Tag Archives: piers berry

Pinion Axis Pro Pure

 

Displaying Displaying Pinion Pro

The Axis Pro Pure collection from Pinion Watches is now complete, available in polished steel, marine bronze or DLC black this new non-limited run features a dial design with ‘professional’ styled applied batons, two-step bezel, anthracite sub seconds and radium or green luminova. Prices will start from £2,300 inc VAT .

If you get a chance try to get along to one of the Apex London meetings to see these great looking watches in the “metal”.

Pinion Watches – Apex London

On March 22nd I was fortunate enough to attend my second Apex evening. These are evenings are events hosted by Piers Berry, the founder of Pinion watches, for Pinion owners and watch enthusiasts for informal watch related discussions . They are held at the Century Club on Shaftsbury Avenue.

The exciting start to the evening was collector Stuart Kelly personally picking up his Revival 1969, reminding him of an important date. As you can see he is  very happy with his latest acquisition.

Stuart

The evening then moved on to a more general chat about Pinion and Piers showed us the current range including two great black DLC versions of the Revival 1969 and the Axis Pure (below).

Black Pure

The Revival

Black Revival

As to future developments Piers clearly is a little guarded. Before writing anything here I have taken to the precaution of checking what has already been reported. The key point is that sensibly Piers wants to consolidate what he has, he is keen to emphasise the business is self-financed. Interestingly, he did repeat the possibility of a GMT model as he had mentioned in an interview in QP magazine last year so that would like it is happening even we do not have any indication of when.

One Pinion event that is worth looking out for latter in the year is the appearance of a Black Axis in the forthcoming film “Patient Zero”. Could be the “Bond Rolex Moment” for Pinion.

These are really thoroughly enjoyable evenings and so highly recommended.

Pinion Axis II – range

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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.

For more news of the range follow this Axis link

I really looking forward to seeing this new range soon.

New Pinion Axis Bronze

I cannot believe I have not posted for 12 days! Sorry. I am also surprised that I have not mentioned the latest news from Pinion, their new Axis Bronze.

This latest bronze model is a fascinating alternative to the existing steel version.I personally think bronze is a great material for a watch given how the patina can develop over time.

The great appearance of this watch is not limited to the front, have a look at the caseback and the special green rotor.

Well done Piers !

 

2015 Mini Review

 

IMG_0061Over the holiday period, at the suggestion of my wife, I reviewed my pile of magazines and brochures with a view to getting rid of most of them. As always happens in these circumstances you start to re-read articles or find things you missed the first time round.

One interesting booklet I found was the catalogue to the 2014 Salon QP. This reminded me of two brands that I saw there of which I have heard nothing since.

The first being Meridian watches that had always struck me as being in the vanguard of the new British watch resurgence. Their website has for sometime now just continued to announce the “new website – coming soon”.

The second being Valour watches with their aeronautical engine inspired “Sopwith” watch.

I have written to both companies to see if they have any news for us. I will let you know if I get anything back.

Then reflecting on the past year for Grinidgetime. I think 2015 was an important year if only because I have managed to keep the blog updated regularly,  which was something I doubted I would manage. I have also really started to enjoy meeting the characters involved in the small British watch community. The highlight has to be shaking Roger Smith’s hand at the Salon QP. But also really enjoyed chatting over a drink with Piers Berry and Alexandre Meerson, both really interesting people.

On the other hand I have also noticed that the international watch blogger/forum world is less friendly and people can be very jealous of their followers and do nothing to encourage the idea of community that I thought I would find.

Anyway you live and learn. I am looking forward to 2016 and continuing to meet more interesting people and writing, hopefully, more frequently. I have also bought an English watch. 🙂

 

 

Pinion Axis Automatic- Upgrade

Pinion have announced a redesign and upgrade to their original AXIS AUTOMATIC collection of watches.
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When PINION launched in 2013, we debuted with AXIS – a trio of watches available in steel, DLC and bronze. Since then, they’ve evolved their designs with the PURE and REVIVAL watches and have now revised the original line up to bring these in line our current and future releases.

The 2015 Axis will still be sized at 42mm but will take it’s dial reference directly from the graphic language of the R1969 and PURE timepieces. It’ll include a more detailed dial with applied indexes plus the case has been re-modeled to include our two-step supermodel bezel that was last seen on the R-1969.

The collection will be released later this year and will be available in the original form of steel, black and bronze – I’ll keep you updated with more news on this in the coming months.

Pinion – Apex London

This month I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Pinion Apex event in London. This is a meeting were watch lovers have a chance to chat with Piers Berry the founder of Pinion watches. I must firstly thank Piers for the invitation and say what an enjoyable event it is,. Unfortunately, due to an early flight the following morning, I could not stay as long I would have like as I have loads of questions to ask.

I was especially intrigued to attend this event as I had seen the tweet about “Pinion One”, potentially exciting news.

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On this point no official announcement was made, Piers says we will have to wait until the autumn, but has promised to let me know as soon as possible. Watch this space!

Despite this slight disappointment I get to see the Pinion watches in the metal and try a few of them on.

One of my favourites is from a category of watches that has interested me for sometime, bronze. This is the classic Pinion Axis.

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This Axis will soon be appearing in the film “Patient Zero”

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Then I tried the star of the Pinion range, the 1969 Revival

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As with all these watches I was worried the 1969 Revival would be too large for my puny wrist, amazingly, as you can see, they all wear pretty well.

Pinion is one of my favourite of the new British watches, this is mainly because the watches speak for themselves. They are well designed reliable watches that do not rely on marketing generated “heritage”. Well done Piers.

for more information go to Pinion Watches

PINION FORMING: how designer Piers Berry created a suave young watch brand – Salon QP

ISince launching in 2013, British watch company Pinion has blossomed as a street-smart modern brand that wears its traditional influences lightly. Founder Piers Berry tells QP how he’s built a brand from nothing.
By Chris Hall.

It is a cold fact that only a minority of new watch brands succeed. And much as it’s satisfying to have witnessed several making their world debut SalonQP over the years, it’s even better to see them return stronger subsequently. Oxfordshire-based Pinion has done just that. Having launched at 2013’s Salon with the warmly-received Axis Automatic – a watch whose sleek, military-tinged looks reflected the design pedigree of its creator, Piers Berry – Pinion was back last November with a new chronograph, the Revival 1969 (below).

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Pinion has also recently been taken on by San Diego specialist in independent watches, Passion Fine Jewelry, where it will sit alongside the likes of Habring, Speake-Marin and Lang & Heyne. According to Berry, further retail developments are in the offing. It’s not bad for a company whose founder, prior to launching, had no experience of the watch industry.

Connoisseur to entrepreneur
On paper at least, it would look like Pinion was born in a storm. Three years ago, with Britain still mired in recession, who would have put money on a digital designer of 20 years’ standing leaving the world of pixels, apps and wireframes – just as the first generation of smart watches emerged, no less – to found a watch brand rooted steadfastly in past traditions?

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That, however, is exactly what Piers Berry did. A digital designer who had been running his own creative agency for a decade before he launched Pinion, Berry was bitten by the watch bug in 2004 when he came across a friend’s Panerai. “I had had an interest in watches from the point of view of product design since the ’90s,” Berry says, “but it was mostly Casio G-Shocks, that sort of thing. It didn’t really take off until about ten years ago when I discovered Panerai. I was absolutely bowled over by their watches from a design perspective.”

After a few years, he had bought his own Panerais, and started to make contacts in the industry which would later prove valuable. Nevertheless, he was finding himself increasingly dissatisfied with the watches he encountered, and gradually started forming a plan to do something about it.

“As a designer, I always felt that there was something missing. Maybe I was being hypercritical but I’d see a watch and think, ‘If only they’d done this, or that’,” he says. “I had a vision of owning my own watch company, but from my initial enquiries it seemed too difficult.”




Pinion forming
Nevertheless, Berry started sketching out his own designs, toying with the idea in his free time, working to a few basic criteria. “I had no experience in watch design whatsoever but I had an idea of what I wanted,” he explains. The designs were rooted in the tool watch tradition, with functionality trumping embellishments.”

“I wanted a watch which was no-nonsense that I could produce in a few flavours,” he says. “I was interested in a raw bronze case, because you could only get a bronze watch for £15,000 – like a Panerai – or £500, which was something less satisfying. There was nothing in between.”

After making contact with potential Swiss movement suppliers, dial specialists and case makers, Berry began to see that his dream could become a reality after all. In 2013 Pinion watches was born, launching its debut collection, the Axis, at SalonQP – with, as Berry had hoped, a bronze-cased watch at its core. This model, notable particularly for its green dial iteration, became the lynchpin of Pinion’s fledgling collection.

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For Berry, however, getting even this far had been a rollercoaster ride in itself. “When the brand launched at SalonQP, I didn’t actually have any watches until two days before the event. Six weeks before, we didn’t think there were going to be any watches at all. I had to start again from scratch quite late on,” he says. A lack of physical product in fact resulted in an extra watch being added to the collection at the last minute. “The only reason I launched a DLC version is that it was the only watch I could mimic accurately enough in Photoshop to show online how it was going to look,” Berry admits. Inevitably the watch, the Axis Black (below), sold out.

The Axis Black


Next steps
Immediate interest in the Axis suggested Pinion was clearing one of the toughest hurdles facing any new brand, which is to prove it has a viable idea in the first place.

Next Berry needed to show he could keep developing the idea. First came a limited-edition collaboration, the Axis Iron Heart, produced with a high-end Japanese denim manufacturer. Next was the Axis Pure, also limited in number, which played to retro tastes by replacing the ETA 2824-2 movement of the Axis Automatic with a hand-wound Unitas 6498, and adding a small seconds subdial and applied markers. This is available in both steel and bronze iterations.

Axis-Pure


 

 


 

Having produced variants of a time-only watch, with nods to classic British military stylings, it might have seemed logical that Pinion’s next move would be a chronograph. But Berry was not, initially, too keen. “I’m not a massive chronograph fan”, he declares. “They don’t come naturally to me; I don’t like busy dials with tachymetre, telemeter scales. Doing the Revival 1969 was a challenge for me to do one that I liked.”

Going manual
Key to that was finding the right movement, and top of Berry’s wish list was a manual caliber that would increase the sense of functional, tactile engagement with the watch. Manual chronograph calibers, however, are not produced for supply these days, and Berry had resigned himself to designing the R1969 to suit the tri-compax layout of the perennial Valjoux 7750 movement.

However, Berry has been able to source a batch of unopened ebauches – unassembled blank movement kits – for another historic Valjoux movement, the 7734. The ebauches were made in 1969 but never assembled, and had remained packaged up in their boxes, as new, for 45 years.

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The 7734 was used by a number of brands in the 1960s and ‘70s, including Breitling, Heuer and Tudor, and was seen as a rugged and reliable workhorse. Today, with handwound chronographs (aside from Omega’s Moonwatch) pretty much the preserve of the haute horlogerie sector, the open case-back affords a pleasing look back into history; while one of the movement’s most recognizable features, the v-shaped chronograph bridge, has been customized with an engraving of the Pinion logo.

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The dial is, as promised, free of calculating scales, but on close inspection is full of finely-nuanced details. The subdials, the hour markers, the outer minute track and the raised centre section are all cut to different heights and given different finishes.

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The Revival 1969 is being created in a limited run of 100 pieces (there being 100 movements), priced at £4,950. A heady price, perhaps, but then it’s an unusual watch created with a deeply independent spirit, as Berry points out.

“Part of the ethos of Pinion is that it’s totally self-funded, self-financed. We own all the stock, with no debt, no overdraft, and full control over our destiny. It’s nice knowing that it’s all yours,” he says. “There are a lot of people who think they could make their own watches, and think theirs would only cost £400, and they could do it all just from sitting at a desk. They don’t do any of it. It’s not as easy as it sounds – it’s more than just the sum of its parts.”

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The “British” question
One thing about which Berry is more circumspect is the notion of Britishness within what he does. It’s a fact that while movements are assembled on these shores and Berry uses British-made straps, the rest comes from Switzerland, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future. While he proudly inscribes “England” on the dial of his watches, the much-vaunted “revival” in British watchmaking – overhyped, undercooked – is something from which he distances himself.

“We’re a British brand but we don’t try to shove Britishness down people’s throats. I think the product and the design should do the talking,” he says. “People often say to me ‘oh it’s not a very British design.’ You wouldn’t say that if it was an Australian watch company. I think people pick up on things too much. Why can’t we be British and look Swiss, or Japanese? I want Pinion to be able to go anywhere in the world and for people to not know where it comes from.”

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Now that the Revival 1969 is out, Berry’s aim is to keep building the collection, with GMT and titanium models both in his sights, and both vintage and modern movements on the cards for future watches. That’s all down the line though. “This year I want to focus on widening awareness of the brand, and with that in mind we’re hosting a series of evenings with Pinion for customers and anyone interested, to acquaint themselves with us on a more intimate scale.”

For more information on Pinion’s gatherings, which take place at Century Private Members Club on Shaftesbury Avenue, have a look here