For sometime Schofield watches have offered a variety of custom straps to make their watches even more individual. As well as the more conventional leather straps they offer several woollen straps.
When these first appeared I mentally put them in the “Schofield eccentricity” box, that charactises the brand. I could not image anyone else following their lead.
Then last month, low and behold the slightly less eccentric more classic British brand Fears announce a range of their own woollen straps in collaboration with Romney Marsh Wools. As you can see from the opening picture of this post they look very distinctive rather than eccentric.
More information is available at the Fears website.
These straps fit the 20mm lugs of Fears watches but there is nothing to stop you fitting to other watches, will this be the trend of the winter ?
I am strangely fascinated by the young British watch brand Marloe. When they launched their first watch, the Cherwell, on Kickstarter in January 2016, I was a little sceptical. The Cherwell was another Kickstarter project with a Chinese movement. There was something in the design that did not win me over completely, so I did not expect the brand to have come on as much as they have.
The new watch, the Morar joins the range of four other watches with a variety of case designs and movements.
The watch has a 316L steel case, a unidirectional 120 click bezel and a 310m deep rating. There are three case finishes to choose from, plain steel, bronze or titanium plated. Each version is driven by a reliable Miyota 9039 automatic movement.
As you can see the refreshing aspect of these dive watches is the do not follow the generic “desk diver” aesthetic. Which will please some and dissuade other.
The watches are on sale for £449 and more information can be found at the Marloe website .I have not bought one of their watches, but I must declare a financial interest. I am now a very minor shareholder of the Marloe Watch Company so I wish them every success with this latest addition to the range.
The British watch world’s big event this week was the announcement of the latest Bremont limited edition the H-4 Hercules. Limited to just 300 stainless steel, 75 rose gold and 75 platinum pieces. Unfortunately my invitation to the launch event didn’t get to me, however Bremont’s excellent video below tells the story.
All the watches use the 25 jewel Bremont BWC/02 movement based on the original proprietary automatic BWC/01 calibre built in partnership with movement house, La Joux Perret, and is housed in a 43mm case. Prices range from £9495 for the steel version to £24995 for platinum.
The Mayfair watch customisers Bamford of have just announced an interesting addition to their range, this limited edition Popeye version of their GMT watch.
This watch has all the features of the original Bamford London GMT with an automatic Sellita SW330-1 movement and 24-hour GMT hand function. The design provides a splash of cartoon colour on the dial, contrasted against a 316L grade 40mm stainless steel case. The asking price £1500.
I would be interested to have a chat with Bamford, I assumed that their watches were just an amusing sideline to the main business. They now offer a range of watches based on their quartz Mayfair and mechanical GMT. Are they building a watch brand ?
First of all apologies for my “radio silence” over the summer. No excuse really other than the usual “non-watch” commitments in the real world.
Starting anything again after a little time can often be a little daunting, there are always reasons to put it off again. Well today I re-started two activities I have been putting off. Firstly,I have just returned from my first motorcycle ride for a couple of years, just a couple of miles around my area but satisfying feeling my intuitive operation of the controls returning.
So now here I am back at Grinidgetime, my return to the keyboard prompted by several announcements of new watches from the British value brand Christopher Ward. My particular attention was caught by three watches in particular, produced apparently with the approval of the UK Ministry of Defence. There is a watch for each of the three arms of the British military, Army, Navy and Air Force. A remarkably similar initiative to Bremont’s Armed Forces collection launched earlier this year.
Taking the watches one by one I will start with the Sandhurst, named after the Royal Military of the same name. The watch follows the now almost generic design of the Smiths W10. This modern re-interpretation comes in a 38mm brushed steel case with a rugged and precise Swiss-made automatic movement – a chronometer-certified version of the Sellita SW200-1. Usefully, this watch has a 150m depth rating.
It is very difficult not to compare this watch to the Bremont Broadsword. Both watches offer C.O.S.C certified movements. The Bremont is slightly larger at 40mm with a lower depth rating of 100m. The big difference being the price,The Sandhurst is offered at between £795 to £895 depending on which strap option you choose. The Bremont Broadsword £2595.
The next service to cover is the Royal Navy, here Christopher Ward offer the C65 Dartmouth, named after the famous naval officers training academy. The design is inspired by the Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’ – initially known as the Royal Navy 0552, a Ministry of Defence commissioned piece that saw the first appearance of the popular inverted triangle. The Dartmouth uses a 41mm brushed steel case and the same Sellita movement as the Sandhurst, the watch is also rated at 150m.
For people looking for a Royal Navy watch the Christopher Ward offer differs significantly from the equivalent Bremont Argonaut. The Bremont having a slightly larger case (42mm) and higher depth rating of 300m. Again though there is a significant price difference. The Dartmouth at £795/895 compared to the Argonaut at £2795.
Then we get to the youngest of the three services, the Royal Air Force. This watch is called the Cranwell, named after the famous training college, it finds inspiration in two of the most definitive pilot’s watches ever made: the ‘6B/346’ models produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. Again the movement is same Sellita as the other two housed in a 41mm steel “light-catcher case.
For Royal Air Force fans Bremont have their mono-pusher model, The Arrow; again at a significantly higher cost £3595 against £795/895.
This collection of military watches from Christopher Ward clearly offers an alternative to watch buyers wanting to show their support of one on Britain’s armed forces. The advantage being the cost and the use of the single arms insignia on th ecase back. The Bremont range with the Argonaut and Arrow do offer more features but at a price.
Having not run into NicholasBowman-Scargill for a month or so this latest watch from Fears took me a little by surprise, then I was not able to write this entry immediately as I was travelling. Fortunately, I was then able to organise a quick coffee with Nicholas to see the watch in the metal.
As you can see the watch is a very nice modern watch with some “vintage” style influences which like the dial finish and the font used for the numbers. And hurrah ! There is no faux patina, which personally I am not a fan of. The vintage impression quickly disappears when you put the watch on, as the first thing I noticed was the flat crystal, instantly giving a more modern feel. Then there is the 38mm case size, it is the size for just about anyone. Finally, the most significant difference from the past, though not of modern Fears, being the Ronda quartz movement, which is very much in keeping with the Fears philosophy at their re-launch of a high quality time piece at an affordable price.
This limited edition addition to the Redcliff family is to celebrate the 1,000th day since the company was re-established. The Fears Redcliff “Streamline”, directly influenced by their archive and is linked to a previous milestone – the centenary in 1946.
The style of the new watch is inspired by a popular model from the 1946 Fears centenary range called the “Streamline”. The new Redcliff “Streamline” features a galvanised dial similar to its name sake with an antique silver colour called ‘Forties Silver’. The surface of the German made dial is vertically grained with gilt printed numerals and black surrounds, just like the original.
Each Redcliff “Streamline” watch is hand built in the UK using a slim, elegant case that’s made in Switzerland before being finished in the UK. The slim case’s sides are brushed with a polished bezel sitting on top securing a flat sapphire glass featuring anti-reflective.
Commenting on the launch of the new Redcliff “Streamline”, (4th) Managing Director Nicholas Bowman-Scargill says, “It’s incredible to think it’s been 1,000 days since I welcomed people onto the Fears stand at SalonQP in 2016. Though Fears is one of Britain’s oldest watch companies, having been founded in 1846, I believe it’s important to mark this milestone in the company’s re-establishment. From the beginning with a single Redcliff watch it’s been an incredible two and a half years steering the re-establishment of Fears and growing the company to where it is today. I’m pleased to mark this occasion in our 173-year history with the launch of the Redcliff “Streamline” which is directly influenced by our Archive and is linked to a previous milestone – the centenary in 1946.”
The Redcliff “Streamline” is limited to 100 pieces and will retail for £483, the same amount of the originals’ £11.2s.6d – simply adjusted for 73 years of inflation.
From now on I will be keeping closer tabs on Nicholas, he has hinted there is more to come from Fears in the not to distant future – watch this space.
I am not sure if it just me but I am finding it pretty hard to keep track of the number of “British” brands that are appearing on the scene. The latest I have just spotted on Instagram is Rotherham 1750.
The watch they are offering is the Vale in the photo above. As you can see the design is very classic, based on historical pocket watches, below.
The Vale uses a Unitas 6498 manual pocket watch movement which is dis-assembled and rebuilt using a number of bespoke parts in Coventry.
The website suggests the 45mm 316L steel case is made in Britain as are the blued hands and the crown. The enamelled dial is made from silver.
So the company looks like they have got their historical “British-ness” covered. The watch certainly has the traditional look that will appeal to a certain segment of the market. This combined with the lovely Unitas movement should help the quality feel. Of course this is all guessing on my part, I have not actual seen the physical watch.
My worry is that there are already more established brands offering a blend of quality British-ness and others that offer quirkier British-ness.I wonder if there is space in the market segment that this watch appears to be aimed at, especially as if I read correctly the watch will be offered at £7200.
Last year the brand Newmark was re-launched very honestly on Kickstarter . The first watch being the 6BB military chronograph and the HS, a white dialled variant. Both watches being pretty well received by enthusiasts.
Now after what seems a remarkably short period of time they have announced a second watch the 71 sports watch, again based on an historical model from the brand. Like the previous watch this model will be made available via a Kickstarter offer launching on June 18th at an initial price of £299, go tohttp://newmark71.newmarkwatchcompany.com/
Just recently news of another brand about relaunch cropped up on my instagram feed. This time it is the turn of the Swiss brand Timor. As a Swiss brand this news would not normally be of interest to this blog but I have again made an exception, for two reasons firstly because the watch they want to relaunch is the Timor WWW of “Dirty Dozen” fame and secondly because the team behind this project appear to be Brits.
This is an image of how the watch might look taken from a recent watch forum posting. Apparantly they are looking at movements that would place the subdial closer to its original position. They think the closest would be a Sellita SW216-1. It is a hand-wound movement with a seconds subdial With this movement, the case size could be 36.5mm.
I have been half looking for more news for the last week. So far nothing. I will keep you updated.