Was this a lost opportunity ? I have started looking at Smiths watches on e-bay and this nice watch came up. It apparently has a 15 Jewel Smiths movement. I didn’t follow the bidding very closely and it eventually sold for £67, which seems like a bargain. I will move faster next time.
New Bremont watches cement long term collaboration with Jaguar | Bremont Chronometers //
New Bremont watches cement long-term collaboration with Jaguar
JAGUAR AND BREMONT ANNOUNCE TWO NEW WRISTWATCHES CELEBRATING THE ICONIC E-TYPE
Jaguar and Bremont have announced two new watch collaborations. These exciting introductions will make their global debut at the Baselworld watch show, March 2015.
The two British firms are cementing their long-term partnership following an overwhelming response to the creation of six Bremont chronometers which complement each of the six ‘continuation’ lightweight E-Type sports racing cars currently being built by Jaguar.
These watches are both dedicated to the road-going Jaguar E-Type which at its 1961 launch was not only the fastest production car in the world but, according to Enzo Ferrari, the most beautiful.
The MKI responds to the call for a more accessible version of the original ‘Lightweight’ limited edition watch by reproducing many of its design features but substituting the white gold and aluminium of the Lightweight’s case for a slimmer version in polished stainless steel.
Save for the addition of a date window at the six o’clock position, the tachometre-inspired dial is similar to that of the Lightweight, featuring an off-set small seconds indicator and a distinctive ‘red line’ quadrant between three and four o’clock.
Behind the dial and double-domed crystal of the 43mm MKI watch lies a new movement with date functionality based on Bremont’s meticulously finished self-winding proprietary BWC/01.
Turning the MKI over not only reveals the beautifully finished movement through the sapphire crystal case back, but also one of the most intriguing features of the watch: a striking automatic winding weight in the form of an exquisite miniaturisation of a three-spoke E-Type steering wheel, complete with the iconic Jaguar head at its centre.
In working to capture the E-Type’s essence in a wrist watch, Jaguar’s Director of Design Ian Callum and the creative team at Bremont homed-in on another of its signature features – the dashboard.
At its heart are the speedometer and tachometer (or ‘rev counter’) and it is these that inspired the look of the new Bremont Jaguar MKI and MKII watches.
The MKII, meanwhile, instantly transports the wearer back to the golden era of 1960s sports car motoring, its black dial carrying the Jaguar heritage logo above the six o’clock position and its hour markings being in the style of the numerals found on E-Type instruments.
The classic chronograph layout – featuring two subdials at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions – is achieved through the use of the beautifully decorated BE-50AE automatic movement which has been specially customised by Bremont to a unique specification, a subtle ‘red line’ on the 60-minute counter paying homage to the E-Type’s tachymeter.
The 43mm stainless steel case – which is fitted with a double-domed crystal to enhance the vintage appearance of the watch – is made entirely in the UK by Bremont using its renowned, three-part ‘Trip-Tick’ technology which ensures a hardness seven times greater than that of a normal steel watch.
Visible through a sapphire crystal case back, the mechanism again pays tribute to the E-Type with an automatic ‘steering wheel’ winding weight in the same style as that of the MKI. Further automotive imagery can be seen in the ‘tyre tread’ winding crown, which is topped with the Jaguar heritage logo to match that of the dial.
MKI and MKII watches will be supplied with a perforated ‘racing’ strap in true ‘60s style, together with a traditional leather spare.
“Like the Bremont watch we designed to complement the Special GT, or ‘Lightweight’ E-Type continuation cars, the MKI and MKII pieces had to capture the spirit of what is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sports cars of all time in a subtle and intelligent way,” says Ian Callum.
“The result is a pair of watches which subtly relay some of the codes of the E-Type, but which are also easy to recognise as having been created with the car in mind. They simply look absolutely right when you wear them in the driving seat – almost as if they had been designed alongside the car back in the ‘60s.”
According to Bremont Co-Founder, Giles English, the watches have been created both to pay homage to the car and to satisfy a remarkable global demand.
“When we worked with Ian to create the strictly limited edition of six watches to complement the Lightweight continuation cars, we had no idea that it would lead to a call from so many of the world’s E-Type owners and enthusiasts for a similar watch which was more accessibly priced and more widely available.
“The feedback was so positive and widespread, however, that we decided to find a way of incorporating the look of those iconic E-Type Smiths instruments into a pair of everyday watches.
“Although neither the MKI nor the MKII are limited edition pieces, there will be limited annual production so they will always remain as special as the cars that inspired them.
“They are certainly very meaningful to us, not least because they mark the formalisation of Bremont’s partnership with Jaguar, which means we shall be working closely with Ian and the design team on future projects in the long-term.”
THE JAGUAR E-TYPE – AN AUTOMOTIVE LEGEND
The Jaguar E-Type sports car, created by former aircraft designer Malcolm Sayer, was unveiled outside the Restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives during the Geneva Salon at 4.30 pm on March 15, 1961. Its radical appearance and promise of being ‘the fastest production car in the world’ caused near hysteria and resulted in 500 orders being placed during the show.
New Bremont watches celebrate the Jaguar E-Type: Graham Hill raced the lightweight E-Type, just one of many classics
It’s powered by a race-bred, six-cylinder, 3.8 litre, 265 horsepower engine that gave the car a top speed of 150 mph – yet, at £2,098 for the roadster and £2,197 for the fixed-head coupe, it cost less than half the price of a comparable Ferrari or Aston Martin.
During its 14-year production run, the E-Type evolved to feature first a 4.2 litre engine and, ultimately, Jaguar’s 5.3 litre V12. It was offered with manual or automatic transmission and, in final ‘Series 3’ form, fixed-head models were available only with family-friendly two-plus-two bodywork.
More than 72,000 E-Types were built, with around 12,000 being sold in Britain and the majority going to the USA. Celebrated owners included Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Britt Ekland, Peter Sellers, Sir Jackie Stewart and George Best.
The best Series 1 ‘flat floor’ E-Type roadsters now command more than £100,000.
I have just found this article from last year on the website escapement magazine.com this article that describes a visit by Angus Davies to the Meridian actor in Norwich in September 2013. It is an interesting insight into the company.
Lost in Norwich
Angus Davies visits the factory of Norwich based Merdian Watches to see their range of Prime models.
I hate being late for business appointments but I recently found myself lost in Norwich, despite having a satellite navigation system in my car. I had entered the wrong postcode and found myself on a residential street. It seems, even with the benefit of modern technology, we are still capable of becoming lost and sometimes regrettably late.
However, navigational aids have come a long way, and like many, I sometimes take them for granted. In bygone times, marine chronometers would be employed to establish longitude and Britain lead the way thanks to the work of John Harrison et al. Ironically, my appointment was with a company named Meridian Watches whose branding pays due reverence to Britiain’s horological past.
The company is owned by Simon Michlmayr, a former pupil of Peter Roberts, someone whom I personally hold in high esteem.
Meridian Watches is a brand I have wanted to visit ever since seeing the Merdian Prime models at SalonQP 2012 and yet I found myself lost and late. Thankfully, my hosts were forgiving and very accommodating. Moreover, I was not to be disappointed.
Simon Michlmayr, and his colleagues, have been repairing and servicing clocks and watches for a number of years. Indeed, Michlmayr and his colleagues have been seen, suspended by a series of ropes, attending to church clocks at perilous heights, abseiling into position with tools in hand.
Michlmayr has a passion for adventure and cites rock climbing as a personal interest. It is this Boy’s Own lifestyle which lead Michlmayr to conceive a range of quality, robust timepieces to challenge the many watches available from Switzerland and Germany.
Although, Meridian Watches have used Swiss ébauches in their range of masculine timepieces, other components whenever possible have been sourced locally. Furthermore, much added value takes place within the confines of the factory in Norwich.
Dials are of a sandwich type construction with numerals and indices cut-out to reveal a luminous layer below. The dials are made in-house and painted by hand. They proffer excellent legibility and, whilst modern in design, feature a triangular index at noon, typical of historical pilot’s watches.
Customer choice is at the centre of the Meridian paradigm, with several opportunities for personalisation by utilising different coloured hand and dial combinations.
Subsidiary seconds feature at 6 o’clock or 9 o’clock, dependent on model. Hour, minute and second hands are open-worked revealing more of the dial surface beneath.
The stainless steel hands are made, polished and painted on the premises. This a was surprising observation, as ordinarily I see these components supplied to watch companies packed in boxes ready for assembly.
Currently the case diameter of all Meridian Watches is 46mm. Each one is hewn from a solid billet of stainless steel. The result is a case which looks capable of withstanding apocalyptic trauma. Whilst some may find the case too large, I found it perfectly suited my larger than average wrist. The short lugs appear to entice the strap to cosset the wrist ensuring elevated wearer comfort. Plans are in place though to produce a 42mm version in the future.
I looked at various models, the majority of which had a solid caseback engraved with the lines of longitude and the inscription, “Made in England for the world”. However, one model, a prototype for a corporate client, had an exhibition back which I particularly liked. It seems with the vast amount of hand finishing bestowed upon the movement within, Meridian should share this added value with the wearer. Nevertheless, I accept some readers will disagree and a solid caseback does afford greater robustness, something Mr Michlmayr holds dear.
A non-standard exhibition back revealed much beauty residing within the case
Attention to detail is evident when you closely examine the case of the watch. Despite much fondling of the case, I could not find a sharp or rough edge anywhere. The straps are secured with hexagonal screws and look as though they will never come adrift without deliberate loosening using the hex keys provided.
The high quality leather straps are complemented with stainless steel buckles. Once more they are made in-house. They feature an integrated roller to facilitate ease of fastening. It seems remarkable that the company has chosen to make these items in-house when cheaper, mass produced items, are readily available. However, this demonstrates once again, the company’s the fixation with producing thoroughly engineered components.
The crown features a degree symbol on its vertical flank acting as a means of indicating when the crown is adequately tightened. It sounds a small detail but should help mitigate the risk of overtightening that can result in seal damage.
The movements are Swiss-made Unitas 6497/98 calibres from ETA although much modification takes place in-house.
The bridges and mainplate are gold plated, affording a traditional finish, typical of old pocket watches. Lines of longitude are applied to the movement using hand engraving and bridges are hand-frosted. The deft chamfering of the bridges is a further indication of the matchless finishing observed during my time on site.
Screws are replaced with hand-blued items. These screws are not blued using chemicals but subjected to heat to achieve the regal tincture and hardness, traditionally found on the finest watches.
The movements are hand-wound and have a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. However, I did see some new movements in development which confer a greater power reserve of 100 hours. Indeed, one member of staff, Craig Baird, was wearing a development watch containing the prototype movement along with red details on the dial; I would dearly have loved to take this particular watch home with me.
A screwed-balance features within the movement. It allows finite adjustment when poising and once again reaffirms that the watches bearing the Meridian name are quality items.
I was profoundly impressed with the passion exampled in Norwich and the high quality products which leave the factory. Simon Michlmayr set out to create a robust watch that can be worn every day although the result is anything but everyday, it is so much better.
The dimensions of the case may prove too large for some, but with a 42mm version in the pipeline, those seeking smaller dimensions should soon find a watch which meets their needs.
Even the hinges on the wooden presentation case are made in-house
The mania for creating quality components at times beggars belief, even the hinges on the wooden presentation case are made in-house. In some larger concerns, the stereotypical bean-counters would rein in the artisans and insist on procuring cheaper items elsewhere. I am pleased to say that the artisans prevail at Meridian Watches and most components are made in-house or sourced locally.
Whilst I clearly struggled to find my way around the urban streetscape of Norwich, depicted on my satellite navigation, Mr Michlmayr knows the area well. Like an accomplished chef, those components he does not make himself he endeavours to source from local suppliers and the resultant recipe is a mouth watering proposition.
- Model: Meridian Watches MP
- References: MP-01 – MP-10 (variants include black / white dial, location of subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock / 9 o’clock, finish of case (polished, brushed, Meridian Black))
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 46.00 mm; water resistant to 30 bar (300 metres); sapphire crystal to front; solid caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds.
- Movement: Modified Unitas 6497/98 base calibre, hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (3Hz); 17 jewels; power reserve 40 hours
- Strap: Leather strap presented on a stainless steel pin buckle.
Another British watchmaker has up until now is Peter Roberts. This is his Grand Complication 5 (£20,000 + VAT according to the website)
Peter is one of the great veterans of British Watchmaking, having spent 45 years in the business.
Peter qualified as a Fellow of the British Horological Institute in the early 70s. He was the first student from the UK to attend the original WOSTEP course in Neuchatel Switzerland under the direction of the founder Mr Andre Farine. During his time there he developed and constructed a unique mechanism for the Valjoux 72 chronograph.
To advance his horological experiences he spent time with IWC in Schaffhausen and then moved to the main Rolex factory in Geneva. At Rolex he gained the title of “Official Rolex Watchmaker” and so then was transferred to Rolex UK where he spent several years.
Peter then took a position at Garrard and Company – The Crown Jewellers – as Head of Showroom repairs. This was a move that was to change his life as one day a young lady walked in called Marie-Louise and as they say – the rest is history.
He was offered the chance to pass on his knowledge and expertise to the next generation, so qualified as a lecturer which led to him spending 13 years teaching technical horology at Hackney College. One of his teaching projects was designing a rather interesting version of a detent escapement for the students.
Peter became Head of Watchmaking where he taught many fine students including Stephen Forsey, Peter Speake-Marin and Simon Michlmayr.
Peter, Marie-Louise and their family returned back to Geneva where Peter took up a position in a rather special department at Rolex.
After an exciting couple of years the family returned to the UK where Peter and Marie-Louise set up a consultancy in horological technical design where they have advised and assisted a number of British and Swiss brands. One of these companies was Bremont, where Peter spent an enjoyable 4 years and developed amongst other projects, the famous MB roto-click bezel, floating anti-magnetic cage and also their beautiful Marine Clock (which was conceived on his kitchen table!).
Peter spent many years as a consulting lecturer in the UK for Rolex. And of course, he still keeps his watchmaking skills up to date, as he looks after much loved watch collections for a select clientele.
The Roberts horological dynasty continues as Peter’s son James is currently training with his father on chronograph mechanisms.
When Peter and Marie-Louise have any spare time they like to walk in the beautiful Kent countryside or the tranquil surroundings of the Swiss Jura.
For more information www.peterrobertswatches.com .
In today’s Financial Times I came across an article discussing this Kickstarter project, INSTRUMNT watches from Glasgow.
The watches themselves are to my mind very similar to the Uniform watches that have been on sale for a while. At the heart of these watches is the familiar Swiss Ronda 585 3H quartz movement.
I am not sure where they are actually making these watches. If you want to find out more before I get back to them their website is www.instrmnt.com.
British watchmaker Robert Loomes will be presenting a mountaineering team from the Royal Gurhka Regiment with watches to help them scale Everest in May.
Stamford-based Robert Loomes & Co. has been working to raise funds for high-altitude health and education organisation The Mountain Trust and will present a number of watches to the Gurhkas in March, ahead of an Everest expedition to celebrate their regiment’s 200 years of service with the British Army this year.
Charles Malcolm-Brown, chairman of The Mountain Trust, will give a presentation before the specially-prepared watches are officially handed over on March 10 at Stamford Town Hall.
The Gurhkas also support the work of the Mountain Trust and are said to be enthusiastic about being equipped with British watches. Mechanical watches are seen as more reliable than quartz alternatives, which can freeze up in the kind of conditions experienced on cold weather expeditions.
Climb leader Captain Dick Gale of the Royal Engineers, currently attached to the Gurhkas, will also be present to receive the watches with some of his team before flying out to Nepal the following week.
Robert and his wife Robina first met at high altitude in Bolivia 24 years ago, almost making it to an altitude of 6,000m. The summit of Everest is at 8,848m.
Some great photos in this piece from the Salon QP website
Something we’ve almost never seen is a watch made by Roger W Smith for sale online. And it can be yours for… £115,000. Pictures from WatchXchange
Ownership of a Roger W Smith timepiece represents the ultimate horological ambition of many, many serious collectors around the world. But given the tiny numbers of watches that emerge each year from Smith’s Isle of Man studio, and the lengthy waiting list involved, very few people will ever get their hands on one.
Which makes the appearance of one for sale online a rather interesting occurrence – in fact, we thought it may be an internet first, though a comment from the PuristsPro here suggests a bit of precedent (well, if anyone should know…). This Roger W Smith Series 2 has just shown up at the recently launched (and evidently well-connected) online seller WatchXchange, whose founder we profiled in QP magazine in November (read it here). It is priced on the website at an undoubtedly hefty £115,000.
The Series 2 is Smith’s “production watch” (he also creates unique pieces on a bespoke basis), but don’t imagine series production amounts to volume: such is the painstaking nature of the work in Smith’s studio, fewer than 10 models emerge each year. It’s one of the rarest watches in the world.
Smith began planning the Series 2 in 2002. At that time he had been working under the guidance of his mentor, the great Dr George Daniels, for several years, slowly mastering the 32 watchmaking skills required to make a watch according to the “Daniels Method”. His ambition was to translate these skills into the creation of a “modern, skill-based, high grade British wrist watch”, but it would be four years before a finished model would be created, with a prototype produced in early 2006. The model for sale here is dated December 2006, according to the engraving on its movement plate, making it one of the earliest Series 2 models to have been created.
That movement represents so much of what makes a Roger W Smith watch special. Smith took his inspiration from the pocket watches produced in the great age of British horology, by the likes of Tompion, Graham and Arnold. It demonstrates what Smith describes as a quintessentially British style of watchmaking, characterized by the strong three-quarter plate that occupies much of the view, by the depth of the mechanism’s architecture, and by the understated frosted finish, contrasting with black polished steel parts.
And, of course, there’s the small matter of the Daniels Co-Axial Escapement. George Daniels invented the Co-Axial Escapement as a longer-lasting, lubricant-free alternative to the Swiss lever escapement, eventually selling it to Omega, where it now forms the brand’s most important technical pillar. Only Smith is allowed to employ the system outside Omega. In 2010 he delivered his improvement upon Daniels’ design, the Single Wheel Co-Axial, now found in the Series 2 – though as an older watch, this model contains the first generation version.
The case and dial further demonstrate the extreme hand-worked skills of the Daniels/Smith style of watchmaking: a variety of engine-turned dial patterns, and every element cut, engraved or sculpted by hand.
This is simply one of the finest watches in the world, embodying the very rarest horological qualities. And a hell of an opportunity for someone with extremely deep pockets. Though whether it’s really worth the readies WatchXchange is asking… well, the market will determine.
The watch is listed on WatchXchange here, and is offered with original box and paperwork. It can be viewed by appointment in central London.
Being a British male brought up on endless Bond films I felt obliged to go and see this film. I had also heard about Bremont’s involvement so I wanted to see how “natural” their placements appeared. The film as I expected was a little far-fetched but enjoyable entertainment. However, it did seem odd that every watch you saw was a Bremont.
Bremont Watch Company confirms that the Special Edition Kingsman watch range, developed for acclaimed director Matthew Vaughn’s new film Kingsman: The Secret Service, comprises three new models that are featured throughout the film. The film, due to be released February 2015, from 20th Century Fox, stars Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine and emerging actor Taron Egerton. The agents from the super-secret British spy organisation, including Nick English, Co-Founder Bremont, who makes a cameo appearance as one of the Kingsmen, can be seen exclusively wearing these custom made Bremont timepieces.
Here is a trailer