I have been waiting for what seems like for ever for the latest watch from Pinion, the entry level Atom, to become available.
You might remember I first saw this watch at the Watchmakers Club event before last year’s Salon QP. I was looking forward to getting my hands on one for a review.
Then last week an e-mail arrives from Pinion announcing there were only 20 watches left and once these were gone that was it, or at least until Piers Berry, the founder, changes his mind. So that was it, no watch for me to review.
Salon QP, a more significant watch magazine than my blog, did however manage to get hold of one for review. So I thought I would flag this up to any of you that might not have seen it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last week an interesting tweet from Robert Loomes mentioning they would be showing a new movement at the salon QP this year.
In the interests of investigative journalism I sent an e-mail to Robert himself to see if he was prepared to say more before the official unveiling. Somewhat to my surprise I got an very interesting reply back.
Robert clearly does not want to give away all his secrets but he is interested in the word getting out with a drip drip of information.
To wet our appetite he sent me over this picture of the “Stamford ” movement without jewels or wheels.
The key desire is to have a watch movement with no imported parts, Robert says he has been working towards this for ten years. His company has gradually been making more and more parts to use in their watches based around a stock of 1950’s Smiths movements. They are particularly proud of their enamelled dials.
Robert has gone round the country and re-discovered many of these skills that were popularly believed to have been lost to the country.
The mainplate, cocks and bridge for the “Stamford” are all designed and machined and hand finished in our workshops. Most of the other components are manufactured by small specialist machine shops around the country, either turners ( Robert himself does not use a lathe at work except for a bit of prototyping). Wheels, pinions, winding gear, motionwork, anything which requires turning is easy to outsource once you have a design. Jewels are lasered out for us by another English specialist.
He does not want to get into “Haute Horologies” with weeks of mirror hand-polishing and finishing. He is more interested in producing wristwatches. So the price should be a fraction of AHCI luxury watch producers, ever if it is still a very expensive beast compared with their previous offerings.
This interview with Robert by Hodinkee on there recent tour of British watchmakers gives some great insights into what he is trying to achieve, interestingly he does not mention the movement.
I am really looking forward to seeing this movement at the Salon QP.
A couple of intriguing tweets today announced there would be the presentation of a new watch this evening by the British watch brand Bremont. Somewhat irritatingly no time was given so I had to keep checking to see if anything had been posted every half hour or so.
My checking was rewarded at about 8:00.
Here it is the Bremont DH-88.
The Bremont 2016 Limited Edition celebrates the de Havilland DH-88 Comet, Grosvenor House, the aircraft that captured the world’s imagination with a phenomenal record-breaking flight in 1934 to win the incredible air-race from England to Australia.
The 282 stainless steel and 82 rose gold watches will be produced to commemorate the historical aircraft and to raise funds for the Shuttleworth Collection. The watches feature the BE-54AE chronometer rated chronograph movement with GMT functionality.
No prices announced yet.
For me more details http://www.bremont.com/collection/dh-88/dh-88-ss
A posting on Instagram today reminded me of news that has been trickling out about an in house movement from the British watch makers Struthers. The husband and wife team of Craig and Rebecca Struthers have years of experience of vintage and antique watch restoration are now taking the next step and developing their own movement inspired by 1930’s engineering.
The picture (below) that appeared ion Instagram is of a back plate in German silver. The movement should be ready by the end of this year and in a watch in two yearThe picture (below) that appeared ion Instagram is of a back plate in German silver. The movement should be ready by the end of this year and in a watch in two years.