There’s something of a revival in the idea of British manufacturing post-Corona. Why not? For too long we have relied on cheap imported products, and expensive luxury items too, instead of making stuff right here. Wages are too high, red tape, Corporation Tx, business rates etc – yes, these are all stumbling blocks, but let’s hope we can get our heads around tyhe concept of enduring quality, versus disposable consumerism.
Then there’s the circular economy. What Greta-esque greenery is that you ask? Well, it is the simple idea that stuff can be recycled, upcycled, re-purposed – basically used more than once. It makes sense, especially when you consider how great a Valjoux 7734 chrono movement was back in the day. Rugged, reliable, and relatively easy to service by an indy watchmaker – if you can find one in your area.
So Pinion are doing something great. Taking a batch of 100 classic Swiss movements they’ve created a watch that oozes bespoke tailoring level quality. So it should, given the £3500 price tag, but then hand-making a watch in Oxfordshire isn’t going to be Sekonda cheap is it?
The R1969 is a true collectors timepiece. You get that old school movement, that found its way into a hundred different Swiss brands back in the 70s. Set in a 43mm case it has the right size for modern watch enthusiasts, with a 38 hour reserve on full wind. Nice superluminova on the batons, exhibition caseback with smoked glass too.
Pinion watches are designed and built in the UK, and the company offers a two year guarantee on all models. They even hired BHI staff to assemble their watches and they recommend that you wash you watch if it gets into contact with sea water – I like that touch, because it is advice borne of real experience, seeing the damage that can be done by salt water to expensive watches with 200m on the dial. Watchmakers offer that advice, whereas marketeers blather on about 100% waterproof all day long.
Sure, you could buy a well preserved Valjoux 7734 watch on ebay or Chrono24 for £1000 or less, you could buy a Christopher Ward and get Brit design and Swiss quality for £1500 or so. But choose a Pinion and you’ve bought a slice of history, it’s a true collectors item – never going to be mainstream at those prices. It’s also someone’s dream made metal, like a shed-built cafe racer, or a customised Les Paul guitar.
If we don’t celebrate craft, ingenuity and longevity – what are we buying?