Many watch lover’s have a special attraction to military watches. I have posted recently about the “Dirty Dozen” and 6BB watches, both past and revived.
Elliot Brown are now offering something slightly different a new watch designed together with the British military, not an old design refreshed or relaunched.
It’s the first military issued watch from a British company in over ten years and prior to being approved, was the subject of intense testing, surviving some of the most hostile conditions imaginable.
The Brief: capable of prolongued exposure to water and dust, durable, shock resistant, clear visibility day or night, unidirectional timing bezel operable with a gloved hand, easy strap changes and comfortable strapping options that don’t break.
As a piece of equipment issued by the stores, the Holton has been assigned the NATO stock number 6645-99-303-0677: Time-measuring instruments; United Kingdom, and features the ‘Crow’s foot/Pusser’s Arrow/Broad Arrow‘ on the dial in subdued grey.
The watch will also be available for non-military wrists from £425. I have not seen a watch in the metal, but Elliot Brown do have a good reputation. I hope to get my hands on one soon. In the meantime you can get more detailed from the Elliot Brown website.
After reviewing and enjoying the original Vertex M100 I was intrigued to experience the limited edition blacked out version.
I am sure I have read a comment from Don Cochrane of Vertex that this watch was how he imagined the dirty dozen watches might have evolved. The blacked out look making the watch even more appropriate for stealthy military operations. There is certainly no doubt that the black DLC coating does give a more modern look, especially on the superb, and subtly branded, rubber strap.
Aside from this particular watch I had been eyeing black cased watches for a time attracted by their purposeful modern. However whilst considering the merits of the M100B I realised that for me, black is not particularly new.
So this brings me to my first observation, the DLC finish does actually look more stealthy. On the first morning of wearing the Vertex ,my usually attentive wife, did not notice the watch at all, when I bought it to her attention she said she had thought I was wearing the Swatch on the right in the picture above. Now for some of us that might like to keep our growing watch collections less evident, this could be a bonus feature.
Like the original watch this one comes packaged in a Peli case with three straps – however in place of the leather strap there is a bespoke Vertex rubber two-piece strap. The two Vertex nylon NATO-straps this time are in Red with black DLC metal parts and all Black.
The star strap has to be the new rubber one. It is super comfortable and very “elegant” exception to what I was used to expect from rubber straps. I especially like the very subtle branding. The Vertex arrow featuring on the top near to the lugs and as a grippy looking pattern on the underside.
Only 150 M100B timepieces will be produced and when I checked last week there are still some available at £2624.40. Unlike the M100 no referral is required.
The other specifications remain the same as the original. A 40mm case housing a ETA 7001 movement with a solid caseback.
Then of course there is still the amazing lume….
In conclusion this watch is a great compliment to the original with the advantage that you do not need a recommendation to buy one.
For more information and possibly to buy one visit the Vertex website.
Today I received more details of the second watch from the re-launched Vertex the all black M100B. I wrote briefly about this watch last week but lacked good quality images. Well here they are and looking pretty impressive.
Blacked out watches are fashionable so one could be cynical and think Vertex are just following fashion but in their defence Don Cochrane has a credible explanation. The black case and rubber strap bring the M100B in line with the demands of a modern military
“I would like to think that, had the technology been available, the original W.W.W Cal59 made by Vertex
in WW2 would have been designed to be non-reflective. Creating the M100B has allowed us show just
how perfect that would have been and, we could not be more thrilled with the result “
As you might guess from the images above in addition to the rubber strap the watch comes with two NATO straps. The rubber strap lookes really nice in the photos, I am particularly happy to see the “easy-release” spring bars, making switching straps a breeze.
So most would agree the watch is cool, the good news is that it can be purchased , unlike the M100, without referral. The catch is there will only be 150 made, so hurry.
I am looking forward to getting to see one in the metal before they all go.
Vertex M100B specifications
• Custom ETA 7001 mechanical movement with rhodium finish and Cotes de Genève decoration
• In keeping with our previous Vertex movements, the ratchet wheel is engraved with Vertex
• Brushed steel DLC case, box crystal glass, waterproof to 100m
• Moulded Super-LumiNova™ dial
• Hand wound with 42-hour reserve
• Black dial with arabic numerals to maximise legibility, in homage to the Vertex W.W.W watch of 1944
• Packaged in a Peli case with three straps – a black rubber two-piece strap and two bespoke nylon NATOstyle
straps in Black and Red, all with black DLC hardware
• Price: £2,625 available via www.vertexblack.com
In my waiting for the next review I have posted very little recently. So just to keep things rolling along a little I thought I should give a quick update on the latest news I have picked up.
The biggest story as far as I am concerned is the announcement on Friday of a second watch from the revived Vertex brand, the M100B. I guess the “B” standing for black as this watch is essentially the same watch as the original M100 but with a black case and a rubber strap.
The only picture I could find at the moment is this “screen shot” from Instagram.
This watch will be limited to 150 pieces, as yet I am not sure of the requirements for getting hold of one. I hope to find out more once the official press release is published.
This launch co-incides with the first anniversary of the re-launched Vertex brand.
The other newsworthy event for me was the Pop- Up Fears Museum evening held at Picketts in Mayfair. This was a very enjoyable evening to which Nicholas Bowman-Scargill bought, as well his current range, also some examples of past Fears watches.
In the picture above you can see on the far right the watch that inspired the new Brunswick, which by all accounts is selling very well.
When I last met Nicholas he was very proud of the gold watch at the top of this collection – an inspiration for a future model ?
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