Author Archives: Alastair

About Alastair

A British watch enthusiast living in Royal Greenwich, England. Hence, the name of the blog, "grinidgetime" the local pronunciation.

Fears Book

I started my journey into the world of British watch brands by asking myself questions about the importance of heritage. This question coming from the appearance of Bremont on the market. I think most watch enthusiasts would agree that alongside prestige, heritage or at least a story is an important element of consideration in the choice of a watch.

On person that has understood this very well is Nicholas Bowman-Scargill the (4th) Managing Director of Fears Watches. Until the companies re-launch at Salon QP in 2016, Fears was not a brand most enthusiasts would, as marketing people would say, name spontaneously. Within the space of very few years Nicholas has very skillfully has managed to remind the watch comunity of his brands heritage, which I have not heard anyone question. As well as making the most of this history Nicholas has very successfully and tastefully taken design elements from the company’s history.

Last week saw the announcement by Bristol Books publishes a 176-page book today about the 175-year history of the Fears Watch Company. Titled, “Elegantly Understated: 175 years of the Fears Watch Company” the book takes a detailed look at one of Britain’s oldest watch companies from its founding in 1846, through to its closure in the late 1970s and its re-birth in 2016. Researched and written by Bristol-based author Jane Duffus, the book traces Fears’ extensive history across four chapters, each covering the era of one of the Fear family’s managing directors. The book’s foreword has been written by Roger Smith OBE, renowned watchmaker and Chairman of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.

Printed and hardback bound in the United Kingdom, “Elegantly Understated” includes numerous photographs and illustrations from the Fears archive. Both watches and artefacts are reproduced in full colour along with maps of the former locations and the logos used by the company in each era. “Elegantly Understated” has been published in the year in which Fears celebrates the 175th anniversary of Edwin Fear founding his workshop on Redcliff Street, Bristol in 1846.

The author’s research over two years unearthed many new facts about the company, which had been thought lost when it closed its doors in the late 1970s. Her numerous interviews included members of the Fear family as well as one of the final watchmakers to work for the company in its first incarnation. This research has resulted in a detailed history not only of one of the oldest watch companies in Britain, but also of a family business that persevered through numerous world catastrophes such as two world wars and the great depression.

Commenting on “Elegantly Understated” being published, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, (4th) Managing Director of Fears Watch Company, says “I am delighted that the history of the company which I’m honoured to run today, has been published in time for such a significant milestone year in Fears’ history. Jane’s enthusiasm for creating this book meant her research left no stone unturned and resulted in her discovering new information that I’d previously not been aware of. To have this all in one place, in a beautifully bound book, filled with interesting anecdotes and numerous pictures is a huge joy for me. I hope that people enjoy reading and learning about Fears’ extensive history as much as I have.”

Commenting on writing “Elegantly Understated”, Jane Duffus, author, says “Tracing the Fear family’s history through time has been such a rewarding experience. This is a story that is about more than watches, because the Fears story also covers two world wars, a financial depression and even a global pandemic. This story about a heritage watch brand has also become a reflection of British society through the past 175 years, and I feel very proud to have been involved with this project. I hope others will enjoy the book just as much as I enjoyed working on it.”

In writing the foreword for “Elegantly Understated”, Roger Smith OBE commented “The 175th anniversary of Fears arrives at a pivotal time for British watchmaking. When we founded the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers to guide the resurgence of our sector, we immediately recognised the importance of Fears as one of our true heritage makers with a fascinating and genuine continuation of one of Britain’s oldest watchmaking families. It was therefore a privilege to contribute a foreword for this important book and I wish Nicholas and the Fears family my very best for another 175 years – and volume 2!”

This initiative underlines to me what an excellent PR job Nicholas is doing for his re-born company. This following his very innovative offer of the loan of a Fears watch to those needing to make the right impression for a job interview. Should Nicholas ever decide watches are no longer for him he would have a great future in PR. We all hope he continue with his current calling – watches

Beautiful Schofield

I have not posted for some time, there are a couple of reasons for this but it mainly because the pleasure of meeting the watch community in person is severely restricted. An e-mail from Giles Ellis of Schofield has jolted me into action, thank you Giles. We have to pick ourselves up after this epidemic and make the best of it.

I have always had a soft spot for the Schofield Bronze Beater, it always reminds me of my early visits to Salon QP. These distinctive British watches offering something very different to the Swiss mainstream. Then made from bronze which do my mind is the horological equivalent of selvedge denim.

This the latest “Japanese” edition is limited to 29 pieces is built is inspired by Giles Ellis’ love of that country, its people and their traditions.

The dial is the colour of Indigo dyed Boro, a unique patched and repaired workwear cloth. The British made case is heavily patinated bronze.The case back depicts Daruma-San a traditional Japanese doll. The
character on his chest means good luck and these dolls are often given as gifts prior to a challenge or task. The case back engraving
also shows a Tokyo drain cover design of ginkgo and cherry blossom.

The watch strap is Mudcloth, a tough canvas fixed with plant seeds and mud for six months to achieve this rich colour.

You will notice from the techenical specification below this Beater features an STP movement. To be completely honest I only looked at the specifications to see if thi “Japanese” edition also used a Japanese movement. I questioned Giles about this choice and he told me that all the Schofield Beaters are now transitioning to STP 1-11 movements from the ETA 2724.

So as we have come to expect from Schofield a beautifully presented watch with loads details to talk about. I look forward to being able to do that in person, hopefully soon. Stay safe everyone.

Technical

Movement STP 1-11, self-winding mechanical. Hours, minutes and hacking sweep seconds
Power reserve 44 hours
Diameter 25.6mm
Height 4.6mm with rotor
Jewels 26
Power reserve 44 hours
Frequency 28,800 VPH 4Hz
Case Bronze Patinated
Diameter 44mm
Crystal diameter 35.5mm
Height not including lugs 14.8mm
Width between lugs 24mm
Weight with strap and buckle 128 grams
Crystal Sapphire, AR coating
Case Back Heavily engraved Japanese design
Crown Double o-ring push in type with gold nail groove
Dials Split-level, painted, lacquered
Date None
Luminescence Super-LumiNova C3 green emission
Hands Brushed gold, Super-LumiNova C3 blue emission
Strap 24mm tapering to 22mm – Japanese Mudcloth pale face
Buckle Brushed steel
Box Ash and cedar
Serial Limited to 29 watches worldwide
Water resistance 200m
Warranty 2 years


Price is £3280 including VAT (UK / free shipping) or £2733 excluding VAT (US, Canada, Europe ROW + shipping)


Fears – Bling

As my regular readers will know Fears is one of my favourite British watch brands, they have been an important part of my Grinidgetime journey. I have closely followed their progress starting from my first chat with Nicholas Bowman-Scargill over a couple of beers in 2016, when he proudly showed me the quartz powered Redcliff range. I could not imagine then that only five years later Fears would launch a hand made platinum watch ; a tremendous effort for a small self financing company.

Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions on our social and business lives I was not able to meet Nicholas for a secret preview so we organised a Zoom call. From Nicholas’s description this is a watch I really want to see in the metal and hold in my hands. This is the video he used to show me the watch.

We are now used to the Fears attention to detail, detail and more detail, watches all superbly finished. It looks as though this watch takes this obsession to another level. Each platinum case takes over one hundred hours to shape and polish by the goldsmith Justin Richardson in Canterbury . After the use of platimum there is more “bling” the use of diamonds on the dial and the crown. Personally, before seeing this watch I could not image even considering a watch with diamonds but I must admitt their use on this Brunswick is very indescrete and of course very elegantly done. As these watches are by no means mass produced, there maybe five a year, they can also be made without the diamonds.

The dial is Anthracite Grey, made using a coating of real Anthracite. Each dial is hand finished, involving over 58 processes, and features a contemporary layout with alternating platinum plated Arabic numerals and diamonds. The discreet diamond markers complement the D-colour, flawless diamond set into the Platinum winding crown.

Then the next surprise, the strap. We are by now used to Fears watches offering straps made from traditional materials, even if wool has not tradationally been used on straps. The Brunswick comes with a hand sewn strap, made using Kevlar with contrasting platinum coloured stitching and Fears Blue Alcantara lining. The strap is joined by a platinum pin buckle, whose shape mirrors the silhouette and cross section of the watch’s case.

Turning the watch over we discover the next surprise, a solid caseback in hallmarked platinum. True to form even the hallmark is special.

Continuing a Fears tradition since 1846, the company’s hallmark is the initials of the Managing Director at the time, and so the case and buckle have been marked by the London Assay Office with the initials of Fears’ current Managing Director: “NBS”.

Purely by coincidence whilst writing this post I came another episode of the Scottish Watches podcast in which Nicholas talks about this watch. Listen here http://www.scottishwatches.co.uk/2021/03/26/scottish-watches-podcast-242-chatting-with-nicholas-from-fears-about-the-new-brunswick-pt-platinum-watch/

At this point you need to find £28,200 and visit the Fears website : https://www.fearswatches.com/products/brunswick-pt

Another – “How I started a watch company”

Since I started writing this blog it seems to me that there are more and more watch companies starting up, and this trend isn’t limited to the UK.

Bearing this in mind I assume there are also people out there thinking “I’d like to start a watch company – how do you do it ? “. Well with this post I don’t aim to answer this question, just to point you in the direction of another great interview on the Scottish Watches podcast, this time with Paul Sweetenham of the British brand Farer Watches.

http://www.scottishwatches.co.uk/2021/03/22/scottish-watches-podcast-241-chatting-with-paul-from-farer-universal-about-everything-watches/

Isotope GMT 0º – A unique traveller’s watch

Once Jose, the co-founder of Isotope Watches, started telling me about his new GMT watch I noticed a plethora of new GMT models being announced.. Maybe watch lovers are pinning for more normal times when they could use the GMT functionality, that is when we could travel.

The Isotope GMT 0º is the company’s recognition of the international importance of Greenwich, and hence Greenwich Mean Time, to horology, from a British based international watch brand. Appropriately for an international company, Isotope has worked again with the Russian designer Vikenty Gryaznov.

I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a very early example of this interesting watch. As you will see from the images the design team have come up with a unique solution that however remains faithful to the design direction of previous watches from Isotope. The key element being the “lacrima” shape in the centre of the dial., actually twice, the smaller version indicating the second time zone. The dial is best thought of as consisting of three elements. The first being the normal two hands, skeletonised, showing the hours and minutes in the usual way. The hour indicies being slots in the dial. Then working towards the centre of the dial we next find a circle of thirty-one holes through which the rotating dial underneath indicates the date with a red dot. The final element is incorporates the lacrima shape and it is here the smaller lacrima indicates the second time zone.

The black dialled version I am reviewing takes a little concentration to read, especially in the low light of this season, as the lume is limited to the tips of the skeletonised hands and is the same colour as the GMT lacrima. Anyone wanting greater legability would probably be wiser to choose one of the other coloured or white versions. The black being for those who prefer a more strealthy look.

I should then move onto the screwed down caseback. I am not personally a huge fan of display backs, especially on fairly everday movements. I think here Isotope have come up with an excellent compromise solution, a small window within which the customised Isotope rotor on the movement can seen powering the watch. The remaining space on the back then is engraved with the names of key international cities and their time differences relative to Greenwich (GMT).

The 42mm steel case bespoke case is subtly different to the usual circular shape, it is actually “0 – zero” shaped, a homage to the latitude at Greenwich. Despite being a relatively high 14.2mm, the watch sits well on e wrist. Clearly, the the height is necessary given the automatic GMT movement. The first thing you have to do before using any watch is adjust it to the right date and time, with the GMT Zero this is managed very intiutively using the single screw down crown. The Swisstech movement winding very smoothly.

On the subject of the movement many of you, like me, might not be familiar with Swisstech. I questioned Jose about this choice and he explained a friend of his works directly with the Swisstech factory in Botyre. He sent him a couple of samples when he knew he was starting to develop a GMT watch. After testing the movement for a few months, Jose was able to verify it is accurate and robust. It is a work horse created and assembled with the Swiss certifications both manufacturing and assembly. Jose summed it up as accurate, resistant, has a good finishing, it’s easily serviced by any WOSTEP watchmaker and in the end, after seeing the amazing design we achieved, they wanted to be onboard and they are offering 3 years warranty.

You will have understood by now that details are important to Isotope. So they could not finish the watch of with a regular strap. My watch came with a 24mm wide leather backed strap which screws into the lugs Panerai style. The design elements on the lugs are repeated on the buckle that is screwed to the strap. Customer watches will be supplied also with a full leather. Personally, I would have preferred a strap that would enable the wearer to take advantage of the 200m water resistance. Maybe this will come at a later date.

So to conclude, this watch offers a great deal, every element is bespoke, there is nothing “off the shelf”. The designers have found an innovative solution to showing the second time zone and date that builds on the brands design DNA. When we can travel again this watch would be an ideal companion. This is available at the very reasonable price point that we have come to expect from Isotope of £710.

The GMT 0º will initially be available in one of six versions: White, Black, Blue, Olive Green Steel, Olive Green Black DLC and Ruby.

For more details and ordering https://isotopewatches.com/

Technical Specifications

  • Brushed case, 316L stainless steel/Black Diamond-like Carbon
  • Case diameter 41.5mm x 39.5mm (44.7mm with lugs)
  • Height 14.2mm
  • Exhibition screwed case back with the world’s major cities time-zone
  • Anti-reflective domed crystal sapphire
  • Single Screw-down crown at 3 o’clock
  • Hands applied with Super-LumiNova®
  • 24mm strap tapered to 22mm 
  • Matching Buckle
  • Water-resistance 200m / 20 atm / 656 ft

Swiss made Swisstech S24-45 :

  • Automatic, self-winding
  • Power reserve 40 hours
  • 28 Jewels, 28800A/h
  • Accuracy -12/+12 s/day
  • Customised finishing, date and rotor

In the Box:

  • A numbered GMT 0º
  • A specific Cordura strap with a high-end buckle
  • Extra leather strap
  • Exclusive Isotope tool
  • Limited Warranty Card (36 Months)

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.

Pinion Elapse – Chronograph

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.

Royal Marines Watches

I have always had a respect for the Royal Marines, principally due to my youthful failure to pass the selection test to become an officer. It would appear that respect for this elite corps is widely held and so is incredibly marketable if a brand/product has an association. Given this affection I tend to notice when a Marine related watch pops up. Recently I have realised this is not a rare event. The Royal Marines would appear to have sanctioned more watches than any other arm of the military, certainly from the UK.

So, I thought it might be interesting to see how many I could find, this is the result of my “research”.

Christoper Ward C60 Lympstone

The most recent offering is the Christopher Ward Lympstone, named after the location of the Commando Training Centre in Dorset, and site of my personal lack of metal. This watch features a  42mm brushed steel case coated in suitably military gun metal PVD. Power is provided by a Sellita SW200 COSC movement and is usefully water resistant to 600m. The RM connection demonstrated subtly with the corps crest laser-engraved on the screw down caseback. The price online is currently £875 before any of the Christopher Ward seasonal offers, which already looks very good value for the specification.

As you would expect Bremont have not missed the opportunity to associate themselves with the corps, they have to date produce two watches for serving or ex-Marines. The first being the limited edition, 350 pieces,  S500/RMC based on the standard customer S500 with corps colours an the dial and a case back engraved with the corps crest.

Bremont S500 Royal Marines

The more recent second series of watches, based on the new HMAF line and feature the Royal Marine colours at 6 o’clock, a subdued “ROYAL MARINES” at 12 o’clock and the corps’ crest engraved on a closed caseback. This watch is available to be bought by past and presently serving Royal Marines who may select from the Argonaut, Arrow or Broadsword models. Only 150 of each version will be produced.

Breitling have produced special limited edition for various military organisations over the years so naturally they also produced a couple of specials for the RM/SBS  (the special forces element of the Marines) and  in 2015 a limited edition Avenger Seawolf model to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the corps.

Breitling Royal Marines 350 years
Breitling SBS Frogman
Breitling SBS

At this point we have covered the offer of mechanical watches from the luxury sector. However, collectors who prefer quartz movements or prefer to invest less need not despair, there are some potentially more economical battery powered options available.

The best place to start is the CWC SBS diver’s which is actually issued to members of the SBS. Capable of submersing to 300 metres / 1000ft and made for the toughest conditions. This watch which has been issued now for 30 years. The original MOD specification dates back to 1987 signed by the Officer Commanding Royal Marines for CWC.

CWC SBS Diver (photo ; Pinterest)

Then also from CWC there is the G10 which was issued with the 0555 ( Royal Marine stock number) for one year only in 1995. So you can look for actual issued watches on the second hand market or buy an identical ( minus the stock number) G10 new from CWC for £219.

We then move on to the Royal Marines recent collaboration with Citizen, which has given two watches, firstly the  Citizen Royal Marines Commando Super Tough GMT watch is made from ion plated titanium and is fitted with a Citizen Eco-Drive movement. The watch features ultra thick Sapphire glass 2.5mm and it is fitted with a Kevlar strap. The case back is engraved with Royal Navy Ensign and comes with a special presentation box in the Regiment colours.

Then the watch I think is actually the more “military watch” the  Royal Marines Commando Super Tough three hander.

Both of these Citizen models use the Eco-Drive movement so will not ever require a battery, which would seem perfect for military personnel who might often find themselves a long way from any shops. The watches though do not seem to offer anything more than their non-Royal Marine equivalents other than “Royal Marine Commando” on the dial and the Royal Naval ensign engraved on the caseback.

This really concludes the selection of serious collaborations. You can find pocket watches on e-bay with Royal Marine crest applied to the case for very little money though I doubt these are “official”.

It would now be very interesting to understand if my original idea is correct. Is there a military unit that has had more “official” watches? I can only imagine maybe the USAF, but then only if you put all different squadrons and aircraft types together. I am clearly ready to be corrected.

Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers

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:

https://britishwatchmakers.com/join-us

Christopher Ward GMT Worldtimer

As I have mentioned in an earlier post Christopher Ward was a company offering excellent value worthy watches. This watches often in the sort of styles that I like. i.e sporty rather than dressy and over complicated. Despite this they lacked that little “something”. To mind this is probably because they lacked a little originality and that indefinable feeling that possibly comes from heritage/history. This brings me back to my reasons for starting this blog, the “heritage creation” of the Bremont, another British watch brand. I thought Christopher Ward (CW) were starting to follow this idea  with some odd collaborations like that with Morgan.

Over the last year my perception of the brand is changing, and this is probably due to three factors, firstly hearing Mike French, one of the owners of the company, explain the company’s philosophy. Secondly, I read Roger Smith has a CW Trident. Then a series of very individual watches they are now offering.

One of these watches that has caught my eye over the last couple of months is the subject of this review, the C65 Worldtimer GMT. Given the limited opportunities for travel this is not really the ideal moment to discover the benefits of a GMT or Worldtimer, I do not even have any far flung relatives I want to keep track off. I must admit the feature that caught my eye was the yellow detailing, colours offering opportunities to play with interesting strap combinations.

This watch is a variant of the C65 range offering, as the name suggests, GMT and worldtimer functions to the standard C65 “retro diver”. As such it shares the same 41mm steel ” light catcher” case as the rest of the range. In place of the Sellita SW220 in the rest of the range this watch uses the SW330 which offers  GMT functionality.

As with all watches the first part of the ownership experience entails removing the watch from its packaging. I have often commented on the size of watch packaging, you can understand brands wanting to offer the full luxury experience, but they do present a storage issue and you can understand many less fanatical buyers put theirs in the bin. This might be more the case at the value end of the market. CW have come up with an innovative solution to satisfy both needs. The nicely solid box is made of 95% biodegradable eco MDF, bamboo and cotton, it is probably the most eco-friendly watch box on the market. So, it is robust and presentable enough to keep or degradable if you want dispose of it and not worry about landfill.

Once you have the watch in your hand the first impression is wow, this is a solid piece of kit. The major contributor to this sensation is the impressive steel bracelet, which once sized is super comfortable, an important contribution to this feeling being made by the micro adjustable clasp. I have found myself varying the size almost daily depending on how close I want the fit that day, which would clearly be less convenient without this clasp, The strap also features easy to use spring bars with little tabs which makes changing straps significantly easier, minimising also the risk of scratching the case. This is the first time I have used a clasp like this and they are a real boon for a serial strap changer like me and for which this watch lends itself so well. My favourite match being the green MN strap with a yellow stripe from Erika’s originals, or all black for a more serious look.

As a GMT worldtimer the dial and timezone bezel there are predictably full of details, which though offering a very cool look, I found a little small to read easily. This might say more about my eyesight than the clarity of design. The additional GMT hand is well designed, being yellow and arrow shaped it did not ever .make reading the local time confusing, which has always been a worry of mine when considering watches with four hands. The other details of the dial such as the applied indices and the date window in the usual three o’clock position all work very well. The only question mark being the positioning of the Christopher Ward logo at nine o’clock, I must admit to getting used to seeing it in this position.

Less immediately obvious is how impressive is the optical illusion offered by the 41mm steel “light-catcher” case, on the wrist it has an almost vintage appearance, hiding very well the modern case height. The screw down crown is easy to grip and operate, I have a slight doubt about how well it sits with the bezel and the case, but not really a deal breaker.

Turning the watch over you find a solid caseback which I generally prefer, unusually this one with a black DLC covering. I can only assume this was done to match the black on the bezel.

So to sum up. This is a really well made practical watch with a reassuring 150m water resistance. The perfect “one watch” for a non brand conscious traveller. With all the impressive new launches it will be interesting to see how the brand recognition and perception develops.

The fullprice is £1100 which represents remarkable value andCW are adverse to fairly frequent price promotions. On CW website.