Tag Archives: british brand

Freedom to Exist

This week I received an interesting mail from Nicholas Bowman-Scargill of Fears watches.

Nicholas thought I might be interested in speaking to another British watch brand “Freedom to Exist” . On receiving the e-mail I was pretty happy at the idea that a brand was coming to me. I then did a quick search for some information about the brand and my initial thoughts where “another minimalist watch brand”.

 

FTE40:02

Their Story

Kirsty and Paul have more than 25 years worth of experience between them of bringing ideas and sketches to life. They met while creating products for Habitat before both joining Made.com  That knowledge and experience, combined with a love of classic detailing that make vintage watches truly timeless, inspired them to create FTE.  They have started their journey with watches, available in two sizes, that simply tell the time.

They wanted a little space away from the overwhelming noise of branding and technology. They believe freedom is the freedom to choose, to fall in love, to wear what you want, how you want to. It is the Freedom To Exist. That is what inspired Kirsty and Paul in 2015 to create their own minimalist watch brand – because we wanted to create products free from fast fashion, gender rules and passing trend.

No logo. No tracking. No beeping or monitoring.

The Watches

The basic design of the watch remains the same for the two sizes 40mm and 30mm with both using the  Swiss Made Ronda 763 Quartz Movement. The cases are made of 316L stainless steel in a steel finish or with a gunmetal, gold or rose gold PVD coating. Priced between £155 to £175. Bravely the watches are sold with a lifetime guarantee.

However

Now this all sounds very admirable but in practice I thought they faced considerable marketing challenges moving forward. I was interested to see how they hope to sustain/build an unbranded brand. As Nicholas put me on to Paul and Kirsty I thought it worthwhile to pursue these questions with them. After a few days Paul came back with some answers that demonstrated they had seen these issues coming.

He told me:

  • Our honest pricing, and selecting the best of every component but still keeping it affordable. Swiss quartz; Italian leather, domed glass etc.
  • We are the customers. We’re not a faceless brand that is mass produced and churned out. Kirsty and I have touched every element of the brand. From the what face, to photography to the website. FTE’s brand values are also out life values which gives authenticity, that like mined people want to buy into. Joining our community.
  • The brand free design actually helps appeal to a certain target audience. It’s all about the design and appreciating the design and then being ‘in the know’.

Summing up – they will endeavour to remain, Affordable, with minimal & timeless design. Executed in a honest way; and how we would like to be treated as a customer.

Their future I guess depends on if they can find enough of these people “in the know”. Their ethos though is admirable and as always it is great to see people following their own dreams.

Good luck

https://www.freedomtoexist.com/

Hamtun Neon

Following on from the success of their first watch the H1 diver Southampton based Hamtun watches have announced the arrival of their second watch – the Neon.

Hamtun Neon

Interestingly for this watch Hamtun have chosen a Swiss movement. The Neon Automatic will feature the Swiss made STP 1-11 movement, which is basically an ETA 2824-2 clone. When compared to the NH35A it wins in all areas. It ships from the factory better regulated, it’s far prettier, it has an extra 2 hours of reserve power, it’s slightly thinner so Hamtun can make the watch thinner, it has a better advertised accuracy and it beats at 28,800 vph so will give a super smooth sweep of the seconds hand.

The other details are:

  • Available in 2 finishes – brushed 316L stainless steel and matte black PVD finished 316L stainless steel
  • Matte black ceramic bezel
  • Available in 5 dial colour combinations. The yellow shown here, blue, green, orange and white
  • Double domed sapphire crystal on the front with 3 layers of anti-reflective coating on the inside and outside
  • Sapphire crystal case back with internal and external anti-reflective coating
  • Custom decorated rotor finished in matte black PVD and featuring the “Neon” branding
  • Grade-A Swiss Super-LumiNova.
  • 316L stainless steel H-link bracelet with solid end links and a spectacular high-quality clasp
  • Silicone straps available in 6 colours – black, blue, yellow, green, orange, and  white

I am looking forward to seeing this watch in the steel and hopefully the original H1 in the titanium.

Schofield Bronze Beater 2

If you don’t receive Schofields news letter you might have missed their latest announcement – The Bronze Beater 2 !

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.

The Bronze Beater dial
Caseback

I am really looking forward to seeing these in the “bronze” at the Salon QP

 

Kickstarter Watches

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.

TC-9 Diver

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.

Alkin Model One

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.



Want to start a (British) Watch Brand ?

The White dial Diver

Many people dream of starting their own business and I guess if you are reading this blog you might of even dreamt of starting a watch company. Whenever I meet people that have made the commitment I am always hugely impressed and slightly jealous of the the obvious satisfaction of what they are doing.

The first obstacle that comes up is “I wouldn’t know where to start!”

Well now thanks to Ross Davis of Hamtun watches this is no longer an excuse. On the Hamtun website he has posted a the process on his blog. The first episode is entitled “how to get funded on Kickstarter” published in July 16th. This has now been followed by a second post “Designing and Prototyping a watch”.

Here are the links. I hope this will give some of you the inspiration to take the leap.

https://hamtun.co/blogs/news/how-to-get-funded-on-kickstarter

https://hamtun.co/blogs/news/designing-and-prototyping-a-watch

Breaking Fears News

This week I was feeling pretty chuffed, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill e-mailed me with news of the latest announcement from Fears.  I had to keep this news to myself, which disappointed my son who is a Fears fan.

….and here it is

The “Pebble”

Commenting on the launch of the new colour, Managing Director Nicholas Bowman-Scargill says, “Building on the success of the initial two dial and five strap colours, the time felt right to introduce an additional elegant colour to the range. We took months to perfect both tone and finish, and the result is a watch that is perfectly understated. Clean and minimal, “Pebble” Grey is the Fears take on the classic silver dial, ideally suited for the modern man and woman.”

Colour aside this latest model is technically the same as the original white and blue watches.  A 38mm steel case using a Swiss Ronda quartz movement.

I must say it is great to see Fears confidently growing their range. I look forward to discussing the first year of the brand with Nicholas soon.

Schofield + Cudd

My family will tell you that I pass too much time deciding which strap to use with which watch. My desire for variety has been served well over the last few years by a steady supply of NATO’s in various hues. My favourite however remaining the plain grey.

Since starting this blog I have discovered there are quiet a few people out there sharing this need for variety and distinction. People such as Carl Evans of GasGasBones I wrote about in my last post. It would appear someone has now taken this “interest” to a new higher level.

That man is Simon Cudd. Some of you will know of Simon from his beautiful photos, especially those of watches. Some months ago Simon posted some pictures of a strap for his Schofield watch made out of an old pair of Converse basketball shoes.

Schofield + Cudd Converse Strap credit: Schofield

Very cool indeed. But the story does not stop there. A new venture has just been announced specialising in unusual straps – Schofield + Cudd.   As you will see  from the website https://www.schofieldandcudd.com/ the straps are very bold. But then Schofield watches are not really for shy people.

If you cannot find a strap amongst the numerous on offer, Schofield + Cudd also offer a bespoke service. Take along a piece of your treasured material, an old leather jacket or bag and they will turn it into a unique strap for you,

Then if this is not enough they have also taken another look at an often ignored element of the look of a watch – the buckle. Look at these….

Coloured Buckles !

I just need them to branch out into making straps for other brands.

GasGasBones “Scramble”

By all accounts Carl Evans the man behind GasGasBones is one of the characters of the British watch world. I have not met him personally but I almost feel I know him through his social media posts and the forum on his website.

His company which has grown from making bespoke nylon straps over ten years ago to now supplying straps to brands such as Bremont and to offering his own range of watches – 6B.

The first 6B MKI came out in 2013 as a limited edition of twenty. This was followed by a further fifty MK2’s.

The latest watch which has prompted this post is the MK3 or “Scramble”

6B – MK3 “Scramble”

I think you will agree that Carl has come up with a very handsome looking watch.  I am impressed that at 37mm the case follows the move away from large watches. This  316L steel case houses an ETA 7750 automatic chronograph  movement.

I hope one day to actually meet Carl. In the meantime I suggest you visit his website.

http://www.gasgasbones.com/

 

 

Just to remind you I am still here

I am conscious that I have been a bit slack on the posting front of late. My only excuse is that sometimes real life takes over. It is not as though there is nothing to write about.

Any way to get me back into posting I thought you might like to see this article in a manufacturing magazine about Bremont reviving manufacturing capacity and skills.

https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/bremont-flying-the-flag-for-british-watch-manufacturing/

I will now start to write a proper article.