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.
Bamford, the well known London based customisers of high end watches has for some time provided a “service watch” for their clients for use whilst their own watch is being worked on.
In two weeks they will make these watches available for sale.
The Bamford Mayfair range of watches are available in a number of combinations. From a choice in dial colour, bezel, coating and type of strap, you can choose a Bamford Mayfair to match your own taste.
The 40mm case will be made of military grade titanium. The movement will be a trusty Miyota calibre 2035.
For £425 you can look like you are having your Rolex customised.
After closely watching the launch of the Hamtun H1 diver’s watch and the Marloe Cherwell on Kickstarter I had a little browse to see if any other interesting British newcomers are on the horizon.
I have come across two new very nice looking and reasonably priced projects both interestingly using the tried and trusted Seiko NH35A movement.
The first being the 44mm TC9-9 Divers seventies style divers watch.
This watch will be available in brushed stainless steel or black PVD with Super Lume paint on hands and dial . An aluminium bezel insert with 12 hour markers or minute markers. As you might expect for a diver’s watch water resistance is quoted at 1000 feet.
There is at the time of writing the opportunity to get this watch with a pledge of £179 or more on Kickstarter.
The second watch is from London based Alkin, who I have to admit to finding our about from them giving me several likes on my Instagram page.
This Kickstarter project has not yet gone live, so if you are interested you should sign-up to receive a notification for when they launch.
From what I can glean form the various social media postings this handsome minimalist watch should feature a 42mm 316L stainless steel case in plain brushed steel or Black PVD, sapphire crystal, an exhibition case back and 100 metre water resistance. The initial Kickstarter price should be $225.
This has been a momentous period in the life of Grinidgetime; my first watch to review that is not mine, all thanks to Matthew Fletcher of Meerson Watches who organised a lone of an Altitude Officier in Black.
My first concern was to make sure should anything untoward happen my insurance would cover me, £9800 would make a substantial whole in my current finances – All OK.
Trying to put this value at the back of my mind I now had to try to think objectively about this watch. The first impression is “black” I realise that despite telling Matthew that this is my favourite of the Meerson range, I am currently not a great fan of black straps. My only explanation for this I can think of is that I am not wearing such formal clothing these days. If this was my watch, I would specify a brown strap, which I think would also be more in line with the idea of a field watch. On “field watches” I am also a big fan of “nato-style” straps, thanks to the option to rinse the strap once they get a bit sweaty, this is not an option with the the unusual lugs on the Altitude Officier. Having said all this the black case looks really great, this is an ADLC finish on titanium so super resistant.
Titanium explains the second sensation – lightness. On the wrist the sensation is almost like that of a Swatch, you just do not notice it at all. This is probably helped by the way the watch sit on the wrist.
After these initial thoughts I then started to look more closely at the detail of this watches build and it is here the quality and attention to detail shows. If you look closely at the AM-4808-A movement you notice how careful the finish is when you compare it to more mass-market movements. The titanium case is lovely and smooth to touch. The raised “Breguet-style” numbers, each an individual work of art.
Then on this particular watch the really cool touch…
Yes, this watch is a prototype. I had one very impressed teenage son.
I wore the watch most of the time for almost two weeks, I only left it off in occasions in which I thought I might expose it to undue risk such as decorating at home or riding bicycle quickly over south London’s “pave” the later having proved pretty negative for several of my friends watches.
The impact of this watch on my office colleagues – zero. No comment at all, but not many watches do provoke much comment. This does suggest this is a great “sleeper watch” passing unobserved by the general public, which for many of us is a very positive attribute, leaving its many particular features to be explained to any passing aficionados.
So accepting the premise that I would prefer a brown strap my overall conclusions about this watch is very positive. It is subtly great looking. It is really well made. It is exclusive and, probably what is the most important element for me, is I have met its creator, Alexandre Meerson, on a couple of occasions and I enjoy the way he thinks. This gives the watch meaning for me.
I have left out a lengthy technical explanations in this review. This is because Alexandre has gone to great lengths to ensure the specification is top notch, and I am confident that a Meerson buyer takes this for granted and buys into the authentic and Alexandre’s story.
However for those of you that are curious you can find a full technical description here : http://www.meerson.com/watches/altitude-officier-smallseconds-titanium-whitesilvered-101-oejw-101-OEJW.html
My blogger life is a little different this week. firstly because given the arrival of the Salon QP “news” is a little thin on the ground. Secondly because I am wearing a watch that until now I have only been able to make occasional comments about – A Meerson Altitude Officier in black. Please do not be too jealous this is a temporary arrangement.
My first reaction on putting the watch on was to be careful, however the lovely Laura that brought me the watch assured me it was tough, all the same I won’t be using it on my cycle commute for fear of falling off.
Once over this initial trepidation the experience of wearing this very unusual timepiece is interesting. The 42mm case sits very nicely on my wrist and being made of titanium is very light. So far so good.
Clearly the build quality is impressive, especially compared to the Smiths Deluxe I had on my wrist earlier. I am also a little surprised at the lack of any particular comment from my colleagues, who being largely Italian have a keen I for detail. In the past my Tudor Submariner on a leather strap and my 1970’s Seiko 5 have both provoked comments. The reason might be that as Alexandre Meerson himself says this is a re-invention of the “round watch”. Without close examination this watch can pass under the radar very easily. For many people this could be a attractive attribute.
At this point the only detail I would change is the strap colour, I think the watch would look more “me” with a brown strap but this may be down to my minority skin colouring.
I will now start to compose a fuller assessment of my time with the watch.
The folks at Christopher Ward have been busy over the summer, which is pretty useful for those of us looking fro something to write about.
This week say the announcement of this watch the C8-Power Reserve,
And what a handsome watch it is. When I first press shots I was very tempted.
Combining classic aviation design with the Johannes Jahnke movement , this is a timepiece that exceeds at both visual and mechanical levels. Powered by a hand-wound version of the Calibre SH21, the chronometer movement comes with a redesigned bridge, and can be seen through the watch’s exhibition caseback.
As you will guess from the title of this model the key feature of this watch is the movement’s 5 day power reserve.
The price is interesting to at £ 1550. This issue for me is the case size, 44mm I would have liked to see this at 38/39mm. I am still not convinced all brands have the right “presence” to be so large.
As usual Christopher Ward have produced a great video
The British watch making guru Roger Smith suggested this film from 1967 which offers a fascinating insight into life in Britain at that time and more interestingly shows people working in the Smiths watch factory.
W.T. Author arrived just after I started this blog and some how I managed to miss them, which is a shame. Yes, they are another British watch brand producing a range of watches with largely quartz movements the Swiss made Ronda 513S Quartz . One model , The Black cushion 1929 does have a Citizen 9015 Automatic movement. They do offer a distinctive design direction.
The brand is the idea of Sam Holland & Jonathan Shakespeare. According to their website it all started in 2013.
“At 13:00 Friday 13th September 2013 we launched an independent watch brand, the likes of which had never been seen before; the result of countless meetings at local coffee houses under Birmingham’s prestigious School of Horology. Discussing our love of fine watches, it soon dawned on us exactly how our friendship and passion for design could be directed into manufacturing a collection of our very own that charts the history of watches.”
Starting with the Classic 1905 they plan to produce a new model a year for thirteen years, each to mark a decade of watchmaking. Each watch to be produced in a series limited t 125 pieces, the latest, the 1929, being limited to 100 pieces.
Their workshop is based in the Shropshire countryside where they receive each tailor-made component from every corner of the globe (from USA to South America, Asia to Switzerland and of course, Great Britain). They assemble each product and fit precision movements, tested above and beyond the usual quality standards. They make and fit each strap from beautiful Buffalo hides onto the watch, where it will sit in the packaging with the signed book and limited edition screen print.
To read the considerably longer explanation of the two men’s philosophy and for more details of the watch specifications go to
On March 22nd I was fortunate enough to attend my second Apex evening. These are evenings are events hosted by Piers Berry, the founder of Pinion watches, for Pinion owners and watch enthusiasts for informal watch related discussions . They are held at the Century Club on Shaftsbury Avenue.
The exciting start to the evening was collector Stuart Kelly personally picking up his Revival 1969, reminding him of an important date. As you can see he is very happy with his latest acquisition.
The evening then moved on to a more general chat about Pinion and Piers showed us the current range including two great black DLC versions of the Revival 1969 and the Axis Pure (below).
As to future developments Piers clearly is a little guarded. Before writing anything here I have taken to the precaution of checking what has already been reported. The key point is that sensibly Piers wants to consolidate what he has, he is keen to emphasise the business is self-financed. Interestingly, he did repeat the possibility of a GMT model as he had mentioned in an interview in QP magazine last year so that would like it is happening even we do not have any indication of when.
One Pinion event that is worth looking out for latter in the year is the appearance of a Black Axis in the forthcoming film “Patient Zero”. Could be the “Bond Rolex Moment” for Pinion.
These are really thoroughly enjoyable evenings and so highly recommended.