Due to the usual real life commitments common at this time of year I have had little chance to think of anything in particular to feature this week.
There are however two pieces of news I think is definitely worth mentioning appeared in the latest Pinion newsletter. Firstly, the original Pure range has come to an end but the new model line will feature vintage hand-wound movements in smaller cased watches.
In the same newsletter Piers also announces Pinions’s return to bronze watches with a revamped Axis II.
I am wondering now if these two announcements could be combined into a slightly smaller bronze cased hand wound Pure ?
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.
If you don’t receive Schofields news letter you might have missed their latest announcement – The Bronze Beater 2 !
The Bronze Beater B2 now in two finishes, raw and force-patinated. That is the raw at the bottom and the darker one above has been chemically treated to oxidise the case. The B2 will be available in less than two weeks!
The dials are double blue with a gold rim and centre. Luminescent numerals and hour markers with the other print in metallic bronze except the pink B. Hands are brushed bronze with little thorns as counterpoise.
Inside they will use an ETA 2824-2 Swiss auto.
Here are some more of Schofield’s excellent images showing more detail.
I am really looking forward to seeing these in the “bronze” at the Salon QP
If you have been reading some of my previous posts or maybe seen my Instagram stream, you will know I have a Bronze Pinion Axis Pure LE for which I been giving updates on the development of the famous “bronze patina”.
Anyway slowly slowly the case of my watch has been getting darker and I have been quiet pleased with the result.
Having read about and seen the drastic effect contact with sea water can have with bronze , some examples I have seen such as some bronze Panerais or the Oris diver of which have gone pretty extreme. I was interested and slightly concerned how my watch would react to my two weeks in Sicily.
Before I show you the effects of seawater I must say the Axis Pure with a couple of Nato straps works out as a pretty good holiday watch. It is water resistant to at least 100m which avoids worrying about swimming. It is tough and any knocks it might take can only enhance its “lived in” look. Finally you don’t have that worry of it attracting the undesirable attention, some more famous Swiss brands get, from street criminals. With the bronze version you get the added interest of how the case will react to different environments like the chlorine of the swimming pool to salt water of the sea.
The conclusion is chlorine seems to have the effect of slightly brightening the metal whilst the sea is the most fun.
The photos above and below where taken after the watch had been in the sea for an hour.
My first thoughts were “wow, that looks pretty cool” quickly moved on to “will that come off?” Now I was pretty confident there are ways to bring the watch back to its original finish but I did not want to return to the “as new look` – fortunately with a bit of a rub you can bring the watch back to whatever level of patina you like.
My next experiment will be to leave the watch a little longer before taking it back to normal.
Pinion still have a few of the Bronze watches left and they are now available a special price here
I have had my Bronze Pinion Axis Pure for just over two months now so I thought it was about time I publish my initial impressions.
This watch, more than any other I have had, offers a very involving experience. This involvement starts every day with the morning ritual of winding the manual Unitas 6498 movement, which has a very satisfying dependable feel. I then usually put the watch to my ear just to hear the slow tock……tock. The day can now commence.
Every since my first meeting with Piers Berry, the founder of Pinion Watches, I have been fascinated by the idea of bronze cased watches. Piers was an early advocate of the material and would mention how if you google “bronze watch” Pinion came out top of the list. Piers has now decided the material has become a bit mainstream and is concentrating more on other materials and finishes. This may be, as he has told me,that customers attracted to the brand by the bronze models more often than not ended up buying steel watches. I am sure this is because when you way up the pros and cons of each material steel possibly results more versatile and less of a risk.
By not taking the “risk” however I think you miss the opportunity to experience the changes, the development of patina. Each watch becomes more individual, more personal over time in the same way that selvedge denim does. As well as the case “maturing” then there is the lovely English leather strap which is slowly becoming creased and more flexible adding its character to the mix.
Leaving aside this development of character, the watch it self is very satisfying. I have been championing smaller, 38/40mm, case sizes so I was initially concerned that at 42mm I might find the Pure too big. But then I reasoned my Speedmaster is the same size and that sometimes even looks small. The Pure is not a “dress” watch but it does wear very easily. I have now got used to the size, and as it gets darker it is less “in your face”.
One design element of Pinion bronze watches that I initially questioned was the steel crown. I thought a bronze crown would have been more appropriate. Piers has obviously been questioned on this point several times so just had a slightly cross look when I mentioned it. Now I must agree with the choice of material as it broadens the choice of straps you can choose from, there are not many many available with bronze fittings, especially good quality Nato’s.
As my watch is one of the last of the bronze Pures, Piers had it made with the green dial which previously had featured only the the more recent gun metal cased watches. This adds further to its distinctiveness.
Another feature I really like is the case back. I have never been a fan of display backs, they always have seemed out of place on the more robust style of watch I prefer.
So, my conclusion for now is I am very happy with the watch. It has a distinctive non-generic look that however is not weird and has a character that is developing much in them same way as a pair of leather boots or raw denim jeans.
I will give a further update in a couple of months.
You might have noticed on instagram that I now have my own Pinion, An Axis Pure with a dark green dial, The green dial previously on the Gunmetal Green version of this watch.
My first impression when compared to my previous English watch, the Smiths Deluxe, was big and heavy. But clearly that is compared to a 1950’s 35mm steel watch. You might remember that I have been suggesting for some time that cases over 40mm were getting a little large for my taste. Maybe I should re-consider this as my other regular wear is a Speedmaster Pro which is also 42mm.
With it’s 42mm case and wide (22 mm) strap the Pure is actually re-assuringly solid. The manual wound Unitas movement reinforces that sense of dependability. The last feature making this the perfect weekend/holiday (and maybe Friday) watch for me is the 100m water resistance rating.
Finally, there is the bronze case. Pinion now feel this material is becoming too mainstream. Coming from the generation that appreciated how materials such as denim and leather become more personal with age I am very happy to have a watch that will do the same.
I will keep you updated on how the patina develops.
The Axis II Bronze has only been available for a few months, but very quickly Pinion are down to the last two available – after these are sold, there will be no more Axis II Bronze.
The final two watches can be bought in either ‘E’ (Exhibition case back) or ’S’ (Steel case back) formats.
If you want one of these last two models, then simply select the model you wish to buy and pay a deposit to reserve the item; Pinion will then hold these watches for you until you wish to complete the purchase.
The watches will be available for delivery from the end of August onwards.