Tag Archives: british made

Pinion Atom etc

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.

Pinion 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.

Pinion TT

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.

 

London Watch Week

I don’t think last week was officially know as “watch week” but that is how it turned out for me, a few events growing out of the Salon QP.

Although maybe “week” might not be quiet the right definition as for me everything started mid-October when I met Nicholas Bowman-Scargill for a catch-up. We had first met a year earlier, before he re-launched the Fears brand at the Salon QP 2016. Nicholas told me all about his first year and the three new watches he would be announcing at this years show.  He revealed these in order of significance. The first being an additional colour to the existing Redcliff range this time a pretty striking Passport Red.

Redcliff Passport Red

Next I was expecting a “mechanical Redcliff”, which seemed to be the obvious development. But no, the next watch Nicholas showed me was the quartz Redcliff Continental. The Continental version has a window just the “6” position enabling the wearer to display a second time zone. A very useful feature for international travellers or people with far flung families.

The Continental Range

Then came the news I had been expecting the Fears mechanical watch, not however as I was imagining a Redcliff but a completely new watch – the Brunswick the first mechanical watch for the new Fears.

The Brunswick concept & inspiration

At this time Nicholas was only able to show me a drawing of the watch as the prototype had yet been delivered.  The finished watch was due to be shown at the Watchmakers Club evening before the Salon QP. I will dedicate a post to this interesting new watch.

This brings me to the start of “Watch Week”; the first event being the Watchmaker’s Club “Night Before” evening in a private club in London on Wednesday.  The Watchmakers Club is a new platform, intended to bring watch collectors and industry experts together via intimate, exclusive events and regular social gatherings. The team behind this unique organisation consists of watchmakers, independent brands, industry influencers and journalists.

It all started in 2012, Andreas Strehler exhibited for the first time at SalonQP in London. On the night before the opening of SalonQP, he invited a few friends and watch enthusiasts to share a drink, talk about watches and the world in general. The idea of The Night Before was born.

On the first evening only a handful of what would become a band of friends showed up at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair. Over the years, The Night Before became an institution: A gathering of interesting people interested in the world of watches and as the guest list began to grow the Lansdowne Club became too small to host the event.

This year the event was held at The Libary in St Martins Lane. There were two sections, one of which, upstairs, was dedicated the British brands, Fears, Garrick and Pinion. It was a great opportunity firstly to see the Fears Brunswick and Pinions new Atom finally in the metal.

Pinion Atom

The Atom doesn’t disappoint at all. As you can see the design clearly says, Pinion. As we have come to expect, Piers presented a really nice well built watch. Differently to previous Pinions you first notice the slimmer (11mm) steel case, made possible by the use of the Japanese Miyota 9105 automatic movement. Using this movement also enables Pinion to offer a watch at a much lower price point than we are used to from this brand, £790. It will be very interesting to see how this bet goes.

After Fears and Pinion I managed to squeeze through to the table where Garrick’s Simon Michlmayr  was displaying their watches, I was especially keen to see the new S1. This watch is built by master watchmaker, Craig Baird, and finished entirely by hand. This is Garrick’s most complicated timepiece to date, featuring a skeletonised dial and incorporating a power reserve indicator. Only five S1 timepieces will be made per annum.

Sketch of Garrick S1

Unfortunately due lack of space and light I couldn’t get a really decent picture so to give an idea of how the watch is I have taken this picture from Garrick website.

Giles Ellis of Schofield was also present that night along with Simon Cudd, of Schofield + Cudd straps, neither was displaying their products other than those they were wearing. I did manage a dingy peek at Schofield latest watch – the Telemark.

All in all it was a very pleasant evening but being a “school night” I  thought it wise to make my way home.

After “the Night Before” comes the actual night- the first evening of this years Salon QP. The big difference between the two evenings was the lighting.

I managed to say hello again to Simon Michlmayr and to get a shot of the Garrick range.

The Garrick range

I then found the two British stands together firstly, the Fears Departure lounge that was proving very popular with the new Brunswick attracting a great deal of praise. Then next door Schofield overseen by Giles Ellis himself and Simon Cudd with his straps. Again thanks to better light I managed to get some more useful pictures.

Schofield Telemark
Schofield Daymark

After visiting the Brits I went a little of topic and had quick chat with two brands that I have admired for a while Habring from Austria and Switzerlands Czapek both really nice and like everyone super enthusiastic about their work.

On Saturday I visited the Salon again this time with my sons, in the hope of planting the seed of an interest in watches early. They were very impressed by the chocolate offered at the Fears Departure lounge.

Salon QP – 2017

The highlight  of this time of year for British watch enthusiasts for several years has is the Salon QP watch exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery.

Despite there being less brands showing this year I am still looking forward to some announcements from British brands.

Nicholas Bowman-Scargill of Fears watches has told me they will be announcing three new watches. Since their launch at last year’s Salon QP, Fears have so far added a grey variant to their existing bue and white faced Redcliffe watch. Nicholas assures me the new launches will be more than just an additional colour.

Then following alphabetical order we come to Garrick who will be announcing two new  watches firstly an addition to the Portsmouth family. This will feature a guilloché dial, offered in two variants, grey (pictured below) or silver.

Portsmouth with guilloché dial

Then, Garrick will unveil a totally new timepiece, the S1. This watch is built by master watchmaker, Craig Baird, and finished entirely by hand. This is Garrick’s most complicated timepiece to date, featuring a skeletonised dial and incorporating a power reserve indicator. Only five S1 timepieces will be made per annum, conferring a high degree of exclusivity.

Moving along the alphabet, after being absent from last year’s show Schofield from Sussex will be back. I am really looking forward to finally seeing the Daymark watch in the metal. We should also get a chance to see the new version of the Bronze Beater, that will be available in raw un-treated metal or chemically aged.

The Bronze Beater 2

From the images I have seen, I assume I am going to prefer the “raw” version. As well as watches we will get to see the new quirky range of straps from the joint endeavour with Simon Cudd – Schofield + Cudd.

Then no longer the alphabet we come to Pinion. I am covering them last as they will not be exhibiting at the Salon. They will however be showing their new Atom model (below) at the Watchmaker’s Club event held on the Wednesday before.

Pinion Atom

So I for one am still looking forward to Salon QP running from November 2nd to 4th at the Saatchi Gallery, King’s Rd, London

 

Daniels’ Space Travellers

Just in case you missed this news, which I guess is unlikely, I wanted to mark this important landmark in history of British watchmaking.

George Daniels’ Space Travellers was recently sold at auction for £3.2m. a new record for a British watch.

Space Travellers – photo Sothebys

The BBC reported  Sotheby’s Head of  International Watch Division, Daryn Schnipper said: “The Space Travellers’ watch is no doubt one of Daniels’ finest timepieces and one can only be mesmerised by the beauty of its dial and the complexity and wonder of its movement.”

 

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

 

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.

Bremont – Norton Evening

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.

Stuart Garner – Norton Motorcycles

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.

Norton V4RR – the actual TT Bike

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.

Bremont Norton V4

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 back of the Bremont Norton V4

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.

Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Smith – Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève Jury

British Watchmaker – Roger Smith

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 !

Dennison Denco53 – review

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.

Dennison in Grinidge
Dennison in Grinidge

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.

The complete package
The complete package

Inside the leather watch case there is an additional strap and a very useful spring bar tool.

Inside the Dennison watch case
Inside the Dennison watch case

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.

Back of DENCO53
Back of DENCO53

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.

DENC053 on a NATO
DENC053 on a NATO

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.

For full technical details and pricing you should visit the companies website  at https://dennisonwatches.com/watches/denco53-black-dial/