Bamford London keep coming up with custom variants on Rolex and other Swiss watch brands. This reworking of a Zenith is pretty out there. No price on the website, you have to email an equiry.
In collaboration with Black Badger, this Zenith Pilot Chrono TIPO CP-2 features a unique Fordite dial.
Fordite is the commonly used term to describe the collected overspray that builds up in the industrial paint bays of car factories over many, many years. The Fordite material used in this collaboration has come from the Ford factories in Michigan, USA, from the 1970-1990s era. This material forms entirely unique patterns which has been made into a special dial.
Inside the case you have the famous El Prmero chrono movement. Those yellow tipped hands are an extra jazzy touch as well.
More here if you want to get some Austin Powers vibe on your wrist.
As we get deeper into the MOD watch thing, NWC magazine thought we would put some money on the table and buy something cheap and cheerful, just as a starting point. I mean, you could always change the dial, bezel and hands at a later date just to increase your own Modding skills level right?
So we found Martyn Stimpson online, a London based guy making/selling some eye-catching watches that we could called Seiko homage. Martyn also deals in vintage watches and you can’t argue with a running Smiths or Favre Lueba at under £80 really.
The dive style, brand new models Stimpson London sells are 40-42mm wide watches, with DG auto Chinese movement inside, mineral crystal, steel case, sterile dial (no brand name) screwdown crown and a solid caseback. I chose a blue and white one and paid just over £51 inc postage.
If you want to upgrade, Stimpson sell Seiko NH35 powered watches that look prettymuch identical to the one I bought. They cost around £99 by the way.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Glad you asked, there is no box. Well, you have to get down to an ebay price of £47 plus postage somehow and that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. The watch was very well bubble wrapped and boxed, with the foldover clasp covered in blue sealing tape, plus bracelet polythene wrap either side of the clasp too.
This one has a 40mm case, exc crown, with a unidirectional clicking bezel. You grab the serrated edges and wind it to the left, or anti-clockwise. Bit stiff, but as I won’t be diving in a watch with a 30m depth rating, it doesn’t matter. It’s the look and feel that counts for me at this price.
Inside you can hear the movement spinning its rotor like an old fashioned 45rpm record when you shake the watch. I gave it about ten mins of shaking and it ran overnight fine.
The crown unscrews nicely and once you line it up dead straight, it screws down perfectly too. The case edges are well chamfered and rounded, no sharp edges sticking in your wrist. I like the blue inlay in the crown too, like Cartier touch there, although under a loupe it does look like a blue sticker.
There is a Rolex syle serrated caseback, and although In have a set of tools somewhere in the spare room to jam it in the vice and open it, I haven’t bothered. I can’t see the movement being exciting to look at frankly, what matters is that it works. So far it’s been keeping time spot on for a day, but I will update you in a few months and see what the accuracy is like.
I had to remove 4 links to fit my wrist, so I was pleased to see screwdown pins fitted. This is usual on expensive watches, or the capped variety, but far better than push-pins, as they tend to bend slightly when tapped back into brand new bracelet links in my experience. Definite plus point for this level of watch.
ON THE WRIST
The watch isn’t too wide or too heavy for me. It’s not too high like a real dive watch with 300m resistance might be at say 15mm plus, this one measures at 13mm dead on my Vernier gauge, inc the caseback and crystal cyclops detail.
The cyclops gives you a decent view of the date and it is set dang straight on the glass too. The clasp snaps shut and prises open with a nice blend of ressistance. All round, this is a superb watch for Sekonda money and feels good to wear. It won’t impress any fellow collectors, or fashionistas who worship particular Indie brands, or Swiss dive models. Fact is, it isn’t a real dive watch, just a homage.
But the MOD movement is all about getting your own look, a unique take, on the Seiko SKX dive style, isn’t it?
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.
Everyone who loves Rolex knows that 2020 was a great year with new Oyster, GMT and Sub models proving to be immensely popular. So much so that flippers have managed to buy Subs and add another 7K to the list price to sell them on. Even Lord Sugar tweeted last year that he could not buy a GMT Batman for love or money. But has it sent buyers to other brands, and how has the demand for new Rolex models affected the prices of older pre-2020 Subs and GMTs?
Rolex watches carry a value of between £2,000 to £1,000,000 and within this vast range of models, there are some timepieces that people often argue are overvalued because they trade on the secondary market for thousands over their retail price. A much less common view is that some Rolex watches are undervalued. Arfan Mohammed explains which Rolex model he feels is under appreciated:
“There are several Rolex watches that when examined in absolute terms, are incredibly good value. You can buy a fantastic condition vintage 36mm Datejust for £4,000, and a vintage 36mm Explorer ref. 14270 for less than £4,500. When compared to the retail prices of their modern counterparts, they are great value and relatively attainable. However, these price points are a result of the long production periods and relatively quenchable demand given their second-rate construction and smaller sizes, when compared to modern Rolex watches. So they’re great value but it’s hard to argue that they are undervalued.
To truly appreciate when a watch is actually undervalued, we must compare it to models at a similar price point to see what else you can get for the same money. A budget of up to £27,000 is enough to buy the vast majority of Rolex watches and so is a good sum to determine which Rolex is undervalued.
The stainless steel Rolex Daytona has always been the one Rolex to always carry a waiting list. Long before the Submariner, GMT-Master II and Sky-Dweller ever had waiting lists of their own, the Daytona was the one watch nobody could get, and everyone wanted. This timepiece has almost always traded on the secondary market for roughly double its retail value, so this is absolutely not an undervalued watch. The modern stainless steel Daytona is now trading from between £20,000 to £23,000, depending on whether you buy new or not. With decades-long pandemonium engulfing the stainless steel Daytona, one gem has slipped through the net undetected and has become, in my opinion, the most undervalued Rolex; the white gold Daytona.
The retail price for the stainless steel Daytona was around £7,000 compared to £23,000 for the more precious metal. Trading for anywhere between £20,000 and £27,000, the white gold Rolex Daytona ref. 116509 is selling for around the same price as its stainless steel sibling, offering outstanding value for money. Given that the cal. 4130 movement still hasn’t changed since its introduction in 2000, there is nothing fundamentally different between this Daytona and a modern model. Therefore, for a relatively similar price to the modern stainless steel Rolex Daytona, you can get a white gold model with an up-to-date in-house movement, a more exclusive dial option offered only on the white gold variants and a watch made of a rarer metal with intrinsic value. To my mind, the white gold Daytona will always hold its value at the very least and it illustrates that there is such a thing as an undervalued Rolex.”
BUYERS FRUSTRATED, BUT FEW DEFECT TO RIVAL BRANDS
We took a rough n ready poll on Twitter and found that there was a general sense that Rolex were now milking the waiting game for all it was worth. Worse still, some Rolex fans who bought from authorised dealers in the past, were finding that they were still not getting a sniff of a 2020 Sub/GMT.
GrammarGuy tweeted that he was waiting for a Milgauss for a year.’ But he was looking for a pre-owned example instead. Meanwhile Shaw2Damian said that having bought Rolex watches before he was on a supposed waiting list for over a year at Goldsmiths. CryptoVinnie says he won’t buy a Rolex because the waiting list is ` a scam’ but Tuukka Pastrnak reckons that authorised dealers and flippers are using the Rolex shortages to inflate their profits. He also vowed to buy an Omega instead.
Northern Watch Co spoke to one independent Manchester watch dealer who has seen demand for GMTs and Subs rocket in the last few months;
Off the record he said;
“People are fed up waiting for the new models so they contact us – and other dealers and pawnbrokers – looking for particular models, references, even particular details like original hands because Rolex will often change the hands when they service the watch. You tend to find that Rolex GMT Hulk or Batman fans will not buy anything else but a pristine example of the watch they really want, with a full set of box n paperwork. Most of my regular customers are generally looking to own Swiss watches to make money long term, keep them in a safe at home or work, not wear them every day – it’s too dangerous now to go anywhere wearing a 10 grand watch.
Sometimes a buyer just wants a Rolex as a retirement present to themselves but it’s mainly an investment, with the idea being you sell the watch one day and make 2K profit or so. That demand won’t go away because people are getting f*** all interest in banks, so really clean used Rolexes are going to rise in value, except the knackered old 34 mil Oysters, they’ll never creep much above three grand or so because they look like a girl’s watch now.
Would they buy a different brand? Not often. The only alternatives for most Rolex buyers are AP or Patek, maybe a Breitling…they aren’t interested in anything else unless it’s a giveaway price. The lockdown has spoiled the game for me, because it’s gone brutal out there now. People can’t come in and chat, you can’t get to know them as collectors or investors. I miss the old buying signals that you used to get watching someone handle a Rolex, and of course that stuff never happens online. It’s all just low bid offers and “can you find me this?” emails. Annoying.”
Bamford have worked with Time+Tide to create a handsome GMT automatic for 2021. The watch features a Sellita SW300 movement, 40mm case and a rotating inner bezel. There is some good looking superlume applied to the numbers and hands too, sapphire crystal, plus that GMT hand of course. The strap is black cordura, with blue or orange stitching. There are two variations on the blue/black dial and case design by the way.
The watch is only available for 2021, then production will cease. Price is £1200, plus postage.
Verdict: Expensive for a Sellita SW300 powered watch, but great looks and collectability factor.
Bamford of London specialise in custom modded prestige watches and if you like something different the TAG Aquaracer with orange details on the dial and bezel stands out from the TAG crowd.
You get the Bamford logo on the black dial, plus orange-edged hands, a little orange arrow on the bezel and a little orange track of flecks running around the outside of the chapter ring. There’s also a titanium case plus strap combo, which justifies the price premium. The Bamford is a partnership arrangement with TAG so it comes in a branded orange box too.
All in it’s £3250 which is a big ticket price for an Aquaracer, although the TAG RRP is about 2500 for the steel case, silicon strap cooking model. I’m not a fan of the Aquaracer because it doesn’t offer anything special for the price imho. There are better spec indie brand watches that offer 300m depth rating, chrono features and a date window for about £1000-£1500.
OK, I know what you’re thinking, the Aquaracer will hold its value better than an indie watch like a Baltic, Zelos, or many more, which is true up to a point. But try selling an Aquaracer at an independent watch dealership for cash; you will be shocked at how little you are offered. That’s because the TAG Aqua is a slow seller, it isn’t seen as being as collectable/desirable as a Carrera, Autavia or Monaco, more of an entry level Swiss watch. That isn’t fair because a Hamilton Khaki or Tissot Powermatic 80 is an entry level Swiss watch at about 500-700 quid.
The good news for anyone buying this Bamford edition is that the Aquaracer IS far, far cheaper than the build-a-bear Zenith and TAG Monaco editions that Bamford currently offer. By about 5-7K in some cases. As far as customised watches go, the Bamford Aquaracer is something of a bargain, and you get plenty of extra details for your 750 quid premium.
Buy the Bamford Aquaracer because you love the orange and black dial design and titanium lightness, not because you feel it’s a prestige investment. There are no brand new investment watches below 5 grand, there is no way you can turn a 3K watch into a £1200 quick profit by flipping it.
Bamford of London, the stylish and eclectic reworking house, who have spiced up many a Zenith, Rolex and TAG in the past, have switched their attention to the Casio G-Shock. Arguably one of the few quartz watches that has a truly cult fanbase around the world, along with the Bulova Accutron, the G-Shock suits a sporty lifestyle and tend to last for years.
The blue themed Casio G-Shock, features solar power, so no annoyingly expensive battery changes every couple of years. It will cost £149 and goes on sale this Thursday. More info here.
Bamford of London have released some new variations on their Sellita SW330 powered automatic GMT models. Our fave is the Italian job, in classic red/green bezel colours. Sapphire crystal, steel bracelet, 40mm case size.
The word from their website;
Displaying Bamford London’s own unique colourways and housing the Swiss Made self-winding Sellita SW330-1 movement with 25 jewels and a 42 hour power reserve, the Bamford GMT is the next phase for Bamford London. Inspired by travel, the function of the automatic 24-hour GMT hand function with internal rotating bezel allows users to view a separate time zone.
Price is £1100 by the way.
Not so keen on the new blue/brown combo, but that’s just us – you might love it. More info here.
Just in from the London Concours show press office, this event looks like a great way to re-boot your classic car social life this summer. With the theme being convertibles, let’s hope the UK weather gods play ball 😉
The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, will gather a collection of the most beautiful and innovative soft-tops ever, paying special attention to the 1960s. Showcasing the likes of the Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari 330 GTS, Alfa Romeo Junior Spider and Aston Martin DB2, it’s no wonder this class is known as Convertibles: The Golden Era.
Taking place from 19-20 August, the London Concours – set to be the UK’s first major automotive event since February – will gather these elegant cars and nearly 100 others into the Honourable Artillery Company HQ – a five-acre oasis of green nestled among the tall buildings of the City of London.
Below are a few of the highlights that will be on the lawn:
Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupé
With an advanced twin overhead-cam 2.6-litre straight-six and a lightweight tubular chassis, the DB2 was the latest in a lineage of sporting Aston Martins. Designed initially as a coupé, Aston Martin did produce just six DB2 DHCs in the First Sanction run. The First Sanction cars are those with three-piece front grilles, bumper strips and side extractor grilles. The example at London Concours was bought in 1950 by Prince Bertil of Sweden, a good personal friend of David Brown, then owner of Aston Martin.
Ferrari 330 GTS
The replacement to the 275 GTS, the 330 GTS was designed to be an elegant, open-top, V-12 grand tourer for Ferrari’s best customers. In short, it was designed to be the finest open-top automotive experience money could buy. While 598 330 GTCs (the coupé variant) were built in total, only 99 of the 330 GTSs would leave the factory gates by the time GTS production concluded in 1968, making the convertible a real rarity.
Jaguar E-Type Roadster 3.8
The E-Type’s looks were sensational, and it quickly became a symbol of the 1960s. Thanks to its unbeatable combination of price and performance, offering a top speed of close to 150mph (241km/h) at little more than £2000, it was an instant success, particularly in the vital American market. The early example on display at London Concours is powered by the 3.8-litre XK engine.
Fiat Dino Spider
Known as a Ferrari in disguise, the Fiat Dino Spider was powered by the same engine as Ferrari’s Dino. It was a way of homologating the new all-alloy V6 Dino engine to make it eligible for Formula 2 – with Ferrari’s limited production numbers they couldn’t do it alone. This early car was 415th out of the 500 cars needed for homologation and – as all Spiders were – features an elegant body designed by Pininfarina. Acceleration from 0-60mph took just seven seconds and the top speed stood at 130mph.
In total seven curated classes will be on display at the London Concours, including ‘The Pursuit of Speed’, ‘Lancia Legends’, ‘Era of the Supercar’, ‘The Speed of Sand’ and ‘The Lost Marques. A special celebration display of the Ferrari Dino will see 10 examples gathered, each in a different factory-original colour.
The automotive displays will be complemented by pop-up stands from some of the world’s finest luxury brands and motoring retailers. Presenting partner, Montres Breguet, will be showcasing its fine hand-crafted timepieces, Anthony Sinclair – original tailor to Sean Connery’s James Bond – will be displaying some of its latest pieces, while one of Britain’s top hat-makers Yvette Jelfs brings her collection of natural hats, made with traditional millinery techniques.
Specialist automotive businesses like Alpine, Jaguar Classic, Bell Sport & Classic, Foskers, Jensen International Automotive, Footman James and Moss Automotive will be on-hand for all car-buying or owning needs – should the mood strike you.
We love classic cars just as much as Swiss watches here at The Northern Watch Co, so if you fancy a trip out in August, this Concours display is definitely one for the petrolheads.
The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, has announced its The Pursuit of Speed display; gathering the cars designed not just to be fast on the road, but to be the fastest. From the all-conquering Jaguar XK120 to the beautifully iconic Mercedes 300SL ‘Gullwing’ and on to the latest Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, ‘The Pursuit of Speed’ is a visual journey through humanity’s quest for ever higher speeds, and the evolving technology that accompanies it.
Taking place from 19-20 August, the London Concours will gather these speed machines and nearly 100 others into the Honourable Artillery Company HQ – a five-acre oasis of green nestled among the tall buildings of the City of London. Classes are dedicated to elegance, or to innovation, design and – in this case – speed.
From naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines to quad-turbocharged W16 engines, the fastest cars on the road have quickly shifted gears from 100mph to just over 300mph in less than 100 years, and The Pursuit of Speed will chart each quantum leap. Below are a few of the highlights that will be on the lawn:
1950s Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever created, the Mercedes 300SL kickstarted a model line – the SL – that continues in the Mercedes range to this day. At the time, it wasn’t just a stunning and innovative piece of design (including those iconic gullwing doors), it was actually the fastest car in the world, capable of hitting over 160mph with the right gearing.
1970s Lamborghini Countach LP400 (Periscopio) The unmistakable, aggressive wedge-shaped Lamborghini Countach was built on a tubular space-frame chassis with dramatic alloy bodywork draped over it. But never one to skimp on drama, Lamborghini also equipped the Countach with a pair of magnificent scissor doors. Fitted with a longitudinal 4.0-litre V12, the early LP400 ‘Periscopio’ was capable of reaching around 180mph, but the pièce de résistance of these 150 early models is the periscope rear-view mirror which was replaced shortly afterwards.
1980s Ferrari F40 The final car that got Enzo Ferrari’s personal sign off was to be an absolute powerhouse. Celebrating 40 years of Ferrari, the powerful twin-turbo V8 was fitted to a lightweight Kevlar, carbon fibre and aluminium body meaning it was the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car for sale at the time. The amount of weight saving was made apparent in the spartan interior – no door handles, no glove box, carpets or trim. Even today, the Ferrari F40 will keep modern supercars honest with a top speed over 200mph.
2000s Bugatti Veyron As the first car to officially break the 250mph barrier, the Bugatti Veyron was a seminal moment in automotive history. It’s 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine generated 1001PS, with Super Sport versions boasting 1,200PS. In 2005, it set an average top speed record of 253.81mph, before the later ‘World Record Edition’ model hit a blistering 268mph.
The London Concours 2020 takes place from 19-20 August, and the venue is the Honourable Artillery Company HQ . Tickets are available to buy now from www.londonconcours.co.uk/tickets
The full list of cars in ‘The Pursuit of Speed’ is: