Category Archives: British Watches

Farer Stanhope II Has That 70s Vibe

The cushion shaped case was a big trend in the late 60s/early 70s era of watchmaking.  With its slightly rounded  off corners and edges it had a natural fit on most wrists and yet made a change from the traditional round case with slim bezel, that was typical of 50s and 60s watches.

Lately the cushion case has made a comeback with watches like the Duckworth Prestex, Sekonda Airborne chrono ( pictured)  or the Spinnaker Hull, which is a great value automatic.

This week we got an email from British brand Farer, who have revamped their Stanhope model with some new features for 2022, which gives it a nice mix of retro and modern looks. It retails at £875, has a Sellita SW216 engine, plus super snug strap fit, thanks to the lub design details.

Looks sharp we reckon. Here’s the spec from Farer;

The original Stanhope was first released in 2018, as part of the hand-wound collection. Now reimagined into an all new, highly polished, 3 part construction cushion case design, fresh for 2022.

The dial is built using a complex multi-layer dial technique, creating an intricate piqué textured off-white central plate, punched in for the sweeping sub-dial at 6 and cut-in around the circumference to create the hour markings.

The raised polished steel numerals at 12, 3 and 9 along with the hour batons, infilled with midnight blue, set off the textured plate.

Raised wedge marker details on the hour indexes are finished in Super-LumiNova dots, linking to the rounded index hands with matching inset Super-LumiNova on both hour and minute hands to add a further depth to the Stanhope design after dark.

At 38.5mm the case sits comfortably on any wrist, with the lines of the new cushion case architecture creating a barrel sided design that hugs the dial. Uncommonly, the case is skilfully made up of a three piece construction; case back, main case body and bevelled bezel with anti-reflective sapphire glass inset – resulting in a compelling piece from any view when handling.

Case is made from three pieces.

The straps create the illusion of being integrated into the bat ear lug design, due to a clever scalloped inner case between the lugs for a snug fit. This is a case that stands out from the norm, with classic understated elegance.

Powered by the modified non-date SELLITA SW216-1 Elaboré Grade movement, notable for its thinness, reliability and robustness. Finished with blue screws and bespoke Farer arrow pattern, across the micro-engraved bridge. Delivering 45 hours power reserve when the calibre is fully manually wound.

More here. 

anOrdain Go Large With Model 2

Scotland based brand anOrdain has launched a bigger version of its 36mm Model 2 watch.

The new 39.5mm case size offers a bit more oomph on the wrist and the trademark hand-crafted enamel dial remains a key feature. Interestingly, there’s no blue dial option, just white, grey, a kind of greeny-grey mix and grass green.

Here’s the word from an Ordain;

We have expanded the range to include a larger case size. Scaling the original 36mm design up to a heftier 39.5mm, the overall aesthetic remains the same, with rounded lugs, prominent crown protectors and a thick, curving bezel.

Our new enamel colours give the piece a more grounded aesthetic reflective of its purpose as a watch for the great outdoors. The Model 2 comes in Racing Green and Flax with brushed case finishes, and White and Grey Haar, both with a polished case finish.

Prices start at £1225.

More here.

Is This The Smoothest Christopher Ward Yet?

Say hello to the new Christopher Ward Aquitaine. We reckon this is one of the smoothest looking watches the UK brand has produced. Very sleek, balanced lines, a beautiful finish on the bezel, plus a bronze case variant too.

And all for that traditional value price. You can’t argue with a bronze dive watch with COSC Swiss movement for around £1100 these days, it will soon cost that much to service your Audi A3 diesel.

The entry level green Aquitaine is £905 and is an all-rounder, here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

“Aquitaine is a significant step up from the original C65 range. It dives deeper: water resistance is up significantly, from 150m to 200m. It suits more people: the reduced lug-to-lug length of this latest 41mm iteration of the Light Catcher case makes it comfortable on nearly every wrist.”

See-thru caseback and Sellita SW200 movement inside by the way.

BLUE AND BRONZE

Our fave of the new Aquitaine trio is the blue dial bronze model. Retails at £1105 and features a COSC version of the SW200 automatic movement. Sapphire crystal, 200m, see-thru caseback, leather strap, NATO or silicone options.

The factory claim that the new bezel on the Aquitaine is the most scratch resistant they have ever produced. The lume  on the hands and markers looks amazing too.

Watch the promo video here;

GMT VERSION

The white dial GMT Aquitaine is another versatile 41mm watch that has a little bit of luxury about it. Like the other Aquitaine models, it has a domed crystal for extra visual punch.

Here’s the word from Christopher Ward;

“The new Sellita SW330-2 is an alternative to the ETA 2893, and a movement that provides both superb accuracy and GMT timing.

Just 4.1mm thick, the SW330-2 has 25 jewels and beats at a rate of 28,800 per hour with a power reserve of up to 56 hours. The central GMT hand can be set independently from the hour and seconds hands.”

That one retails at £1265. All three are on pre order for May delivery, more info here.

 

See-Thru Sealander GMT Is A Stylish Alternative

If you love skeleton dials then the latest variation on the C63 Sealander theme from Christopher Ward is worth checking out. Stunning grey segmented dial, GMT hand feature, date, sapphire front n rear and not too expensive either.

You might think `I fancy a dive watch this summer,’ but this could be a true all-rounder alternative. It has some quality touches, plus 150m of depth rsistance. That’s enough for most of us, let’s be honest.

See the promo video here;

Inside there’s the Sellita SW330 movement, which is COSC level when it comes ot accuracy too.  At 39mm wide the case isn’t too big for everyday wear. In fact, the details all add up quite nicely on this limited edition, which is being produced in just 200 pieces.

Price is £1100 for the steel bracelet and £995 for the rubber strap version. You can pre-order now for May 2022 delivery.

More here.

Motorsports Watches: Axion Racing Commander

Love motorsports watches? Check out Axion’s Racing Commander, a British designed, Swiss powered chrono that makes a left field choice compared to a Sinn, LIV, Certina DS, Tissot PRS, Steinhart, Limes etc.

Yeah, there are still lots of watch brands utilising the venerable Valjoux/ETA 7750 movement and who can blame them? It is one of the great engines of watchmaking over the last 30 years.

The Axion features a blue dial with three sub-sec dials and some dashes of red to act as a contrast. It’s aneat design. The see-thru caseback has a Axion decorated rotor, which looks OK, but not as bespoke as say a Bremont – you aren’t paying Bremont prices of course.

It’s in a 42mm steel case, plain bezel and tachymetre scale on the inner chapter ring. Steel bracelet too. Priced at £1850 it isn’t cheap and isn’t expensive like say a Chopard Monaco or Mille Miglia, which also uses the 7750 movement.

The Axion has a retro vibe which is classic, little bit understated too, although it lacks the visual punch of say a Breitling Triumph edition, a Tissot 1973 or a LIV GX-AX, which is the cheaper option – also has a bigger case diameter.

More info at Axion’s website here.

Farer Has New Models On the Way For April

The latest from UK brand Farer, who have some new models available from 7th April;

Our best-selling dive classics; Leven and Hecla return. Along with Endeavour, now updated with new detailed minute track and released in full titanium metal. For 2022, we also welcome Leven Ocean (pictured) to our line up. A special release to celebrate our ongoing partnership with The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

Retail is £995 on this one.

The Titanium Series 2 now have the highest multi-level anti-reflection applied to the inside of the sapphire double curved crystal for increased readability, plus come with a choice of all-new quick release rubber straps and quick release matching titanium bracelet available separately. Allowing you to change the look of your Compressor in seconds.

The technical innovation within our Aqua Compressor case remain, cut out of raw titanium – delivering a 40% reduction in weight, while being tougher than its stainless steel counterparts.

Bremont Williams WR-22 Is a Potential Winner

It’s been a long time coming but Bremont is finding its own identity and creating some classic designs that collectors can invest in.

Bit of history here; For a few years I worked in a Manchester pawnbrokers and can tell you that in 12 months only one person asked to see the two Bremont watches we had in the window. Ten blokes a week would ask to see a Rolex or a Breitling by comparison.

Bremont are not seen as bankable investments and yeah, that shouldn’t really matter if you love the watch but let’s be honest, much of the Swiss market is driven by the hope that one day your watch will be worth 20-40K secondhand.

Just looks right.

Designs like the ALT-1 and Martin Baker leave me cold, they look massively overpriced for what they offer in terms of looks on the wrist. They lack punch, the sort of second glance that you give a classic Alfa Spider or a Ducati 916 as it blats past.

But this Williams tie-in watch really has an elegance that other collab jobs from Bremont lack. Some of the Bremont Norton watches for example looked like old pocket watches, and that is never a good look for wristwatches.

It was a bad day in Hell when Bremont signed a deal with that scam artist at Norton motorcycles. Even worse when they designed this 1910 pocket watch dial.

No this one has a symmetry that just works. The colours are right; red, white and blue. The 70s styling details are also a big attraction, like those `stepper piston’ pushers on the side of the case.  The vinyl grooves on the sub dials are another 70s detail from chronographs of that era. Perfect.

Inside there’s a Swiss movement, tweaked by Bremont. Chronometer level accuracy, custom rotor with see-thru caseback. It’s nicely executed all round. All housed in a 43mm case, which is good news when spending almost six grand as it gives the buyer a feeling they bought a statement watch. Probably as big as most people need.

You get a Williams team wheel nut with each watch too, but let’s forget about that detail. It isn’t important. What matters is that Bremont are capable of designing and making a Swiss watch in the UK that competes with the best from TAG, Chopard or Zenith when it comes to motorsport/retro chronographs.

I’m not saying the Bremont will hold its value as well as say a blue dial Carrera, but it should do better than the Chopard Mille Miglia, which also struggles to find buyers secondhand, despite being a beautifully made retro chrono watch.

It retails at £5995 and has a three year waranty. More info here.

 

Yes, Purple Watches Are Happening Right Now

We keep seeing purple dial watches being launched and this limited edition from Brit brand William Wood is superb. That bronze case and purple dial/bezel combo really works well.

They call it the Bronze Amethyst and it celebrates five years of WW watches. A reliable Seiko NH35 movement powers this one, plus it has that fragment of firefighters helmet inside the winding crown. The WW brand raises money for various global firefighter charities with every watch sold by the way.

Here’s the press info;

Welcome to William Wood Watches Bronze Amethyst Anniversary Edition. Named Amethyst, after the gem stone of the month that we incorporated the business 5 years ago. The watch is finished in a metallic shimmer plum violet colour, with a cut-out number 5 indices in tribute of our 5 year celebration, and the dates of our incorporation 2017 – 2022 printed onto the dial.

The case is finished in our heritage bronze with a very special purple gloss flame caseback and number 5 cut out looking through to the movement. Each watch is engraved with a unique number between 1 and 55 and has Anniversary Edition engraved onto the case.

Price is £995, each of the 55 pieces are numbered on the caseback, more info here.

Farer Erebus is a Dark Dialled Delight

Yeah, too much aliteration there, but this is a handsome watch from Brit brand Farer. With a Sellita SW200 auto movement, see-thru crystal caseback, 39.5mm diameter case and the classic three hand layout, this is a daily dress watch that does the job.

It’s kinda slim at just under 11mm in height too, which is great for smart occasions. Price is £790. Here’s some history on the name Erebus, a doomed exploration ship;

Named after HMS Erebus, a Royal Navy polar exploration vessel, formerly a bomb vessel. In search of a vital sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the ship left England in 1845 in order to search for the North-West Passage.

The expedition was commanded by Captain Sir John Franklin, a seasoned polar explorer who had already led two previous searches for the North-West Passage. However, his final journey to the Arctic would end in tragedy.

A year and a half after setting off, their ships became trapped in ice near King William Island. By 1848, Franklin was dead and the surviving men abandoned their still-trapped ships. These scant details were gleaned from a note the crew left in a cairn. The exact circumstances of their deaths remain a mystery to this day.

Bronze Fan? Christopher Ward C60 is Worth a Look

So you want a dive watch that’s COSC grade, decent diameter and bronze case too? Well Christopher Ward can help you there matey with their C60 Ombre Green, COSC LE, Bronze edition.

Priced at £950 it is a little bit more than your average Indie brand, even a bronze model, but you do get that COSC movement accuracy, plus a better resale value, at least in the UK.

The movement is the trusty Sellita SW200, but obviously COSC level. A 42mm case is ideal for most wrists and a green strap is nice for everyday wear.  You get that cool trident end second hand too. Nice touch.

OK, you need to add a bracelet or more likley a silicone strap to go underwater, but this is a limited edition watch (500 pieces) that is worth a look if you love bronze case watches.  Depth rating is an impressive 600m by the way.

More here.