I am not sure if it just me but I am finding it pretty hard to keep track of the number of “British” brands that are appearing on the scene. The latest I have just spotted on Instagram is Rotherham 1750.
The watch they are offering is the Vale in the photo above. As you can see the design is very classic, based on historical pocket watches, below.
The Vale uses a Unitas 6498 manual pocket watch movement which is dis-assembled and rebuilt using a number of bespoke parts in Coventry.
The website suggests the 45mm 316L steel case is made in Britain as are the blued hands and the crown. The enamelled dial is made from silver.
So the company looks like they have got their historical “British-ness” covered. The watch certainly has the traditional look that will appeal to a certain segment of the market. This combined with the lovely Unitas movement should help the quality feel. Of course this is all guessing on my part, I have not actual seen the physical watch.
My worry is that there are already more established brands offering a blend of quality British-ness and others that offer quirkier British-ness.I wonder if there is space in the market segment that this watch appears to be aimed at, especially as if I read correctly the watch will be offered at £7200.
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.