Tag Archives: David Brailsford

Catching Up

It has been a while since I have posted anything, I am sorry if you are a returning visitor and found nothing new. My only excuse is that I was away for a weeks holiday which meant I had a fair bit of catching up to do on my day job.

Whilst I have been absent a couple of interesting articles have come up in the press about British watch brands.

The most recent being Hodinkee’s piece on the relaunched Vertex brand.

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/vertex-dirty-dozen-watch-reborn-military

Vertex M100
Vertex M100

Personally I like the look of the watch and the idea of relaunching a family brand is somehow more “authentic” than inventing heritage. Some Hodinkee readers have made less favourable comments. But for the moment Don Cochrane ,the brands’s owner, only has to please 60 people.

Earlier there was an interesting interview wth David Brailsford of Garrick Watches on the Mrwatchmaster blog.

http://mrwatchmaster.com/collectors-world-david-brailsford/

David Brailsford
David Brailsford

So that is a little catching done. This week I have my first Redbar event which I am looking forward to.

 

Salon QP 2016 – Saturday

This event has now the highlight of my Grinidgetime calendar. It is an opportunity for me to meet in person many of the people I have been writing about over the year. Given the number of people that also want to meet these people I limit these meetings to a quick hello, just to put a face to Grinidgetime. Last year I managed to shake the hand of the great Roger Smith.  This year  there was at least his “Great Britain” watch.

Roger Smith - Great Britain
Roger Smith – Great Britain

Again, I have to mention I was disappointed that neither Meerson, Pinion or Schofield were exhibiting this year.  I was also disappointed that Farer did not have a stand, the brand caught me a little by surprise and I really like their new range of automatics.

Our first port of call was The Deep Time diver’s watch exhibition where I really enjoyed seeing an early Panerai, a Blancpain  Fifty Fathoms and an Eterna Kontiki  helps which remind us there are alternatives to Rolex Submariners. The first British stop was the Bremont stand, which disappointingly look identical to last year’s.  So I moved swiftly onto the first floor where  to see the Christopher Ward stand, this year featuring  Morgan three wheeler to highlight the relationship between the two companies. There was also  their star watchmaker Johannes Jahnke working away at a bench.

 Johannes Jahnke
Johannes Jahnke

Then up to the second floor where I almost literally bumped into Nicholas B-W of Fears Watches looking very pleased with himself. The show was going very well. Chatting with Nicholas he explained a little more to me about the philosophy of the brand. Apparently, he had been advised that the brands history would permit them to be much more upmarket. Nicholas explained that he thought this would be a betrayal of what the brand had been, good value watches with Swiss movements. He went on to explain that one key design feature of the Radcliff watch was legibility in the dark, interestingly having the date window is key in being able to orientate the watch.

My editorial assistant ( my just teenage son) was very impressed, He was even more impressed when Nicholas let him try on “watch No. 1”

#1 Redcliff + # 1 Son
#1 Redcliff + # 1 Son

The next stop was to say hello Toby Sutton to see how Dennison was going a year from their launch at last year’s Salon. He was wearing the material Denco53 with the French paratrooper strap which is a really great combination. This is the only picture I have managed to find, you must admit this strap looks made for this watch.

Next was Robert Loomes; I wanted to congratulate him on his talk the day before and of course to have a closer look at the new Stamford. I also had the pleasure of meeting his wife Robina, apparently the strategic mind of the couple. Robert was his usual enthusiastic self and was very pleased with the reception the watch had received at the show. It looks like he will be busy for sometime to come.

Our last “British” stop was to see the new “Portsmouth” at the Garrick stand. Here I had hoped to get some pictures of the watch, unfortunately exhibition cases and and an iPhone prevented this. So here is a picture from the Garrick website.

Garrick Portsmouth
Garrick Portsmouth

David Brailsford of Garrick was a another happy man. He told me sales at the show were going very well. They had sold out of there Regulator model and the Portsmouth was generating a great deal of interest despite the £17,995 price. So the Norfolk watchmaker is going to busy for sometime as well. Finally, I managed to resolve a doubt I had been harboring for a while, David confirmed to me that the watch was originally going to be called the Plymouth. Being Hampshire born I am much happier with this name.

So to sum up, another very enjoyable show this year. The best news being the great the great reception that the British brands exhibiting are receiving from everyone. Well done.

 

Garrick Portsmouth

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.

The Garrick Portsmouth
The Garrick Portsmouth

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.

 

Garrick – David Brailsford

David Brailsford, the founder of Garrick watches tweeted he was in London on Friday afternoon and some free time if anybody wanted to meet and see some watches. I thought “why not ask?” the worst that can happen is he says “no”, luckily he said he had a free slot. I had the chance to meet another “pillar” of the British watch business.

Garrick launched at the Salon QP two years ago with their first watch, The Shaftbury, based on the venerable Unitas hand wound movement. Significantly worked on in Garrick’s  Norfolk workshop.

Garrick Shaftesbury
Garrick Shaftesbury

Early last year The Shaftesbury was followed by the Hoxton, a  pared down hours and minutes only version of the first watch. This autumn saw the announcement of the maritime inspired, Norfolk watch, as you can see from the photo below, I had the opportunity to try on.

Garrick Norfolk - on my wrist
Garrick Norfolk – on my wrist

The Norfolk is not a watch for wearers wanting to make a statement; it’s a watch for those of a more reserved nature, those who appreciate tone-down purity, who just want the essentials.

The watch that David was most keen on to discuss was the most recent addition to the Garrick range, the limited edition ( 15 pieces) Regulator, again seen on my wrist below. On sale for £6995, which for the amount of work that has gone into it would seem a bit of a bargain.

The limited edition Garrick Regulator
The limited edition Garrick Regulator

This watch features a calibre sm001 manual wind movement (modified Unitas with exclusive gear train with an in-house free sprung balance – tested and regulated to ensure a daily variance of +3 seconds which is significantly more accurate than required by C.O.S.C. . David tried to explain to me ( a layman) the complicated work needed for the three dials.

Two finishes for the Regulator, DLC and polished steel
Two finishes for the Regulator, DLC and polished steel

Personally, I find the regular dial a little less clear than the usual watch face. David assured me it just takes getting used to. There is though, no doubt, that this watch  will get attention. It is probably a shame only fifteen will be made.

The Shaftesbury and Hoxton will soon disappear from the range leaving the Norfolk , the limited edition Regulator and the soon too be announced Plymouth featuring an in-house movement. For this movement Garrick has been working closely with specialist movement designer Andreas Strehler and his highly regarded company UhrTeilAG on the creation of a new exclusive movement. Some of the movement components will be produced by UhrTeilAG exclusively for Garrick, whilst other components will be made in-house by Garrick’s own watchmakers in its Norfolk-based workshops.

The finishing, subsequent assembly and regulation of the new movement will take place in Norfolk.

From the outset, it has always been a stated aim of Garrick to be frank about the provenance of its movements and this continues to be the case. We have drawn upon the best of independent Swiss know-how where this has conferred an advantage to their customers but remained true to their original idea of adding as much value to our products in Great Britain, a nation they patriotically promote. David, like so many people I have met in the British watch business, is someone clearly very proud of what he is doing and with great dreams for the future of the Garrick brand.

 

 

 

Monochrome – INTERVIEW: David Brailsford about Garrick and British Watchmaking

Monochome Watches yesterday published this interview on their website. The words are here, however if you also want to see the pictures follow this link :   Garrick Interview

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This week we had the pleasure of sitting down with David Brailsford, the Founder of Garrick Watches to discuss British watchmaking, collaborations and what the future holds for the brand. Garrick was launched only last year, and they’ve already introduced a second model, the Hoxton with calibre SM302. Our new reporter from the UK, London-based Justin Hast, sat down with David Brailsford to learn more about Garrick and its future plans.

For starters some photos of the Shaftsbury that was introduced last year. In our write-ups on this piece, which also covered a part of history of British watchmaking, we told you about its seriously modified movement that is equipped with a free sprung balance – that plus some of the new bridges are made in Britain.

Mono: Why do you feel there has been a resurgence of British Watchmaking?

DB: I don’t feel that there has been a resurgence of watchmaking. There has certainly been a resurgence in British watch brands but not necessarily watchmaking. Britain has some great watchmakers, however, starting a watch brand is prohibitively expensive, indeed it is extremely difficult to build a watch in this country. The industrialised production of watches has seen the Swiss and Germans become the dominant players in the market enjoying great economies of scale.

Mono: What percentage of your business is bespoke commissions?

DB: Approximately 50% but we hope to increase this to 90%

Mono: What attracted you to the Unitas movement for both the Shaftesbury and Hoxton?

It was always our intention to build a hand-wound watch. The Unitas 6498 has been a reliable movement for many years. The movement facilitates modification allowing us to fulfil the needs and expectations of our clientele.

Mono: Where did you get the names for both models from?

DB: As a British brand, we wanted names that were synonymous with our great nation.

Mono: Why did you choose to have a free sprung balance wheel?

DB: We felt it was very important to create something unique and showcase our in-house technical expertise. A free-sprung balance using Invar, a thermally compensated alloy for the balance wheel and a Nivarox hairspring conferred benefits in terms of accuracy, however we appreciate that this approach would prove difficult for large organisations to serially produce reaffirming our belief that small is beautiful.The watch is accurate to +3 seconds irrespective of the position in which the watch is held in.

Mono: Why did you choose to finish the bridges with a Côtes de Genève style?

DB: It was very important to showcase traditional watchmaking skills. I think our clients take great delight in knowing that every movement is finished by hand. We chose to impart the Cotes de Geneve motif to the bridges employing a narrow stripe. This accentuates the slim bridges which freely disclose the micro-mechanics beneath.

Mono: Do you feel dress watches are moving towards smaller proportions (as seen in years gone by) as apposed to the seemingly larger and larger trend?

DB: Yes, I do. I have never been a fan of larger watches and have always found that most collectors dislike oversized wristwatches and I perceive that cases of 39-40mm will prove popular in the future. It is worth mentioning that the diameter of the movement dictates the size of the case.

Mono: Your dials and hands are made in-house, can you tell us a bit more about how you developed these?

DB: We turn the dial on a lathe from brass or aluminium and these are known as dial blanks. All surfaces have to be extensively cleaned prior to the pattern being imparted to the dial surface using engine turning techniques. This process alone takes one hour per dial. Thereafter, we bead blast the dial to remove any imperfections prior to it being dispatched to a local company to be anodised. Alternatively some dials are enamelled by our in-house artisans. The chapter rings are secured to the dial using either stainless steel or thermally blued screws. Our thermally blued screws are heat treated by hand, on a bed of copper filings.

Many people inquire as to why we don’t countersink the screws. The rationale for our decision was to confer depth to the dial surface. Furthermore, we wanted to accentuate the blue hues of the thermally blued screws which glisten in ambient light. Part of the Garrick paradigm is the concept of bespoke, therefore if a customer wants the screws to be countersunk we will gladly accede to their request. Potentially every Garrick watch is unique.

Mono: What is your vision for Garricks movements in the future?

DB: We are very proud to have Simon Michlmayr FBHI as part of our creative team. Simon along with a talented team of English based Swiss trained watchmakers, craft timepieces by hand to exacting standards.

It is important to Garrick that we continue to innovate new movements and timepieces and we are actively progressing new concepts and designs.
We are currently working on some exciting projects which include plans for a new movement.

Mono: As we see more and more brands collaborate with groups and societies do you foresee Garrick doing the same in the future?

DB: Absolutely. Watch this space!

Mono: What does 2015 have in store for Garrick?

DB: We are delighted with our journey so far, however, we are not complacent and recognise that both challenges and opportunities lie ahead. We plan further innovative products imbued with a high degree of British content.

We believe that whilst we are a small company, compared to most larger players, this bestows benefits such as flexibility, short lead times and the capacity to meet individual needs and it is for this reason we are optimistic for the rest of 2015 and beyond.