Tag Archives: english watch

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.

 

Schofield Daymaker – More news

In their recent bulletin British watch brand  Schofield have given more detail about their new Daymaker model, which for my taste is their best looking watch so far. I especially like the crown.

Schofield Daymaker
Schofield Daymaker

These are the details they are giving currently.

The Daymark costs £3600 inclusive of VAT. Pre-ordering via deposits will be taken in January. Please contact us if you would like to get on the list.
  • Single piece case, like the Beater and Blacklamp, precision made in Germany
  • Stainless steel, vapour blast finish
  • Exhibition case back
  • Sapphire crystals front and back
  • Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement
  • Pull-out crown engraved and filled with our Unicode lighthouse symbol
  • Dial with raised chapter ring with PVD coating
  • Laddered hands with a matt steel finish
  • High contrast daytime visibility
  • Highly luminescent markers for night-time visibility

My only comment is that I would have preferred a manual movement.

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/

 

 

My Salon QP – Friday Robert Loomes

Salon QP is now over for another year. This year, as I have already written, I was a little disappointed that neither Pinion or Schofield were exhibiting. However, now on my fourth year I am getting used to the format of the show and so I am starting to feeling comfortable in the Saatchi Gallery.

QP logoOne learning from last year was that around the show there are also some great presentations from interesting people in the industry. This year the talk that caught my eye was Robert Loomes discussing about how he got to be building his movements in Britain; held on Friday lunchtime. Robert is a super enthusiast who apparently would happily tell everyone about is journey for as long as they are prepared to listen. Salon QP disappointingly limited his time.

Robert’s talk was not limited to his new movement, but his watchmaking history that lead up to this  point. The key to his story would appear to be Roberts, “well, that should be possible” attitude mixed with a healthy dose of patriotism. To cut a long story short the whole enterprise started with a bet. Now this all seems like a recipe for the usual heroic  “could have been, if only ” situation.

The heroine in this story, as in so many, would appear to be Robert’s wife Robina, who in 2011 bought the business and left Robert to get on and do the technical stuff. Robina recognised one of the most important current marketing trends “localisation”, customers, a much better description than consumers, are paying more attention to the origin of the products they buy. This has become very evident in the world of food and drink but is now moving into more durable items such as clothing and of more interest to us, watches. Watches that are now, from a practical point of view redundant, have become more  personal statements leading more people wanting to know more about the story and origins of the product the are buying to make that statement. For many people that includes wanting to support their national industry or even to go as far as wanting to know the people responsible for making their watch. These are the people Robert and Robina sell there watches to.

The "Stamford"
The “Stamford”

In making their new “Stamford” watch Robert and his team have built on they experience of making the Robin watch using modified NOS Smiths movements. The Stamford being a development of that  movement in a case and dial similar to to the Robin. Initially only 24 examples will be made 12 in gold and 12 white gold and maybe one for Robert himself in “stainless gold”. Unfortunately, for those of us with other demands on our salary, the price will be £28,500. I did enquire if there was a chance these prices might drop if production increases and bring economies of scale. The message from was fairly unambiguous from Robert, unlikely. Given the small number of all the components they are are ordering from small local engineering companies it is difficult to lower cost significantly.

Having said all of this I am confident that Robert and Robina will find  24 buyers that believe in their idea of localisation. Congratulations.

Hamtum – Kickstarter launch

Tomorrow, Hamtun Watches are a small Southampton, British based company, launches on Kickstarter on with a goal of £20,000 to begin production.The Hamtun H1, which has been in development just over a year.

The White dial Diver
The White dial Diver

As you can see from the image above the watch promises to be very handsome.

The watch was designed in Southampton, UK and is built in China at a specialist factory.

The British brand  aim to stand out In a sea of “me too” minimalistic Kickstarter watch campaigns, the aim was to build something that was both truly affordable and high quality. Something people would enjoy wearing, not something to wear for a short period and then dispose of.

The H1 is a custom designed 41mm diameter titanium dive watch. With the exception of the movement, everything is custom made to our designs and specifications.

As well as using high-grade titanium, they have  a matte ceramic bezel, 20ATM water resistance, a double domed sapphire crystal (with anti-reflective coating inside and out), and an option of a custom designed titanium bracelet or silicone strap. It’s available in 3 styles. My personal preference going to the more traditional die watch look – white.

The  interesting part is, they are planning to launch on Kickstarter tomorrow, Tuesday 27 September at 5pm BST/midday Eastern/9am Pacific, early backers being offered the chance to buy the watch  at $199. You can see a preview of their campaign now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rossdavis/2033132819?token=7a9e8bd5 which looks like a great deal if the watch lives up to its promised high quality.

A further element I like is the their use of the Seiko NH35A automatic movement rather than the more usual, for Kickstarter brands, Swiss quartz movement. Many people still do not appreciate how tough and reliable Seiko movements are making them ideal for tool type watches.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing these watches in the “metal”.

Offshore Professional

On one of my browsing sessions I came across another British “micro-brand” that has escaped my notice up until now. Offshore Professionalb from Classic Chronographs Ltd whose stated aim is to build unique chronographs under the OFFSHORE Professional model name.

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These are the broad specifications:
  • 44 mm diameter (47.5 mm incl crown), 14.5 mm thick
  • Custom made triple complication 25 jewel Swiss Valjoux automatic movement with anti-magnetic key components
  • Movement manufactured to a customised top echelon grade with decorated and rhodium plated mainplates 
  • Day and Date display 
  • Hour, minute and 1/8 second chronograph
  • Layered shock resistance
  • Pressure rated to 10 ATM (300 ft water depth)
  • Suitable for any climate (tested in the arctic, tropics & middle east) 
  • 4 layer dial designed for maximum low-light and harsh-light visibility
  • C1 Super Luminova solid wafers in hour and minute hand
  • C3 Super Luminova hour markers on dial
  • No luminous markings on subdial or second hands for clear night time legibility of hour and minute hands
  • Silicon impregnated leather strap with rubber core and neoprene anti-sweat lining
  • 316L stainless steel multi-hinge deployment clasp with engraved Trident logo
  • 316L stainless steel bracelet with Trident logo deep engraved into a butterfly clasp
  • Both the bracelet and strap are included with each watch
  • Leather travel case suitable for up to 2 watches
  • 2 year Warranty & a Lifetime Guarantee
 There is a great description of this limits of this guarantee :
There isn’t much in day-to-day life that will destroy one of these watches. If you break a crown, button, sapphire crystal, damage the movement or do anything else from any reasonable level of accident (dropping onto a tiled floor for instance) over the first 2 years of ownership then just send it back and it will be repaired or replaced. Same goes for any water ingress provided you promise you didn’t push the chronograph buttons when swimming.
The warranty extends to the strap, clasp and bracelet. You can swim or shower with the leather strap as it is silicon impregnated to be more waterproof than your skin, but please remember not to apply any mosquito repellents containing high levels of DEET as they will dissolve the neoprene lining and leave a black stain on your wrist.
If you manage to break an OFFSHORE Professional Field Engineer through something not covered by the Warranty, like running over it with a car, then I will replace it at half the price of a new one. This is a lifetime guarantee (my lifetime as I don’t want to pass any liabilities onto my children) regardless of abuse, lack of servicing or number of owners. Failure analysis is a important part of engineering and from a dent or damage size, I can back calculate the impact energy that caused it and the energy levels that were absorbed or transmitted through each of the shock absorbing layers.
More information can be found at the company’s website www.classicchronographs.co.uk

Roger Smith article in FT

I just picked up news of this article from twitter despite having read I thought quiet thoroughly this weekend’s FT. I’ll have another look later or maybe this was an on-line only piece.

Anyway here is a link to the piece

The Full Financial Times article

The most interesting part for me was that   Roger is continuing to invest considerable sums of money in new equipment, he’s not just plodding along making and selling a few very expensive watches.