For those of you not on the Pinion mailing list I thought I should highlight the latest news from one of my favourite brands. The announcement of the latest version of the Atom.
I only know what I have read on the press releases. The new watch is the result of a Pinion asking enthusiasts and collectors what they would like to see in a new Atom. As a result I am pleased to see that Piers Berry, the Pinion founder and designer, has gone for a smaller 39mm case size and, despite the cost advantage offered by a Japanese movement, chosen a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. He has come up with an individual looking modern tool watch, that clearly shows its Pinion DNA.
The watches will be produced in batches of 50 the first being available in February 2019 for £1050. The price will then increase to £1150.
So sign up for one quickly here on Pinion’s website
Personally, I am looking forward very much to seeing one of these watches in the steel.
I have been very slow in picking up this British watch brand. My only possible excuse is that when they launched in 2015 it was with a range of quartz watches. When I started this blog I ignored, unfairly, these companies. I have now realised that watches with quartz movements are a perfectly legitimate route to getting a brand to market.
The Barnato model, above, is a great example from the quartz range, priced at a reasonable £420
THE original collection of “net-retro styled” watches is named after British explorers, inspiring individuals who perfectly define the true spirit of Farer: daring, courageous and filled with ambition beyond the ordinary. From Amy Johnson – Britain’s most famous female aviatrix – to Everest climber, George Mallory and Tutankhamun archaeologist Howard Carter.
The 316L steel cases come in a fashionable 39.5mm size. With quick release straps on 20mm lugs. The movements either being Ronda 512, in the GMT models, or 600D in the watches with the sub-dial.
All Farer watches are designed in London and manufactured by their Swiss manufacturing partners, Roventa-Henex,.
With the arrival of their Automatics at the end of last year, they have taken inspiration from the famous vessels that carried Britain’s most brilliant explorers around the globe. The first three Automatics are named Beagle, Endurance and Hopewell.
The automatics use the proven ETA 2824-2 movements and are very similar in style to the original quartz range.
Everything I have read so far about these watches is very complimentary. I am looking forward to getting a closer look.
Last week was a busy week for me, watch wise. The key event probably being the launch or revival of the Dennison brand. Important for me personally because I first came across the brand at the Salon QP last year where Toby, the founder, told me about their launch in February.
The original Dennison Watch Case Co. Ltd was established in 1905 by Franklin Dennison and his son Major Gilbert Dennison.
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. 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.
The Dennison name fell dormant until 2010, when Toby Sutton of Watches of Knightsbridge registered the trademark and began working on a revival.
Inspired by the expedition pieces of the 1950s, the revival watches, have their cases produced in the UK using some machinery from the original Dennison factory. Inside are ETA-2824 movements .
The launch event was held in a private London club in association with Bruichladdich Whiskey. I arrived too late to hear the Jon Gupta and Tony Douglas the two brand ambassadors chat, but in time for the whiskey.
I then managed to have a quick talk to Toby to try on the prototypes. My first impressions, and those of everyone I heard around me , were very positive; at 38mm the case size is perfect for my normal wrist. (below together with my Smiths)
Toby will concentrate on the existing range of three watches for the foreseeable though he is passing an eye over historical Dennison models. One style that he has considered is the cushion shape, which we agreed is a style that is becoming more popular.
The first 50 watches will be ready for shipping on May 6th priced from £2400. To order or simply for more information visit their website www.dennisonwatches.com
The latest newsletter from Pinion, that arrived this morning, announced that the Axis II range now consists of a choice of three cases, Steel, Bronze and Black DLC. Each being available either with a closed or exhibition back. One interesting “Pinion Fact” is that emerged from reading about these watches was that the Bronze Axis was the first bronze watch from a modern British company.
The Supermarine Spitfire was, arguably, the most iconic military plane of the 20th Century and even today the unmistakable growl of its Rolls-Royce Merlin engine flying overhead evokes an emotional response in men and women of all ages.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, when Christopher Ward wanted to create a series of timepieces celebrating Britain’s unparalleled aviation history they turned to the Spitfire for inspiration. In the plane’s cockpit they discovered the Smith’s Mark II A clock which became the inspiration for the C8’s dial language.
The incredible Farnborough Wind Tunnels, have also been interpreted on the C8 Flyer Automatic’s back-plate. These breath-taking examples of industrial art/science that honed the aerodynamics of many British aircraft, including the Spitfire and Concorde, have their magnificent mahogany blades and perforated steel surrounds perfectly represented using the signature Christopher Ward three-dimensional deep-etched stamping process.
One of watchmaking’s most reliable automatic movements is encased by a precision engineered, marine-grade stainless-steel case, with an oversized crown designed to make adjustment easier for the aviator’s glove-bound hands.
Add in the beautifully crafted vintage leather strap incorporating a hand-sewn whip stitch or, if you intend wearing the C8 over a flying jacket, our fine leather NATO strap, and it is clear you will be wearing a watch of rare distinction and uncompromising quality.
Self-winding mechanical movement
38 Hour power reserve
Central hacking seconds
44mm hand finished, marine grade stainless steel case
Screw-in back plate with Farnborough wind tunnel design
Aviators diamond crown with CW logo
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Specially developed, bespoke Vintage Radium SuperLuminova hands and indices
Whip stitch vintage leather strap with CW motif buckle
Beautiful presentation case, owner’s handbook and microfibre cleaning cloth
Calibre: Sellita SW200-1 (or ETA 2824-2) – stock dependent
Water Resistance: 5 ATM
Vibrations: 28800 per hour
Timing tolerance: +20/-20 seconds per day
Given my internet search habits another “English brand” has presented itself to me, Harold Pinchbeck. Their range is based on Swiss movements, both quartz and ETA mechanical. Here is what they say about they say about themselves.
Harold Pinchbeck is not merely an ‘English brand’: each and every watch is actually designed, built and finished in this country. According to an article in The Mail on Sunday, about ten million watches are sold in the UK every year! Sadly, very few of these are actually made in Britain, a complete reversal of the situation of fifty years ago. We may be a small manufacturer, but we are doing our bit to reverse this trend.
Photographs show how our watches look, but not the thought that goes into their making. The further up our range you look, the more you will find that your watch’s parts are made, not only in Britain, but by small engineering firms and individual craftsmen. It’s a joy to work with these people, whose expertise has been handed down through the generations. It is a world away from mass production.
Just as in the 18th Century, each watch design begins its life on a sketchpad, although today it is soon transferred to a computer to create the working drawings.
The small watchmaker has always employed the services of independent experts, and this is still true in the 21st Century. For example, our dials are made by the country’s oldest-established specialists, who made their first dials for a locomotive in 1820, and who now produce dials for some of the world’s most prestigious cars.
Many of our steel parts are made by local engineers, who use the latest computer controlled machines to achieve the required accuracy. By contrast, the leather straps on our bespoke watches are created by a craftsman who uses no tools at all: just hand tools and traditional methods. And we are proud to include fine Swiss movements in all our watches.
These parts are brought together in a workshop (not a factory), where a skilled craftsman assembles them into the finished watch. This work can’t be rushed: it’s painstaking, requiring good eyesight and steady hands! When he has built up a watch he examines it from every angle before testing it thoroughly, adjusting it as necessary to ensure reliability and accuracy. Eventually, the case will receive its final polish and inspection, and at this stage the handmade strap is fitted. Only then is the watch ready to be placed in its wooden presentation box, ready to be sent to its owner, together with the five year warranty.
We believe that your watch should gratify your senses: the eyes, the hands and even (through our Tanner Bates straps) the nose. It might be an old fashioned approach, but we believe it makes a welcome change from the anonymous mass production of so many of those ten million watches!
(Above) A Harold Pinchbeck hand-made Christopher watch in the making on the workbench. A truly unique watch being made by real craftsmen.
(Above) Paul Pinchbeck inspects a watch case back with engineer Tim Wilkinson before it becomes part of a Harold Pinchbeck watch
Our watches are hand-built by craftsmen, at a workbench, in an English workshop. Knowing your watch has been made meticulously by human hands, and cared for at every stage, creates an extremely special watch that will be totally unique to you!