Watch companies are often looking for a new niche to exploit, something around which they can build their own brand mystic and hopefully a cult following. The masters of this strategy through their military watches is Bremont. Now a small British brand has identified the potential of the law enforcement market. The brand “Patrolman” is launching on kickstarter.
This video explains the background.
The watch looks like a valid shot at what a regular law enforcement officer might be looking for in a watch for their work. An inexpensive, clear and robust quartz timepiece. Not costing the sort of money that jet pilots might want to invest.
They are offering the watch at £110 on Kickstarter versus an eventual retail price of £185.
After what seems a relatively quiet time in terms of news from Pinion, Piers Berry has made several announcements recently.
The most imminent being the availability of the “new entry point to the Pinion family” the Atom.
The Atom inherits all of the design and production qualities seen in the previous watches in the Pinion collection, but priced at £790 (£658.33 ex.VAT).
The Atom is sized at 41mm diameter, with a slim height of 11mm and is encased in 316L stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish.
The design of the dial follows the graphic code established by earlier models and presents typographic numerals in white, coated with SuperLuminova and contrasting radium colouring. The watch is water resistant to 100-metres.
Unlike all other Pinion watches, the Atom uses the Japanese automatic calibre (Miyota 9015) which provides accurate timekeeping and a 42-hour power reserve. The reverse of the watch features a solid steel case back that is engraved with the Atom motif and individually numbered.
The Atom is built and tested in England. The watch is available from the Pinion website http://www.pinionwatches.com
Then coming later in the year will be a watch in a new material for Pinion; the TT their first watch in titanium which almost halves the weight of the case when compared to the steel models.
Weight aside the TT has the familiar design elements of the Pinion range, as you can see on this prototype above. A brushed finish 42mm case with an exhibition back. Offering 10 atm (100 meters) water resistance.
The movement inside being an ETA 2893-2 with a 24 hour hand (second time zone /GMT). The first GMT from Pinion. I am really looking forward to see the final version.
Then this week came the very interesting announcement. Pinion will return to offering bronze watches. After launching the Pinion brand in 2013 with bronze watches at the core of his range Piers judged that bronze was becoming too mainstream and decided not to offer them anymore. He has had a re-think, done a survey of friends and clients and decided to return to bronze in 2018 with a re-worked Axis II automatic. The interesting he will this time use a bronze, rather than steel, crown. This I remember being a point of discussion, personally originally thought a bronze crown was the the best fit, now after a year with my Pure bronze I am a big fan of the steel crown. I find it links visually very well with the hands and strap fittings. I will reserve final judgement until I have seen the new version.
2018 looks like another interesting year for Pinion.
As a promised here is a more specific look at the newly announced Fears Brunswick.
After quietly getting on with launching his reborn company around the original three watch Redcliff range and the fourth “pebble grey” variant Nicholas Bowman-Scargill has been dropping hints of a new watch since early October. Despite my questions he would not admit they would be launching a mechanical watch.
I concluded therefore this years Salon QP would see the launch of a mechanical Redcliff, probably with a Swiss movement. I thought this would follow the original Fears philosophy of good quality watches at a reasonable price. It was with this in mind I met Nicholas in mid-October for a catch-up and hopefully news of the new watches.
Over couple of beers and a general catch-up Nicholas then introduced me to the new watches, A “passport red” Redcliff, quartz, the Redcliff Continental, again quartz. After covering the merits of these watches as worthy additions to the Fears range came the news I had been waiting for – the mechanical watch, the Brunswick.
At this point the actual prototype was not ready, but is was able to see the design. Here it is with the vintage Fears that inspired the design.
What a surprise, a cushion cased, hand wound watch. But still difficult to appreciate from the drawings. I would have to wait until the “Night Before” of the Watchmakers Cub, by which time the prototype should be ready.
So here it is on my wrist.
As you can see the drawings did not do the actual watch justice. This is a very handsome piece that rightly was attracting compliments from everyone that saw it at the Watchmakers evening. A difficult public to win over.
The top grade ETA 7001 manual wind movement is installed in a 38mm cushion case, made in the UK from 316L stainless steel. The dial is cold resin enamel, which together with the thermally blued skelton hands are also made in this country. The front glass and exhibition case back are sapphire crystal. Around the exhibition back there is enough space for engraving and buyers will also have the option to engrave the movement. The final touch of class is the strap made from calf skin tanned by Bristol company Thomas Ware & Sons.
The rather un-English sounding name “Brunswick” is a reference to the address of the Fears export warehouse in Brunswick Square, Bristol.
Nicholas planned an initial batch of 14 watches, this being the number of the building in Brunswick Square. However, the reception of the watch at the Salon QP has been so good this will be increased.
For the moment this lovely watch is available for £1750 (inc. VAT) directly from Fears.
Considering the quoted water resistance of 100m this could be the “one watch” so many people say they are looking for. Ideally for all occasions, even beach holidays if you put it on a waterproof strap, maybe a perlon.
I don’t think last week was officially know as “watch week” but that is how it turned out for me, a few events growing out of the Salon QP.
Although maybe “week” might not be quiet the right definition as for me everything started mid-October when I met Nicholas Bowman-Scargill for a catch-up. We had first met a year earlier, before he re-launched the Fears brand at the Salon QP 2016. Nicholas told me all about his first year and the three new watches he would be announcing at this years show. He revealed these in order of significance. The first being an additional colour to the existing Redcliff range this time a pretty striking Passport Red.
Next I was expecting a “mechanical Redcliff”, which seemed to be the obvious development. But no, the next watch Nicholas showed me was the quartz Redcliff Continental. The Continental version has a window just the “6” position enabling the wearer to display a second time zone. A very useful feature for international travellers or people with far flung families.
Then came the news I had been expecting the Fears mechanical watch, not however as I was imagining a Redcliff but a completely new watch – the Brunswick the first mechanical watch for the new Fears.
At this time Nicholas was only able to show me a drawing of the watch as the prototype had yet been delivered. The finished watch was due to be shown at the Watchmakers Club evening before the Salon QP. I will dedicate a post to this interesting new watch.
This brings me to the start of “Watch Week”; the first event being the Watchmaker’s Club “Night Before” evening in a private club in London on Wednesday. The Watchmakers Club is a new platform, intended to bring watch collectors and industry experts together via intimate, exclusive events and regular social gatherings. The team behind this unique organisation consists of watchmakers, independent brands, industry influencers and journalists.
It all started in 2012, Andreas Strehler exhibited for the first time at SalonQP in London. On the night before the opening of SalonQP, he invited a few friends and watch enthusiasts to share a drink, talk about watches and the world in general. The idea of The Night Before was born.
On the first evening only a handful of what would become a band of friends showed up at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair. Over the years, The Night Before became an institution: A gathering of interesting people interested in the world of watches and as the guest list began to grow the Lansdowne Club became too small to host the event.
This year the event was held at The Libary in St Martins Lane. There were two sections, one of which, upstairs, was dedicated the British brands, Fears, Garrick and Pinion. It was a great opportunity firstly to see the Fears Brunswick and Pinions new Atom finally in the metal.
The Atom doesn’t disappoint at all. As you can see the design clearly says, Pinion. As we have come to expect, Piers presented a really nice well built watch. Differently to previous Pinions you first notice the slimmer (11mm) steel case, made possible by the use of the Japanese Miyota 9105 automatic movement. Using this movement also enables Pinion to offer a watch at a much lower price point than we are used to from this brand, £790. It will be very interesting to see how this bet goes.
After Fears and Pinion I managed to squeeze through to the table where Garrick’s Simon Michlmayr was displaying their watches, I was especially keen to see the new S1. This watch is built by master watchmaker, Craig Baird, and finished entirely by hand. This is Garrick’s most complicated timepiece to date, featuring a skeletonised dial and incorporating a power reserve indicator. Only five S1 timepieces will be made per annum.
Unfortunately due lack of space and light I couldn’t get a really decent picture so to give an idea of how the watch is I have taken this picture from Garrick website.
Giles Ellis of Schofield was also present that night along with Simon Cudd, of Schofield + Cudd straps, neither was displaying their products other than those they were wearing. I did manage a dingy peek at Schofield latest watch – the Telemark.
All in all it was a very pleasant evening but being a “school night” I thought it wise to make my way home.
After “the Night Before” comes the actual night- the first evening of this years Salon QP. The big difference between the two evenings was the lighting.
I managed to say hello again to Simon Michlmayr and to get a shot of the Garrick range.
I then found the two British stands together firstly, the Fears Departure lounge that was proving very popular with the new Brunswick attracting a great deal of praise. Then next door Schofield overseen by Giles Ellis himself and Simon Cudd with his straps. Again thanks to better light I managed to get some more useful pictures.
After visiting the Brits I went a little of topic and had quick chat with two brands that I have admired for a while Habring from Austria and Switzerlands Czapek both really nice and like everyone super enthusiastic about their work.
On Saturday I visited the Salon again this time with my sons, in the hope of planting the seed of an interest in watches early. They were very impressed by the chocolate offered at the Fears Departure lounge.