Tag Archives: British Uhren

Pinion Atom

For a couple of months I have been the proud owner of a rare first series Pinion Atom, which are now no longer  available. For those of you not familiar with the Atom, it is the first watch from Pinion to use a Japanese Miyota movement.

Pinion Atom

At £790, this watch offered a lower entry price than that usually associated with Pinion, whilst maintaining many of the qualities and design elements for which the brand has become known .

As the owner of a Pinion Pure Bronze I was very keen to compare the two watches.

Next to the Pure the obvious difference is the case material and size. The Atom having a 41mm bead  blasted steel case. Then their is the movement, the Miyota 9015 being an automatic. The Atom case is slightly shorter than the Pure and has 20mm lugs rather than 22mm. Despite these differences the two watches are very clearly from the same parents.  Which given the price difference is by no means a small achievement.

Pure & Atom
Pure & Atom profiles

I am a big fan of manual movements, I am attracted to the apparent simplicity and the ritual of winding the watch in the morning. So initially hearing the movement of the automatic rotor in the Atom was a little disconcerting. I have seen other reviews mentioning this, but once I compared the Atom to other watches in my collection in particular a Seiko 5 it is fair to say “they all do it”.

The other difference to many of my watches is the date window. This is a feature I personally unnecessarily clutters the dial, as without the aid of glasses I am usually unable to read.

So getting these minor gripes over with I would like to cover the overall experience of living with the Atom. The dominant feature is clearly the beautifully finished  black dial  with a gillouched machined centre and the sword hands, This shape hands being a first from Pinion . The detailing belies the apparent simplicity of this field watch style dial, with numerals in the Pinion style and the two different levels of black. The small date window placed above the 6, the numerals of the date wheel also use the same Pinion font. Details that become evident if you give this watch more than a quick glance. Finally, for those with very good eyesight the word England appears beneath the six.

The 41mm bead blasted steel case that possibly represents a new direction for Pinion. The Atom being the first to feature bead blasting. This has now been followed by the Atom ND, and the recently announced TT (Twin Time). In my hands this finished has proved to be very resilient. I use this watch as my “doing things” watch and there are still now signs of scratches or blemishes of any kind. The lugs are the now almost standard 20mm which is a godsend for habitual strap swappers like myself, although I wondered whether a slightly larger 22mm might not have suited the watch a little better.

Atom on sand Nato

For anyone who dedicate less time to strap switching than me this watch was supplied with a lovely  rugged brown leather strap with a neat looking branded buckle which rather than the more usual spring bars is attached with little screws.

Atom on original strap

Turning the watch over you find a solid case back. I have never been a fan of display backs, especially on tool watches. As you see the Atom case back is tastefully decorated with an Atomic design.

Atom Case Back

Then should you need any more convincing that this is a practical watch, instead of coming in a beautifully designed box, for which you have to find cupboard space for, it comes in a beautiful handmade  watch roll.

Pinion Watch Roll

I think Pinion have managed to pull off nicely the idea of a well designed and finished watch at a lower cost. It will be very  interesting  to see where this watch leads. As mentioned above we have already seen some indications of this direction with announcement of the TT and the short run of Atom NDs (No date).

Farer Automatic Chronograph

Farer’s launch of an automatic chronograph took me a little by surprise, mainly because it was my first week back from my holidays which meant me having to catch up on paying day job. This is not the first time this has happened since the brand appeared in 2015. I must get better at seeing their PR releases.

Farer Cobb

 

The new range consists of three versions the Cobb (above), the brown dialed Eldridge and  mint handed Segrave.

The 39mm cases are built around the Swiss-made ETA 2894-2 Élaboré movement. The 316L stainless steel outer case profile has a depth of just 12.5m, the drop lugs should keep the straps tight to create a case that hugs the wrist.

Farer Eldridge
Farer Segrave
Farer Segrave

 

These new additions to the Farer range nicely follow the design code of the previous models of traditional looking case designs combined with modern color ways on their dials.

I have still yet to try any of the Farer range so must reserve final judgement but these very individual pieces do look great value at £1675.

 

6BB – Fabulous Four

The launch of the  Vertex M100 made many of us non-military specific watch enthusiasts familiar with the concept of the “Dirty Dozen” , a series of watches built by different manufacturers to British Ministry of Defence specifications. Given the number of watches and the limited numbers of particular watches available this is quiet a difficult collection to complete.

For those wanting  a different challenge I have recently discovered the “ Fabulous Four” , or 6BB aircrew chronographs from the ‘70/80s. Four companies were contracted to produce these watches over that period: Hamilton, CWC, Newmark and Precista (prior to the 1970s there had been others).

 

6BB Design

 

These watches were based on the MOD specification DEF-STAN 66-4 (Part 2) issued in April 1970 which included a small but significant change from its previous version of 1969 . It  allowed for pilot’s chronograph cases to feature either one or two “pushpieces,” or buttons, to control the watch’s chronograph function. That change allowed for manufactures to use the cheaper Valjoux 7733 movement.

These mechanical chronographs were eventually phased out in favour of watches with quartz movements.

Modern versions of three of the watches CWC, Precista and Hamilton  are available and now the Newmark version is being re-launched via a Kickstarter offer this month. This watch re-edition is of the watch issued to RAF crew in 1980 but with the modern a reliable Seiko VK64A Meca Quartz movement.

The specifications will be :

16L Brushed Stainless Steel case
Case Diameter 38mm 12 – 6 and 41mm 3 – 9
Lug to Lug Length 46.5mm
Total Height (including crystal) 12.8mm
Lug Width 20mm
Water Resistant to 50 Metres

Domed Acrylic crystal with tension ring
Matt black dial with Super Luminova C3
Frosted steel hands with Super Luminova C3

The initial images look promising.

The new Newmark 6BB

For those making an early commitment the watch will be available for £200.

I am keen to understand more about this watch although my initial thought are slight disappointment at the choice of movement, I would have preferred to see a mechanical one. However, I reserve judgement until I actually see one of the watches.

If you are interested you can visit the companies website.

 

 

Fears Brunswick

I have been following very closely the development of the Fears Watch Company since before the launch at the Salon QP two years ago.

The company launched with the very nicely built quartz powered Radcliffe range. This was an understandable first step for the relaunch of a company, self-funded by the young Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, but does limit the appeal of the watches to many watch lovers. During my various conversations with Nicholas I understood that he would at sometime in the future launch some more traditional mechanically powered watches. With this in mind I was excited when we arranged to meet to chat about the next Fears developments. Nicholas excitedly pulled out the Redcliffe Continental, still quartz powered.  We spent sometime discussing the obvious merits of this addition to the range. Then came the real surprise, these drawings below, for a hand wound mechanical watch.

Brunswick inspiration

The Brunswick, named after the location in Bristol of the old export department, was launched at last years Salon QP to considerable acclaim. The watch has been made in batches of fourteen, so there are not many available, so when Nicholas dropped me a note offering me the chance to review an example of the watch I jumped at it. The watch I have been wearing for the last week is the prototype, which Nicholas pointed out does not have the brass movement ring of the production watch and should not be considered waterproof.

You may have read that I am sceptical about the need for large luxurious boxes for watches mainly due to the storage limitations of many modern homes. This said the box from Fears is a work of art, so maybe I can reconsider. As you will see from the pictures the black ash box features an engraved map of Brunswick Square, which is just one of the amazing details.

The box

The watch arrived with a beautiful black leather strap, which  as an irregular suit wearer, I find a little too formal for everyday use. I therefore swapped it over a series of Perlon straps which add to the slightly retro feel the cushion case gives. For the summer I particularly like the light grey strap.

Brunswick on grey perlon

Having said that I was also quiet keen also on the versaltilty of the brown version as well.

Brunswick and brown perlon

Then if you want to feel even more summery, you could try a brighter perlon – green maybe.

Brunswick on green perlon

I also tried a blue Fears leather strip from my colleagues Redcliff Continental, which combined very well with the really nice blue skeleton hands which are such an important feature of this watch.

Brunswick on blue leather

I think I have demonstrated what a versatile watch the Brunswick is. It could really be all the watch you need that watch many enthusiasts are searching – the “one watch”.

It satisfies all my “one watch” criteria :

  • It has “classic” good looks
  • It has 100m water resistant
  • The straps are very easily changed
  • It has a proven reliable Swiss movement
  • It can do “smart” or “casual”

Apart from versatility what makes this watch “one watch” material is the detailing and quality. The more you look at it the more you notice, from the different finishes on the various surfaces of the case, to the beautifully traditional looking cold enameled face. If you listen to Chris Mann’s  excellent Time4apint podcast about the Brunswick , Nicholas explains in quiet some detail the extra ordinary amount of work that the British watchmakers, that he works with, put into making this beautiful cushion case watch. So thanks to Chris I am saved the time of going into a great deal of detail, which I would anyway do badly.

In conclusion this is a lovely watch that shows what this young brand is capable of – I for one am really looking forward to see what comes after this – watch this space.

 

New Pinion Atom – the ND

Atom ND – No date

The original batch of Pinion’s entry level watch should by now all be sold. For anyone that was not able to get hold of one all is not lost I recently received a newsletter announcing a release of a further 30 Atoms, These watches will differ slightly from the original principally by not having a date window. a feature that will not be missed by those of us who have difficulty in reading date windows on the vast majority of watches. As you will see the dial design will also be  returning to the familiar Pinion use of only 12,3,6 and 9 numbers.

Whilst I am writing about this new watch I thought it might also be a great opportunity to reflect on my experiences with my original  Atom.

This watch has now become my goto “doing things” watch. It enables me to wear a British watch in riskier situations than  would feel comfortable with other watches. It has effectively taken the place of my Hamilton Khaki that previously filled that role. The Atom is suited to this use for several reasons. It has 10 ATM water resistance, the case is slim so less likely to be bashed and of course the bullet proof Miyota automatic movement. Japanese automatic movements have always given me the idea they can take more punishment than their European cousins.

Original leather strap and buckle

For the summer and to increase the “doing things” suitability I have chosen to swap the really nice original strap with its great buckle with a variety of fabric straps. Although this strap is too nice not to return in the autumn.

Atom on sand Nato
Atom on Grey Nato

Below is my current favorite, a green MN from Erika’s Originals, The elasticity and the absence of the need to “fold back” making these straps for me the “thinking man’s” nato.

Atom & MN Strap

With these comments I am maybe getting my blog entries in the wrong order, a proper review of the original Atom should have come first. Be sure I am onto it.

Just in case you cannot wait here are the essential details of the original Atom.

Watch features

  • Automatic Japanese mechanical movement
  • Time in hours, minutes
  • Hacking seconds
  • Date display
  • Push in crown
  • Stainless steel case back, engraved
  • 20mm Handmade leather strap ( in various options ).

Movement

  • Japanese Miyota 9015
  • Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
  • Jewels: 24
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Winding: Automatic / self-winding

Watch

  • Case: 316L Stainless steel, matt bead-blasted finish
  • Glass: Sapphire, convex with anti-reflective coating on the inside
  • Water resistance: 10AT (100 metres)
  • Diameter: 41mm excluding crown
  • Case height: 10.5mm
  • Total watch height ( Lug to lug ends ): 50mm

Launching a Watch Brand

I am full of admiration for the people I have met who have launched their own watch brand. I have spoken at length with several about the trials and tribulations before watch they want to present to the world is ready to be marketed.

Two of the companies that have emerged since I have been blogging are Hamtun and Marloe, neither of which I have had the the chance to meet in person. These two companies both chose to fund their watches via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Hamtun with their value divers watch, the H1 and Marloe the hand wound Cherwell.

The thing both brands have is their founders have chosen to give some insight into the design process and why they made certain decisions on their company websites.

Interesting references for anyone thinking of following in their footsteps.

In this piece Ross Davis discuss why they chose the movements they have so for. https://hamtun.co/blogs/news/watch-movements-we-use

And then below is a video from Marloe watches discussing the design process.

 

Maybe these items and those that follow might inspire more British brands to start 🙂

 

 

 

Vertex M100B

Today I received more details of the second watch from the re-launched Vertex the all black M100B. I wrote briefly about this watch last week but lacked good quality images. Well here they are and looking pretty impressive.

M100B – photo Vertex

 

M100B + Red NATO photo Vertex

Blacked out watches are fashionable so one could be cynical and think Vertex are just following fashion but in their defence Don Cochrane has a credible explanation. The black case and rubber strap bring the M100B in line with the demands of a modern military
timepiece.
“I would like to think that, had the technology been available, the original W.W.W Cal59 made by Vertex
in WW2 would have been designed to be non-reflective. Creating the M100B has allowed us show just
how perfect that would have been and, we could not be more thrilled with the result “

As you might guess from the images above in addition to the rubber strap the watch comes with two NATO straps. The rubber strap lookes really nice in the photos, I am particularly happy to see the “easy-release” spring bars, making switching straps a breeze.

So most would agree the watch is cool, the good news is that it can be purchased , unlike the M100, without referral. The catch is there will only be 150 made, so hurry.

I am looking forward to getting to see one in the metal before they all go.

Vertex M100B specifications

• Custom ETA 7001 mechanical movement with rhodium finish and Cotes de Genève decoration
• In keeping with our previous Vertex movements, the ratchet wheel is engraved with Vertex
• Brushed steel DLC case, box crystal glass, waterproof to 100m
• Moulded Super-LumiNova™ dial
• Hand wound with 42-hour reserve
• Black dial with arabic numerals to maximise legibility, in homage to the Vertex W.W.W watch of 1944
• Packaged in a Peli case with three straps – a black rubber two-piece strap and two bespoke nylon NATOstyle
straps in Black and Red, all with black DLC hardware
• Price: £2,625 available via www.vertexblack.com

Christopher Ward – gosh

I thought Christopher Ward merit an honorable mention this week, they have recently announced some really nice looking watches which move them significantly away from the generic styles. The latest one to really catch my eye is this the C65 Trident Diver.

C65 Trident Diver – photo Chr. Ward

As you can see the look is vintage but I am not able to identify any particular watch as the inspiration, though I am sure there is someone out there that can.

This watch has  a useful casual but smart look, a diver that is not so “in your face” as the usual desk divers whilst retaining all the practicality. A cool trick.

The specifications are:

  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Height: 11.55mm
  • Weight: 65g
  • Calibre: Sellita SW210 (hand wound)
  • Case: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Water resistance: 15 ATM (150 metres)
  • Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
  • Timing tolerance: +15/-15 seconds per day
  • Dial colour: Blue or Black
  • Lug to lug: 47.1mm
  • Strap width: 22mm
  • Leather or Rubber strap
  • Price €870

I would really like to see one for real. The only potential negative for me might be the 41mm case size, I am curious to see how it wears.

Here is the usual nice video from Christopher Ward

 

 

Vertex & Fears

In my waiting for the next review I have posted very little recently. So just to keep things rolling along a little I thought I should give a quick update on the latest news I have picked up.

The biggest story as far as I am concerned is the announcement on Friday of a second watch from the revived Vertex brand, the M100B. I guess the “B” standing for black as this watch is essentially the same watch as the original M100 but with a black case and a rubber strap.

The only picture I could find at the moment is this  “screen shot” from Instagram.

 

Vertex M100B

This watch will be limited to 150 pieces, as yet I am not sure of the requirements for getting hold of one. I hope to find out more once the official press release is published.

This launch co-incides with the first anniversary of the re-launched Vertex brand.

The other newsworthy event for me was the Pop- Up Fears Museum evening held at Picketts in Mayfair. This was a very enjoyable evening to which Nicholas Bowman-Scargill bought, as well his current range, also some examples of past Fears watches.

Some historical Fears watches

In the picture above you can see on the far right the watch that inspired the new Brunswick, which by all accounts is selling very well.

Some later examples of Fears

 

When I last met Nicholas he was very proud of the gold watch at the top of this collection – an inspiration for a future model ?