Grinidgetime was started as a place for me to share information about British watch brands. One of the most important brands in my watch journey is Pinion Watches. It was Piers Berry who first introduced me to the social side of the hobby.
So today when I came across this Talking Time podcast my first thought was to share it with anyone that might be reading Grinidgetime.
This link should take you to Spotify, the podcast is of course available on other platforms. Happy listening
After seeing Pinion watches at Salon QP and a couple of Pinion “get togethers” I finally took the bait and ordered my Pinion Pure Bronze, which after I ordering Piers Berry, the founder, suggested I have the watch fitted with a green dial that until then had been mainly used in the gunmetal case. At the time there were very few watches available with bronze case and I was only aware of the fellow British brand Schofield, which I don’t remember being available with a green dial.
It is now 2023, this watch is my regular weekend/holiday watch. It is robust, has 100m water resistance, is a strap monster and has an appearance that improves with age.
Somewhat disappointingly its look is no longer as unique as in 2016. There is hardly a significant watch brand that does not have, or has not recently offered, a bronze model in their range and green appears to be the dial colour of the year. The obvious exception being Rolex. Both Tudor, Oris and now Christopher Ward notably going full bronze offering not only bronze cases but also bronze cases with bronze bracelets, which however much I personally like the material, I find a little too much. Of the major Swiss brands I am very tempted by the bronze Omega Seamaster 300 which nicely combines a retro look with a case that will patina.
However this is blog about British watch brands so what are the alternatives this side of the channel?
Bremont offer their British military approved Broadsword and Argonaut with a bronze cases
On checking the Christopher Ward website I find three of their C65 range are available in bronze, the Dune, even with a bronze bracelet, the Acquataine and Sandhurst. The dive watch stalwart of the CW range, the C60, is also available though only with a blue dial.
As mentioned in my initial paragraph in my mind Schofield are the other original bronze watch producer and an updated version of their Bronze Beater, the B3 is still in the range. You can choose between a “raw” or “patinated” versions.
The patinated version looks great straight out the box, through in my mind one of the attractions of bronze is the development of a unique patina so given a choice I would probably go for the raw version.
Sadly, Pinion the pioneer of the sector, do not have a bronze case in their range, though this might be down to the company now specialising on smaller commissioned runs.
The good news though is that bronze cased watches are still cool and generally attract more attention than their steel equivalents. The even better news is the watches on offer from the British brands are at relatively affordable prices ranging from £985 for the Christopher Ward C60 to £3495 for the Bremont Argonaut. Not a huge amount to be distinctive. All of these watches can be found on their respective websites:
For me Pinion Watches are one of the “original” British watch brands, one of the first of this re-birth of so many British brands, I first met Piers Berry at the Salon QP in 2013. Piers was a pioneer especially with his early use of bronze watch cases. Followers of my Instagram feed will have noticed my personal Pinion Pure Bronze.
Pinion have quietly developed a range of sturdy military inspired watches with a variety of new and NOS movements. All of the watches are immediately identifiable as Pinion through their distinctive desgn elements. Which with the exception of the 39mm Atom all featured a 42mm case.
With the new Neutron Pinion they break this tradition with their smallest case size yet at 38mm. The main feature of the dial is a guilloche pattern, with the outer edge in a circular brushed finish. This is then electroplated to achieve the dial colouring (black, blue, dusty pink). Raised numerals are machined in brass, polished then electroplated in nickel (silver) before being applied by hand to the dial. The batons are in a contrasting radium hue and are printed and applied with SuperLuminova. The hands are diamond-cut brass in a polished finish. The hour and minute hands also highlight a subtle etched groove in a contrasting matt finish running along their centre. The hands are nickel (silver) plated and filled with Superluminova.
The watch uses the super reliable ETA 2824-2 movement, each movement is regulated by Pinion’s watchmaking team in England over 5 days / 5 positions to a minimum of +/- 5 seconds variation a day to ensure it remains accurate.
Then, a really nice personal touch the Neutron features a circular brushed steel case backthat is engraved and numbered. Now that all engraving is undertaken in-house, means that the watch can be personalised by each customer to include a memorable date, name or phrase at no extra cost.
All three versions ( Black, Blue & Dusty Pink) of the Neutron is available for order at Pinions website for £ 1,200 (inc V.A.T.)
MOVEMENT Automatic Swiss made ETA 2824-2. 25 Jewels. Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour. 38-hour power reserve. Regulated in-house over 5 days / 5 positions to a of +/- 5 to +/- 10 seconds variation a day CASE Stainless steel. Brushed finish. ø38mm (excl. crown) / 11mm height. Stainless steel crown with Pinion motif. Solid steel case back, engraved and numbered. GLASS Domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating (inside only). DIAL Electroplated with circular brushed finish. Polished applied numerals. Central guilloche decoration. Batons printed with Superluminova® coating. HANDS Coated brass hands in polished finish with contrasting etched groove (hour, minutes) Filled with Superluminova® (hour, minutes, seconds). WATER RESISTANCE 10 ATM, 100 metres. STRAPS 20mm leather strap with 18mm Pinion steel buckle. 20mm Nylon one-piece strap with steel hardware.
If you have not signed up to Giles Ellis of Schofield Watches ‘ amusing weekly newsletter you would have missed this interesting insight to the lives of some of the people behind Britain’s exciting watch sector. Giles posted images of their desks. If you do not want to miss further insights into the world of Schofield you can sign up on the Scofield website.
It has been a little will since I have been able to feature news from the brand that really introduced me to the enthusiasm of British watchmaking, Pinion.
The latest chronograph, the Elapse, cleary draws on Pinion DNA; when I examined the images I find many familiar design elements that feature on my two Pinions. Most obviously, the 42mm steel case looks identical to my bronze Axis Pure, I must get around to comparing the dimensions. Then despite not being a chronograph the dial, with its sloping inner bezel, if that is the correct description, strongly resemble the Atom.
Although when you look more closely, you will see many of the details are not the same. The font used for the numbers whilst superficially similar has become squarer and the sword shapped hands appear slightly thicker than those of the Atom.
As you can see from the photo above the watch is available with one of three eletroplated dials in white, black or salmon all with a subtle brushed finish. Piers Berry the founder of Pinion has stated that he has tried to give the often cluttered chronograph dial clarity by simplifying the design.
I do not have any photos of the caseback but from the website you will see it is a glass exhibition back diplaying the anthracite Pinion decorated rotor of the automatic Valjoux 7750 movement.
These watches are currently availble from the Pinion website ( https://www.pinionwatches.com/collection/elapse/ ) for £2050, which looks pretty good value for a distinctive chronograph with a useful 100 metre water resistance rating. I am looking forward to seeing an example in the metal once all the current restriction are reduced.
Recently British watchmaking has for sometime been regarded something of a cottage industry, like other similar industries there is an element of chummy collaboration. Often representatives of the various brands will mention other brands in interviews. They have realised that there is enough space for them all to thrive so why not co-operate. Up until now that co-operation has been informal.
During the last ever Salon QP a conversation between Mike France of Christopher Ward and Roger Smith led to the idea of taking this co-operation to another level. I understand all my favourites such as Fears, Pinion and Vertex are getting involved. The video below gives you all the background.
There was also a really nice chat with Mike France and Roger Smith on the Scottish Watches podcast
To support this initative you do not have to be a watch manufacturer. Anyone with an interest in British watchmaking can join up. I for one have put membership on my Christmas list. For more information:
I saw the “Watch It” show announced on Instagram, but due to me being based in London and the show falling at a particularily busy time for me family wise I was unable to attend.
So the first “Watch It” show, a spin off of the Watchitallabout watch blog, was held on November 9th in Rugby. The idea to being to offer an event for watch enthusiasts in the Midlands. And by all accounts was a great success. I am therefore pleased to have found a report of the event by the very amusing gentlemen from the Scottish Watch blog.
During this edition of the podcast there are some interesting short interviews/chats with a few of our favourite British brands (Pinion and Zero West) as well as several more I was less familiar with. Definitely worth a listen.
For a couple of months I have been the proud owner of a rare first series Pinion Atom, which are now no longer available. For those of you not familiar with the Atom, it is the first watch from Pinion to use a Japanese Miyota movement.
At £790, this watch offered a lower entry price than that usually associated with Pinion, whilst maintaining many of the qualities and design elements for which the brand has become known .
As the owner of a Pinion Pure Bronze I was very keen to compare the two watches.
Next to the Pure the obvious difference is the case material and size. The Atom having a 41mm bead blasted steel case. Then their is the movement, the Miyota 9015 being an automatic. The Atom case is slightly shorter than the Pure and has 20mm lugs rather than 22mm. Despite these differences the two watches are very clearly from the same parents. Which given the price difference is by no means a small achievement.
Pure & Atom
Pure & Atom profiles
I am a big fan of manual movements, I am attracted to the apparent simplicity and the ritual of winding the watch in the morning. So initially hearing the movement of the automatic rotor in the Atom was a little disconcerting. I have seen other reviews mentioning this, but once I compared the Atom to other watches in my collection in particular a Seiko 5 it is fair to say “they all do it”.
The other difference to many of my watches is the date window. This is a feature I personally unnecessarily clutters the dial, as without the aid of glasses I am usually unable to read.
So getting these minor gripes over with I would like to cover the overall experience of living with the Atom. The dominant feature is clearly the beautifully finished black dial with a gillouched machined centre and the sword hands, This shape hands being a first from Pinion . The detailing belies the apparent simplicity of this field watch style dial, with numerals in the Pinion style and the two different levels of black. The small date window placed above the 6, the numerals of the date wheel also use the same Pinion font. Details that become evident if you give this watch more than a quick glance. Finally, for those with very good eyesight the word England appears beneath the six.
The 41mm bead blasted steel case that possibly represents a new direction for Pinion. The Atom being the first to feature bead blasting. This has now been followed by the Atom ND, and the recently announced TT (Twin Time). In my hands this finished has proved to be very resilient. I use this watch as my “doing things” watch and there are still now signs of scratches or blemishes of any kind. The lugs are the now almost standard 20mm which is a godsend for habitual strap swappers like myself, although I wondered whether a slightly larger 22mm might not have suited the watch a little better.
Atom on sand Nato
For anyone who dedicate less time to strap switching than me this watch was supplied with a lovely rugged brown leather strap with a neat looking branded buckle which rather than the more usual spring bars is attached with little screws.
Atom on original strap
Turning the watch over you find a solid case back. I have never been a fan of display backs, especially on tool watches. As you see the Atom case back is tastefully decorated with an Atomic design.
Atom Case Back
Then should you need any more convincing that this is a practical watch, instead of coming in a beautifully designed box, for which you have to find cupboard space for, it comes in a beautiful handmade watch roll.
Pinion Watch Roll
I think Pinion have managed to pull off nicely the idea of a well designed and finished watch at a lower cost. It will be very interesting to see where this watch leads. As mentioned above we have already seen some indications of this direction with announcement of the TT and the short run of Atom NDs (No date).
The original batch of Pinion’s entry level watch should by now all be sold. For anyone that was not able to get hold of one all is not lost I recently received a newsletter announcing a release of a further 30 Atoms, These watches will differ slightly from the original principally by not having a date window. a feature that will not be missed by those of us who have difficulty in reading date windows on the vast majority of watches. As you will see the dial design will also be returning to the familiar Pinion use of only 12,3,6 and 9 numbers.
Whilst I am writing about this new watch I thought it might also be a great opportunity to reflect on my experiences with my original Atom.
This watch has now become my goto “doing things” watch. It enables me to wear a British watch in riskier situations than would feel comfortable with other watches. It has effectively taken the place of my Hamilton Khaki that previously filled that role. The Atom is suited to this use for several reasons. It has 10 ATM water resistance, the case is slim so less likely to be bashed and of course the bullet proof Miyota automatic movement. Japanese automatic movements have always given me the idea they can take more punishment than their European cousins.
Original leather strap and buckle
For the summer and to increase the “doing things” suitability I have chosen to swap the really nice original strap with its great buckle with a variety of fabric straps. Although this strap is too nice not to return in the autumn.
Atom on sand Nato
Atom on Grey Nato
Below is my current favorite, a green MN from Erika’s Originals, The elasticity and the absence of the need to “fold back” making these straps for me the “thinking man’s” nato.
Atom & MN Strap
With these comments I am maybe getting my blog entries in the wrong order, a proper review of the original Atom should have come first. Be sure I am onto it.
Just in case you cannot wait here are the essential details of the original Atom.
Automatic Japanese mechanical movement
Time in hours, minutes
Push in crown
Stainless steel case back, engraved
20mm Handmade leather strap ( in various options ).
Japanese Miyota 9015
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: 42 hours
Winding: Automatic / self-winding
Case: 316L Stainless steel, matt bead-blasted finish
Glass: Sapphire, convex with anti-reflective coating on the inside
My posts have been a little infrequent of late. This is broadly as a consequence of real work, tax returns and another holiday. To try and put this right and buy myself a little time to write my next review I thought I would share my latest horological discovery – the “time4apint”podcast. Chris Mann produces these charming little chats on what seems like a monthly basis. They are an excellent way to pass a little dead time waiting for trains and other idle moments.
In particular and the most pertinent to the British theme of this blog was podcast 39 that was published last week, entitled “Jonathan’s Modern British watches” in which Chris discusses with collector Jonathan Hughes some of his watches. A Schofield, a Pinion, a CWC and a Bremont.
You can listen to it yourself following this link :