
Mille Miglia 2014 main sponsor Roland Iten designs and creates luxury mechanical accessories for gentlemen, including the finest, most complex belt buckles in the world.
Dubbed the “Leonardo Da Vinci of Luxury”, Roland Iten has changed the landscape of the men's accessory market since unveiling his first high-end mechanical belt buckle in 2003. Roland Iten offers the ‘small boy’ in every man expertly-crafted, high-value, and sometimes whimsical creations that transform ostensibly ordinary objects into mechanical masterpieces.
As well as mechanical belt buckles, Roland Iten also creates mechanical cufflinks, shoe lace tips and credit card dispensers. He also designed the kinetically sculptural winner’s trophy for the Madrid tennis open, which was specially commissioned by tournament owner Ion Țiriac.
Roland Iten’s creations solve problems most men don't even know they have, and provide the answer to the question: “What do you give the man who has everything?” At the heart of his inventions is the ethos “purposely playful”.
Each piece has a practical, functional side – a purpose – and, at the same time, a playful element. There is a ludic whimsy about and a joyful surprise to be had on discovering how a Roland Iten mechanism works as well as a tactile pleasure in manipulating the mechanisms.
The very best of tradition
One of the oldest motor races in the world, the Mille Miglia was born in 1927 out of Conte Aymo Maggi’s dream to return motor racing prestige to his beloved Brescia. There is an old saying that fuel, rather than blood, flows through the veins of the Brescian people, pioneers of sports car races and automobile manufacturing in Italy at the turn of the 20th century.
Like Maggi, Roland Iten takes huge inspiration from and pride in his roots. Born and based in Switzerland, Roland harnesses the local high-precision, mechanical savoir-faire and high-end traditional craftsmanship of the Swiss watch industry and channels these into the creation of his mechanical luxury items, all 100% made in Switzerland.
Today’s Mille Miglia is, among other things, a remarkable celebration of the classic cars that graced the original Mille Miglia – gorgeous vintage roadsters with sensual curves and streamlined designs that were cutting edge for their time.
Roland Iten is a student of all things design; he studied car design at the Swiss campus of the Californian, and has engineered his belt buckles so their proportions and lines echo those found in sports cars. He also takes driving comfort into account when designing his buckles; their mechanisms can allow drivers to maneuver more easily to and from low-seated sports cars.
What’s more, Roland Iten has a long and successful partnership with Mille Miglia regular Bugatti. The R22 MK I Belt Buckle – Bugatti Edition was developed in association with the legendary automobile manufacturer. Roland Iten is one of only two brands in the world licensed to use the Bugatti name in luxury goods.
Besides enduring car design, the Mille Miglia is synonymous with style. Just think back to the 1950 edition when Conte Giannino Marzotto sped his Ferrari 195 S Berlinetta to victory wearing a dapper double-breasted suit and immaculately knotted tie, leaving in his wake the chasing drivers dressed in their ordinary race overalls.
If sartorial elegance was one of his priorities, you could easily imagine the great Marzotto complementing his unconventional yet stylish racing attire with a Roland Iten belt buckle, were he still racing today.
Of all the participants in the Mille Miglia, there is one winner every year that doesn't even race: The magical scenery of the Italian countryside. The backdrop to the rally, as it whizzes through small villages and on country roads along the Brescia-Rome-Brescia route, is simply stunning, a natural beauty that is a joy to behold. It is not for nothing that the Mille Miglia has been described as “the most beautiful race in the world”.
Natural beauty is at the heart of Roland Iten’s creations. The Swiss inventor cleverly combines mother of pearl, exotic tropical hard woods, diamonds and hand-stitched leather with durable steel, lightweight titanium and precious metals to make his mechanical wonders.
Skill and stamina
Driving the Mille Miglia requires physical stamina, absolute focus and consummate skill to successfully navigate the 1000-mile, 4-day route. Similarly, finishing a Roland Iten creation requires immense dexterity and total concentration over a long period of time – skilled artisans spend hours if not days hand-finishing each piece to produce gleaming polished surfaces, eye-catching guilloche decorations and delicate diamond settings.
Passion and excitement
Aymo Maggi, Franco Mazzotti, Renzo Castagneto and Giovanni Canestrini – the ‘four musketeers’ of the Mille Miglia – were passionate about the Italian sports cars of their day. In the belief that racing does indeed improve the breed, they set out to establish an exciting sports car race that captured the imagination of the nation: The Mille Miglia open-road race was their answer.
Passion and excitement are two words that feature prominently in Roland Iten’s vocabulary. His own passion and aptitude for conceiving mechanized objects has led him to create his range of high-end mechanical creations that appeal to all the senses – the sumptuous feel of the material, the smooth sound of the mechanism and the sheer beauty of the fine finishing.
Both Roland Iten and the Mille Miglia exude exclusivity. Only 375 vehicles are accepted for participation in the Mille Miglia race each year, selected only from models that took part in at least one of the historical 1927-1957 races.
Roland Iten's exclusive mechanical luxuries are available in limited, numbered editions, and each piece carries an individual serial number issued with a certificate hand-signed by Roland himself, providing a unique record of origin and authenticity.