Category Archives: British Watches

anOrdain Launch Model 1: Precious Metal Edition

The news from Scotland’s  very own,  anOrdain watch company;

Presenting a brand new iteration of our seminal watch – the Model 1 Precious Metal Series. In collaboration with Windup Watch Shop, an online watch boutique founded by Worn & Wound, the dials of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series offer the more subtle design features of our first watch space to breathe upon the dial.

When the first lockdown of 2020 hit, enamel production at anOrdain halted for the first time in two years.

Making a watch without enamel wasn’t something we’d done before but, unwilling to stop creating, we began racking our brains about how best to proceed.

With a team comprising of typographers, silversmiths, jewellers, watchmakers and people from an array of design principles, we knew we would be able to explore other creative avenues.

Very understated, maybe that’s a good thing when you are wearing a gold watch.

Working with one of Europe’s leading dial makers in Germany, we experimented with various precious metals and techniques such as milling, polishing and galvanic dipping to develop a miniature series of our first watch, the Model 1.

We were careful to ensure any new iteration of the Model 1 maintained a distinctly anOrdain aesthetic, transferring the numeral and hand design from the enamel version onto the metallic dials.

TOUCH OF GOLD

The stripped-back dials of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series – galvanically plated in red gold, white gold and black rhodium – allow room for these elements to breathe.

Unusual in their construction, the dials are bowl-shaped. The chapter ring around the edge of the dial curls upwards towards the edge of the gently domed crystal, with a brushed finish contrasting with the sand-blasted flat surface to create a tantalising play of light. The numerals, pad-printed onto the dial, are compellingly accentuated by the mixed textures below.

The Hands

Just as intertwining the design and making processes is an integral part of what we do here at anOrdain, these separate elements can sometimes also weave their own webs to create a tapestry of narrative continuity throughout each part of the watch.

The various design elements of the Model 1 – and now the Model 1 Precious Metal Series – borrow from one another. The cartographic influence permeates everything from the numerals to the indexes and hands.

Polished and finished in a white lacquer, the hands of the Black Rhodium perfectly match the bold white of the numerals and indices and pop spectacularly against the black dial.

The Result

The Model 1 Precious Metal Series is a new direction for us, but each watch still feels and looks thoroughly anOrdain.

We’ve kept the inner workings of the Model 1 Precious Metal Series as they were in the original model, with an ETA 2824-2, regulated and modified in-house by our team of four watchmakers, still working to power our latest iteration.

To commemorate the project, the brushed case backs are laser engraved with the Windup Watch Shop logo and individually numbered.

The price is $1250, from the Windup Watch Shop website.

Be Your Own Banksy With The Bamford Customiser

There is something addictive about designing your own one-off watch. That’s exactly how Bamford London feel as well, so you can buy their Sellita SW330 powered GMT watch with a variety of dial, bezel, hands options, plus a bit of engraving and lettering on the dial.

Sapphire crystal, 40mm steel case, so this will fit most wrists quite nicely.

We gave it a try and created two designs the 01 and 02 and we have to say, either model would be a welcome addition to the NWC watch drawer. Who doesn’t like the classic Pepsi Red/Blue bezel, or an orange or red GMT hand?

The cost is £1400, which is just slightly above the standard model £1250 retail. You don’t have any import duty of VAT to pay as Bamford is a UK based company, so that’s a bonus.

Find out more here.

Christopher Ward C60 Gets a Glass of Orange

UK watch brand Christopher Ward has released an orange dial variant to its C60 range. The dial is also uber-thin sapphire crystal and translucent, so you can catch a glimpse of the Sellita SW200 movement inside.

That is a clever detail and we love the C Ward trident second hand, plus the decorated rotor on the movement, which you can see through the caseback as well.

The markers and hands are coloured Superluminova blue, kinda like a 2020 Rolex, so yeah, that is cool.

Best of all, a decent price tag at £795, which is a refresshing change from so many Sellita powered dive watches that retail at well over a grand.

More here.

 

Christopher Ward C63 Sealander

Christopher Ward have produced some very sharp designs over the last few years. Although critics moan about Swiss movements being used, rather than UK built movements, you have to admire the combo of UK design with Swiss level build touches. These are not unreasonably priced watches, considering they’re assembled in Britain where labour costs are high.

Here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

Crafted in Grade 2 titanium, the C63 watch head weighs a featherlight 45g, and is also the first CW timepiece with a retractable crown – something that stops it digging into your hand when cycling or rock climbing, and which prevents unexpected knocks to the movement, too.

WE LOVE THE CROWN – NOT THE TV SHOW, OBVIOUSLY

Yes, the crown is the erm..crowning glory on this model, as it has that Thunderbirds vibe when it’s hidden away beneathe the case edge. Add water-resistance to 150m, and you’ve got a pro timing instrument that’s elite in every way.

Those little cut-outs on the edge of the dial are a nice extra feature too, kinda like air vents.  That trident second hand catches the eye.

Inside it has a Sellita movement, with a decorated rotor. You can view it occasionally through the caseback glass too, nice work all round. At 40mm this is the ideal sized all-rounder watch, bit sporty, but not in-your-face like a Breitling Navi or an IWC Pilot.

It’s on pre-order right now, at £1150, which is a special price – rises to £1380 later in the year. More here. 

 

In Profile: Winton Watches Capture The Pioneer Spirit

Two guys from the NE of England had an idea about ten years ago and this year, Winton watches has launched.

The brand name was inspired by Alexander Winton, who emigrated from Britain to the USA in the 1890s and built a car called the Bullet. He was recorded covering the mile at an average speed of 68mph – that was Bugatti Veyron stuff back then. Flat cap n goggles, no tarmac roads.

The Swan automatic (above) is a classic dress watch, with a sapphire crystal, 39mm case diameter, 100m water resistance and a steel bracelet. You also get a see-thru caseback so you can check out the ETA 2824 movement inside. That is a classy engine at this price point, which is just £495. Great value we reckon. And no, we aren’t on commission.

The Anning (pic above)  is a more sporty number, with a 42mm case that features a pair of bumper lugs near the crown, offering some chamfered steel protection when you’re out exploring with this watch.

It’s a neat little touch on this sapphire crystal, steel watch, which again is Swiss powered, this time with a Ronda R150 movement. The rotor is decorated with the Winton logo and script by the way, which is viewable via the see-thru caseback.

The Anning has a choice of straps, which cost an extra £15, very reasonable when many Indie brands are asking £30 or more for extra straps.

Two dial colors, Jet Black or Sunburst Blue on the Anning. Price is £475, which is Tissot entry level, Seiko Presage or Citizen Red Arrows territory.

Verdict; An interesting alternative to mainstream watches and if you like the idea of buying British then you are getting some genuine Swiss quality without the VAT and import duty on top – that’s handy.

More here at the Winton watch website.

Accurist Retro Racer is a Winner

Ladies n gentlemen, can we have a tip of the hat to Accurist who have launched a pretty decent 1970s chronograph for under £130. In fact we saw one example at £109 on Ideal World today.

The Retro Racer has a qaurtz movement, the usual chrono functions and a Milanese mesh bracelet option too. It only has a 50m depth rating so don’t go swimming while wearing it, but this is an everyday watch that captures 70s motorsport style with a selection of dial colours. We love the blue best, but the silver is cool and the black option with red second hand gives you that older 60s vibe. The brown leather strap has the Paddy Hopkirk perforated look as well.

The thing we like about this is that the case has those rounded angles on its old fashioned TV dial look. Accurist has been making round case chronographs for ages, but since they dropped the Sekonda Monaco homage, they haven’t really produced anything a bit different from most of the budget fashion quartz watches out there. (Yes, Sekonda, Limit and Accurist are owned by the same company)

This new Accurist watch could pass for one of the many Indie brand VK64 models out there on Kickstarter right now and yep, that’s a good thing.

Why? Well, Accurist has become the Honda Jazz of watches, it’s an old person watch brand, so if it’s going to survive then they need some punchy, sharp designs – and they need to make much more of their 1960s Old England heritage. Spaceman cases, steering wheel watches, Twiggy Union Jack revival…the opportunity is there, get busy.

Accurist has produced a sort of Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance video for the Retro Racer, which is worth a look;

 

 

Feeling the Goodwood Vibe? Try a Marchand Driver Chrono

If you are looking forward to getting along to Goodwood Festival of Speed, or the Revival in September, once the lockdown house arrest ends, then a Marchand watch could be just the thing. Styled here in the UK, these Seiko VK64 quartz watches have motorsport oozing from every pusher and the retro Driver Chronograph model is on pre-order offer right now, at £199. Price then rises to £259 after the first 100 pieces are sold.

By the way the Marchand pictured in the header image is on Amazon right now for £179 – just saying.

Here’s the blurb from Marchand;

The Retro Driver Chronograph MKII wrist watch is inspired by retro motor racing, a mix of technical and elegance… steel and leather making it a stunning vintage drivers watch for your weekend drives.
The Driver chrono mens watch delivers sensations of tradition and modernity, its blue dial refers to the classic GT cars of the 70s and 80s with the added ivory and orange features of the dial to really reflect retro race styling. Elegant on the wrist the Driver chronograph embraces its owner with a perforated padded, leather rally strap to remind of the leather upholstery and gloves of the drivers. Who doesn’t love motoring watches?
Fave colours? Got to be blue, then the bold yellow panda.
The Driver Chrono MKIIs feature a brushed 43mm all stainless steel with a brushed and polished bezel, it runs on a highly popular and modern Japanese Seiko caliber VK64 chronograph hybrid meca-quartz movement with highly scratch resistant sapphire crystal to protect the dial. These chronos have the subdial dials lowered disc cut effect and features luminous hands and hours indicators. The caseback features an etched retro racing driver’s helmet from the 70’s and lastly all models tailor a genuine leather strap with quick release pins, brushed buckle and etched logo.

 

Collectables: Bamford Popeye GMT, Swiss Engineering, 100 Pieces

Bamford London are famed for their unique limited edition watches and this is no exception. Sellita SW300 movement, 40mm stainless steel case and a neat twist to the packaging with a can, not a box. Yes, it’s a Popeye thing.

Just 100 pieces will be made and the UK price is £1500. What we love about this one is the Popeye arms being used as the hour and minute hands – it’s a homage to those Ingersoll pocket watches that featured Hopalong Cassidy and Dan Dare back in the 1950s, which are pretty collectable today if you can find an original that’s still working.

Obviously you have to be a bit of a fan to splash out on the Bamford Popeye, otherwise you could pick up a Sellita powered GMT from another Indie brand for about a grand or less. Maybe a Popeye Doyle French Connection model would actually be a cooler pop culture tie-in and the watch is delivered in a recycled sill of a Lincoln Continental? Just thinking out loud.

At this price point we are gonna choose a Yema Superman, or perhaps a Naruto Seiko 5 to save some money and still add a little comic book magic to your collection. Yep, we know the Yema isn’t a `Superman’ branded watch, but still it’s a great dive model for under 1000 euros. What the heck.

Finally, They Nailed It- Bremont Supermarine Is a Winner

Bremont have just opened a new factory in the UK and you have to say hats off to them, because most brands would have simply designed their watches here in Britain, and had production outsourced to Singapore, possibly Switzerland on the more expensive models. But no, British-made watches (yeah Swiss movements we know, but give them a chance) and what’s more, the new Supermarine chronograph is probably going to be a hot seller, even at £5400 or so.

Let’s start with the dial which is a classic three sub-dial, reversed white on black affair. It’s punchy, tool watch functional, a classic mix of GMT and lumed hands. Set inside the 43mm case is a Bremont BE54 movement, with a stunning rotor that’s embossed with the Bremont name and a series of paddle shaped cut-outs. Little SBS/Commando detail that we love. The BE54 is based on the reliable Valjoux 7750 so you won’t have much trouble getting this serviced by an independent watchmaker when you need to – handy.

The bezel is ceramic, bi-directional and its rated at 200m so you can scuba dive on holiday – if you’re allowed abroad of course. I love the pushers and crown details on this model, they remind me of Thunderbird 3 and yeah, I think that’s a good thing.

The blue dial version looks pretty spectacular as well, and you can choose silicone strap or steel bracelet. The see-thru caseback is sapphire of course, and shows off that modified 7750 movement plus the Bremont rotor perfectly. This watch will delight the eye for decades and you have to admit, the same could not be said about some previous Bremont efforts.

This brand is turning things around now and if they can add a calculator on import duties in key markets to their online checkout then they have got it made. That’s a tall order I know, but you have to admit that the EU is making life hard for the UK and will continue to do so because…well mafia innit?

So if customers in China, Aus, USA, EU and Japan can all see exactly what the total cost of the watch is, then I think they may be tempted. This is a worthy rival to a TAG Autavia Heritage, an Omega Planet Ocean or Breitling Chronomat and although it is uinlikely to hold its resale value quite so well as those three watches, it’s definitely a watch you could pass down the family 30 years on – it has all the right elements, tough spec and plenty of visual appeal. Good work Bremont.

 

Marloe Launches New Speed Record Models

The latest from Marloe and it’s great to see a British brand celebrating UK record breakers of the past;

Honouring Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell’s dogged pursuit of speed and adventure, Marloe Watch Company will launch two new timepieces inspired by their record-breaking land speed runs. Released on Donald Campbell’s centenary day, March 23rd, the Bonneville and Eyre hand-wound mechanical watches mark an official partnership between the British watch brand and the Campbell Family Heritage Estate.

Both the Bonneville and Eyre watch models are named after and inspired by their respective land speed stories.

Bonneville | Between 1924 and 1935, Sir Malcolm broke nine land speed records. In 1935, behind the wheel of the Campbell-Railton Blue Bird, he became the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph, doing so across the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. 

Inspiration for the Bonneville was taken from the speedometer on the Blue Bird that captured the land speed record in 1935. The dial featured a segment of yellow to clearly indicate the target speed – from 280mph to well past 300mph. Echoing this aesthetic, the watch’s matte black dial features a yellow section applied to either side of the 30-minute marking. The running seconds hand, again inspired by the speedometer, is bright red with a black counterweight. Celebrating Sir Malcolm’s land speed record, “301 MPH” adorns the face at the 6 o’clock in racing yellow.

Eyre | Following in the footsteps and tire treads of his father, Donald went on to break speed records in the 1950s and 60s. In 1964, he smashed the land speed record in the Bluebird CN7 – clocking a speed of 403mph on the dry bed of Lake Eyre, Australia. 

The dial of the Eyre replicates the glittering surface of the wondrous Lake Eyre salt pan – bright and clear with unambiguous markings. The outer edge of the face uses subtle colouring from the Blue Bird CN7’s fuel pressure gauge – a bold mix of white, grey, red and blue. The running seconds hand matches the one used on the CN7 instrumentation and is painted Bluebird blue from tip to pinion. In a final nod to Donald’s achievements, the central plateau features a very important designation; “403 MPH” – his final world land speed record.

Each timepiece houses a Miyota 8N33 movement.

To appreciate the beauty of this intricate movement, the caseback has been designed to frame the nickel-plated 8N33. The domed sapphire crystal allows a subtle magnification of the movement and manifests the visual trick of making it look almost touchable. Both the Bonneville and Eyre will retail at £329 via the Marloe website and production volumes of each watch are tied to the speeds recorded by both Sir Malcolm (301 pcs) and Donald (403 pcs).

Speaking on Marloe Watch Company’s partnership with the Campbell Family Heritage Trust, Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell, said: “The exceptional milestones conquered by Sir Malcolm and my father, Donald, were many years in the planning and involved the very best designers, engineers and brains to create such incredibly technical machines.

Marloe Watch Company approach creating watches in the same way, with so much time spent on the functionality of each timepiece. These two outstanding Bonneville and Eyre watches are very befitting of the Campbell legacy and it’s great to see the spirit of Malcolm and Donald’s achievements living on today.

As part of the centenary celebrations, Marloe will also announce a limited-edition watch dedicated to Donald’s achievements. Aptly named ‘Centenary Edition’, the piece will be limited to 100 pieces and feature a timeless aesthetic, as well as the icon that has become synonymous with the Campbell family – the Bluebird.