Tag Archives: Zero West

Hampshire Watches

As someone born and brought up in Hampshire this is a phase I could not have ever imagined writing, but there are now at least two Hampshire based watch companies, Hamtun, from Southampton and Zero West actually from my birthplace, Emsworth.

The first of theses two companies to come to my notice was Hamtun a brand that started as a kickstarter project in 2015. I was honestly curious about the brand name which immediatly made me suspect a connection to the city of Southampton, 20 miles from the village I grew up in. For us Southampton was always the other city in Hampshire, but I still felt a connection. On investigating the brand I went on to discover that Hamtun was the name of the original settlement that grew into Southampton.

Hamtun was founded by two friends lead by co-founder and designer Ross Davis, the aim was to create the watches that they wanted to own but, as family men with normal jobs, could not afford. By cutting out all of the extra layers of bureaucracy and by working to sensible margins, they set out to make high quality watches.

Their first watch was the H1, a fairly classic looking dive watch in titanium. The 41 mm case houses the tried and trusted Seiko NH35a automatic movement.The H1 sold out very quickly. I still have not managed to get hold of one to review despite several attempts at trying to meet Ross at Waterloo station.

The H1 is no longer available, it has evolved into the Kraken H2. It has been joined by the Nanok which is Hamtun’s answer to a famous Swiss brand’s Day-Date at a significantly lower price point.

Then having established themselves Hamtun have recently launched a “value” brand Phantom, offering a regular diver style watch with a Seiko NH35a movement for a remarkable £262.80. ( an amusingly precise price point). For more news I recommend visiting the Hamtun website.

This brings me on to the revelation that after finding a watch company from my birth county one turns up in the town of my birth, the small coastal town of Emsworth founded by two friends in 2016.

Zero West work out of their converted boathouse, over looking the mill pond.The site itself providing inspiration for their watches. The boathouse was formerly owned by George Gray, a panelling expert from London who worked on Malcolm Campbell legendary Bluebird land-speed vehicles and the record breaking Railton Mobil Special, as well as creating the bodywork for the first Vanwall racing cars back in the 1950s. George’s talents also won him a contract to build Spitfire fuselages after the bombing of the factory in Southampton during World War Two, which he did at one of the many shadow factories set up along the south coast.

As well as the Longtitude model I reviewed (4/11/2018) The company currently offers a range of what can only be described as “Boy’s Own” watches principly drawing inspiration from 20th century British automotive and aviation history.

The majority of the watches are based on the unique Zero West 44mm case design housing either an ETA 2824 or Valjoux 7750 automatic movement.

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S2 Spitfire

Above is an example of the aircraft themed watches the Spitfire S2. This watch uses metal recovered from an actual Spitfire pulled out of Poole Harbour.

CR-1 Cafe Racer

The automotive styled models include two chronographs, the more traditionally styled CR-1 above and the “bulls head” style Landspeed, below. Both watches using Valjoux 7750 automatic movements.

Land Speed

Zero West’s watches range from £2200 to £3300 for the chronographs. Details of all the watches can be found at the Zerowest website.

These are the only two current Hampshire watch brands I have come across, I would love to discover more. In the meantime, despite being at different price points, as well as being from the same county these two companies are run by incredibly enthusiastic owners. Best of luck to both.

I am now starting to think of other British counties that are home to multiple watch brands. The first that springs to mind is Oxfordshire with Bremont and Pinion. I will get digging.

Zero West – TT58

A GOLDEN AGE FOR BRITISH MOTORSPORT

The latest watch from the Emsworth based watch brand Zero West is the TT58 a celebration of British motor racing. This classic Zero West timepiece has strong minimalist lines, an instrument inspired motorsport dial, smooth case and mirror polished DSL lugs.The TT-58 is British designed and engineered. The watch is powered by the stellar Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement and is fitted with a ZW handmade strap in British racing green with vintage contrasting stitching and an engraved polished buckle.

Then for me the “piece de resistance” is the engraved solid caseback, unfortunately the best image I could find to show you was this one below from Instragram.

Technical Details

Case

  • 44mm diameter, brushed 316L stainless steel body
  • Match machined, polished, 316L stainless steel DSL lugs
  • 22mm lug width

Movement

  • ETA 2824
  • 28,800vph
  • 25 jewels
  • Self-winding ball bearing rotor
  • Date function
  • Power reserve ~38 hours
  • Water resistance: 10ATM (100m) 100% tested

Price – £2200

For more information and to order https://zerowest.watch/

Watch It Show – A Scottish View

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.

Zero West Longitude

Zero West Longitude

I first came across Zero West on Instagram. Posts promising watches with links to many things I like to read about, fast boats, Spitfires and café racers. The final detail that tweaked my interest was the fact this company was based in an old boat house in Emsworth, Hampshire – an important place in the youth of yours truly. We exchanged some messages, Zero West promising to tell me more about their project when they were ready.

After several more intriguing Instagram postings the moment arrived; Andrew, one of the founders, was going to be in London and suggested we meet so he could tell me about their watches.

The story starts in much the way many of these do, two friends , Andrew and Graham, a common interest, unlike many of these conversations they actually started a company. Their advantage being Graham is an engineer and Andrew a designer, the ideal combination of complimentary skills.

At our meeting I was surprised when Andrew brought out not just not just one watch but several. I say several as Andrew has asked me not to discuss the whole collection, I think though I can safely they cover many of the themes outlined above.

So I will stick to the watch in hand, the first to market the Longitude, which if everything goes to plan goes on sale next week.

My first impression strapping the watch to my wrist was gosh, this is a big watch, at 44mm it equals the Schofield I reviewed earlier this year. For some reason though the case design makes it feel bigger. Then bringing the watch to my ear – almost silence, you barely hear a tick or the sound of the automatic movement through the hefty case.

The polished case is of an interesting construction in that the lugs are mounted by two screws to each side. It is certainly not a watch that goes unobserved. This first of all put me off a little as I was wondering when I might fell comfortable wearing something so large and visible. After a few days through I started to feel much more comfortable finding that the watch works really well with my predominantly blue office wardrobe, thanks to the heavy blue leather strap. The straps are also made by Zero West, after approaching several suppliers Graham decided he could make them himself, and a beautiful job he does to. My only criticism being a lightly large keeper.

Longitude Strap

The gentlemen from Zero West explained that the design of this watch was inspired by the H4 of the British horological innovator John Harrison.

Harrison H4 – photo National Maritime Museum Greenwich

 

Clearly it is not a straight replica. The black and white dial uses the  same roman numerals and blue enameled hands. The floral decoration around the original dial have instead been replicated on the case back.

Longitude caseback detail

In addition the dial features the date 22/10/1884 under the number six, this being the date of the International Meridian Conference in Washington. during which Greenwich Meridian was recognised as the international standard for longitude.  Then above the twelve you will find the longitude and latitude for the Greenwich Meridian.

These are the key details of the watch:

Main Crown

• Screw lock & sprung deep straight knurled & polished 316L stainless steel with triple seal technology

Crystal

• Custom double curved domed sapphire glass with blue AR coating on the internal surface

Movement

• SELLITA SW200-1 25.60mm 11.50 calibre 28,800vph

• 26 jewels

• Incabloc shock system

• Self-winding ball bearing rotor

• Date function

• Power reserve ~38 hours

• Water resistance: 10ATM (100m) 100% tested

Dial

• White enamel over brass substrate with over printed numerals

Hands

• Blue enamel

• Polished steel diamond cut sweep hand

Strap

• 22/22mm Custom handmade Horween water resistant Ink blue Chromexcel leather strap

• Single wide sliding keeper loop

• Natural burnished edges

• Waxed hemp hand stitching

• Polished 316L stainless steel ARD buckle with engraved ZW logo

Dimensions

• 44mm diameter

• 14.1mm thick

• 22mm lug width

• 49.6mm lug to lug pin spacing

RRP £1,950

Limited to 20 pieces

So in conclusion this is a very bold individual first watch that is very different to most of the watches on the market today. As mentioned earlier there are several more similarly distinctive models ready to follow this. Best of luck to Zero West.