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
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.
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 !
Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of using a Dennison watch for a week or so. I first came across the company at their launch at the Salon QP in 2015 and I had been keen to try the watches ever since.
The revived brand has a great story. The Dennison Watch Case Co. Ltd was established in 1905 by Franklin Dennison and his son Major Gilbert Dennison, after acquiring the shares of Alfred Wigley.
Over the following 60 years, the company grew to become the largest watch company in England and known around the world for its fine Dennison Quality (DQ).
Dennison designed and manufactured watch cases for world famous explorers specifically for expeditions – in 1913 for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Expedition to Antartica on the ship ‘Endurance’, and in 1953 for Sir Edmund Hillary and his team’s successful Everest Expedition (image adjacent showing an advert from 1954 published in the HJ). During the same year, Lieut. Commander Lithgow broke the World Air Speed Record flying over Tripoli, reaching a speed of 735.7mph (1184km/h), whilst wearing a Dennison Aquatite cased watch.
Over the years, Dennison became most renowned for their close working relationship with watchmakers and retailers such as Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Longines, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith, Smiths, J.W.Benson & Garrard. Dennison supplied them with the highest-quality watch cases designed to house the finest-quality movements.
I picked up the watch from Toby Sutton the founder of Dennison complete with the all the packaging one would get if you bought the watch. This all looks identical to that shown at the launch.
Inside the leather watch case there is an additional strap and a very useful spring bar tool.
The first impression of the watch is how “natural” it feels on the wrist. The 38mm case is a very easy size to wear, slipping easily under a shirt cuff, should you need it to. Although the “black dial DENCO53” on this natural brown strap might not be your first choice for office wear. I did also question the dial description with Toby, to me the “black” dial is really a rather dark green he calls it “matt black – honeycomb”.
The overall design of the watch has a very pleasing traditional/retro look. The shape of the hands being quiet distinctive when compared to similarly styled watches, that tend to be more aviator in design with straight hands. The two elements that are really nice are firstly the copper-ish colour of the numerals and the the logo and the use of plexiglass which gives a different warmth to the more usual crystal. The only areas of the overall design that I thought could be re-looked at was the distinction between the bevel and the rest of the brushed steel case. Then purely from a nationalistic point of view “England” under the Dennison logo could be a little larger.
The caseback is solid, which I personally prefer as it is a great position for further interesting detailing. In the case of this watch you will see (below) you will see the number 116026 showing this watch was number 26 of the first batch of 2016.
Living with this watch is very easy, it feels indestructible especially given the 100m water resistance rating. This “wear and forget” feeling was further underlined when I switched the leather strap for a nylon NATO so avoiding any potential sweat/leather issues.
When changing the straps I fully realised the benefit of the drilled through lugs, making the change a breeze. I tried several colours, I think this sand colour being the best, it matches very nicely the lume on the hands.
So on one of the last shopping days before Christmas with some regret I dropped the watch back with Toby. I think Dennison have fully fulfilled their brief of producing a robust field watch – the sort of watch you never really have to take off.
Google analytics tells me that I do have some readers from outside of the UK. From a watch point of view you are lucky people because the recent Brexit decision has had a considerable effect on the value of the British pound.
Both GasGasBones and Pinion have recently communicated this.
Here is what Pinion have published.
That looks like quiet a saving. The same is clearly true for all watches priced in Sterling. I imagine though this will not last long though as soon British companies using Swiss parts will be hit by higher costs.
When I met David Brailsford a couple of months ago he told me about the new movement they were working on to put in a new watch to be launched at this year’s Salon QP. At the time the name was Plymouth and he told be it would be significantly more expensive than Garrick’s current range.
More details are now available. Here is what it looks like.
He was not joking about the price, this new watch will be on sale for £17,995.
At the heart of the new Portsmouth is a new hand-wound, exclusive Garrick movement, designed by British watchmaker Simon Michlmayr and the legendary movement specialist, Andreas Strehler. The movement parts are manufactured both in the UK and Switzerland. Thereafter, movement finishing, assembly and regulation takes place within Garrick’s own Norfolk workshop.
Garrick has been for some time making its own- free-sprung balance, delivering a daily variation of just +3 seconds per day. Now, with the advent of the Portsmouth, Garrick has signalled its progression to a higher level, offering an exclusive movement par excellence.
As with all Garrick timepieces, most of the parts including the case, hands and dials are engineered in-house or sourced locally.
If you cannot wait until the opening of the Salon QP. You can always sign -up for the special collector’s event “the night before” on November 2nd.
This year’s Salon QP looks like it should be a great event for British watch brands.
Last week an interesting tweet from Robert Loomes mentioning they would be showing a new movement at the salon QP this year.
In the interests of investigative journalism I sent an e-mail to Robert himself to see if he was prepared to say more before the official unveiling. Somewhat to my surprise I got an very interesting reply back.
Robert clearly does not want to give away all his secrets but he is interested in the word getting out with a drip drip of information.
To wet our appetite he sent me over this picture of the “Stamford ” movement without jewels or wheels.
The key desire is to have a watch movement with no imported parts, Robert says he has been working towards this for ten years. His company has gradually been making more and more parts to use in their watches based around a stock of 1950’s Smiths movements. They are particularly proud of their enamelled dials.
Robert has gone round the country and re-discovered many of these skills that were popularly believed to have been lost to the country.
The mainplate, cocks and bridge for the “Stamford” are all designed and machined and hand finished in our workshops. Most of the other components are manufactured by small specialist machine shops around the country, either turners ( Robert himself does not use a lathe at work except for a bit of prototyping). Wheels, pinions, winding gear, motionwork, anything which requires turning is easy to outsource once you have a design. Jewels are lasered out for us by another English specialist.
He does not want to get into “Haute Horologies” with weeks of mirror hand-polishing and finishing. He is more interested in producing wristwatches. So the price should be a fraction of AHCI luxury watch producers, ever if it is still a very expensive beast compared with their previous offerings.
This interview with Robert by Hodinkee on there recent tour of British watchmakers gives some great insights into what he is trying to achieve, interestingly he does not mention the movement.
I am really looking forward to seeing this movement at the Salon QP.