The magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 09. Summer 2018
Finally. Finally. A dull A dull watch watch from from Christopher Christopher Ward Ward
The C60 The Trident C60 Trident BronzeBronze Pro 600, Pro made 600,from made from a corrosion-resistant a corrosion-resistant bronze bronze alloy, swiftly alloy, swiftly develops develops a protective a protective layer oflayer copper of copper oxide oxide when exposed when exposed to the elements. to the elements. Whether Whether you you take it down take ittodown 600m, to or 600m, no further or no further than than the office, thethe office, oxidization the oxidization createscreates a patina a patina which iswhich unique is unique to the wearer’s to the wearer’s environment. environment. One thing Onethat thing won’t thattake won’t thetake shine theoff shine it, off it, however, however, is the price. is the price. Do yourDo research. your research.
Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
How often do I actually use the complications on my watches? The chronographs, for instance, are almost never pressed into play, unless it’s in the kitchen – and boiling an egg is hardly the sort of macho behaviour that builds brands like Breitling. That’s why we’ve yet to see a specialist range of chef’s chronographs from anyone (though I rather like the idea of a ‘Mary Berry’ Rolex Daytona, perhaps with sub dials in a fetching shade of icing pink, so maybe it’s only a matter of time). This being the case – and yes, it’s a sure sign of age – I’m more interested in clean, simple watches these days, an area where Christopher Ward has upped its game in recent years. The C5 Malvern 595 and C1 Grand Malvern 5 Day Automatic are both, IMHO, amongst the very best CW does, and the new C65 Trident Diver may just be the nicest of them all. Find out about it on page 12. Matt Bielby
“If you can remember the ’60s… …you weren’t really there,” is a quote variously credited to Robin Williams, Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner, Pete Townshend and Grace Slick, but – at least according to a researcher from the TV quiz QI – it was actually first said by comedian Charlie Fleischer as an exit line in the Comedy column of the Los Angeles Times in 1982. (Seems it took more than a decade to recover from the 1960s and create the quip!) Whether you were there or not, there’s no doubt the 1960s fundamentally shaped today’s world, especially in terms of popular culture, and the launch of our new C65 Trident Diver – inspired, as it is, by the watch aesthetics of the era – has at last given us the excuse to feature one of the most important contributors to modern culture, Bob Dylan, not once but twice in this issue of Loupe. You see, Peter and Mike are both rather big fans of ‘His Bobness’ – Chris is more of a post-pogo punk! – and, really, what’s the point of having your own magazine if you can’t hijack the occasional editorial meeting? So, Dylan going electric makes page 36 and the greatest rock and roll song of all time is on page 50. How does it feel? Bloody marvellous!
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Damon Charles, Ollie Edwards
Chris, Mike and Peter
Cover: C65 Trident Diver 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 12 – 20
34 – 37
What might a Christopher Ward diver’s watch of the mid-1960s have been like? Turns out the resulting C65 Trident Diver is quite something…
22 – 25
The 1960s was the decade that defined the modern world, and the central year of that decade – in every way – was 1965…
38 – 41
Fast, not furious Three new Christopher Ward Challengers are going places – fast
In 1965, two men brought scuba diving to the world
26 – 29
Deep star 12 — 20
Open day One Thursday each month, music stars and absolute beginners get together for the simple joy of playing to an audience
Music night 26 — 29
Regulars 06 – 11
43 – 50
Insight What we do, and how we do it. Frank Stelzer and Adrian Buchmann talk open face watches, inside Schofield Watch Co., and Mike France’s favourite song takes the spotlight…
The lovely bronze iteration of the C60 Trident shrinks winningly, plus new insights into Christopher Ward design, and an incredible clock made from the most remarkable racing engine…
30 – 33
Forty eight Two online marketing specialists spend a couple of days with the super-slim C5 Malvern 595…
Speed demons 38 — 41
News, reports & innovations. This issue: An incredible racing engine, two new Tridents, and insights into CW design
Heavenly vintage Watches with a retro appeal are so hot right now, and the new C3 Grand Tourer is amongst the best of them “We’ve all got really high hopes for this one,” says co-founder Mike France. “It’s another step into the retro arena, you could say, following the C65 Trident Diver, but for some the C3 Grand Tourer will have even more appeal. And part of that, of course, will be down to the price.” Ah yes – but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, we should probably take in the way the thing looks, and it really is an exceptionally handsome watch. Last year’s relaunch of the C3 and C5 Malverns has reinvigorated the range, the current Mk3 versions boasting a more sophisticated case design, and a cleaner, more modern feel. They take the Malvern design back towards the look of the old Aston Martin
dials that first inspired the company’s co-founders to start Christopher Ward. So what new elements does the new C3 Grand Tourer model bring to the party? Well, it takes the Malvern Mk3 and then plays with it, twisting the whole thing in an appealing retro motorsport direction. “The faces all have a beautiful textured feel,” says co-founder Peter Ellis, “and come in either a vintage off-white colour or a bold blue, while the sub-dials are white whatever face you chose. This means you can pick a watch with a more subtle feel, or with a contrasting ‘panda’ look. Whichever one you go for, though, people will fall in love with the C3 Grand Tourer – that’s certainly been the case here at Christopher Ward.” 6
The C3 Grand Tourer is powered by a supremely accurate and easy-to-livewith Ronda quartz movement, while the case diameter – 39mm – is the sort of medium-large size that has almost universal appeal. And as we said, the price is very accessible too: just £395. “It’s easy to get excited about the latest hot, innovative, ground-breaking new watch,” Peter says, “but we have to make sure we never forget to innovate at the entry level price points, too. After all, the reason we started Christopher Ward was to bring fine watches to as many different people as possible.” Job done, we’d say. The C3 Grand Tourer is out now, £395
Our finest hour The dial of the C8 P2725 Automatic is inspired by the cockpit instruments of the Hawker Hurricane. Featuring an inner hour ring and alternating SuperLumiNova® numerals it offers excellent legibility – great if distracted by bandits on your tail or you’re deployed on night time operations. A classic aviation timepiece that can proudly stand alongside the world’s great aviation brands – at a price that’s not just for “the few”. Do your research.
The C7 Rapide Automatic COSC Limited Edition is a 150-piece variation on the existing auto sport range with just about the most aggressive and striking blackand-orange colour scheme you can imagine…
A collaboration with TMB ArtMetal using pieces of rudder from one of the actual planes, the C8 Concorde celebrates what’s still the fastest-ever commercial jet, and brings a welcome injection of late ’60s-early ’70s futurism to Christopher Ward’s aviation range.
The C1 Grand Malvern World Timer uses an ETA movement with Christopher Ward’s proprietary JJ GMT module – now in new, improved form – and pairs it with a totally redesigned dial and approach to make this easily the company’s most complete world time watch to date.
For advance serial number reservations and all enquiries contact scott.callaway @christopherward.co.uk
The C7 SH21 5th Anniversary Edition is a bold new direction for Christopher Ward, the company’s first venture into the world of highly technical open face watches. The power reserve bridge is particularly spectacular; read more about this very special limited edition, restricted to just 50 pieces, on page 44, as Adrian Buchmann and Frank Selzer talk about the unique challenges it brought them…
Okay, so at 38mm the newest C60 Trident Bronze is hardly small, but it does open up the range to a whole new audience
In the wake of the huge success of the striking 43mm C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 comes a slightly smaller sister watch, the C60 Trident Bronze Pro 38mm, with the same reliable Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, the same uniquely ageing bronze case, but all in a more manageable size for those of us who prefer a little less weight on our wrists. Was making this watch a no-brainer? We rather think so…
It’s the brightest, most striking Trident yet, in a limited edition run just in time for summer…
The C60 Trident Bronze Pro 38mm is out now, from £795
The third – and for now quite possibly last – in a series of special limited edition C60 Trident 316Ls, named for the grade of stainless steel that Christopher Ward’s most successful watch line is made from, arrives in the form of the striking, none-more-summery 316L Yellow. As with the earlier Trident Orange and Blue models – both of which have now sold out – just 316 watches will be made, and all seem certain to be snapped up just as fast. “This is an amazing summer watch,” says CW co-founder Mike France, “and you can’t help but smile when you look at it. The colour is massively on trend, and is the last of the traditional diver’s watch brights. But this watch isn’t just for the more exhibitionist amongst us, of course, and is actually a brilliant diver’s tool, too.” The C60 Trident 316L Yellow is available now, £730 9
Visiting hours CW Enthusiasts Facebook Group arrives for a tour of CW Towers Online chatterers met ‘IRL’ when members of the CW Enthusiasts Facebook Group visited CW Towers at 1 Park Street, Maidenhead recently. For their inaugural visit, on 9 March, the Enthusiasts were treated to sneak peeks at new lines, a tour of the workshops and showroom, and a meet and greet with Chris, while the gang
gave each other some healthy mutual encouragement to take the plunge on exciting new timepieces. The CW team were delighted to welcome the group, and – if a repeat visit is a mark of success – they must have done pretty well, as the next visit is already being planned for September.
For more, search Facebook for Christopher Ward Enthusiasts
One of the greatest and rarest of motor racing engines, the V16 that powered the exceedingly fast BRM Type 15 of the early 1950s, now lives again as a TMB Art Metal/Christopher Ward desk clock
Powered by a hand-wound version of Christoper Ward’s in-house Calibre SH21 – so it’s a desk clock you’ll develop the same intimate relationship you would a mechanical watch – this striking piece of industrial art-cum-timer is made out of a piston from a British Racing Motors V16 racing engine, supplied by regular collaborator Chris Bennett of TMB Art Metal. It’s in a limited edition of 16, and features a unique 40mm dial with bigger numbers than you’d get on most watch faces, says head of product design Adrian Buchmann, “created both to reflect the style of the original BRM dials, and make sure the time is visible from a few metres away, as opposed to just up close.” The whole thing is maybe 30cm tall – “these are not Rolls Royce Merlin-sized pistons after all,” Adrian says, “as each of 10
these engines was only 1.5 litres” – and is a true piece of British motor racing heritage. The V16 was designed in 1947 and powered BRM F1 cars following World War II, producing 600bhp at 12,000rpm, making it exceptionally powerful – and exceptionally complicated, too. Conceived as two tiny, 750cc V8s placed back-to-back with cam drives in the centre and a Rolls Royce supercharger, the great driver Juan Manuel Fangio called the car powered by it “the most fantastic I ever drove”, but reliability problems dogged it in the early years; by the time it was made reliable F1 rules has changed, and supercharged 1.5 litre engines were no longer allowed. The BRM Piston Clock will be available from TMB Art Metal; tmbartmetal.com
Ready player one Meet watch technician Max Paine, who’s got a name like a video game hero but – to the best of our knowledge – has never been an NYPD officer turned vigilante…
Tell us about you, Max. Like many at Christopher Ward, I’m from Maidenhead. I love fishing – so much so that I regularly travel abroad for it – and gaming. Fortnite, the co-op sandbox survival game – imagine The Walking Dead combined with the building elements from Minecraft – is my big thing right now. That said, I like a little bit of badminton, too. With a name like that, we thought you might like games… And when did you start at Christopher Ward? It was a while back, at the end of 2007 when the company was still in its old offices on Station Road in Cookham, not far away. My mum used to work at a supermarket near there, and would chat to Chris and Wera when they came in to buy lunch. I was looking for work at the time, and when Chris told mum about a job opening up, I went for it. I used to pack the watches ready to be shipped, and carry out simple
Max Paine, watch repair superhero
watch repairs, like battery replacements. But I’ve been learning on the job, and now I can completely strip mechanical movements for cleaning and servicing. I also quality check all the watches when they come in from Switzerland, and deal with any rejected ones. What do you wish that more people understood about your job? They often don’t realise just how time-consuming some repairs are, especially when there’s more than one issue to deal with. You need patience and plenty of time – and attention to detail is, naturally, crucial. With so many different watches and movements, there’s a lot to do. Were you interested in watches before you worked here? Not really – in fact, I don’t think I even wore one before I started. But that’s completely changed now, of course. I’m much more conscious of brands, and always check out what’s on other people’s wrists, whereas before I wouldn’t have noticed. It would be fair to say that CW has completely changed my perspective on watches.
Finally, Max, what part of your job do you enjoy the most? The variety is great, but I think I probably like servicing watch movements the best. Getting new models in is always exciting too, both to see what they’re like in the metal and then to work on them later. I even quite like it when some rare minor issue crops up with a new watch, as it gives me a real challenge. Even better, I always learn something new about watches in the process of fixing it.
Circa. 1965 12
C65 Trident Diver
he word ‘vintage’, of course, means many things to many people. Expensive second-hand clothes. Old cars, strictly made between 1919 and 1930. The specific year of the grapes used to make a wine. But whatever you’re referring to, it generally suggests something that’s old, but of high quality and lasting value. And it’s a word that, in a throwaway world, we respond to more and more. “Vintage used to simply mean antique,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France, “but in the mid-1960s that changed, and people became newly interested in old things – even as they kept their eyes firmly on the future. So we had genuinely vintage items, and ‘new’ vintage items, made afresh but in the old style or using the old methods. And its appeal is driven by more than simple nostalgia, for it also implies craftsmanship and the sense of a job done properly.” This means you can buy an old leather jacket from a charity store, or pick up a new piece cut to the same pattern at some designer emporium; you can buy a genuine 1960s Mini or one of those modern ones that apes their style; or you can hunt out a genuine 1960s diver’s watch, or buy a crisp new model that employs many of the same design cues. “All these approaches have their virtues,” Mike says, “but one thing is clear. The vintage bubble shows no sign of bursting. In fact, if anything it just seems to get stronger with each passing year. We’re definitely all trying to recapture something from the past.” Which goes some way towards explaining where the new C65 Trident Diver came from.
Meet a sports watch like no other, the new C65 Trident Diver, with a ’60s swagger all its own. Christopher Ward didn’t make Tridents in 1965, but if it had, this is the watch it would have made…
So, what is this watch? Well, for one thing, it’s exceedingly good looking – even by the standards of recent Christopher Ward watches. “We definitely wanted the look and feel of the mid-1960s,” Mike says, “as that’s when owning nice watches, taking up adventure sports like diving, and enjoying regular foreign travel all started to become more exciting and accessible to the average man in the street. It’s no surprise that this was the early glory period for the James Bond movies, which celebrated all these things. And ’60s diver’s watches, as a type, are amongst the most usable and attractive designs ever made – bold, stylish, masculine but not overly aggressive. The problem with them, of course, is the same one you get with all old watches. They’re a little small for modern tastes; they’re usually not still waterproof or as reliable as they once were; and finding a good one is hard. What if, we thought, we could offer a watch in this style, and with all the appeal of those you might see on the wrist of Sean Connery’s James Bond – but at
’60s diver’s watches, as a type, are amongst the most usable and attractive designs ever made – bold, stylish, masculine but not overly aggressive
a Christopher Ward price, and with all the best modern accuracy, technology and construction standards. Christopher Ward didn’t exist in 1965, but this is the watch we would have built back then if we did.” The end result is quite something. You occasionally come across watches which, though they may boast interesting design or innovative technological solutions, simply don’t seem very wearable; you find it hard to imagine quite who they might appeal to. “The C65 Trident Diver, however, is the opposite of all that,” Mike says. “It hits the sweet spot in so many ways – size, price, a sort of go-anywhere versatility – that it’s easy to see how it would fit into many people’s lifestyles. And then there’s the way it looks, too.” Indeed, this is a seriously handsome watch, perhaps even the most handsome CW has made to date, and so far it’s received almost universal acclaim. “It might just become one of our best liked watches,” Mike says. “It really is that good.” What the C65 Trident Diver is not is a substitute, replacement or alternative to the current hero of the Trident line, the C60 Trident 600 Pro. In most situations, of course, you could wear either one of them, but at heart the Trident Pro is an tool
watch, and a rather lovely expression of the familiar modern dive watch aesthetic. It’s ridiculously capable – it will happily perform at depths of 600m – and imposing, with a chunky 43mm case. Next to this, the 41mm C65 Trident Vintage is appreciatively smaller and less bulky, while retaining a very masculine presence. It’s also, ultimately, less capable, and comes with a much lower depth rating. “This is not, in all honesty, a watch that’s about diving as deep as you can go,” co-founder Peter Ellis says. “Instead, we’ve designed it to reflect the state of the art as it existed in 1965, though improved where modern technology makes that possible. The case is a new one, which somewhat resembles an extended and flattened version of the C65 Trident Vintage case, and it’s rated for 150m, which remains far deeper than any normal scuba diver would ever go. All-in-all, it’s about the more lithe, elegant masculinity of the mid-’60s.” Indeed, it heaves with the details of that era – the use of box crystal, the detail on the dial, the hand-wound movement allowing for a slimmer case than an automatic typically would – but presented in a way that doesn’t copy or reference any one particular watch. Instead, it suggests the entire era.
“Its dimensions would have been large for the mid-’60s, but not ridiculously so,” Mike says, “and for modern wearers 41mm is about the sweet spot with regards to size. Inside we’ve used Sellita’s high quality SW210, a very stable and robust movement. All in all, it’s the past, done better.” For the Christopher Ward co-founders, the journey towards this watch began with Baselworld 2015 – the big international watch fair – and a visit to various stands. One new watch there – the Oris 65, one of a number of a retro divers – became a star
of the show for many, and sewed the seeds of an idea that eventually became the C65 Trident Diver. “The problem was, we didn’t know quite what to do with that idea,” co-founder Chris Ward now says. “For some brands it was easy – just take a great watch from the back catalogue, and create a new iteration of it. But we didn’t exist in 1965; nor do we have an extensive back catalogue. In a way, we needed to give it time, allowing the new, uniquely Christopher Ward design aesthetic that we’d introduced at about that time to develop, and point us
towards understanding what a CW diver of the past might have been like.” So the company sat on the idea and, in the years since, its design philosophy has changed quite radically, becoming more modern, cohesive and, yes, distinctive. But though getting the company’s design language to a point where something like this watch became possible took time, once the decision was made to build it all the pieces fell into place incredibly quickly – a sure sign, Chris says, of a design that simply works. “It didn’t feel like any of us had to sweat too much over this one, and though we put time into the details, we got to the core principles – and made all the key decisions – extremely painlessly.” So glass box sapphire – vital for the vintage Box glass feel,text even if it costs more to make – was a given from the start, despite the fact that sapphire wasn’t available in glass box form back in 1965. (Diver’s watch crystals would have been acrylic back then, one more way in which modern techniques have improved the breed.) Another given was the fact that there’s no display case, but rather the familiar Trident logo solid caseback. Why? Because no 1965 diver would have had a display case, though that didn’t stop CW decorating the movement anyway, with the twin-flags pattern.
Doing so was not a waste of time, however, Mike feels. “Very few owners will ever see what we’ve done with the movement, of course,” he says, “so it’s something of a lost detail, but just knowing that it’s there means something.” For more insight, we turn to head of product design Adrian Buchmann, to whom we owe most about the way this thing actually looks. He shows us a huge collection of images of 1960s diver’s watches, including Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariners and Omega Seamasters, but also affordable examples from Seiko and Tissot, and high-end models by Breguet and Blancpain. Then he shows us another selection of ’60s watches, non-divers this time: there are Zeniths, Breitling, Heuers, IWCs. In general they’re a sombre, purposeful bunch, with thick batons and chunky hands. Watches designed to do a job, and which just happen to look cool while doing it. “Some things I knew immediately,” Adrian says. “Our watch needed big lume, simple aesthetics, a thin bezel. The thing about many watches from this era is that they weren’t actually designed very much at all, at least not in the modern sense. Instead, the manufacturers would all order parts from specialist suppliers, and then put them together, almost like building a watch
Retro future 19
out of Lego. It’s why you see so many hands and batons from different manufacturers that look so similar to each other. They might even be the very same ones, in fact, bought from the same catalogue. It gives all these watches a very distinct aesthetic, so it becomes hard to say ‘that looks like a Gruen or a Bulova’; what you really mean is simply, ‘that looks like a 1960s dive watch’.” Adrian’s version of this look is more sophisticated – he designed every part from scratch, after all, which period watchmakers would rarely have done – and he’s had fun modifying the aesthetic. Thus the watch is larger than the period norm, as that makes it bolder; it will also come in two colours, with the bezel matching the dial on each. “There’s black, of course,” he says, “as that’s what most ’60s watches were, and then there’s a rather beautiful dark blue. It’s a deep and subtle colour, with almost a grey look in some lights, that works excellently with old radium lume. It looks great with jeans, and reflects the overall maritime aesthetic nicely too.” There will be a selection of leather straps available at launch, though rubber and other options may come later, and work is afoot on a limited edition GMT version for September too, to be powered by ETA’s 2893 movement. It will have a 24 hour bezel, a modified face, and a striking GMT hand in high-contrast orange.
“The remarkable thing about the Trident Diver is how it manages to transform itself into whatever you need it to be”
“Not long after Baselworld 2015, we launched the C65 Trident Vintage, which has a retro design and was the first watch to carry the new logo,” Mike says. “It marked the first time we’d been brave enough to use box sapphire, and go so minimalist. And you can see the DNA from that watch in the C65 Trident Diver.” There’s a reason Mike’s so confident about this watch, and it’s a simple one. For the last four months he’s been testing – read: wearing – a fetching blue example on a brown leather strap, and it’s barely left his wrist. “That’s so unusual for me,” he says. “When the time comes to go on another diving holiday I’m sure I’ll turn to my trusty Trident 600 Pro. But in the meantime, I’ve just found this such a good companion, and so adaptable to so many circumstances. It looks amazing with jeans, but also good with a suit – especially the black version. It’s somehow elegant enough to serve as a dress watch in most circumstances, while managing to be a serious sports watch too. The remarkable thing is how it manages to transform itself into whatever you need it to be. And it doesn’t hurt that the joy of simply looking at is hasn’t worn off yet, either.” The reaction from others has been almost universally positive, too. “The 595 was almost as well received,” Peter Ellis says, “but this one definitely has a broader appeal. I don’t think it would be far-fetched to suggest that the C65 Trident Diver might become one of our most successful watches of recent years. And as a brand without a ‘vintage’ heritage ourselves, it’s been a trip to think about how we would have created something back in the day, but with all the tools of the present at our disposal.”
The C65 Trident Diver is available now, £695 20
Here comes the sun*
*Water resistant to 600m. Perfect for British summers. Come rain or shine the new yellow C60 Trident 316 Limited Edition will brighten up the dullest of days. Itâ€™s a special limited edition â€“ only 316 of them will be made, from 316L marine-grade stainless steel. Divers will be impressed by the classic bright styling and robust engineering while collectors will love it for being so boldly on trend. Do your research.
1965 was the year scuba diving came within the reach of most of us, and it was thanks to two extraordinary ambassadorsâ€Ś
Before 1965, scuba diving was largely seen as an exotic pastime for explorers and military frogmen, but after 1965 that all changed. Suddenly it was part of the general wish-list for the more active, adventurous holidaymaker. So what happened? The answer is two things – a Frenchman and an Englishman, one real and one not. And it was all quite fitting, too: after all, it was the French and the Brits who’d done most of the really heavy lifting in underwater exploration’s long journey from military dream to holiday pursuit in the first place. First, and most important, was the real man: French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. When, while training to become a Navy aviator, a bad car crash nearly killed him, Cousteau turned his attention to the world beneath the sea – thanks, in no small part, to a friend lending him some early swimming goggles. In the ’40s he made the first French underwater films, at first free-diving and later using his early Aqua-Lung prototypes, designed – under his instruction – by engineer Emile Gagnan. The French had led the way with underwater breathing apparatus since Yves le Prieur’s first version of 1926, and though a keen amateur engineer himself, it was more Cousteau’s testing of early equipment – and ever more demanding spec requests – that kept pushing their development forward. In the years just after the war – between mine clearing missions and tech tests – Cousteau set up the French Navy’s Underwater Research Group, and dived Roman wrecks off Tunisia (opening up the field of underwater archeology), before leaving the service to concentrate on books, films and exploration. In the ’50s, Cousteau leased his famous ship – an ex-British minesweeper he called Calypso – from a supporter for a nominal one franc a year; experimented with building
“He was such a charismatic man, with his own ship and flying boat and bright yellow underwater ‘spaceships’”
ever-more-sophisticated ‘diving saucers’; and organised early campaigns to prevent radioactive waste from being dumped into the sea. By the ’60s he was involved with the creation of ‘undersea villages’ at ever-increasing depths, allowing people to live permanently on the sea floor, which leads us to our crucial year, 1965. This was when two major things happened. First, Cousteau launched Conshelf III – the last,
largest, deepest and most self-sufficient of his underwater villages, located in the Mediterranean between Nice and Monaco. Six ‘aquanauts’ would live there for several weeks at a depth of 100m. But even more importantly, perhaps, 1965 was also the year he began work on his first continuing TV series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, for the American ABC network. When it aired the following year – the first episode explored the Conshelf project; the second put us face-to-face with that most crowd-pleasing of sea beasts, the shark – it was an immediate world-wide hit, eventually running for a decade. For many people, this was the first time they’d seen the undersea world in such detail – especially in the company of such a charismatic man, with his own ship and flying boat and bright yellow underwater ‘spaceships’. As well as a dynamic campaigner and enthusiastic teacher, Cousteau never forgot that he was – to some great degree – in showbiz, and needed a large following to help finance his adventures. It was for both selfish and altruistic reasons, then, that he did everything he could to encourage more and more of us to explore the oceans. But 1965 wasn’t just about Cousteau. It was also the year that 007 went underwater, the biggest movie series of the ’60s enjoying its greatest hit with Thunderball, and lending its not inconsiderable glamour to the underwater world – as well as borrowing glamour from it too, of course. 24
Thunderball was the fourth and most successful of the James Bond movies, and the first to include the extensive underwater sequences that had been a feature of the 007 novels ever since the second, Live and Let Die, in 1954. Bond creator Ian Fleming had always been a keen snorkeler around the Jamaican coast, but what gave the books’ diving sequences real verisimilitude was what he learnt on a 1953 Sunday Times assignment that saw him joining – yes! – Jacques Cousteau for a fortnight’s diving on a sunk Greek gallery off the Marseilles coast. The Calypso of this period apparently featured a one-ton stainless steel vat of wine, from which each crewman drank at least a pint a day, and naturally Fleming felt right at home. Fleming’s – and Bond’s – real love of diving began here and, by the time of the novel Thunderball, the writer had genned up upon the WWII exploits of the Italian 10th Light Flotilla navy frogmen and others, which he drew upon for his hero’s underwater investigation of the enemy motor yacht, Disco Volante. This was a sequence also inspired by a specific real-life incident, wherein an ex-Royal Navy frogman had been sent to surreptitiously examine the hull of a Soviet cruiser on a diplomatic mission to Britain – and was never seen again. For the movie version of Thunderball, released in December 1965, extensive underwater action scenes were filmed in the Bahamas with up to 60 divers in a single scene, and dominate the second half of the film. Sharks were a very real worry, and while some of the equipment seen – such
as the underwater jet packs, armed with spear guns and squid ink-style dye – really worked, others (like the impossibly small pocket-size rebreather) did not. It didn’t matter, though – the already exciting underwater world had been given an additional injection of dangerous allure, and Thunderball became nothing less than the best advert for diving ever seen. Though the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s bequeathed us a pantheon of underwater-themed films and TV shows – Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Sea Hunt, Barrier Reef, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Deep – Thunderball was the pinnacle. A warning, though: the torpedo speed at which divers ascend and descend in this film – understandable, when you’re avoiding knife attacks, spear guns, tiger sharks and so on – was hardly the epitome of safety, and to this day Thunderball is said to be the film where performers collected the highest number of barotraumas (things like decompression sickness, or damage to the ears) during shooting…
the music From humble beginnings, First Thursday Music Club has grown into one of the country’s top open mic nights, supporting passionate new musicians – and the ambition doesn’t stop there…
We’re in Thame, a market town in Oxfordshire, not far from Aylesbury, that’s been home to such notables as the poet WB Yeats and Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees. It’s still winter – a cold, dark evening, the sort where it would be tempting to stay tucked up safely inside. But we’re not, for it’s a Thursday. The first Thursday of the month, in fact, and through a coaching inn archway we can see a converted stable block, where people are gathering. Quite a lot of people, actually, just as they have each first Thursday for the last eight years. Welcome to First Thursday Music Club, a grass-roots musical phenomenon. As ever, there are well over 200 people here, all gathered to watch a dozen or more live performances – most of them by acts few of us have ever seen or heard of before. What started as an open mic night has grown into the vital lynchpin of a thriving musical community, the audience ranging from teenagers to pensioners. The acts on stage run the gamut too, with veterans of the scene performing side-by-side with fresh young bands performing their very first gigs. The atmosphere, naturally, feels like a party, with everyone smiling and enjoying being enveloped in music. “It was actually all Mick Jagger’s fault,” says Johnnie Littler, who started it all. “On the Rolling Stones’ Forty Licks video, Mick said playing live to a small audience – he was describing one of the band’s customary, secret, small club warm up gigs before a major tour – was worth a week in the rehearsal room, and I found myself agree-
ing. Though for many of us, of course, it’s more that playing music in front of an audience for 15 minutes is worth a week of practicing in our bedrooms or garages!” Wanting a chance to play in front of a proper audience himself, Johnnie gambled on the idea that he wasn’t alone in this – and it was a safe enough bet, as it turned out. “The other thing was, I’d just started to notice how much some people give back to the community,” he says. “Other parents, for instance, were spending their weekends coaching my children in rugby, football or swimming – and I wasn’t contributing anything, beyond supporting from the sidelines. So what if, I thought, we put on a gig to raise money for local children’s sports clubs?” What, indeed? Johnnie found a large function room in a stable block behind The James Figg, a free house and coaching inn in Thame, and it proved to be perfect. “Although the room was under refurbishment at the time, I booked our first gig there immediately,” he says, “and then, on a whim, I blurted out that I wanted to book it for the first Thursday of every month from then on! Suddenly I was running a regular open mic night, which was a million miles away from my day job in hospital development – and all the better for it. Happily, First Thursday Music Club demanded blissfully little in terms of planning, strategy or evaluation – it was just something fun to do.” These days, of course, it’s got somewhat out of hand. As one of the UK’s leading open mic nights, it’s hosted some 800 acts to date. Many of the up-to-300
Hats, it would appear, are big in Thame…
people at each event have become committed regulars, including Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France. Although these days each FTMC features a number of acts that have been specifically booked at the end of the evening, it remains at heart an acoustic open mic night. The event has its own PA system, complete with professional sound engineer, plus all the lights, amps and kit – basically, a keyboard and drums – needed to get acts on and off stage quickly. Backing tracks aren’t allowed, though, and nor are loop pedals. “We want a relaxed atmosphere that’s supportive for musicians,” Johnnie says, “and I obsess over sound quality. Most importantly, anyone can turn up and play, so we schedule a good number of walk-up slots of 15 minutes each from 8pm until 9pm, then have four pre-booked acts until our featured artist takes the stage at 10pm, usually for a 30 minute set. Finally,
we may have a band to rock out the end of the evening.” So, what sorts of art can newbies here expect to see? “Those who play authentic, and preferably original, music,” Johnnie says. “As you might expect, there are plenty of singer-songwriters, blues acts and folk groups, but we’ve had a troupe of African drummers before now, as well as opera singers, rappers and even a jazz saxophone quintet! You never know who you’re going to get, so old guys with croaky voices and very expensive guitars could easily be followed by young girls with beautiful voices and cheap guitars! My biggest reward is seeing the thrill that an inexperienced performer gets when they receive massive applause at the end of their 15 minutes.” Alongside Johnnie there are now half a dozen regulars who help out each First Thursday – including a regular compere,
Phil – all with the same commitment to giving everyone a chance, no matter their age, experience, or musical influences. “If you are brave enough to stand up and play in front of everyone,” Johnnie says, “that’s good enough for me.” Oh, and there’s one more principle, too: that the First Thursday team must improve at least one thing about the event each month. “This drives everyone mad,” Johnnie says, “and they’re always telling me to shut up about it, because the evening already works. But I say, ‘That’s only because we keep improving.’ And because of this we now regularly attract professional touring and session musicians, who come and play just because they see First Thursday Music Club as a really good gig.” First Thursday Music Club runs at The James Figg, Thame each month; firstthursdaymusicclub.com
Sing stars In parallel with the Christopher Ward Challenger Programme, the company is now supporting talented young musicians too, through a new music festival by the gang behind First Thursday Music Club Since 2014, First Thursday Music Club has been running open mic stages at local festivals, including the Festival Green stage at Towersey Festival, plus Beaconfest and Music in the Park. Their new baby, however, is their own annual shindig: Thame Town Music Festival. “It’s a multi-genre, one-day free event we started last July, using venues all over town,” says Johnnie Littler, founder of both FTMC and the new festival. “Last year we closed the roads, set up our main stage in front of the town hall, and had over 8,000 visitors. There were 58 acts in every genre, including classical, jazz, blues, Americana, folk, country, singer-songwriter and comedy. We keep it free thanks to the support of the Council, plus sponsorship, merchandise revenue and the like. Our headliner last year was even a childhood hero of mine, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols.” And in 2018 things will be even better. “This time we’re offering ten venues rather
than nine, and shifting the main stage to the High Street Car Park to showcase more acts,” Johnnie says. “It’s all about continuing our mission to help unsigned artists, so we’re including a new music industry convention element too, moderated by Tom Robinson of ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’ fame, and packed with seminars and panels, as well as a song writing competition. The whole thing’s designed to support musicians, helping them understand how the business works, make contacts and gain advice.” For Johnnie, the song writing competition is at the centre of it all. “It’s the most important thing,” he says, “as it’s the song that first captures us, even more than the artist. So we’ll be asking musicians to submit and perform one number, then the top twelve will perform to an audience – and a panel of judges, including Christopher Ward head of marketing Helen McCall. The winner will get to play on the main stage
the next day, then we’ll get the song professionally produced and recorded, make a video and promote the artist.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it’s certainly an idea that’s caught the imagination of many in the music biz, being supported by the likes of Ian Grenfell – one-time manager of Suede, Simple Minds, The Pretenders and Simply Red – and possibly even Brian May of Queen, who could be set to be Patron of it all. It’s a philosophy that resonates hugely with Christopher Ward, and the company is now sponsoring both the TTMF18 Convention and the songwriter competition. “We’re constantly looking to find and nurture world class talent,” says Mike France. “That’s what the Challenger Programme does in sport, after all, and this initiative dovetails with that nicely. Who knows? We might just find the next Ed Sheeran!” Thame Town Music Festival runs July 13-14. Contact Johnnie Littler at jon.littler@ mac.com, or on 07771 673 996; ThameTownMusicFestival.org
Two days with some of our latest models
Hannah Cooke: likes her watches clean and simple
Day to night Digital marketing guru Hannah Cooke takes home the new C5 Malvern 595 for the weekend Hannah Cooke is something called an Online Marketing Specialist at atom42, the top-reviewed, London-based digital marketing agency responsible for the day-to-day running of Christopher Ward’s digital activity, as well as working with the company to develop new digital strategies. “We’ve been working with Christopher Ward since the beginning of 2015,” Hannah says, “and it’s been an exciting and ever-evolving journey. It’s all about really communicating Christopher Ward’s ‘no-nonsense’ approach to quality watchmaking to as wide an audience as possible.” Day-to-day Hannah usually wears a clean and simple Larsson & Jennings dress watch and, though no watch enthusiast, she’s become much more clued up on all things horological since working with Christopher Ward.
“When it comes to personal preference, I tend to go for a very minimalist design with a large dial,” Hannah says. “Something that’s easy for me to glance at when I’m crammed onto a tube in the morning. My own watch isn’t too dissimilar to the C5 Malvern 595, so I found the one CW lent me fitted into my life just fine. It’s perfect for everyday wear, in fact, so that’s exactly how I wore it. It took me from the theatres of Soho to the underground scenes of Shoreditch with ease, and complemented the diverse styles of the two.” Hannah particularly enjoyed how slim the watch is. “This design has so many advantages,” she says, “not least that it’s extremely light and slid, almost unnoticed, under any sleeve I was wearing. And the large face meant I could tell the time at a glance, even when clinging to the overhead handles.”
But how could Christopher Ward modify the 595 to make it slip even more smoothly into her life? Hannah had a little think, then came back with more of an aesthetic than a design issue. “I’d enjoy a range of strap colours,” she says. “My usual watch has a silver-grey leather strap, which not only complements the silver dial really well, but is a lighter and more feminine option. To my mind, a wider variety of colours could help Christopher Ward make this watch even more appealing, and help reach a yet wider audience.” The ability to customise your watch a bit, then? “Oh, definitely. In London you can find yourself enjoying afternoon tea and Champagne at a top hotel one minute, then dining alfresco at the latest street food market the next. It’s the whole ‘day to night thing’ we talk about with clothes – and with a watch it’s the same. You really need one that suits both.” C5 Malvern 595 on leather, £595
Jake Li had never really understood the appeal of mechanical watches until CW – and specifically the C5 Malvern 595 – came into his life…
Jake’s progress Jake’s another online marketer at atom42. He’s 24, with a half-English, half-Chinese background, and was born in the Midlands; as an Online Marketing Executive he’s been mostly involved with CW’s Challenger Programme, as well as paid Facebook activity. “So,” he says, “any Christopher Ward ads for the latest promotion you might see on Facebook will be down to me and the team.” Jake had never actually heard of Christopher Ward before working with the company, and didn’t know much about watches either – though he did know a man who did. “Oh yes,” he says, “my grandad was really into both wristwatches and clocks, and growing up I remember seeing him hand-wind his wristwatches, which seemed very strange to me. I didn’t really understand why! Over the years I’ve gone through a fair few different watches myself, though. There was the phase where
it seemed really fashionable to wear little retro Casios, but my primary watch is now a quartz Junkers Chronograph my family bought me as a graduation present a few years ago. It’s quite light, and versatile enough to work for most occasions; obviously, it has a lot of sentimental value too.” Working with CW has given Jake a new appreciation of mechanical watches, though, as well as more of an understanding of what his grandfather was doing all those years ago. “Since learning more about what’s beneath the skin of each watch, I’ve come to find them really interesting,” he says. “A lot of my work is to do with competitor research, and assessing the USPs of each new CW launch, and I’ve slowly begun to understand the nuances of horology. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I certainly appreciate the engineering that goes into a mechanical watch now – and the stories behind each one.”
Jake Li: has developed a new appreciation of watches
“I love the whole ‘less is more’ concept” We lent Jake a C5 Malvern 595 on a mesh strap, which he found really versatile. “In fact, I wore it non-stop for the entire weekend,” he says. “It was with me at work in the office in Camden; it was with me while popping to my local pub near Warwick Avenue (coincidentally a favourite of CW co-founder Peter Ellis, but we’ve yet to bump into each other); and it was even with me down the pool hall in Kings Cross. I think I was expecting the 595 to be a lot heavier than it was, so I was pleasantly surprised when it felt of a similar weight to the Junkers – which is to say, pretty light.” Like Hannah, Jake enjoyed the simplicity of this watch, too. “The white face with black hands was really easy to read, whatever I was doing,” he says, “and I liked the mesh strap too. It’s something a little different, and the clasp was surprisingly satisfying to operate. “The smaller case size is also perfect for my wrists – a 43mm watch makes me look a lot smaller than I actually am! – while the clear case back was nothing short of awesome. Being able to look at the cogs doing their jobs was really interesting, even for a watch newbie like myself. “Perhaps surprisingly, though, my favourite part of the watch was the fact that it’s hand-wound. I was fascinated by the idea that I suddenly had a quality
piece of engineering on my wrist that, with just a little bit of help from me, essentially powered itself. In fact, the routine of winding it up soon became really satisfying. Going back to my quartz Junkers has been fine, but I’m definitely missing the 595.” But, ultimately, would Jake buy or wear something like this? “Oh, definitely! It’s slightly out of my price bracket right now, so I’d be more likely to go for something like the C60 Trident 300, but I really like the 595. I love the whole ‘less is more’ concept, and I feel I’m now beyond wanting whatever’s the fashionable fad, and would prefer something I can keep for years – and can go on lots of journeys with me! Perhaps that’s why my ultimate favourite CW is actually the C60 Trident Titanium Pro 600 #2, though that’s a very different sort of watch.” C5 Malvern 595 on mesh, £680
The world was aflame with conflict, both political and social, but the highs managed – somehow – to overshadow the terrible lows. Welcome to 1965, a year when everything changed Right at the centre of the greatest pop culture decade of them all, a ten year span that began with John F Kennedy becoming President and ended with the dissolution of The Beatles, sits 1965. It was the year, above all others, that inspired the C65 Vintage Diver. It was also the year of Malcom X’s assassination; of the first
modern hatchback (the Renault 16); of the most thrilling aircraft in all fiction (Thunderbird 2); and of some of the greatest pop music of all time, from ‘The Sound of Silence’ to ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. Decisions taken in 1965 changed the world, and still impact on us today. Here are a few of our favourites…
Canada gets a new flag Somehow, everybody is pleased Before 15 February 1965 Canada didn’t really have a flag. The Canadian Red Ensign – with the British flag at top left and a composite of Canadian coats of arms at bottom right – had been unofficially used for 100 years, even after Canada’s independence in 1931, and Prime Minister Lester B Pearson decided something had to be done. The problem? New flag designs never gained traction, and he had too many people to please. French Canada, for instance, longed to see the Red Ensign gone, but English speakers rather liked it. Enter George Stanley, the Royal Military College of Canada’s dean of arts, who partially based his distinctive red maple leaf design on the existing flag of the College. (An earlier suggestion by another artist had been similar, but with three leaves in the middle and blue borders at the sides, to suggest oceans; Stanley’s genius was to simplify things.) It didn’t hurt that the maple leaf had been a symbol of Canada since 1868, and that the colours kept everyone happy, combining English red with French white.
Ali fights Liston He wins, but is it a fix?
TSR-2 gets cancelled Aviation’s big ‘what if? In the post-War years Britain developed dozens of combat aircraft, but it was with the cancellation of the TSR-2 – designed for fast, low nuclear attacks behind enemy lines – that the programme finally stalled. The plane’s name came from the roles it would perform (Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance), and its everyday top speed, Mach 2 (though it could do a theoretical Mach 3 at 45,000ft). Only one airframe flew, built by Vickers and English Electric working together, before ever-rising avionics costs and inter-service bickering scuppered things. But in many ways the plane was a work of genius: powered by two Olympus turbojets, TSR-2 could break Mach 1 at just 60m above the ground, and actually topped Mach 1.12 at 200ft over the Pennines. “The trouble,” said Dennis Healey, then Minister of Defence, “is that it tried to combine the most advanced state of every art in every field.” 35
In February 1964, Cassius Clay had fought the ferocious reigning champ Sonny Liston for boxing’s World Heavyweight Championship in Miami Beach; against all expectations, Clay won. But then, in May 1965, came the rematch – and Clay, now re-named Muhammad Ali, won that too. How did he do it? Before the two fights, many thought the intimidating, immensely hard-hitting ex-armed robber Liston simply couldn’t be beaten. And Clay was different: a glib showman, undeniably fast but a light puncher. But Liston had secret injuries, was possibly up to ten years older than the 32 he claimed, and couldn’t be bothered to train. In the months leading up to the second fight, Clay changed his name, his conversion to the Nation of Islam complete, while Liston was arrested – twice. When it came, the second fight was over before many of the audience had even sat down. Again, the rumours flew. Was this fight a fix? Were both of them? It remains one of the most talked about boxing matches of all time.
Road signs revamped Heralding the information technology age 1965 saw the launch of the most under-rated design classic of our time, the British road sign. With a 1963 report asking for radical changes to every road sign in the land – out would go the existing confused jumble of styles, and in would come an expanded version of the system introduced five years earlier for the new motorways – all eyes turned to one designer, Jock Kinneir. He’d earned the motorway commission thanks to his sleek signs for Gatwick Airport, and now worked alongside his ex-student, Margaret Calvert, to expand upon their futuristic motorway sign rules – words would be upper and lower case, for easy reading, and they’d be combined with simplified driver-orientated maps and warning icons. That they’re still fit for purpose today says everything about how good they were – as does the way their use of colour coding and pictograms heralded the information-rich digital age.
Jim Clark wins F1 and the Indy 500 And in the same year, too When Scottish racing driver Jim Clark won the Formula One World Championship in 1965 it was quite an achievement, but not an unprecedented one; he’d won it two years earlier, after all. A supremely versatile driver, many consider him the greatest of all time and at his death – age just 32 – he’d won more GP races than anyone. In 1965, though, he did something no-one else has ever done – became F1 Champion and won America’s greatest motor-race, the Indianapolis 500, in the same year. (He’d actually attempted the same double in 1963, and almost did it too – winning the F1 Championship and coming second in the Indy 500 to Parnell Jones.) Clark tried the double again in ’64, and narrowly missed out on winning F1 thanks to an oil leak, while tyre failure scuppered his Indy campaign. 1965 would be the big year, then, and his dual success remains unique – though a handful of other drivers have since been F1 Champion and dominated at Indianapolis’s famous ‘Brickyard’ track, no-one else has done it in the same year.
The Beatles rock Shea The first stadium gig is a real scream
Breedlove breaks land speed record His wife was also fast In the mid-’60s the Breedloves dominated land speed record attempts: Craig Breedlove in his Spirit of America cars, and his brother, Art, in Green Monster. Craig managed a twoway average of 407.45mph in 1963, and in 1964 he beat this twice. Spirit of America had crashed, though, and 12 days later Green Monster took the record with a tworun average of 536.71mph, leading Craig to come up with a new car with a new name – Sonic 1 – which did over 555mph in November 1965, only for Art in Green Monster to up the ante five days later. Craig came back on November 15 with a 600.601mph – the first man to break 600mph, a record that held until 1970. Making Breedlove’s 1965 even better, his wife, Lee, took Sonic 1 out and made four passes, averaging 308.506mph. She remains the fastest ever woman on land, and the pair of them the fastest ever couple.
Leonov completes the first spacewalk Nearly dies, naturally No-one had walked in space before 1965, but that changed when Russian Cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov left the Voskhod 2 capsule on 18 March. After 12 minutes, 9 seconds dangling outside on a 5m tether, Leonov found his space suit had inflated in the vacuum to the point where he was now too fat to squeeze back into the airlock, so he had to open a valve to let the pressure bleed off first. He lost half his oxygen like this, and risked decompression sickness, heatstroke and asphyxiation, but had no choice – he was dead if he didn’t. The return journey was fun, too – at one point the spacecraft could have exploded, while re-entry system failure meant they landed way off target in a remote corner of Siberia, and had to wait days for rescue in a bear and wolf-filled forest. These days he’s the only surviving cosmonaut of the highly risky Voskhod era, and a celebrated artist too. 36
Dylan turns electric Crowd goes wild On 25 July 1965 Bob Dylan played an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival, generating consternation amongst other leaders of the then-resurgent American folk movement – and even booing from the crowd. Earlier years had seen Dylan perform well-received acoustic sets here, but for 1965 he spontaneously decided to mix it up, challenging his most devoted audience with an electric set. You can clearly hear both booing and cheering as his band launches into ‘Maggie’s Farm’, and it continues through two further songs before they leave the stage; talked into returning, Dylan performed a couple of acoustic numbers to great applause, and then left for good – he wouldn’t return for another 37 years.
Today the sports stadium concert is a familiar part of the pop culture landscape, but not so in 1965, when The Beatles were touring the United States at the height of Beatlemania, and capped things with a gig at the then-new Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, home to the New York Mets and New York Jets. Amongst the huge 55,600 crowd were two Rolling Stones, plus Motown legend Marvin Gaye. Though not an unqualified success – audio problems dogged things, and the crowd’s screaming drowned out the band – the gig was a milestone: the first major stadium concert; the biggest ever audience at the time; and the most revenue generated by a single gig. The Beatles would return the following year, and the idea of stadium concerts was up and running. In 2009 Shea Stadium was finally demolished, and the year before Billy Joel played two final gigs there – with former Beatle Paul McCartney returning as his guest to close the second show with a rendering of, naturally, ‘Let It Be’.
TV smoking ads banned Brightly coloured packets would take a little longer
Post Office Tower opens We pretend we can’t see it These days London is awash with skyscrapers, but 8 October, 1965 saw the official opening of the tower to define them all, now called the BT Tower but then mostly known as the Post Office Tower, in Fitzrovia. At over 580 feet tall – and with an antenna on top of that – it was the Britain’s tallest building for 15 years, and is still a distinctive, iconic London landmark. A narrow concrete-and-glass cylinder, its primary purpose was to support microwave aerials used to carry telecoms traffic from the capital to the country; its extreme height was to ensure signals wouldn’t be interrupted by other tall buildings. Hilariously, the very visible tower’s existence was an official secret for many years – as late as 1993, Kate Hoey MP had to claim parliamentary privilege to say where it was.
Though the big smoking ban didn’t come in until 2007, and tobacco advertising didn’t disappear until 1991, it was much earlier – 1965, in fact – that it was made illegal to show people actually smoking in a TV ad. Smoking has a long history in the UK, brought to London from Florida in 1565, but as early as 1604 its dangers were known, King James I writing that it’s “hateful to the nose… and dangerous to the lungs.” (His solution? Increase tobacco tax by a whopping 4,000%.) Somehow, in the years following, this message got lost, and by the 17th century it was actually compulsory to smoke at Eton (the belief was that this would protect the boys from the then-current Great Plague). Though it was illegal to sell cigarettes to children by 1908, tobacco companies began to turn their attention to women in the postwar years. TV ads began with the arrival of ITV in 1955, and lasted a decade until the weight of evidence against smoking became too much, and on 1 August 1965 the Royal College of Physicians got its way. TV ads were banned, a huge milestone on the journey to a smoking-free world.
Good vintage Everything old is new again
Ford’s Transit makes its first delivery Britain’s most wanted van Many famous vehicles were introduced 1965 – the DB6, the GT40 – but none changed our lives like the Ford Transit, a light cargo van designed to be as easy to drive as a car. It was the first, triumphant product of British Ford as part of a merged ‘Ford of Europe’, and was soon marketed across the world, even conquering North America in recent years. The Transit’s big innovation was to move from a mid-engined to front-engined design; this gave a broader track, greater weight-carrying capability, an unhindered load area, and appealingly macho looks. The extensive use of familiar car components made it quieter, faster and more comfortable than any rival – and, as many episodes of The Sweeney will attest, the Transit could be thrown around with brio, leading to the unenviable statistic that Transits were used in 95% of early ’70s bank raids, and had become ‘Britain’s most wanted van’.
Tokyo grows up From ruins to the world’s biggest city in 20 years 1965 is the year that Tokyo, Japan’s capital, became the biggest city – or, officially, the “most populous metropolitan area” – in the world. The modern Tokyo is not actually a city at all, but rather a ‘metropolitan prefecture’ (a concept unique to Japan) consisting of 23 Special Wards, each governed like an individual city, plus numerous outlying municipalities. The Special Wards alone hold nine million people, but add the rest and it’s over 13 million, and then extend that to outlying areas and you get a total metropolitan area (including some islands hundreds of kilometres away from the centre!) of around 38 million, maybe more. Perhaps surprisingly for something so big and (generally) so ugly, Tokyo is today rated as one of the most liveable of the world’s great cities, thanks to good transport links, high levels of safety, and the greatest concentration of Michelin star restaurants anywhere.
In the 1960s British pop culture ruled the world, and fashion kept pace with music and film in the vanguard. And 1965 saw its peak. This was the year that the world latched onto the sharp, stylish look driven by small London boutiques – but London had already moved on, and was now raving about op art graphics, bold cut-outs, and dolly-bird crochet dresses. Most important of all, though, was a bold new movement that looked backwards rather than forwards – the rise of vintage clothing. The boldest dandies had started searching Portobello Road Market for unique pieces, with Victorian clothing the new hot thing, as exemplified by collector Sheila Cohen and her fashion boutique, Granny Takes A Trip. Her boyfriend, painter Nigel Weymouth, had a tailor pal called John Pearse, and soon the three of them were making new ‘vintage’ clothing to sell alongside the genuinely old stuff. They started a trend that’s continued unbroken to this day, when ‘vintage’ has colonised the style of everything from the cars we drive to, yes, many of the watches we wear…
Triple thre t
Christopher Ward has signed up three new Challengers, two on the track and one at sea. The thing they have in common? Theyâ€™re fast..
Finally, in 2014, my dream of running my own solo racing campaign came true. I got the loan of a Mini Transat 6.50 yacht, and was able to prepare for a 2015 solo transatlantic race from France to Guadeloupe.
Lizzy Foreman, offshore sailor So, Lizzy, what got you into yacht racing in the first place? I learned the ropes in dinghies at Queen Mary Sailing Club on the outskirts of London, but it was Pete Goss’s Team Phillips project that first made me aware of offshore sailing. My mum took me to Totnes when I was ten to see his 120ft catamaran being built, and I remember lying in a replica bunk and my imagination going wild. Could I do this too? Then, a year later, Ellen MacArthur broke into the mainstream, and I had a heroine to follow! It wasn’t until I was 18 that I got my first taste of yacht racing. I was selected for the RYA/UKSA British Keelboat Academy, based on the Isle of Wight, which allowed me to take part in my first offshore race, across the English Channel to Cherbourg and back. Sailing on the open ocean with the stars above and dolphins dashing in front of the bow? I was hooked. At uni I took a summer job aboard a 60ft ex-Whitbread Around the World racing yacht, and at 21 I applied for the Artemis Offshore Academy, the only sponsor-funded programme designed to teach up and coming skippers how to race offshore solo.
And what are your greatest achievements so far? Making it to the final four of the Vendee 2020 Vision programme, an initiative to put a British skipper on the podium of the 2020 Vendee Globe. Breaking the Length of Britain record in September last year is a highlight, too; we set a new record of 2 days, 14 hours and 6 minutes. And then there’s finishing the 2015 Mini Transat, after two years of preparation. What do you wish more people knew about your sport? That it is not elitist – and you don’t need to be really rich to go sailing! Thanks to the Royal Yachting Association, you can learn pretty much all over the country now, and many sailing clubs offer memberships allowing you to use club boats and wetsuits. Then, if you decide to get into cruising or yacht racing, there are always owners looking for crew. If you were coaching us on ocean racing tomorrow, what would you say? First, prepare your kit well – head torch, warm base layers, wellie boots and a woolly hat are essential, plus a waterproof bag to keep it all in! Remember to take precautions for sea sickness – medication or a sickness wrist band and some ginger biscuits are good, as is eating and drinking regularly and keeping busy above deck. And, finally, be prepared to muck in at
all times; it’s a very physical sport, and everyone, whatever your experience level, has an important role to play onboard. What makes you so good at sailing, do you think? My desire to learn and attention to detail – I spend a lot of time planning, and sorting out logistics! I do a lot of physical training to stay fit for sailing too, and mostly focus on endurance sports – like triathlon – as I find they give me the mental strength to carry on when things get tough. Finally, tell us what your ultimate goals are, sports-wise? To compete in the Vendee Globe, the solo, non-stop around the world yacht race. The 60ft full carbon yachts used are really extreme, and I don’t think there is a tougher challenge on the planet than sailing one alone for three months. For more, lizzyracing.com
“‘Slow in, fast out’ is a well known phrase in our industry, and with good reason” What are your sport highlights so far? Winning the European Le Mans Series GTE class last year. It was my first year in the series, and a step up from what I’d done before in GT3 racing. Also, I was racing against multiple factory drivers – which made the win even sweeter. It doesn’t get better than winning at Monza in Italy in a Ferrari – and in my first ever race there!
Jody Fannin, Sportscar racer
So, Jody, what got you into motorsport in the first place? I grew up watching F1, MotoGP, and anything with wheels and an engine. I didn’t start karting until I was 11, but – seeing as I was named after Jody Scheckter, South Africa’s only Formula 1 World Champion – I guess I was always destined to do something in the sport. One driver I’ve always admired is Allan McNish, who raced in F1 as well as Sportscars. He could scythe through traffic during races, a useful asset in endurance racing, as losing time when passing slower cars adds up over the race. And are you competitive in general? Oh, if it’s possible to be competitive in something, I will be. I grew up in South Africa playing cricket, then motor racing took over. Possibly the only thing I’m not competitive at is eating – I seem to be very slow at that!
What do you wish more people knew about your sport? How much background work goes into everything! Driving is a small part of the equation. Yes, you need to have a talent for it, but the work that goes into getting a car out there – and making sure you’re performing at your best – is more than people think. From building up your fitness to simulator work to simply walking around a track before you drive on it, there’s so much to do – and that’s without going into all the work the team does on car prep and so on… If you were coaching us on motor racing tomorrow, what would you say? I’m actually a qualified ARDS instructor and driver coach, so this is the other side of my job! For circuit racing, I would say be smooth – It doesn’t look to be the fastest way, because there’s less aggressive input on the steering wheel, but you work with the car better and it helps balance everything. Also, ‘slow in fast out’ is a well known phrase in our industry, and for a reason – it works. Make sure you get on
the throttle early out of a corner, as you carry that speed all the way down the next straight. But don’t go into a corner too fast, as the time gained on the way in will be more than negated by a slower exit. What makes you so good at racing? I’m calm under pressure – it’s important to be able to think clearly while everything is going on around you on track. You need to be able to plan your next move. You also need spare capacity in your head so you can think about how the car’s handling, and communicate this to the team over the radio. Also, having quick reactions is immensely important. You constantly need to react to what’s happening around you – be it other drivers doing unexpected things or simply correcting your car. The cars are expensive, we take it? Oh yes. In GT racing they cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. It’s not a cheap sport, that’s for sure. Finally, what are your ultimate goals? To become world champion in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). To win the Le Mans 24 Hours would come pretty close, though; it’s part of WEC, and the biggest race in the world. I’ve been to watch it 15 times, and everything about it is just magic. For more, jodyfannin.com
Paige Bellerby, rallycross driver
So, Paige, what got you into motor sport in the first place? When I was two my dad began to compete in British Rallycross, and from then on I never missed a single event. He has to be one of my biggest sporting heroes, as he won five British Rallycross titles over the years, and I’ll be satisfied if I’m ever as good as he was. I would certainly not be where I am today without his support, guidance and training. What are your greatest sporting achievements so far? During my first ever year in Rallycross I won the Championship, the first woman to ever win a British Rallycross title. That was back in 2010. This year, my goal is to finally take the MSA Super-National British Rallycross Championship title, having missed out last year after leading the Championship until the last two rounds. We can definitely do it.
What do you wish more people knew about your sport? Rallycross has quickly become the fastest-growing motorsport in the world. It’s a cross between rallying and circuit racing, in that each qualifying race is four adrenaline-filled laps on both tarmac and gravel. There’s not another sport in the world that’s as good as rallycross. It’s very accessible – the pits are open to spectators to walk around, so they can get up close with the cars and drivers – and it’s exciting, too. The cars have over 600bhp and accelerate to 60mph in less than two seconds. Each event starts off with a quick threelap practice per driver, followed by three four-lap qualifying races. Those drivers who qualify high enough get split into two semi finals, and the top four drivers in each semi-final qualify for the final deciding race of the day. Every race, each driver must take one ‘joker lap’ too – this is a longer section of the circuit, and we all have to take it at least once. Tell us a bit about all the equipment that you use… My overalls comprise three layers, all fireproof – they’re about £1,000. Underneath those I have to wear full fireproof under garments, right down to the socks, costing £150. My race gloves are about £60, my race boots roughly £120, and then there’s my helmet. All-in-all it adds up to about two grand, and then, of course, there’s the car on top of that…
And tell us about your training… The job involves a lot of manual labour, so I’m fairly strong. I’m also very involved in building my own car – there’s just my dad, one mechanic and me – so it can be tough to find much time to work out, especially during race season. After an event, every muscle is exhausted – not least because these cars don’t have power steering! Tell us a bit about your relationship with Christopher Ward. It began last year, when someone I know from school introduced me to the Challenger Programme. I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it, but thought why not apply anyway? After a few meetings I got the news that I’d been selected, which was amazing for me. The funding and support that CW will provide could take us to the next level. Finally, tell us what your ultimate goals are, sports-wise. This year we’ve had a brand new engine and gearbox put into the Lotus, and I hope to become the first female to win a Supernational British Rallycross Championship. My ultimate goal, of course, would be to become the first woman to win a World Rallycross Championship. For more, bellerbyrx.com
Get the skinny*
*American slang for ‘inside information’ At just 5.95mm the C5 Malvern 595 is one of the world’s slimmest mechanical watches. An amazing achievement when you consider the elegant case conceals a Swiss-made ETA 7001 movement that ensures outstanding accuracy and durability. The quality is undeniable, but priced at a slender £595 it makes some other luxury watch brands look overfed. Do your research.
Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
Gingerbread man Ed Sheeran’s watch collection exists in stark contrast to the rest of his decidedly un-bling personal image: it’s high-tech, high-end and increasingly risk-taking When you’re one of the most successful pop singers on the planet, but your sartorial style is limited to an unprepossessing array of T-shirts, hoodies and beanie hats, you need to spend your money on something. And for Ed Sheeran – ginger haired, Halifax born, charmingly unprepossessing contender for the position of ‘Biggest Artist in the World Right Now’ – that thing seems to be watches, with a dizzying array of impressive timepieces appearing on his wrist at gigs and photoshoots (here a Patek Philippe Nautilus, there a Hublot Big Bang) over the years. His collection appears to be moving in an increasingly esoteric direction too, from the more predictable Paul Newmanstyle Rolex Daytonas and Arnold Schwarzeneggerendorsed Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks to some very high end, and very rare, watches indeed. Indeed, of late Sheeran appears to have settled on Richard Mille – creator of high tech pieces with exposed movements and avant-garde design – as
his watchmaker of choice, with a blacked-out RM 030 and an RM 26-02 Tourbillon Evil Eye both getting a lot of wrist time, occasionally replaced by others, including a white Richard Mille RM 38-01 Tourbillon G-Sensor Quartz TPT or a RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. Not that his taste is restricted to Richard Mille these days. An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak GMT Tourbillon Concept was spotted last year, as was a Patek Philippe Split-Seconds Chronograph, ref. 5370, and numerous other Pateks, including the Calatrava Pilot Time Travel, ref. 5524G, one of the more mildly in-yourface controversial (and difficult to acquire) of modern Pateks. Also spotted: a Nautilus Annual Calendar, ref. 5726A, and a World Time, ref. 5130R. A few things have been noted about Sheeran’s collection. Firstly, it’s extensive – and appears to be getting bigger at quite a pace. Secondly, it’s exclusively wallet-crushing (no occasional G-Shocks or Seikos to be seen here). Thirdly, it mixes the safe classics with more out-there, audience-dividing pieces. And lastly, perhaps to match his red hair, many of his watches feature that colour somewhere, be it through rose gold cases, strap details, or bright highlights in the face design. Sheeran’s tattoos, he once said, are there to celebrate milestones in his life and career; now, as virgin skin appears to be running out, could it be that highend watches have been pressed into action to achieve the very same thing? 43
Th e bo ys an tal d ko a p ce en le br fac at e io wa n of tch SH es 21
SE O A PE SO N N
Adrian vs Frank
Calibre SH21 was such a step forward for Christopher Ward, the company couldn’t let its five-year anniversary slip by without a bit of a celebration. Here two of the company’s key players, Adrian Buchmann and Frank Stelzer, chat about the upcoming open-face watch designed to honour it… To celebrate the five years that have passed since the first working prototype of Christopher Ward’s in-house movement, Calibre SH21, was built in 2013, the company is launching a series of new limited edition watches, each designed to showcase this uniquely versatile and robust movement – and each one pushing the design and engineering envelope of the CW team to the max. The first of these, limited to 50 pieces, is the C7 SH21 5th Anniversary Edition, with an ambitious architectural open face design that takes Christopher Ward into brand new areas. For both Adrian Buchmann, head of product design, and Frank Stelzer, technical manager, it offered numerous fresh challenges – including the problem of what to call it. Whatever you do, it turns out, never use the phrase ‘skeleton’ watch…
architectural sort of design. When I hear ’skeleton watch’, what I imagine is a watch where most or all of the watch face has been removed entirely, or perhaps holes have been drilled in it, so you can see the movement clearly behind the hands. What we’re doing here, though, is much more than that. Instead, it’s a more complicated and – I would say – sophisticated process, where we’re making the most of the 3D nature of the movement. With this new watch, we’re only exposing select parts of the movement through the face, and the whole thing has both a very technical feel and great volume and depth.
Frank: Adrian, have you worked on what we used to call a ‘skeleton’ watch before?
Adrian: Shall I say two, and then you can say two? For me, it would be the Legacy Machine 1 from Max Busser’s MB&F, a small and very forward-thinking brand, which I love for its pure expression of the ‘mécanique’ on the front side. The Legacy Machine range is futuristic in the same
Adrian: I have, though I wouldn’t call them ‘skeleton’ watches so much as open face watches, which to my mind suggests a more modern approach and a more
Frank: It’s probably fair to say that openface watches have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years – but which of the recent crop have particularly impressed you?
ways as other MB&F watches – they remind me of cars, planes, even spaceships – but with the massive conceit that the Legacy ones look as if they were designed a hundred years ago, not now. It’s a steampunk, retro-futuristic Jules Verne-type thing, but without the cobbled together Victorian feel – it’s more sleek and modern and polished than that. In fact, this watch manages to remain somehow sober and even classically inspired, while still packed with wild three-dimensional elements. And the movement, with its huge pocket watch-style balance wheel moving remarkably slowly, is almost hypnotic to look at. Another great one would be the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate, which isn’t as architectural as the LM1, but is just so beautifully put together. It’s only 2mm thick – a world record, I believe – and manages that by swerving the traditional movement-in-acase design philosophy to make the case itself the movement plate. I especially like the shape of the bridges, and the way case and movement are integrated so seamlessly. It takes the highest possible level of watchmaking to create something like this. So, how about you?
Frank: I’d perhaps suggest the insanely technical Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon Technique GF02s, which inclines the tourbillon at 30° to allow enough room to stack four barrels co-axially. The upshot? That watch has incredible depth. It’s really architectural, and the high-end finish is superb. And then there’s the Breguet Tradition Grande Complication, which references that company’s past while – at the same time – being highly inspirational; it certainly inspired me. Breguet were one of the first watchmakers to display their movements in an interesting way on the dial side, and in many ways they’re responsible for all the interesting new open-face watches we’re seeing today. Obviously, these are all very expensive watches, which hardly anyone can afford. Adrian: Of course! The LM1 is, what, an £80,000 watch? Something like that. Frank: So, let’s talk about your side of things. When you first started designing this watch, what was the main thing you set out to achieve? Adrian: First off, I looked at lots of openfaced watches – like the ones we were just talking about. It soon became clear that they’re all trying to do different things. A classic open dial watch – yes, the sort we might perhaps call a skeleton watch – will take a very different stylistic approach to a more motorsport-influenced watch,
for instance. A maker like Richard Mille is all about lightness, so it makes sense for him to remove as much metal as he can, leaving just the bones. Our watch, on the other hand, is largely about celebrating five years of SH21 – and one of the most important things about SH21 is what a strong, powerful movement it is. So our watch needed to give the same impression – solid, robust, durable – to really express what SH21 is about. That’s why my design is so sturdy; we didn’t want to make the watch or movement look delicate. Frank: SH21 also has a 120-hour power reserve, of course, which is very unusual. That’s why the emphasis on the front of the watch is on the bridges – the two barrels’ bridges and the power reserve bridge, too. As always, we explored various different routes during the design process, and the ones we thought were strongest were the ones which held a very tight focus on just what SH21 is all about. Adrian: Would you say that an openface watch will intrinsically be less stable and solid than a regular watch, simply because everything is exposed? Or are there ways around that? And do they have to be hand-wound, because a rotor would obscure too much and make the skeleton effect pointless? Frank: Oh, they can be robust alright – especially the modern, architectural style of
“The big challenge is to create something worthy of SH21”
open-face watch. The delicate thing might be more true of the traditional skeleton watch, perhaps. But yes, regarding the hand-wound thing, that’s a fair point – and is probably why most open-dial watches are hand wound or have micro rotors. I actually hope that, one day, somebody will came up with a peripheral rotor skeleton watch, which would theoretically combine the best of both worlds. Adrian: On these watches, I’m actually quite torn. On the one hand, I often think that, if you’re going to show off the movement, you might as well show off as much of it as you can. On the other hand, though, the more technical watches that we’re talking about – and that we both like very much – rarely show more than, say, half of it. And, in fact, you often get more drama – and more of a sense of depth – if you only show off some of it. Frank: There are technical considerations to take into account too, of course. One obvious one is that, with most combinations of case and movement, the movement is considerably smaller, and so won’t actually be large enough to occupy the entire face, even if you wanted it to. In most cases, you would always need to have some sort of dial ring, at the very least, to fill the gap. Adrian: So, ultimately, who do you think our new open-face watch will appeal to? Frank: Definitely people who enjoy the sheer beauty of watch mechanisms – though, that said, I don’t think you need to be a hardcore aficionado to appreciate it. Adrian: I’d tend to agree, and especially since our watch is such an architectural, technical one. There is still some brands out there doing old-school skeleton watches, and they retain an audience, but I believe the centre of gravity has definitely shifted – and most people now appreciate the greater ambition and excitement inherent in the sort of watch we’re doing. The big challenge, of course, is to create something worthy of SH21.
Great Watch Makers
Sussex designed, often German-built, and with unusual uber-masculine designs and unexpected historical resonance, Schofield Watch Company blazes its own path â€“ and is all the better for it
“The problem is, we’re just too busy,” Giles Ellis is saying. “It’s been like this for two years now. Will it get better? I just don’t know. I design the watches, I finish them, I send them out, I even built our website. Every little bit of what we do is me.” Not that Giles makes it sound much of a problem. He has his wife, Melodie, and a chap called Harry working with him now, and his business – Schofield Watch Company, named for the Western-era pistol manufacturer favoured by bad boys like Jesse James – is producing more watches ever. Not that they make Christopher Ward-style numbers – think maybe 100 units of a popular model – but then, despite a similar direct-to-the-customer business model with no physical shops involved, these are not Christopher Ward-style watches. For one thing, they’re much more expensive, starting a little over £3k and going much higher. For another, though the company takes many of its influences and cues from Britain’s maritime history, none of the watches are exactly diver’s models in the traditional sense. Nor does Schofield offer any recognisable pilot’s watches, or dress watches, or any that fit neatly into the other sub-genres that watch aficionados have become so comfortable with. “It all stems from the first watch I did,” Giles says. “When I couldn’t afford the watch I wanted, I decided to make my own. I have a great fondness for the British industrial estate and the companies you find there, and I thought I could use their skills to make a watch good enough to stand alongside any. Now, that didn’t quite work out – I soon found I needed Swiss movements and Swiss or German skills to fabricate hands and faces of the sophistication I needed – but it set me on this path. I thought I would make 100 examples of my first watch – one for me and 99 to sell – and, since it might be the only one I ever did, it would have to fulfil all my needs. It would need to work with a T shirt or with a suit, and it would need to be stylish, but not a follower of fashion. And, because it had to do all this, I didn’t want to slavishly follow the rules of a particular market segment. Though yes, I did make it water resistant to 500m – not because anyone would go diving with it, but more as an indication of quality.”
The resulting watch, the Signalman (£4,260 in its current unbranded, dramatically minimalist ‘Bare Bones’ iteration) remains his best seller to date – he’s made 300 of those – though right now a lot of the action revolves around the Beater (£3,060), a cheaper watch in raw bronze. A number of other models slot between the two, and the occasional limited edition costs many times more. All Giles’s watches are hefty things, though, in 44mm cases with exaggerated domed crystals, and big, bold hands that can, Giles says, “almost look too big in some photographs, but when you actually hold the watch you’ll see that they’re actually just the right size.” Schofield watches are impressive, and not like anything else out there. What’s also appealing about Giles and his operation is how slick everything is. The website is engaging in a way few watch company websites manage; the story behind the company is fascinating; even the names of the watches are compelling – the Blacklamp, the Daymark, the Telemark. (And yes, that last one is named for the classic war movie.) It’s built the company a devoted following. Giles used to build web sites and repair musical instruments amongst other things, and seems unafraid to turn his hand to anything. He’s the sort of guy who customises his own bikes, designs his own trainers, whatever. He can’t help himself, he says; it’s just that he doesn’t want to own exactly the same thing that you and I could go out and buy. “When we began we didn’t have any history, and had to use fairly familiar movements from ETA and others,” he says, “so I knew we had to compete hard where we could – in terms of design, in terms of case quality, in terms of service and in terms of our dials, which are quite something. We allow you to customise the watch you buy, too.” And what’s the end game here? “One thing I’m not trying to do,” he says, “is win. I’m not even trying to make money – Schofield was never designed as a commercial enterprise. Instead, what I’m really trying to do is to surprise and impress you.” For more, schofieldwatchcompany.com
6 min 13 sec ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ was long for a single – over six minutes? Preposterous! – but that’s just one of the ways in which it changed Bob Dylan’s career, and the music world…
Following albums like The Times They Are a-Changin’, Bob Dylan found himself celebrated as ‘spokesman of a generation’ and a leading light of America’s resurgent folk music movement. How comfortable was he with all this? Not very, as the words of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ make clear. Indeed, a big part of what makes this song so potent is its direct, cynical, confrontational lyric, boiled down from an extended piece of verse and based on his experiences touring England at the start of 1965. He didn’t like the music biz, didn’t like the way his career was going, and really didn’t like his audience’s rigid expectations of him. “I was very drained,” he said, “but ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ changed it all.” For Dylan it was a breakthrough, and suggested a new direction: wordy songs taking full advantage of his unique vocal delivery, now paired with strong electric guitar and ambition to burn. This was a song that fused the emotional, the physical and the intellectual, and marked
the first time an American musician had seriously challenged The Beatles and the British Invasion for creativity and verve. What makes things even more perfect is that the recording took place on June 15-16 – yes, right in the middle of 1965, a year which itself was right in the middle of this richest of pop culture decades – in sessions that saw the song quickly develop from a 3/4 waltz time piece with Dylan on piano into a far tighter and more raucous version in 4/4 time, with Dylan now on electric guitar and a Hammond organ – a late addition to proceedings – featuring prominently in the mix. Dylan himself loved it, but Columbia Records were less enthusiastic, citing the song’s extreme length and rock style as a sales killer – but then, when DJs from New York’s major top 40 stations started demanding copies to play, they did a swift U-turn. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ eventually came out on 20 July, and became Dylan’s biggest hit, only held off the US No1 spot by The Beatles’ ‘Help!’.
What was it about? The lyrics suggest a sneering, scornful attack on a female character – ‘Miss Lonely’ – who used to have it all but is now struggling, before softening and showing sympathy and even envy; the idea being, it seems, that when you have lost everything you are also, in some ways, free. Could it be about Joan Baez? Marianne Faithful? Or maybe Edie Sedgwick, of Andy Warhol’s Factory fame? There’s no definitive answer, except to say that the song is clearly also about the singer himself – he, too, has “no direction home.” To make it more ‘radio-friendly’, CBS had halved the song, with three minutes of its epic six minutes, 13 seconds on each side of the vinyl single, but stations played it in its entirety anyway. Suddenly it was okay for singles to be longer than three minutes, but that’s just part of the song’s legacy; unconventional voices were now acceptable too, as were complex, opaque lyrics. The rules of pop music had been rewritten.
High CO2 emissions* *Let out a huge sigh of relief. Only costs ÂŁ395. The C3 Grand Tourer takes our best-selling Malvern MkIII dress watch off in a distinctively retro motorsport direction, reminiscent of those classic two door coupes which effortlessly combined luxury and performance. Powered by a supremely accurate and effortless Swiss quartz movement it successfully marries the romance of yesteryear with the efficiency of modern technology. Do your research.
CUSTOMER DEFINED LOGO
C9 10017 CUSTOMER NUMBER
If undelivered, please return to: Christopher Ward (London) Limited, 1 Park Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1SL, United Kingdom
The C9 Me 109 SPC is only the second watch to contain the beautifully clever Calibre JJ02; itâ€™s available to buy now at christopherward.co.uk/c9-me109-spc