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.
Due to the usual real life commitments common at this time of year I have had little chance to think of anything in particular to feature this week.
There are however two pieces of news I think is definitely worth mentioning appeared in the latest Pinion newsletter. Firstly, the original Pure range has come to an end but the new model line will feature vintage hand-wound movements in smaller cased watches.
In the same newsletter Piers also announces Pinions’s return to bronze watches with a revamped Axis II.
I am wondering now if these two announcements could be combined into a slightly smaller bronze cased hand wound Pure ?
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.
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.
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.
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.
As I am sure you will have noticed I like the watches from British watch brand Pinion. I was therefore really pleased to receive an e-mail announcing their new watch, the Atom.
Rather than wait to get hold of an example I thought I should get the news out as soon as possible, so this is what Piers the owner and designer of Pinion watches says about this new model.
The Atom inherits all of the design and production qualities seen in the previous collection of watches, but priced at £790 (£658.33 ex.VAT) signals it as the new entry-point to the Pinion family.
Like the Axis II and Pure before it, the Atom is sized at 42mm diameter, (but slimmer in height at 11mm) and is encased in 316L stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish.
Central to the watch, is the dial, coloured black in a smooth satin finish, it features a dominant inner raised level, textured with a geometric machining. The design of the dial follows our graphic code established by previous models and presents typographic numerals in white, coated with SuperLuminova and contrasting radium colouring. For durability, the watch is water resistant to 100-metres depth.
In a new move for Pinion, the Atom utilises the Japanese automatic winding 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.
As with all of our watches, the Atom is built and tested in England and comes with a hand-made leather strap, leather and canvas watch roll plus international two-year warranty.
When Piers first mentioned the price I was a little incredulous given the price point of other watches in the range, you might notice in my earlier post mentioning this launch I mentioned a price of circa £800.
I am really looking forward to seeing this watch in the metal. I really hope it gives Pinion the sales lift they deserve.
An entry level three hander with a bead blasted case, citizen movement . Although the design is different to the Axis II it will carry lots of detail and value for the watch as case, crown components, dial very high quality and built in the UK.
No detail of a release date yet but they should be priced at the great price of under £800
I have had my Bronze Pinion Axis Pure for just over two months now so I thought it was about time I publish my initial impressions.
This watch, more than any other I have had, offers a very involving experience. This involvement starts every day with the morning ritual of winding the manual Unitas 6498 movement, which has a very satisfying dependable feel. I then usually put the watch to my ear just to hear the slow tock……tock. The day can now commence.
Every since my first meeting with Piers Berry, the founder of Pinion Watches, I have been fascinated by the idea of bronze cased watches. Piers was an early advocate of the material and would mention how if you google “bronze watch” Pinion came out top of the list. Piers has now decided the material has become a bit mainstream and is concentrating more on other materials and finishes. This may be, as he has told me,that customers attracted to the brand by the bronze models more often than not ended up buying steel watches. I am sure this is because when you way up the pros and cons of each material steel possibly results more versatile and less of a risk.
By not taking the “risk” however I think you miss the opportunity to experience the changes, the development of patina. Each watch becomes more individual, more personal over time in the same way that selvedge denim does. As well as the case “maturing” then there is the lovely English leather strap which is slowly becoming creased and more flexible adding its character to the mix.
Leaving aside this development of character, the watch it self is very satisfying. I have been championing smaller, 38/40mm, case sizes so I was initially concerned that at 42mm I might find the Pure too big. But then I reasoned my Speedmaster is the same size and that sometimes even looks small. The Pure is not a “dress” watch but it does wear very easily. I have now got used to the size, and as it gets darker it is less “in your face”.
One design element of Pinion bronze watches that I initially questioned was the steel crown. I thought a bronze crown would have been more appropriate. Piers has obviously been questioned on this point several times so just had a slightly cross look when I mentioned it. Now I must agree with the choice of material as it broadens the choice of straps you can choose from, there are not many many available with bronze fittings, especially good quality Nato’s.
As my watch is one of the last of the bronze Pures, Piers had it made with the green dial which previously had featured only the the more recent gun metal cased watches. This adds further to its distinctiveness.
Another feature I really like is the case back. I have never been a fan of display backs, they always have seemed out of place on the more robust style of watch I prefer.
So, my conclusion for now is I am very happy with the watch. It has a distinctive non-generic look that however is not weird and has a character that is developing much in them same way as a pair of leather boots or raw denim jeans.
I will give a further update in a couple of months.
You might have noticed on instagram that I now have my own Pinion, An Axis Pure with a dark green dial, The green dial previously on the Gunmetal Green version of this watch.
My first impression when compared to my previous English watch, the Smiths Deluxe, was big and heavy. But clearly that is compared to a 1950’s 35mm steel watch. You might remember that I have been suggesting for some time that cases over 40mm were getting a little large for my taste. Maybe I should re-consider this as my other regular wear is a Speedmaster Pro which is also 42mm.
With it’s 42mm case and wide (22 mm) strap the Pure is actually re-assuringly solid. The manual wound Unitas movement reinforces that sense of dependability. The last feature making this the perfect weekend/holiday (and maybe Friday) watch for me is the 100m water resistance rating.
Finally, there is the bronze case. Pinion now feel this material is becoming too mainstream. Coming from the generation that appreciated how materials such as denim and leather become more personal with age I am very happy to have a watch that will do the same.
I will keep you updated on how the patina develops.
The Axis II Bronze has only been available for a few months, but very quickly Pinion are down to the last two available – after these are sold, there will be no more Axis II Bronze.
The final two watches can be bought in either ‘E’ (Exhibition case back) or ’S’ (Steel case back) formats.
If you want one of these last two models, then simply select the model you wish to buy and pay a deposit to reserve the item; Pinion will then hold these watches for you until you wish to complete the purchase.
The watches will be available for delivery from the end of August onwards.