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
Some of you might have noticed that my posts have become incresingly infrequent. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly life commitments just didn’t allow enough time. Secondly, the sheer volume of information and news from the the British watch industry was getting a little overwhelming.
Now by happy coincidence there being more news to report comes in a period when I have more time, so I will endeavour to post with a more frequency. My new found enthusiasm has also been fired by this week’s Best of British meet-up organised by Redbar Southeast in Brighton.
As you might imagine this is not the only watch event I have attended recently, but it was one that inspired me. This is largely due to the one panel discussion I attended. The panel consisted of Giles Ellis, of Schofield, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, of Fears and Richard Benc of Studio Underdog. What interested me was their view on the current state of the British watch industry. In particular the view that the sector is now more confident in its offering. When I started this blog it was because I was interested in the the use of heritage in marketing of British watch brands. Some of the companies and many enthusiasts become obsessed how much of the watch is British. The panel agreed that the sector now has the confidence to move away from this narrow vision, the brands own identities being strong enough to be able to present watches as British regardless of the origins of many of the components used. Here there are many similarities to the car industry. Is a Mini a British car ?
This event also gave me the opportunity to re-connect in person with the brands that have been very much part of by British watch journey. Other than Nicholas and Giles I managed to have chats with Jose of Isotope and Andrew of Zero West. All of whom beamed enthusiasm, the future looks bright . Unfortunately, the interesting developments they were very keen to discuss are all under wraps for future posts.
In political circles they advise not to waste a good crisis. For the British watch world the same needs to be said for a royal event. Last year we had several releases for the Queen’s jubilee. This year we have the coronation of KIng Charles III.
The first release I noticed was from my friends at Fears who offer us a solid gold Brunswick.
In 18-carat yellow gold (rose gold option also available), this hand-built Brunswick features a crimson-red dial with a lightly vertically brushed texture. Adorning this royal canvas are raised yellow-gold plated ‘Edwin’ numerals, paired with solid ‘Fears-shaped’ hands, also plated in yellow gold.
The case includes a coronation hallmark for all pieces ordered during 2023. As with all of their precious metal watches, a flawless diamond is set into the ‘onion’-shaped winding crown. Completing this piece is a Bristol Leather watch strap finished in a matching crimson-red tone and accented with golden-coloured stitching. Should you like the idea of a special gold watch but would prefer a different coloured dial or strap these can be specified as all the watches are built to order. The pricing starts at £17,850 inc. VAT (£14,875 ex. VAT). Reach out to Fears at email@example.com to find out more.
The next option comes from Bremont, a company not known to miss the opportunity to present limited editions. Bremont offer a relatively restrained King Charles III MBII.
This Limited Edition timepiece is now sold out.
Limited to just 150 pieces ( 100 black and 50 white dialled), now all sold, and based on Bremont’s established MB design, this King Charles III Limited Edition celebrates the coronation of His Majesty with a special case back engraving and complimentary commemorative coin with each watch. If you managed to get your order in they were offered at a reasonable £4495. for more details try the website or a Bremont boutique.
Again a limited edition, this time 30 pieces now all sold out. The bronzed cased, William Wood British Coronation chronograph features a British Racing Green Union Jack dial, a new up-cycled British Racing Green fire hose strap, green laser engraved Union Jack glass case back and their iconic “In Case Of Fire Break” lettering .
The substance of the watch is the “Triumph range”. Featuring a 41mm case and a The Sellita SW510 chronograph movement. Again more information can be found at the William Wood website.
The last of our collection come from the relatively newly reinvented brand Duckworth Prestex. Again we are looking at a limited edition, 365 of each colour (blue and salmon), the new watches feature the art deco numerals, previously used on the Bolton range, and a special Small Seconds sub dial at the 4 O’clock position with the year 2023 printed on it.
The 39mm cushion case houses an automatic Miyota 82S5 movement and or priced at a very reasonable £795. You will find all the details at https://duckworthprestex.com.
So i conclusion, the British watch brands all have chosen to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the coronation, they have offered the market something to suit most pockets, if you moved fast enough. Fortunatelyat the time of writing the more economical alternative fromduckworth are still available and given the quantities involve I am confident Fears will find a solution.
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:
You might remember my review of the Hydrium in which I commented on the collecting opportunity offered by this watch from British based brand Isotope. Well now two more have joined the line-up, the Hydrium Pro Nordblad and the Hydrium Nasa.
Hydrium Pro Nordblad
This is the second watch from Isotope developed as a tribute to the achievements of Johanna Nordblad, a the world-renowned ice diver. LIke the previous “Goutte d’Eau version this watch features a blue second hand. Limited to 100 pieces, it is the first of a series of Hydrium Pro watches, exceeding specifications above ISO 6425, the official divers watch certification . The watch case is made of sandblasted 316L stainless steel. All the crystals, including the bezel, are made of sapphire crystal and the movement is a top-finished and regulated Swiss Landeron. If any of these watches remain unsold they are offered at £900 (ex VAT) on the Isotope website
As well as Hydrium collectors, this second officially NASA approved watch, launched on April 15th, should appeal to the many space fans out there.
Apart from the special NASA nato strap what makes this watch stand out is the polymer-ceramic coating, Cerakota that has been applied to the 316L steel case. This coating replicates the texture of the re-entry capsule’s vitally important heat shield. Then there is the NASA logo above the six o’clock position.
This watch is also available from the Isotope website for £825 (ex VAT) includedin this price is an extra grey quick release FKM strap
This watch is limited to 200 pieces, and available to pre-order through www.isotopewatches.com with expected delivery starting in August 2023. Currently priced at £825 (ex VAT) which includes a second grey quick release FKM strap.
Chat GPT and other similar applications have been much discussed over the last few months. It has been presented as an instrument that replace many human’s jobs. I was wondering how it might perform as a watch blogger. So apologies to my fellow Emsworthians but I choose Zero West for my test. I asked the application to “write a review” – this is the result.
I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I don’t have personal experiences and emotions to provide a review of a physical product like the Zero West DB-1 watch. However, I can provide you with some information about this timepiece that you may find helpful in making an informed decision.
The Zero West DB-1 watch is a handcrafted watch that features a unique and eye-catching design inspired by the dashboard instruments of classic sports cars. The case is made of stainless steel and measures 42mm in diameter. The dial is made of brushed aluminum and features a retro-style font for the hour markers and hands. The watch is powered by a Swiss-made ETA 2824 automatic movement, which is a reliable and accurate movement that is widely used in high-end watches.
One of the standout features of the Zero West DB-1 watch is the unique way that time is displayed. Instead of using traditional hour and minute hands, the watch has two rotating discs that display the time in a digital format. This gives the watch a modern and futuristic look while still maintaining a classic feel.
The Zero West DB-1 watch is also water-resistant up to 100 meters, making it suitable for swimming and other water activities. The watch comes with a high-quality leather strap that adds to its overall elegance and sophistication.
In summary, the Zero West DB-1 watch is a well-crafted timepiece with a unique and eye-catching design. Its use of a Swiss-made automatic movement and water-resistant construction make it a reliable and practical choice for everyday wear. While I cannot provide a personal review of this watch, based on its features and specifications, it appears to be a solid choice for those looking for a high-quality and distinctive watch.
On the basis of this bloggers have the edge for the moment. Hopefully I will get my hands on example of the watch to do a human review.
Hot on the heels of their collaboration with Garrick, Fears have announce another, this time with Christopher Ward. Again, both companies being founding partners of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.
This jump-hour watch is limited to 50 pieces and available to purchase by Club members of the Alliance with all profits from sales being donated to the Alliance to support its various initiatives.
Differently to the Garrick watch this one features a bespoke 40.5mm Fears case and uses a JJ01 Christopher Ward movement. The movement being developed in house based on a Sellita SW200.
They are making just 50 of these models. They will only be available to Club members of Alliance on a first-come, first-served basis when it is launched.
The ‘Fears Christopher Ward : Alliance 01’ will be available to Club Members to order on Friday 27 January priced at £3950 (inc. VAT).
Well where do I start ? I have not been keeping up for sometime and a lot is going on. It used to be that I would see some news that I could report and now the world of British watches really frothing with news and not just with new brands popping up on Kickstarter actual exciting watches.
So to avoid any risk of favoritism I will treat these items in alphabetical order.
Bremont have been working away somewhat separately from the rest of the British watch industry whilst investing heavily in their UK manufacturing facility in Henly-on-Thames. Last year this investment led to the launch of the ENG300 movement which was housed in the limited edition Longtitude which were available for between £15k and £22k which clearly minimised the impact a little. Clearly a company with the vision and ambition of Bremont would not go to the effort of developing a movement just for a limited run watch.
So this October saw the announcement of not one but three new ranges of watch. The Supernova, the Fury and the Audley. To my eye the Fury and Audley are very clearly the style of watch we have come to expect from Bremont. The Supernova offers something different a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet.
I am not sure the the Supernova brings something new to the watch market, from everything I have seen it will be a very nicely made piece in the spirit of the more well known models from Switzerland. What it does bring is a British alternative which in itself from my point of view is positive. On sale for £7,995 which is more expensive than the usual non-limited edition Bremonts, but looks good value when compared to the better known continental offerings.
The 40mm Fury, a re-interpretation of the classic pilots watch, again more expensive than we are used to from Bremont and other similarily styled watch, but again it features the Bremont made H1 certified movement. H1 being the new chronometer timing standard, directly comparable to the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test.
The final watch in the series is the the classic dress watch, named after Bremonts showroom in Mayfair, London. Avilable in steel (£5,995) of rose gold (£14,995).
In my mind Christopher Ward are a company producing very well made watches at very reasonable prices. They have produced some pieces that cause you to look twice, such as the C60 Sapphire. This October they announced the C1Bel Canto, featuring a striking hour. This watch is already listed on the website as “sold out”. Now personally it is not a style of watch that I particularly like but what they produced for the price just seems spectacular value for money. As you can see from the images this is not a watch that will go un-noticed, especially when it starts to chime. I guess we will have to start looking out for them on the used market.
Fears have been super busy. Due to my lockdown induced laziness I have not really covered this year’s news from Fears very well apart from via Instagram posts which is a real shame as Nicholas Bowman Scargill has continued to bring some really interesting pieces to market. After the Garrick collaboration there was the the limited edition for the Californian watch retailer Topper. This watch featured a black or white californian dial and wait for it – a 40mm version of the now established Brunswick case. We then returned to the standard 38mm Brunswick case for the Royal Purple jubilee year celebration. The obvious question is; what else are Fears going to do with the 40mm case? So here we have it the Brunswick 40, a sportier Brunswick on a steel bracelet and with 100m water resistance. A possible “one watch”, sporty and elegant. This new watch is available with a Pink, Silver or Blue dial. The bracelet of course is not an “off the shelf” design and as a secret design “egg” the inside of the butterfly clasp features the “flower of Bristol” , honouring Fears’ home city.
The watches are priced at £3750 for more information go to the Fears website.
If you have looked back on my previous holiday posts on Instagram you notice my bronze Pinion Axis features heavily, this was for two reasons, firstly the robustness of the watch and the effect of the sea water on the case.
With the arrival of my holidays this year I risked producing similar posts all over again. Luckily, I had noticed several images of the Isotope Hydrium range from my friend Jose and it occurred to me that they would make an ideal alternative for the beach. I dropped a note Jose and a loaner arrived, a limited edition very visible Hydrium Burnt Tangerine. A perfect summer colour. The perfect beach watch.
First impressions straight out of the box was – gosh this feels weighty. The perfect sensation for a serious dive watch, this is a tough watch. It comes with a super comfortable quick release FKM rubber strap, so nice in fact that I was not at all tempted to swap it out to experiment with alternatives. Usually,the first thing I habitually play with on dive watches is the bezel. The Hydrium has a robust uni-directional sapphire crystal/stainless steel bezel with 120 clicks, a feature that came in very handy for timing my daily swim.
The Landeron 24 automatic movement is almost completely silenced by the case, giving you almost the sensation of having a quartz watch on your wrist. Landeron is not a name that we are all familiar, the 24 automatic is designed as a replacement for the increasingly difficult to source ETA 2824-2. Then when you turn the watch over you find this really nicely decorated solid caseback. Personally, I not a great fan of display backs especially on dive watches, as you can see this one is a worth turning the watch over for.
Of course on of the most important design elements of any watch is the dial and this is where this watch distinguishes itself from other dive watches with the now familiar Isoptope details on the two layered dial, in particular the subtle Isoptope lacrime. Over the dial the is a domed sapphire crystal that I personally much prefer to the flat crystals.
Finally, returning to the strap. Isotope have always given particular attention to straps and this one is finished of with a very solid Isotope branded buckle.
Micro-blasted case, 316L stainless steel
Case diameter 40mm X 48mm (with lugs)
Height 12.9mm (14.9mm with double domed Sapphire Crystal)
Hydrium Exclusive Stainless steel screw-down case back
Uni-directional sapphire crystal/Stainless Steel bezel with 120 clicks
Anti-reflective crystal sapphire
Screw-down crown at 3 o’clock
Isotope “i” hands and indexes with Super-LumiNova®
Water-resistance 300m / 30 atm / 1000 ft
22mm Quick-release FKM strap with signed micro-blasted Steel Buckle
Swiss Mechanical Movement
Swiss Landeron 24, self-winding
Power reserve 40 hours
28 Jewels, 28800A/h
Accuracy -12/+12 s/day
Decorated + Customised rotor
Cost – £729 (limited to 100 pieces)
Alongside the Burnt Tangerine Isoptope produced several other versions, the “conventional” Blue Night and two even more individual the Hydrium X “Will Return” and the “The Judge”. Of these only the Judge can be ordered from the website.
So in conclusion I have to say the Hydrium Burnt Tangerine fitted the brief of “beach/summer watch” perfectly. So perfectly I kept putting off sending it back to Jose, until I was prompted. These watches are selling out quickly so jump now if you want one for next summer.
Whilst I was enjoying a well earned rest I received news of this the latest watch from Schofield watches, the Beater B5 Japanese special edition,limited to 29 pieces.
Now the overall design and style of the watch will be familiar to anyone with knowledge of Schofield’s previous watches.
This new Japanese B5 is the prettiest Schofield to date. A muted, blossom coloured dial in a specially textured case similar in finish to traditional Suzuki or Shibuichi items. The case back is traditionally made, in sterling silver and glass enamel we see a scene of an old plum tree, inspired by a Fuchū manhole cover. The watch also comes with a little lapel pin in the same design, again in silver, to wear on your jacket. All new Schofields will now come with a specific pin, designed to be a summary of the watch it accompanies. The strap above is Japanese Plum Canvas, a coarse weave with real depth of colour achieved, naturally, by dyeing with persimmon and plum . The lining is indigo calf. The buckle brushed stainless steel.The strap is plum canvas with a stitch to match the dial.
Schofield is known for its complex case shape which has been improved and refined over the last decad and uses a new media finish we known as Middle-tex. The 44.5mm case is stainless steel with a texture that sits between the vapour-blasted finish and the severe Brutalist finish of some rare Beaters. As well as all this detail the watch has the usual for Schofield 200m water resistance.
This is the last dial with this familiar topography, hours at cardinal points including a slash-0 at 12, darts between the numbers and a minute track bordering the stepped level and colour change in the dial. Using Super-LumiNova C3 with a bright green emission, most obvious is the luminescent ring around the outer circumference. The handset features Schofield’s “Sign-of-Life” hand found a coun-terpoise only, indicating time is passing but without the need for precision time-telling. The hands are brushed gold and match the gold ring in the middle of the crown.
The watch is available from the Schofield website.
Only one final thought. When I first saw the descrption of this watch I thought it might use a Japanese movement which might also have meant a lower cost. I must ask Giles if they ever considered this.