This week I was lucky enough to be invited to Stuart Garner talk about the re-launch of Norton Motorcycles and their co-operation with Bremont watches at the Bremont boutique in London.
If you have been reading my previous entries you might will have realised this for me is the perfect combination of my interests, not only watches and motorcycles but British watches and motorcycles all presented to me on my birthday.
I have for sometime been sceptical about brand partnerships as some of the connections seem a little tenuous. At a superficial level I had already accepted there might be justifiable link between these two companies, after all many watch companies are involved in motorsport.
In the quarter of an hour before the start of Stuart’s talk began I had the opportunity to chat with Simon Skinner, an actual motorcycle designer, the person responsible for the Norton V4RR.
Simon, or Skinner as Stuart refers to him, is one of those people clearly doing a job he really enjoys and is very proud of what Norton have achieved in such a short time.
I also had the opportunity to try the limited edition Bremont V4 Limited edition watch.
This watch is a limited edition of 200 for general sale. It combines numerals similar to the classic Norton typeface with gold chronograph borders, a gold Norton logo, and again housed in a beautifully polished Trip-Tick® three-piece case. It uses a modified calibre 13 1⁄4’’’ BE-50AE automatic chronometer with 42-hour minimum power reserve.
The display back shows off the special rotor, replicating the motorbike’s disc brake, very nicely.
The watch has a coated polished stainless steel case of Bremont Trip-Tick® construction. It is water resistant to 10 ATM, 100 metres. The racing strap isPerforated black calf-leather with red stitch and a polished stainless steel pin buckle. This is the second watch celebrating the relationship between the two companies, the first one coming out in 2009.
So you are asking what do the two companies have in common. Well they both are making a big effort to re-build a skills base in the UK in two industries that had been pretty much wiped out. This is something that I think most people would agree is worthwhile. Both companies are especially doing this through the development of apprentices. The Norton approach of getting their training scheme to be self funding by producing the spoked wheels struck me as being particularly interesting.
Finally came the highlight of the evening. firing up the TT bike outside the Mayfair showroom.
This is my recording of the sound, unfortunately my second best, my big finger cancelled the best one by mistake.
It always happen, I read the FT most days when I’m having my lunch, simply because it is there in the office. Every once in a while an article on watches pops up. Well here is one I missed because I was travelling, this is real “sod’s law” especially as the article heavily features British watch brands Marloe and Farer, I don’t approve of bloggers just nicking other peoples work, especially that of professional journalists so her is a link to the article.
I had been putting off commenting on this really nice range of British designed automatics until I managed to hold one. This opportunity was due this Wednesday, but real life has got in the way. So as to not leave comment any longer I thought I should add this quick update.
Farer is a new brand that has managed to move quickly from a range of nice looking quartz powered watches to a broader range including automatics broaden their appeal to the enthusiast market.
The latest GMT automatics stay faithful to the colourful neo/retro design style established at the launch of the brand. All named after historical British explorers.
The right “on trend” (or classic, depending on your point of view) 39.5mm case is made of 316L high grade stainless steel. Highly polished all over bar the top of the lugs which have been brushed to offset them from the rest of the case and polished rim.
The GMT’s use the 21 jewel ETA 2893-2 ‘Top Grade’ mechanical movement – with dual time functionality for use in two time zones, Incabloc shock protection system and a 42-hour power reserve.
The GMT range consists of three models. The Lander shown above and the Oxley and
I have several quartz watches including my first British watch a Garrard my Mother bought me for my 21st, now sadly in need of repair. I have always regarded them subconsciously inferior to watch with mechanical movements.
I think part of my prejudice steps from the idea that a mechanical mechanism will last forever and that quartz movements are somehow less robust. But as my Garrard demonstrates they just keep going, as long as you change the battery. So this objection would seem a little invalid. So I am starting to look at the great variety of watches out there.
One brand instrumental in me changing my ideas was I think the recently re-launched Fears. When the re-founder Nicholas Bowman-Scargill explained to me he had chosen a quartz movement as the best way of representing the heritage of the brand I surprised myself at accepting his point of view.
With this new “insight” I am now able to open my mind to consider many more British brands more positively. One of which being Omologato who marketing an interesting collection of retro/motoring styled chronographs. Their latest model popped up in my inbox this week and it is so “British” I had to post it her. The watch is the Hesketh.
The watch features a 44.5 mm case housing a Miyota OS20 movement., for the less than extortionate price of £ 289.
As well as being a fan of British watch brands I do also have some favourites from other countries, even Switzerland. One of those watches is the Doxa Sharkhunter, a great looking dive watch with a great Jacques Cousteau connection. More often than not you find examples of the Sharkhunter with an orange dial.
And this is the watch that Christopher ward have just announced.
The Trident range is renowned for the variety of options available . The new C60 Trident 316L Limited Edition – limited to 316 pieces, referencing the marine-grade steel used in its bezel, and 43mm case.
The watch uses a Sellita 200-1 movement and is water resistant to a healthy 600m. The price, especially when compared to the orange Doxa, is a reasonable £730 – £795, depending on the strap chosen.
The winner has been announced. You will be surprised to hear it was not me….
The lucky winner of a Schofield’s latest watch the Daymark was Mr H. and as you will see from the picture below he is a very worthy winner.
Mr H. clearly read the brief for the competition more closely than me. He included a “coastal structure”, something missing from my otherwise perfect entry. He also included a lighthouse for which Schofield have a bit of an affinity. Well done.
As I am sure you will have noticed I like the watches from British watch brand Pinion. I was therefore really pleased to receive an e-mail announcing their new watch, the Atom.
Rather than wait to get hold of an example I thought I should get the news out as soon as possible, so this is what Piers the owner and designer of Pinion watches says about this new model.
The Atom inherits all of the design and production qualities seen in the previous collection of watches, but priced at £790 (£658.33 ex.VAT) signals it as the new entry-point to the Pinion family.
Like the Axis II and Pure before it, the Atom is sized at 42mm diameter, (but slimmer in height at 11mm) and is encased in 316L stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish.
Central to the watch, is the dial, coloured black in a smooth satin finish, it features a dominant inner raised level, textured with a geometric machining. The design of the dial follows our graphic code established by previous models and presents typographic numerals in white, coated with SuperLuminova and contrasting radium colouring. For durability, the watch is water resistant to 100-metres depth.
In a new move for Pinion, the Atom utilises the Japanese automatic winding 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.
As with all of our watches, the Atom is built and tested in England and comes with a hand-made leather strap, leather and canvas watch roll plus international two-year warranty.
When Piers first mentioned the price I was a little incredulous given the price point of other watches in the range, you might notice in my earlier post mentioning this launch I mentioned a price of circa £800.
I am really looking forward to seeing this watch in the metal. I really hope it gives Pinion the sales lift they deserve.
This was obviously intended to be a Roger Smith week. I was planning to post a nice little video he had put on Twitter of a co-axial movement and then ….
I read he has been named as part of the jury for the prestigious 2017 Grand Prix D’Horologerie De Geneve. As well as a great personal honour for Roger I am sure we can take this as a great compliment to British watchmaking. Congratulations Roger !