The Magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 10. Autumn 2018
We werenâ€™t around in 1965, but the C65 Diver is the watch we would have made if we had been... The best of the 60s, remastered. A classic dive watch enhanced by the very latest technological refinements, sporting a lithe masculine aesthetic but with discreet dress styling, that you can wear anytime, anywhere. A timepiece that can proudly stand with the worldâ€™s great contemporary dive watches in every respect - apart from price. Do your research.
Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
Don’t Christopher Ward watches look good these days? I’m a huge fan of the C65 Trident Diver, but then there’s the C65 Trident GMT, which might be even better – flick to page 34 to see what I mean – and this issue’s cover star, the C7 Apex, which simply takes CW watchmaking to a whole new level. The watch that’s caught my eye just lately, however, is the relatively unheralded C3 Grand Tourer, an iteration of the Malvern MkIII which pairs a nice, Swiss quartz movement with the most elegant twin sub-dial period chronograph face. For £395 it’s a brilliant everyday watch that’s light years away from its equivalents of just a few years ago, or – indeed – from the watches almost everyone else is currently offering for the price. Yes, of course it’s exciting to see CW create models as ambitious as the Apex, but it’s equally good to see entry level fare – the watches that got most of us into watches, after all – that are quite so desirable too.
Coming of age July 2, 2014 is a vital date in the annals of Christopher Ward, because not only was it the day two became one – with the merging of Christopher Ward and its Swiss manufacturing partner, Synergies Horlogères – but also because it’s the day the company’s in-house movement, Calibre SH21, was launched to an unsuspecting (and somewhat astonished) watch press and public. For the three of us, though, there was a day a year earlier – when we first held the working SH21 prototype – that was even more memorable. For here, in our hands, was the ticking proof that we had done something no other British brand had done in more than 50 years – created a commercially viable mechanical movement. It was quite a day. Five years have simply flashed by since that ‘coming of age’ moment, but – with the launch of the 50-piece limited edition C7 Apex – we recall it in perhaps the best possible way, through a watch that demonstrates not only the beauty and capability of Calibre SH21, but also the constantly evolving skill and imagination of our design team. It’s a very special watch, but then Calibre SH21 is a very special movement. Chris, Mike and Peter
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Ollie Edwards Cover: C7 Apex Limited Edition 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 12 – 18
34 – 35
SH21 taught Christopher Ward just how ambitious it could be, and now a new range of premium limited edition watches – starting with the C7 Apex – is out to drive the message home
The C65 family gains a most handsome new member, the C65 Trident GMT
36 – 39 20 – 23
The List Sometimes new technology takes off, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here are some inexplicable (and some very explicable) examples of failures to launch…
The electric company Morgan’s the world’s most traditional car maker, you say? Then you obviously haven’t seen their all electric EV3
28 – 33
Art for all
40 – 43
You ain’t seen detail yet 12 — 18
Red devil The latest TMB Art Metal collaboration uses metal from a real locomative of a car, the famous Birkin’s ‘Blower’ Bentley…
Inside Unit London, perhaps the capital’s most exciting art gallery
Special Unit 28 — 33
Regulars 07 – 11
45 – 50
Insight What we do, and how we do it. Mike France and head of marketing Helen McCall talk the early days – and importance – of Calibre SH21. Plus: two of our favourite sportspeople (for two very different reasons)
What’s old is new again (yes, we’re talking more bronze watches), plus the latest collaboration with Morgan and more
24 – 27
Forty eight Two Jörg Baders try out two different versions of the ultrasuccessful C65 Trident Diver
Blown away 40 — 43
A watch renowned for its peerless technicality – the precision of its JJ04 module can ensure the moon passing across its dial is accurate to a day every 128 years – as much as the lyrical beauty of its dial, the Moonphase now inherits our sleek new Grand Malvern case. With its subtle ‘lightcatcher lines’, the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase is just as graceful as our lunar neighbour. Do your research.
News, reports & innovations. This issue: Perhaps the most exclusive Trident ever, and CW’s first ombre watch
Sports for all Did you hear about the new Morgans? There’s just one, actually, but the C3 Morgan Chronograph is certainly significant, making CW’s watch range for the much-loved sports car specialist accessible to everyone
Christopher Ward’s collaboration with the Morgan Motor Company has resulted in four quite remarkable watches, all Calibre SH21-powered chronometers at the top end of what the company does. But what if you’re a fan of this remarkable British company – where timeless sports cars are built the old fashioned way, from an ash frame up – but don’t want to splash so much cash? Enter the C3 Morgan Chronograph. Based upon the current C3 Malvern range – fitting, since the Malvern hills are where Morgans are made – it’s a 39mm quartz chronograph with a distinctly classic look, featuring two lateral sub-dials on a vintage silver-white face. The whole watch has a motoring air about it anyway, but that’s made even more prominent by the replacement of the CW logo by the famous
Morgan wings, with the same design engraved on the backplate; indeed, Christopher Ward’s contribution is only subtly indicated, through small touches like the company’s twin flags logo on the crown. Inside is a Swiss-made Ronda 5021.D quartz chronograph movement, highly accurate and reliable and with a neat power saving function. (Pull out the crown when you’re not using the watch, and one battery can last up to 54 months.) This is an exceedingly handsome and useful piece at an accessible price, and with all the fun and cache of the Morgan link too; what’s not to love? The C3 Morgan Chronograph is available now; £450
A first look at some of our new designs. Theyâ€™ll be done when theyâ€™re done
The recent bronze success story is set to continue with Novemberâ€™s C60 Trident Ombre COSC, its name derived from the distinctive graduated shading you see from the centre of the dial, which will perfectly echo the patination of the bronze case. Additional hand-finished distress markings add to the aged appearance.
C60 Trident Ombre COSC
Christopher Ward has re-engineered its JJ03 Calibre movement to allow at-aglance reading of every timezone; indeed, thanks to clever transparent layering, each timezone also points towards the correct meridian on the world map, as well as highlighting your most useful timezone. The C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer will be available from November.
C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer
Gone in 50 seconds New limited edition is going, going… gone
The discerning chaps of the CW Enthusiasts Facebook group have collaborated with the CW design team on a fresh new special edition of the C60 Trident Pro 600. Check out the bold seconds hand, the twin flags logo, and the wave pattern on the dial. Fancy it? Too bad – limited to an exclusive 50 pieces, it’s already sold out.
Great names join the Motor Sport Hall of Fame
Fantastic forum The Christopher Ward Forum mods visit; beer is drunk Five CW Forum moderators and three CW co-founders walked into a pub… No, not the beginning of a bad joke, but the start of a meeting of minds for the CW team and the tireless men who carefully moderate the discussion on what some call the busiest forum in British watchmaking. A fully independent forum
funded (but never influenced) by CW, and some exciting new developments were discussed, making it the place to go for the unexpurgated view of all things CW. For more: christopherwardforum.com
Motor Sport magazine’s Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2018 at the Royal Automobile Club’s stunning Woodcote Park in June, and an international array of racing greats – including motorcycle road racer Mike Hailwood and Bruce McLaren, the great Kiwi driver who left behind a rather famous racing team – joined the illustrious roll of honour. More than 40,000 votes were cast, the most since the Hall of Fame was relaunched in 2016. As the proud timing partner of the awards, CW was delighted to introduce its own Christopher Ward Challengers, rallycross driver Paige Bellerby and GT racer Jody Fannin, who won the recent Need for Speed competition to become the first ever motorsport Challengers. For more, motorsportmagazine.com
Class act For the fourth year running, CW backs the best new British watchmakers Supporting the future of the British watch industry, Christopher Ward presented the top award for Technical Achievement to the cream of BCU School of Jewellery’s specialist BA Horology degree class of 2018, for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s winner, Alexander Goodwin, produced a table clock based on Galileo’s Escapement
Music lovers All CW Challengers have to be sportspeople, right? Think again… Lending our ears – and our applause – to a clutch of homegrown singer-songwriters, Christopher Ward sponsored the Thame Town Music Festival and Convention, supporting up-and-coming musicians with vital industry-insider knowledge and knowhow on how to get seen, get heard – and get a recording contract. The winner of the Festival’s Songwriting contest is set to become the next Christopher Ward Challenger – so watch (or ‘listen to’?) this space. For more, thametownmusicfestival.org
resolving several technical and design issues. Co-founder Chris Ward and Technical Manager Andrew Henry presented Alexander with a C60 Trident Pro 600 in recognition of his efforts. For more: christopherward.co.uk/blog
Maidenhead gothic Meet copywriter Alex McKenzie. If you’ve ever been on the Christopher Ward website, chances are you’ve read his words… Tell us about you, Alex. I’ve lived in Maidenhead all my life – I’m Berkshire born and bred. I’ve played the drums for 12 years or so, and I love live music; as there’s no Glastonbury this year, this summer I’m heading to a festival in Madrid instead. Live music aside, I’m a season ticket holder at Maidenhead United FC, while my Dad has successfully ensured that I’m a Rangers supporter. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, but I became aware I had a knack for it when my English teacher was surprised by the quality of the work I’d handed in – he apologetically told me he thought I’d plagiarised it! How did you start at Christopher Ward? I initially joined the customer services team – packing and dispatching orders, answering the phone and dealing with customers – but after a couple of years Chris and Mike asked if I’d be interested in moving into a social media role in the marketing team. I wrote content for the website, blogs and emails, and this year became copywriter. So, did you always like watches? Until I started at Christopher Ward, I didn’t wear a watch; I can’t say I’d ever really thought about them either, with my knowledge being limited to knowing that Sean Connery wore a Rolex. It’s been quite
a journey – I’ve gone from mixing up my chronographs and chronometers to writing about them on a daily basis. Having spent a lot of time around watches now, I’ve come to appreciate how they can hook people in – in fact, I’ve found myself starting to look for my own ‘grail watch’. (For me, it would be a blue dial Tudor Pelagos, if I’m allowed to say that...) I think I’m primarily a dive watch kind of person, but my favourite CW is my first: a black dial C65 Trident Classic Mk I, which is suitable for just about any occasion. What’s your typical work day like? If there are new releases in the pipeline, I may be writing press releases for those; I also help update the website when required, write emails and letters, or find myself researching obscure subjects for blogs. One aspect that will always remain satisfying, aside from doing justice to the story behind these watches, is when people tell me they’ve enjoyed reading my work. I’m also responsible for responding to customers on social media and Trustpilot, so I might find myself liaising with the rest of the team to rectify any issues customers may have. That’s not really a chore – it’s just wanting to get things right. What do you enjoy writing about best? Besides watches? I blog about film and music in my spare time. Maybe I’d like to one
Alex: has learnt not to overtake a co-founder
day try writing a script for a biopic. Aside from that, something gothic! What models have particularly excited you lately, and why? I find skeleton watches interesting, which segues nicely into the C7 Apex Limited Edition. It’s not a full skeleton, and maybe a little more futuristic than I’d go for, but its open dial really provides a sense of depth and shows off more of SH21 than ever before. It’s completely unlike anything we’ve done, and it’s not for everyone, but I’m looking forward to people’s reactions when they see it for the first time! Elsewhere, it was nice to see a blue bezel and dial model return to the Trident Pro 600 range again. We hear that your go-kart skills leave something to be desired, by the way… When we went on a work go-karting trip last summer, I unwisely thought it would be a good idea to overtake Chris. At the next hairpin, I went to slow down when an unseen competitor behind me went full-on kamikaze and took me out – I’ll leave it to you to imagine who that was…
C7 Apex Limited Edition
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Calibre SH21 would take a very special watch. The C7 Apex Limited Edition is the ultimate expression of Christopher Ward’s watchmaking prowess – and proved such an immense challenge, they decided to make three more of them…
There have been many landmarks in the 14-year history of Christopher Ward – the first Malverns, the first Tridents – but there’s no doubting the biggest, boldest, most important one. The creation of Calibre SH21 – the company’s first in-house movement – was a huge undertaking, but helped redefine the company. Christopher Ward had always offered well-made, well-designed watches at an affordable price, but now it had serious horological clout too. With SH21 coming up to five years old now, a celebration seemed in order. But what should it entail? “We knew we wanted to make a significant noise,” says company co-founder Chris Ward, “so the first idea was to build a very special, very limited edition watch. Though SH21 has been massively important – in terms of the respect we get, how we see ourselves, our confidence as a company – it sometimes seems like we don’t shout about
it quite as much as we could. So what if we were to build a truly amazing watch, the most ambitious we’d ever done, to showcase the very best of SH21?” It was a good idea – but which aspects should the new watch spotlight? “Eventually, we realised there was more than one significant milestone in the development of SH21,” Chris says, “which is how our plans grew from a single watch to a small range of limited edition models, each at the very extremes of what Christopher Ward can do. The range would be called Apex, and it didn’t hurt that what was already being developed for the first one was so exciting – and that the teams, both in Biel and Maidenhead, were enjoying the challenge so much.” The four Apex models would each celebrate a different aspect of CW watchmaking, then – motoring watches, diver’s watches, dress watches and aviation
watches – and each would be launched to coincide with a specific moment in the development of SH21. “It was crucial that the Apex models should be created with fewer constraints than usual,” says Peter Ellis, another of the co-founders. “The whole process was about allowing creativity to go wild. We’d already decided that we should use our most ambitious, sophisticated and complicated case – the C7, with its unusual lugs – for the first Apex, which meant it would be, by default, a motoring watch. And that made sense, as our senior designer, Adrian Buchmann, was keen to showcase the twin barrels of SH21, giving the watch a very technical look anyway. Plus, there was no existing SH21 option in the C7 range, making the first Apex special in yet another way.” The final thing to be decided was which anniversary to hang the C7 Apex on. “It had to be the moment we first saw SH21 running,” offers Mike France, the third of the co-founders. “Creating it took three and half years, which is fast by industry standards – but felt to us like the world’s longest pregnancy. It’s one thing creating a movement in CAD, and quite another to machine the actual parts, put them together, and see if it actually does what we hoped it would. How robust would it be? Would it deliver the 120 hours of power we’d asked for? We realised that the C7 Apex should be all about this very specific moment – the one when we saw the SH21 prototype working for the very first time.” With Adrian keen to reveal much of the SH21 movement through the dial and the back of the C7 Apex, the words ‘skeleton watch’ naturally cropped up a few times – and filled a number of key players with horror. Turns out, there’s a world of difference between the old-fashioned,
The watch features layers of detail beyond anything Christopher Ward has attempted before… The target price would be £3,000, low in the extreme for the sort of stripped back, high-tech design the team were aiming for here rather fuddy-duddy skeleton watches of the past, and the modern, stripped back, highly architectural work of watchmakers like Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis and Piaget. “For many years there have been ’skeleton’ models towards the top of many Swiss watch ranges, where the entire face – or elements of it – were removed to show off a complication or decorated movement,” Mike says. “The problem is, I’ve never been a fan of these watches – and neither has Adrian. Even though we liked the idea of showing off our movement, we wanted to do something new with the idea – so we wouldn’t make the whole face transparent, but would instead create a highly complicated multi-level dial, built around limited visibility inside the watch and making the most of SH21’s distinctive elements.” Adrian started creating a remarkable architectural feel for the watch, with the striking red anodised power reserve sub dial at 9 o’clock becoming the main focus on the front, and the twin barrels taking prominence on the rear. The entire watch features layers of detail beyond anything Christopher Ward has attempted before. “In fact,” says Peter, “it’s the equal of many watches costing three times the price. It seems to me that the red bridges also work as a metaphor for the increased levels of co-operation that this project demanded between Switzerland and England. Creating it hasn’t been easy – far from it – but it’s been a positive, satisfying experience for all involved.” For Adrian Buchmann, the project would be built around SH21’s distinctive elements, and everything would flow from them. “I love that SH21 does things most movements don’t do,” Adrian says. “And I
particularly love that it has a full five-day power reserve. That’s why we’ve got such a complex multi-level dial, with the power reserve indicator so prominent. Since we were using our motoring watch case, it made sense that it would all be about power, light weight, technological innovation and ultimate performance.” The C7 case is already one of the most technologically challenging that Christopher Ward’s case supplier has ever made, but now it would be coupled with the most complicated dial CW’s dial supplier has ever made too. The grey-with-redhighlights colour scheme seemed very motorsport – “think of the coloured brake callipers on a sports car,” Adrian says, “half-hidden but you know they’re there” – and the whole process started to take on a life of its own. “Always in the back of my mind, though, was the question of what the other Apex watches might be like,” Adrian says. “This first one would be the most demonstrative, in-your-face version. But what would a C60 Trident Apex be like? Or a C1 Apex? They might be a little more subtle, but they’d still have to be our ultimate versions of what a diver’s watch or a dress watch might be. It’s a great challenge I’m still wrestling with – all I know for sure is that they’ll each have to be the very best that we can do.” The very best, yes, but these are still Christopher Wards. And though the C7 Apex and its siblings would be watches with “fewer restraints than usual” – as Peter said – they’d still have to be affordable. A Hublot Classic Fusion Ultra Thin Skeleton might cost almost £14,000 – and a Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Italdesign Edition
“We’re trying to do something much trickier than creating a beautiful £30,000 watch here – we’re trying to create one that’s in every way comparable, but at a tenth of the price”
more like £130,000 – but the target price for the C7 Apex would be £3,000. That’s high for a Christopher Ward, but low in the extreme for the sort of stripped back, high-tech, beautifully finished design the team were aiming for here. “Achieving what you want to achieve for an acceptable price is the killer,” Adrian says. “Virtually anything is possible if you have enough time, money and skill – but doing something comparable at a price that people can afford is infinitely harder. Yes, even £3,000 is a lot to spend, but it’s within the realms of possibility. We’re trying to do something much trickier than creating a beautiful £30,000 watch – we’re trying to create one that’s in every way comparable, but at a tenth of the price.” And what’s been the trickiest bit? “It’s not the materials, or the design. It’s the detailing. We’re bringing uber-expensive levels of detail to an affordable watch, and that’s incredibly hard. Everywhere we looked, we saw more things we could do, more finishes we could apply – and every one has a cost implication.” Creating the C7 Apex has seen emails, images and samples flying back and forth between Maidenhead and Biel in a fashion that – to an outsider – might seem insane for a run of only 50 pieces, but that wouldn’t take into account how much fun
it’s been, or how it’s brought the two parts of the company closer together. “When I think of the C7 Apex, the word I think of is ‘exciting’,” Adrian says. “It was exciting to see so many people do their best work, and it was exciting to see what we can achieve when everyone’s committed and thinking cleverly. Even at the very end, we were looking for ways to improve it.” The finished watch is pretty incredible, so could Adrian imagine doing a simpler version for even more CW fans to enjoy – one that came in under £1,000, maybe? “Never. This is a style of watch that has to be high-end to work. You couldn’t do a simplified version, because then you’d have to abandon all the detailing, and you’d have to manufacture all the prominent parts in
a cheaper, less satisfying way. The interest would just ebb away.” The C7 Apex LE is available in September, with the remaining three Apex models due next year, to coincide with various different anniversaries of SH21. “I can’t wait until people get this in their hands,” Mike says. “It’s just so impressive – and a watch to get us noticed, like SH21 got us noticed five years ago. This is one to appeal to hardcore Christopher Ward fans, but it should create ripples amongst highend watch aficionados too, people who’ve never considered the brand before.” The C7 Apex LE is limited to 50 pieces, available in September, and costs £2,995
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.
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L E T R C R E M S 20
Looking like it’s just screamed out of a steampunk film set, the Morgan EV3 gives all the fun of the regular 3 Wheeler in near-silent, planet-friendly, all-electric form…
Five years ago, the UK bought fewer than 4,000 electric cars; today it’s over 150,000, and the numbers are going up all the time. You can get a BMW that looks like a futuristic cube; a Tesla that looks like a catfish; or a Jaguar SUV that looks like a regular Jaguar SUV (a weird enough proposition on its own just a few years ago). And along with increasing choice and sales, the public recharging network is improving all the time. Little surprise, then, that all the big car makers have exciting new electric models lined up – an all-electric Mini, an electric VW Microbus, even James Dyson’s first car. But few – if any – are quite as exciting or desirable as the EV3, a lightweight three-wheel sports car from regular Christopher Ward collaborator Morgan, which will offer a 120-mile range, use tech from Frazer-Nash Energy Sys-
“The EV3 represents Morgan’s design renaissance and new-found open mindedness”
How fast will it be? We’re not sure yet, but the prototypes hit 0-62mph in less than 9.0sec, which makes it a little slower than the petrol car, but not by much. And these things are not about ultimate performance anyway, but rather a closer engagement with the road and countryside than you’d get with any other car. If 120 miles doesn’t sound like much range, by the way, think of what people will use the EV3 for – summer commutes and Sunday jaunts to the coast. We’re promised it will recharge quickly, too. Inside you get a classic ‘magneto’ switch for drive selection, a circular digital screen, and wood, brass and polished aluminium everywhere. Like the exterior, it’s all inspired by old motorbikes and 1930s aero-engine race cars, plus a big dollop of period science fantasy – the lack of a traditional engine has allowed the designers to go especially wild at the front, with large running lights mounted low on each side of the body, and brass conductive cooling fins for the batteries taking centre stage, below a single high-mounted, off-centre Cyclops-style headlamp. “The EV3 represents Morgan’s design renaissance and new-found open mindedness,” says chief designer Jon Wells. “In recent years I’ve been producing a stream of drawings of unlikely vehicles,
tems, and is due this year. Even better, it has retro-futuristic looks to die for. The first electric series production car in the company’s history, the EV3 is clearly a close cousin to Morgan’s existing – and successful – 3 Wheeler, the car that inspired CW’s C1 Morgan 3 Wheeler Chronometer. But it swaps that car’s 80bhp, V-twin engine for a liquid-cooled 56bhp electric motor fed by a 21kWh lithium battery powering the single skinny rear wheel. Yes, the new power train is heavier than the existing one, but the EV3 still weighs less – under 500kg, in fact – thanks to numerous new lightweight carbon fibre composite body panels, the rest of it being the traditional ash frame covered in aluminium.
all sporting Morgan’s unique design cues; partly as a bit of fun, but there’s been serious content hidden in there too, and they’ve helped free up our thinking. Indeed, we’ve now reached the stage where we can evolve the company – in terms of both design and technology. But I don’t believe our cars should simply become more ‘modern’. Our appeal is based on nostalgia, but we won’t be constrained by purist classic forms. We’ll walk the line between old and new, and the EV3 demonstrates that perfectly.” Morgan’s currently saying that two EV3s will be built a week, so it’s always going to be a rare beast, and at a price we’re told will be ‘comparable’ with the regular 3 Wheeler – so think a little over £30,000 – not an especially expensive one, either. Not for such a ground-breaking, thrillingly-styled, highly relevant handmade British sports car, anyway – and, as it seems likely to spearhead a whole range of electric Morgan vehicles, one with historical significance, too. For more, morgan-motor.co.uk/ev3; buy the 3 Wheeler watch at christopherward.co.uk/watches/ morgan-chronometer-collection
Two days with some of our latest models
Jörg Sr: virtually only wears Christopher Ward these days
Old hand This time we got two Jörg Baders to try two different versions of the same watch, the instantly bestselling C65 Trident Diver. First up, Jörg Sr, who heads up Christopher Ward’s Swiss operation… With around 35 years of watchmaking experience behind him, Jörg Bader Sr has forgotten more about watches than most of us will ever know. “These days I exclusively wear Christopher Wards, or – very occasionally – my Rolex Milgauss 40mm,” Jörg says. “There’s a battle between watches most days – which will leap onto my wrist? – but I’ve developed a taste for SH21 models. They always keep time, for one thing!” Eh? You mean the others don’t? “No! It’s just that SH21-powered watches run for five days, which is useful as I’m constantly switching between models. Right now, for instance, I’m wearing a C8 Spitfire prototype, the C8 Power Reserve, the C1 Power Reserve and a C60 Trident LE – so it’s a heck of an added feature to 24
be able to pick one of them up after a few days and find it’s still running.” The C65 Trident Diver may not have SH21, but in many ways it’s a better watch than the vintage pieces it references. “And, that being the case,” says Jörg, “I’d rather wear this C65 than any vintage watch – though there are exceptions. One old watch I will never sell is my fabulous Zodiac vintage chronograph, and there have been others – though, unfortunately, my Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Alarm is now in the hands of burglars.” The thing about watch design, Jörg explains, is that it evolves, yes, but only rarely does it change in a radical way.
“A good example would be Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with the integrated bracelet,” he says. “It was always a very distant second to Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, but a few years ago it was slightly remodelled – and suddenly aficionados considered it the design invention of all time! “Not that I’d turn down a gift of that Nautilus, but I wouldn’t even think of wearing most brands these days. Because I enjoy being part of the process of making our watches so much, I develop a relationship with each one. Good watches become part of you, in a way.” Which brings us neatly back to the C65 Trident Diver. How good is this watch? “Very good,” Jörg says, “and I was lucky to be one of the first people to wear one. That was here in Biel, and was the very first sample model. It’s a watch that just strikes you, and you naturally fall in love with it. In fact, I believe it to be the perfect synthesis of all things vintage. I know that the research done by Adrian on the timepieces of the mid-’60s was huge, and what he and Mike wrenched out of all that is amazing.” For one thing, it’s 41mm, which for Jörg is the perfect size.
“Especially considering the clever case design,” he says. “The shape of the box glass allowed Adrian to pack part of the height into the hollow of the glass, which means the watch does more than just sit on your wrist – it integrates into it. The one I wore was on the integrated stainless steel bracelet, which exceeded expectations. In general, vintage-style watches have a rather soft feel, and I wasn’t sure a bracelet would suit it. But this one has a satin finish, which goes perfectly. I was happy to be proved wrong!” So, would you buy this watch yourself? “Of course! In fact, I will – it needs to be in my collection. Vintage-style watches can only be produced with such flawless quality these days because the techniques needed to machine sapphire crystal have evolved so far. Box glass only became affordable a few years ago; before that, such a shape could only have been achieved in hard plastic. And that plastic would constantly get scratched – you’d need to buy a polishing cloth and paste the very day you got your watch!” C65 Trident Diver on a bracelet, £760
The younger of our two Jörg Baders is t’other Jörg’s son, and he’s got strong opinions on watches. We gave him the C65 Trident Diver on leather to try…
Young blood Jörg Bader Jr is 26, and works as a product manager at Christopher Ward. He’s Swiss, of course, but for over a year now has been based in the UK offices. “I wanted to come here to get closer to the customer, as well as help build more synergy between the two offices, in Maidenhead and Switzerland,” he says. “Watches didn’t inspire me much when I was younger, but once I’d started working here I got more and more intrigued by them. I love that they’re something mechanical that’s got strong links to the traditions of Switzerland, and that they’re the most important fashion accessory for men.” Naturally, working at CW puts Jörg in the enviable position of trying many different watches, and he’s normally got some Christopher Ward or other on his wrist – and occasionally watches from other makers, too. “I enjoy many Swiss brands,” he says, “mostly dress watch-
es and sports watches with particularly distinctive case designs and an integrated bracelet, features from the Gerald Genta design philosophy. I also like wearing classic watches on vintage leather or NATO straps, so I might take something like an Omega De Ville Prestige – a wonderful watch – and change the strap to a vintage camel.” Jörg says he tends to be critical of many things in life, including Christopher Ward watches, but believes the company’s hit a home run with this one. “I took it for a weekend and wore it everywhere, as it’s a style of watch that seems made for summertime,” he says. “The best thing was wearing it to watch United win the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The design – with those polished and brushed surfaces on the case, the domed box sapphire, and the dial with its two big Arabic numbers – looks sharp from every angle. My favourite colour combination
Jörg Jnr: definitely knows what he likes
“It’s a style of watch that seems made for summertime” pairs the blue face with a camel-coloured canvas strap – the ‘adventure’ look is so on point – but I also like the brushed stainless steel bracelet. I’m really more of a bracelet guy anyway, and in this instance it makes the watch head look even better, as the polished surfaces stand out more.” So it’s a watch you’d buy yourself? “I was already wearing it on a regular basis, even before you asked me to test it for Loupe, so it’s safe to say that yes, I would. That said, I tend to like automatic movements, as I never really enjoy winding a watch myself, so I might just wait for the new GMT version.”
So, if we’ve got this right, your perfect watch would be an automatic on a bracelet, right? Neither of which this particular one is… “But you can get one like that. And I didn’t mention my favourite movement complication yet – the perpetual calendar – which actually means things point more towards the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, don’t they? That’s a very expensive watch though, I know – but don’t worry, I’ve already started saving.” And the C65 Trident Diver will do in the meantime, right? “Oh, absolutely. This is one seriously special watch.”
C65 Trident Diver, £695
U Right next door to Vogue House, the home of a rather famous fashion brand, sits Unit London, perhaps London’s most exciting art gallery. The guys behind it, Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy, are remarkably young – and think remarkably big…
Jonny and Joe: the guys behind Londonâ€™s most exciting gallery
Going into business is always easier when you have a buddy by your side, but Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy are especially lucky; they like the same things, think the same way, and have been hanging around each other so long now that if one of them likes something, chances are the other one will too. “We always wanted to do something creative together, and always loved art,” Joe says, “but the art world not so much. We didn’t like the suffocating elitism; the stuffy, intimidating galleries; the nepotism and limited thinking that didn’t give many of the most exciting young artists a chance. With Unit London, we’re trying to change all that.” The guys met at school, age 11; put together a band in their mid-teens; shared interests in art, music, design. But neither had parents in the art world, they couldn’t see a way in, and so drifted apart a little in their early twenties – Joe as far as Australia, where he worked in advertising for a year. On his return to London, though, they got together again, and started to put together a manifesto for what the perfect art gallery might be – one that would sell high end work costing £100,000 or more, but affordable prints too; that would provide lots of info online, and create as direct a link between the artists and the audience as possible; and that would appeal to a far wider audience than most galleries, which are geared up to a small, rich, rather conservative clientele. “It was tough to start with,” Joe says, “and we’d find ourself moving from 30
one tiny gallery space to another, often wrapping the work and carrying it down the street ourselves. Most places we’d only be in for six months or so, and money was tight; that’s why it was good there were two of us, to cheer each other up during the low times, as well as enjoy the highs. But more and more artists started to appreciate what we were doing, and more buyers too. A lot of younger collectors, in particular, liked our approach. Like me, they’d feel intimidated walking into a big, white box gallery – you know, those places where you feel exposed because of the bright lights and lack of corners to hide in, and have to talk in whispers. We were the opposite of that.” And even more so with Unit London’s new space, and first permanent home: 6,000 square feet of converted bank, spread over two floors on Hanover Square on the edge of Mayfair, just off Regent Street. “When we first saw it, it felt too big for us,” Joe says. “But now it feels right – and will allow us to become what we want to be, one of the top galleries in London.” Vogue is a neighbour, and so is the massive Apple store; the major auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s too. There are curved walls, interesting shapes to the space, exposed brick walls, LED lighting, and distressed and reclaimed details everywhere. Oh, and art to die for; generally, something like 20 pieces will be displayed on the ground floor, and 20 more on the lower ground floor. 31
Unit London is designed to appeal to a far wider audience than most galleries, which are geared up to a small, rich, rather conservative clientele One of Tom Price’s ‘The Presence of Absence’ sculptures on display
Their first exhibition was The Garden by Ryan Hewett, who specialises in abstract figurative forms – shows here tend to run for a month, but virtually every Hewett piece had sold by the time it even opened. “Not so long ago, Ryan’s original works sold for £600, and now it’s more like £6,000 – and we still get collectors annoyed that they didn’t manage to snag a piece,” Joe says. “But to sell art isn’t really why we have a gallery. Most of it is sold online these days anyway – we get five million impressions a week on our website – so many dealers are shutting up their galleries and taking their entire business virtual. That’s something we’ve never wanted to do, though. Our first aim is to connect art with people, and create an experience. The sales side is an offshoot of that, and pays for it, but it’s not as important. In fact, we love it when the gallery is full of people enjoying the experience – even if none of them are buying.” You might think this is the sort of gallery that would feel more comfortable in Shoreditch or Dalston. After all, these are two very young guys to be doing what they’re doing – Unit London started when they were 22 or 23, and they’re only 28 now – and surely that would be more their scene than old-money Mayfair? “But we’ve always been more ambitious than that,” Joe says. “This is right next to Soho, and it fits us better; we want to be a brand as much as a gallery, and this area is the home of brands. It’s not saturated with
galleries either, and allows us to attract a different, wider audience – international collectors, yes, but tourists also.” This international focus means it won’t be long before they open new galleries abroad, too – with somewhere in the Far East first, then maybe New York. “Collectors in Hong Kong, or even Thailand, really respond to us,” Joe says, “and to the idea of a big international art brand. But wherever we are, we want people to really enjoy the experience – and feel free to come in at any time.” Unit London, 3 Hanover Square, open seven days a week; theunitldn.com
Orange is the new black If you thought the C65 Trident Diver took Christopher Ward in an exciting new retro-modern direction, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The C65 Trident GMT is the latest iteration of the mid-’60s theme, and with its cool black dial and bold orange GMT hand, it’s a watch to notice – and get you noticed “This watch was always in our thinking,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France, “but we wanted to be sure the C65 Trident Diver was liked before we pushed the button on it. That watch wasn’t liked, though, but loved. The 1960s feel didn’t just strike a chord with people, but a whole symphony.“ The C65 Trident GMT does a different job to the Diver, of course, detailing two different time zones at once. And it speaks to a slightly different version of period cool – not to the James Bond who was a Scuba pioneer, perhaps, but to the 007 who was one of the first jet-set globetrotters. “The first luxury watches to keep tabs on more than one time zone were created in the ’50s and ’60s,” Mike says. “We think particularly of the Rolex GMT Master, created at the request of Pan Am when they began transatlantic flights in 1954. With more people traveling, but no mobile phones to easily tell the time in more than one country, GMT watches soon became popular – and very useful.” The C65 GMT expands what looks certain to become an extensive range of mid-’60s influenced Christopher Ward watches, retaining much of the design DNA established by the C65 Diver but with plenty of points of difference. It features no numerals but only batons on the dial,
for instance, and has a rotating stainless steel bezel rather than the coloured aluminium of its cousin. “But the most distinctive aspect,” says Mike, “is the oversized GMT hand, in an orange that pops brilliantly against the black dial and old radium indexes. We didn’t want anything too discreet, but a design that shouts proudly about the GMT function. It feels like its own watch, while remaining definitely part of the C65 Trident family.” Inside the case you’ll find an ETA S2893-2 automatic movement – another point of difference from the C65 Trident Diver, which is hand-wound only – with the same elaborate finish as on the C60 Trident GMT. And while there’s no choice of dial colour – just black to start with – there’s a new canvas webbing option, as well as a choice of the vintage oak leather strap. And it gets better as, for the first time with the C65 range, there’s a brushed stainless steel bracelet too. “The canvas really suits the rugged global traveller feel,” Mike says, ”while the bracelet is proof positive of how well the C65 Diver has done. Creating a steel bracelet for a new watch is quite an undertaking, but the C65 has been such a hit that it made sense to introduce one right away – and you’ll see it first on the GMT.” The vintage feel appeals to pretty 35
much everyone, including senior designer Adrian Buchmann. “While the Diver was an on-the-boat sort of watch, this is an on-the-plane watch, and a real traveller’s tool,” he says. “I love the new stainless steel bezel, with the numbers in a different, slightly wider style to make the most of the space, and the new steel bracelet. It has a date window too, which many people like. Put together, all these changes make the face look a little smaller, the bezel a little larger, and give the whole watch a fresh, slightly less suave and slightly more rugged feel.” Not that you’ll be noticing, with that great big orange arrow right in your face. “Of course not! That’s is the single most striking thing about the whole watch. It’s orange, of course, because when you think ‘GMT hand’ you think ‘orange’. It’s like, you can buy a yellow or black Ferrari, but when you think the word ‘Ferrari’ you always think red.” When the first C65 Trident GMT prototype was made, Mike happened to be in Biel, and shared his first look at it with members of the CW Enthusiasts Facebook group, who were visiting the Maidenhead office, via FaceTime. “And they were drooling,” Mike says. “I knew immediately that we’d have another hit on our hands.” Another hit – and by no means the C65’s last. Already there’s a bronzecased version running SH21 available, for instance, with more to come. Only the brave would bet against a chronograph, for example… C65 Trident GMT, out 1 September; £895 on leather/webbing, £960 on a bracelet
Failure to launch When you’re trying to invent tomorrow, it’s no surprise that much of what you do will bellyflop. Here are some of our favourite historic failures from the world of tech, a few of which will doubtless have their time in the sun again… Some technologies flounder immediately – take Google Glass, which was too expensive, buggy and slightly creepy too – while with others it takes a little more time. Consider the 1993 Apple Newton Message Pad, which flopped – but paved the way for all the iPads that followed. Or even the longbow, a particularly deadly piece of Middle Ages weaponry (just ask the 2,000 French knights who rode up, banners waving, to the
*Actually, don’t. They all died that day.
Battle of Poitiers in 1356*) that failed long term. And why? Because it took too long to get any good at it, which was fine until the crossbow proved it could bring down a knight too – and without years of training. What follows is a list of our favourite might-havebeens, some of them fantastical (a flying surfboard) and some prosaic (a better way to type), and a couple that may yet enjoy a healthy second innings…
Stirling Engine 1816 Sometimes a technology appears, is forgotten, then gets a new lease on life. Such a thing may be happening right now with the Heat Economiser – better known as the Stirling Engine – first created in 1816 by Scottish clergyman Robert Stirling as a rival to the mighty steam, and which could take heat from anything and turn it into dynamic energy through the use of two pistons. Stirling and his brother, James, spent decades improving this device, until it was finally able to power a whole iron foundry in Dundee. The problem, though, was that steam – so dangerous and inefficient when Stirling had started – had also steadily improved over the years, to a point where it could power the Industrial Revolution. Stirling’s idea wasn’t abandoned, exactly, but was instead confined to minor roles – fans, toys, backup generators – for about a century. Now, though, it might be due a revival. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, brought the Stirling back lately as the basis of new devices to purify water and power small villages, and NASA has been messing around with them too…
Mono wheels 1869 onwards
Pneumatic rail 1844 The first working pneumatic railway was a 150-foot-long tube, built by John Vallance at his home in Brighton; it used atmospheric pressure to carry a passenger car at a breathtaking 2mph. By 1844, the London and Croydon Railway had built a 7.5-mile pneumatic rail line, which had rather more life to it – a trial run saw this system reach a giddy 70 mph – but the fact that it couldn’t connect to more trad rail systems saw it close in 1847. Other versions in London, Paris, Dublin and Devon stalled too. Over in the US, however, Alfred Ely Beach built a 294-foot line in Manhattan, charging a quarter a ride; the Beach Pneumatic Transit made him a nice little profit, but the arrival of cheaper elevated lines meant the pneumatic train never outgrew novelty status there, either. But this is a tech that may make a comeback, with Brazil’s Aeromovel system successfully powering short train lines at an airport or two. 37
Four wheels make sense – there’s one at each corner, meaning the thing doesn’t fall over – and two wheels are fine, with one providing the propulsion and the other the steering. But single wheel vehicles? Despite the problems, inventors have been pushing them since the Victorian era, and the between-wars era was particularly rich in them; the big problem has always been, how do you steer something (shift your weight? Drag a foot along the ground?) when one wheel is doing everything? Generally, the passenger-cum-rider sits within the wheel, which is driven by smaller wheels moving against its inner rim; because the wheel is so big, a driver and engine will easily fit inside. An engine big enough, in one case, to reach 93mph – or so the inventor claimed. The whole thing is somewhat ludicrous, of course, being precarious, leaving the rider exposed (and often unable to see very well), and prone to ‘gerbilling’ – where you go barrelling around inside, like a small rodent who got a little too excited on his hamster wheel.
Direct Current 1800-1892 Sometimes dirty tricks are needed to push an inferior technology, and so it was with Thomas Edison’s Direct Current, fine for powering a high-density city, but which had huge limitations for rural customers. Edison famously had stray dogs and even a circus elephant electrocuted using the rival, more flexible Alternating Current, to demonstrate how ‘dangerous’ it was, and to promote his alternative. But nothing could mask the limitations of Edison’s own tech. The thing was, Alternating Current could send out a large voltage from a single power plant on small wires across great distances, which could then be converted to higher or lower levels of voltage, depending on what you were using it for. Direct Current, on the other hand, suffered significant power losses over long distances. No wonder even Edison’s General Electric took on AC in 1892, forcing him out of his own company.
Radioactive beauty products 1898 Radium was first discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, but for a while nobody knew what to do with it. Yes, there were luminous watch hands, but initially it’s main use was as an additive in products designed to make you look or feel better. There was Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste, the NICO Clean Tobacco Card (added to a pack of cigarettes, it was said to reduce the levels of tar), and a solution of radium salts called Radithor, designed – amongst other things – to be a sort of proto-Viagra, leading one wealthy socialite and golf champion to drink a reported 1,400 bottles of the stuff. All good, until his lower jaw fell off in 1930, and he died of cancer two years later, with holes forming in his skull. He was buried in a lead-lined coffin, and when exhumed for study – more than 30 years later – his remains were still found to be highly radioactive…
Flying trains 1930
Uber-accurate bowling balls 1906
Steam cars 1890-1930 There have been numerous attempts at steam powered automobiles over the years, and by the early years of the 20th century they were everywhere, actually outnumbering petrol driven cars. Steam cars had numerous advantages over ones equipped with early internal combustion engines – they were quieter and faster, with smaller but more powerful motors, and models like the Locomobile Runabout and Stanley Steamer were huge hits. But then came the Model T Ford; this new generation of internal combustion engines weren’t faster, more economical, or cleaner than steam, but they were cheaper – Henry Ford’s manufacturing methods were so efficient, in fact, that a Stanley Steamer would soon cost eight times more than a Model T.
It used to be that the world of ten pin bowling demanded balls that run straight and true; players would rarely try to get a strike each time, but would instead concentrate on picking up spares. Enter the hard rubber Brunswick Mineralite bowling ball, which rolled perfectly, didn’t cost too much, and came with a lifetime guarantee – it repeatedly out-performed the wooden balls of the era. But it was a victim of its own success. As more people started to play, and the standards of competition increased, the dream became to hook the ball so it would curve between the foremost pins, giving a strike every time. Suddenly rubber wasn’t cutting it any more, and the best players demanded polyester, then polyurethane, then finally reactive resin balls, which would provide greater friction on the lane, allowing a greater angle of entry into the all-important ‘pocket’. Mineralite balls had had their (very brief) day. 38
The Adams ‘Time Machine’ 1920 It didn’t work, of course (at least, we don’t think so…), but when 1920s London engineer Gordon Earl Adams built a mighty machine “to control time and space” in his Shepherd’s Bush basement, a spectacular device featuring dozens of huge spinning flywheels, spectators were awed: goodness knows what the thing was actually doing, but it certainly looked capable of ripping a hole in the time-space continuum. When Adams died in 1933 the machine was forgotten, spectacular notes, plans and photographs of the device only resurfacing in the last few years. Mad though it may have been, there’s an unearthly power to Adams’ device – it makes a DeLoren covered in tubes look positively prosaic.
Few would pick Glasgow as their ‘city of the future’, but in 1930 it briefly looked like it might become such, when George Bennie unveiled the Bennie Railplane at Milngavie, just outside the city. Suspended from an overhead track in a steel girder frame, it was powered by electric motors and diesel engines which drove two propellers on its single cigar-shaped carriage – one at the front and one at the back. In an art deco flourish, it even boasted stained glass on the door. The Railplane worked like a dream, too, being fast, quiet, and smooth – indeed, according to one account, riding in it was a “sheer delight.’” So how to use it? An Edinburgh/Glasgow line was suggested, or perhaps a line riding high above the London slums, but nobody ever put serious money into the thing, and Bennie declared bankruptcy in 1937. The short line he had built came down in 1956, and ‘flying trains’ – Freddie Laker aside – were consigned to history.
Dvorak keyboards 1936 Sometimes a superior tech never catches on, as with the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, invented by Seattle academic and one-time sub captain August Dvorak in 1932, and objectively superior to its familiar Qwerty rival, fixing issues like common letter combinations requiring awkward finger motions, and the fact that Qwerty forces right-handed typists to use their weaker hand more than their dominant one. The problem is that Qwerty has been around for so much longer, and so had become entrenched. Dvorak may have been better, though more recent typing speed trials haven’t conclusively proved it so, but it wasn’t so much better that most people were bothered to learn something new.
These days we often move our little cursors around a screen with a touch pad, or by rubbing our digits over the screen itself, but nothing beats a mouse for intuitive control. It wasn’t always obvious that the mouse was the perfect tool for this, though, and trackballs came first – a rolling metal ball held in a socket – invented by Ralph Benjamin for the Royal Navy in 1946. In the ’60s, though, various projects effectively turned the trackball upside down, so creating the computer mouse – and when David Kelley was developing what became the Apple mouse in the early 1980s, he spent as much time developing innovative trackballs too. “One reason the mouse worked was that it didn’t have to be really accurate,” he later explained. “Your brain and eye and hand are going to stop when you get [where you want to be]. With joysticks, it wasn’t that clean. Neither was the trackball.” Thanks to the first 128K Apple Macintosh computer, the mouse became the de facto input device, and trackballs – though they still have their adherents – withered.
Personal aerocycles 1954 Quick, lightweight ways to get soldiers from place to place, or to spy on the enemy camp, have long been a military dream – the problem is, most one-man VTOL flying machines are bulky, expensive, and hard to fly. Enter the HZ-1 Aerocycle – basically, a platform like a surfboard mounted above two contra-rotating propellers, which you’d steer by shifting your weight, as with a surfboard. A company called de Lackner made a version powered by a Mercury outboard engine that got the US Army very excited in the ’50s, as it was designed to be operated by inexperienced pilots with less than half an hour’s instruction. But during test flights it proved much harder to operate than predicted – annoyingly, the rotor blades would kick up loads of dust and pebbles, too – and the project was abandoned.
General Motors EV1 1996-2003 Today we all believe there’s an electric vehicle in our future, but back in the mid’90s many were shocked when the world’s biggest car company created the first mass-produced electric car. GM wasn’t ready to sell any, though – you could only lease one of the 1,117 EV1s they built. Then, unexpectedly, in 2003 they recalled and crushed them all, a piece of self-sabotage that had many scratching their heads. Why did they do it? Some claim GM feared what electric cars might do to their own spare parts division, though the company itself says disappointingly slow advances in battery tech at the time put paid to it. Now, though, there are some within GM who think they may have been a little hasty…
What’s wrong with just walking around? It’s somewhat unclear, but that hasn’t stopped technologists from trying to replace it, perhaps most famously with inventor Dean Kamen’s pointlessly clever Segway HT, a much-hyped one-person electric scooter you’d stand on and control by leaning this way or that. Its secret was in the clever but costly gyroscopes it contained, making it self-righting – and supposedly impossible to flip over. Steve Jobs is reported to have said, “If enough people see the machine, you won’t have to convince them to architect cities around it. It’ll just happen.” But it didn’t. And why? The Segway was too expensive – £5,000 and up – and looked too weird; there was no universal agreement on where they could legally be used, either. Pavements? Roads? Cycle lanes? In many parts of the world, private property – a university campus, say – was the only safe bet. And users kept falling off them, too…
Images courtesy of Bonhams. Copyright © Bonhams 2001-2018
The mighty ‘Blower’ Bentley of the 1920s was “the fastest lorry in the world,” said Ettore Bugatti, and Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin’s bright red example was thunderously quick. And now Christopher Ward has a TMB Art Metal Limited Edition to celebrate it…
Many of Christopher Ward’s collaborations with TMB Art Metal – limited edition watches containing pieces of precious metal from historically significant cars and planes – have been based on famous racing cars. But what if a watch could contain motor racing history – and watch history too? So it is with this latest, containing metal from a piston from one of the greatest racing Bentleys, the 1929 single-seat 4.5-litre supercharged car known as Bentley Blower No.1 that once set the track speed record at Brooklands. Back then it was owned and driven by Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, 3rd Baronet – one of the famous ‘Bentley Boys’ of the 1920s, wealthy drivers-cum-mechanics who drove Bentleys to four consecutive wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – but in more recent years it’s been in the collection of the great British watchmaker George Daniels, CBE, who gathered a car collection almost as enviable as his horological output. With both motorsport and watch history in its DNA, this is a compelling piece indeed.
Speed, where the bulk of them were sold off, turned out to be the big red beast you see here, which Birkin had used to set the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record at 137mph back in 1932. The entire collection raised almost £10m, of which more than half, £5,041,500, came from this car alone. It was the highest price ever paid for a Bentley at auction.
George Daniels only ever made 37 watches in his 60 year career – mostly pocket watches, selling at over £300,000 a piece – and when he died in 2011, he left some incredible cars and motorcycles at his home in Ramsey, on the Isle of Man. Many considered him the world’s greatest watchmaker, thanks to his creation of the co-axial escapement, hailed as the greatest development in the craft for 250 years. Daniels was highly opinionated on watches, on art, on people – and on cars. Amongst his collection was a 1908 Itala Grand Prix car that had won the 1910 Brooklands All-Comers Plate, and a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Spyder Lungo, once owned by Mussolini’s Air Force Minister, who delivered speeches from its bonnet. And there were a number of his favourite Bentleys too, including a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, and a 1929 Bentley Tourer by Vanden Plas that had belonged to the Maharajah of Bhavnagar. But the star of the 2012 Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of 42
“Though ‘Tim’ Birkin was of the landed classes, he wasn’t as wealthy as many,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France, “but more than made up for it in determination. With the eventual reluctant help of W.O. Bentley, who didn’t approve of adding a supercharger to the car, the 50 ‘Blower’ Bentleys were built that were required for the car to race at Le Mans. They were based on a design that had been privately developed by Birkin and the supercharger specialists at Amherst Villiers; W.O. Bentley only got involved because of Birkin, and the enthusiasm of his backers.” In the end, Birkin put together a racing team of five remodelled prototypes – this one, No.1, plus Nos. 2, 3 and 4, which were road registered, and a fifth assembled from spare parts. Though none of the Blowers ever actually raced at Le Mans, they did compete effectively in other races, including the 1930 French Grand Prix. “It means that this Bentley Blower No.1’s real moment of glory was that Brooklands high speed trust run,” Mike says, “where it managed 137.96mph, a record that would stand for two years. To make it light, the car’s body had been partially made of
fabric, which had caught fire during a 1929 Brooklands endurance race. Birkin stopped, put the fire out, and carried on regardless. Afterwards, Reed Railton – designer of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird – made the car a new aluminium body, which was painted in the famous red.” Though he ended his life a very wealthy man, Daniels had the opposite background to Birkin – he was entirely self made. Born in 1926 into a poor London family of 11 children, he grew up sleeping three to a bed. But one day, age five or so, he found himself opening up the back of a cheap watch, and seeing “the centre of the universe” contained within. From that point on he was obsessed with horology, eventually using the money he made repairing watches for fellow members of the 2nd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment – stationed near Suez during, and just after, the Second World War – to buy his first car, a pre-war MG J2, which he soon replaced with a 3·0-litre vintage Bentley. In many ways this car was the making of him, pulling him out of his watch repairer’s shell a bit, and introducing him to a range of rich and interesting people. Indeed, it was through cars that he met fellow watch enthusiast Sam Clutton in the early ’60s, who by the end of the decade had persuaded Daniels to build his first made-from-scratch watch. When Clutton showed it to other collectors, orders start-
ed to trickle in – fine by Daniels, who once said he, “never made watches for people if I didn’t care for them.” “George certainly went for quality over quantity with his collection of cars,” says Mike, “and when Chris Bennett of TMB – who procured the metal – went to meet him it was because of his cars, not his watches. In fact, Chris didn’t really know who George was! He came away with an old piston from the car, though – perfect, really, as it was always about its engine.” Though it might have been tempting to make this Limited Edition in the distinctive bright red of the car, Mike says, they decid-
ed to be more subtle than that. “Instead, it very closely replicates the feel of a period dashboard clock – specifically, of the big Smiths speedometer from Blower No.1 – with just subtle details in red, including the underside of the leather strap.” Also distinctive are the numbers on the face – there’s no 12 at the top and 6 at the bottom, but instead a larger outer track that references a rev counter, and an inner track that tells you how fast the car should be going at that point. A segment in warm grey shows where you’re getting optimum power, and there’s a thin red line too. The watch comes in a 44mm C8 steel case, finished in black DLC, while inside is Christopher Ward’s proprietary Calibre SH21 in hand-wound chronometer form. As well as the brown leather strap with the red underside, it also comes with a webbing alternative strap in khaki green. “Finally,” says Mike, “the back features a disc of metal from the Bentley, which carries an engraving of the Birkin Blower at the Goodwood track, as well as the car’s chassis number, UU5871. We’re making just 90, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the car’s record breaking run.” The C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition is available for delivery in October; £2,495
‘Tim’ Birkin at this beast of a car’s wheel
George Daniels, one-time Blower owner
The other world leader with small hands
At just 5.95mm the C5 Malvern 595 is one of the worldâ€™s slimmest mechanical watches. An amazing achievement when you discover that behind the delicately curved hands and minimalist dial thereâ€™s a Swiss-made ETA 7001 movement to ensure outstanding accuracy and durability. The quality is undeniable, and priced at a slender ÂŁ595 it certainly trumps some better known luxury brands. Do your research.
Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
Queen of the court Most of the time, Great Watch Wearers has little time for celebrities who endorse a particular range of watches – they’re not fans, just people doing a job – but we make an exception when it comes to Serena Williams, one of the great athletes of our age Serena Williams is a simply amazing Audemars Piguet brand ambassador. And why? Because she not only seems to be passionately into her watches – a genuine enthusiast, many report – but she actually wears them while performing on court. Sure, many a tennis player may endorse a brand (Roger Federer with Rolex, Novak Djokovic with Seiko), and even slip them on right after a match for photo ops, but few religiously wear them while they’re playing. These days Serena often wears a Royal Oak Offshore, usually the 37mm ladies’ version in an 18-carat rose gold case; there’s a Chronograph model she’s been seen with too, as well a regular Royal Oak with a white rubber strap and, oh yes, 32 brilliant cut diamonds on the bezel. This is the watch she wore to win Wimbledon in 2015. In 2016 she sported a rose gold version of the new white Royal Oak Offshore, and on more dressy occasions she’s been seen with a diamond-set Audemars Piguet Millenary, also in rose gold, while a new favourite is a lightweight Royal Oak Offshore Carbon. The one watch she doesn’t wear in action is
her AP Diamond Outrage, a great spiky cuff of a thing worth goodness-knows-what and which could have your eye out. It would be a liability, and you could never leave it in a changing room locker; she may trust the rest of the tour not to steal it, but we sure wouldn’t. Of course, Serena’s not the first tennis player to wear the brand they’re most associated with on court. Raphael Nadal, with his Richard Mille watches, springs to mind; he was the groundbreaker. (And a watch breaker, too; pro tennis is tough on a timepiece.) And though the practice is still rare, it’s growing. In 2015, when Williams and Stanislas Wawrinka won their respective Singles’ titles at the French Open on the same weekend, they both wore AP watches. But why would any woman slow herself down, even a fraction, by wearing a heavyweight timepiece on Centre Court? With Serena, we think it’s because she really likes watches; because she has an unusual commitment to promoting her brands; and because, we suspect, she hardly noticed it. Hey, this is a woman who won the Australian Open while pregnant. We’re not about to tell her what she can and can’t do.
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H CA IG H LI E BR ST E Head-to-head
Launching a new movement isn’t just a technical challenge, but impacts every other aspect of the company behind it too – from the way it talks about itself to the way other people see it. Mike France was part of the initial decision to approve making SH21, while Helen McCall only arrived at the company in the months just before its roll-out. So how has its very existence changed Christopher Ward…? Helen: I started at Christopher Ward a month before SH21 launched, so tell me: how did Calibre SH21 actually come about? Mike: Jörg Bader and Johannes Jahnke of Synergie Horologeres came to the Christopher Ward co-founders in 2010, after the two companies had been working together for a couple years, saying they wanted to produce a new movement; would we help finance it? The first thing they had to do, of course, was convince us that they could do it. But, once they did – the fact that they’d already created various JJ complications helped, of course – we said okay. Then, during SH21’s development in 2013, we began talking about merging, which happened the next summer. We’d first been introduced to Jörg through a Swiss-born employee of ours, as we’d been looking for a step-up in the quality of our watches and needed a partner who could achieve the highest of manufacturing standards while also believing in our philosophy about value. Jörg got it immediately and, looking back, it was inevitable that we would eventually merge. After six years of working so closely, we were essentially one company anyway. Helen: That was during the period when ETA suggested they might stop selling movements to companies like ours…
Mike: Yes, and it was a suggestion that sent ripples through the industry, though it never actually happened in quite the way everyone was expecting. Indeed, we still use ETA movements, but back then it got people looking all over for alternatives: to Sellita, an alternative Swiss supplier of what are basically the same movements; to Japanese makers like Miyota; and to creating their own. The ETA withdrawal threat actually proved to be a classic ‘bad thing that has a good result’, as it kickstarted a new era of creativity across an industry that had become quite stagnant. Helen: So what was the brief for SH21? Mike: The brief was simple. It was to produce a robust, reliable movement at an economical cost. We were drawn to the size of the challenge, and the excitement of achieving something beyond any reasonable expectation for a brand of our size. It felt like a huge step, but we believed Johannes had the vision and skill to pull it off. Delivering Calibre SH21 was important not only of itself, fine movement though it is, but also because it elevated us to a very small group of watch brands that has the ability to achieve such a thing. We came of age with SH21; those were heady days. Of course, all this was history by the time you started with us… 48
Helen: Yes, I began in 2014 – giving me just enough time to bring together the launch event! It was the idea of working with a brand that was doing things differently within a traditional marketplace that really appealed to me. Mike: Doing things differently – like launching our own movement! Helen: That was definitely part of the appeal, that this relatively small UK watchmaker had the audacity to be planning – not to mention funding! – its own in-house movement, something the bigger Swiss guys didn’t expect them to do. That showed real intent to me. Mike: One amazing thing is that no British brand has caught up with us yet. They will, of course – and the steady growth of the British watch industry is a great thing for the country – but we’ll always remain the first to have achieved an in-house, commercially-viable movement. Actually, here’s a question for you. Who else do you think has risen to the challenge set – perhaps not deliberately – by ETA all those years ago? Helen: It’s a big question, and my opinion on it doesn’t really matter – the market will ultimately decide. But I do think that
“The watches equipped with SH21 aren’t where the volume is, but are at the top end of what we do” those brands who innovate cleverly to develop interesting, reliable movements on a commercial scale will see success from it, as they’ll be able to keep their supply lines effective and prices competitive. And, as you probably know more than most, being quick to market and agile in reacting to demand is super important today – especially in the world of e-commerce. Mike: Of course, having SH21 has really impacted on the way people treat the company too. It definitely gives us an integrity, as with Calibre SH21 we’ve really put our money where our mouths are. For those of us who are into our watches, it shows real horological ambition, and makes people want to find out more. Of course, for those who are just getting into watches it probably means a little less – what matters to them is the way we deliver Trident, an incredibly well-engineered yet good value sport diver. Helen: I think its been a big factor in the development of CW’s design language, too. Adrian [Buchmann, senior designer] has brought our case design on in leaps and bounds, and established a signature look that’s recognisable across the collection. It’s now possible to glance at a watch and say, ‘that’s a Christopher Ward’.
SH21 is not a tiny, slim movement; in fact, with its in-series twin barrels delivering 5 days of power, it’s quite the opposite, so our cases are often designed to play with light cleverly, creating a slimming profile on the wrist. This translates into a sleek, modern look across the range, whether an individual watch is carrying SH21 or not. (I just wish Adrian would move into clothing design next – I, too, could do with a slimmer profile!)
Helen: Absolutely yes, it would; it’s built on a synergy between two very similar brands that have values of Britishness and craftsmanship built in. Whether it contains Calibre SH21 or a generic Swiss-made movement, each Christopher Ward is hand-built by a highly skilled watchmaker, just as each Morgan is hand-built in Malvern. That said, that we were able to elevate the C1 Morgan Collection by powering those watches with Calibre SH21 was the icing on the cake.
Mike: Ha ha! Calibre SH21 certainly helped us get attention and credibility from the press and other watchmakers – and from the enthusiasts, too.
Mike: It seems to me that SH21 has been a big part of the way the company is constantly evolving, too. We’re so fast growing that making sure we keep pace with ourselves – in terms of our ideals, and our values – is key. We certainly need to remain true to our original business purpose – which has always been to bring great quality watches to as many people as possible – and SH21 offers some interesting routes towards that. (So watch this space!)
Helen: We’ve been lucky, in particular, that British watchmakers have been very receptive and supportive of our horological ambitions; we have a lot of friends in the industry, and are constantly learning from them. Christopher Ward remains a watch brand rather than a movement maker, and the watches equipped with SH21 aren’t where the volume is, but are at the top end of what we do. They make us proud, though, and make us a better company. Mike: Do you think something like the Morgan partnership would have happened without SH21? 49
Helen: And who knows? We may even develop another in-house movement at some stage – though probably not for a little while yet!
That’s how long Brian Clough survived as manager of ‘dirty’ Leeds. He didn’t say he was the best manager in the business. But he was in the top one… Football is full of remarkably short tenures, but few have been more discussed than Brian Clough’s tiny term as manager of Leeds United. Clough was an ex-striker who’d scored prolifically for Middlesborough and Sunderland, but went into management age 30, following injury. And Leeds was one of the most dynamic, intimidating and successful of English teams. As manager of fourth division Hartlepool United, Clough had been joined by ex-goalkeeper Peter Taylor as his assistant, starting a celebrated partnership. Two years later – at Second Division side Derby County – the pair had immediate success, earning promotion to the top flight. Three years later Derby were crowned champions of England, and by 1973 had reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. But Clough fell out with Derby’s owners, he and Taylor resigned, and after less than a year at Brighton & Hove Albion – a job you’d think beneath him – Clough returned to the First Division for the ’74-’75 season. He was to manage Leeds United, which outgoing
boss Don Revie had turned into the most skilful but brutal team of the era. It was an exciting but somewhat shocking appointment – Clough had famously attacked Leeds and Revie as “cheats” the previous year – and his tenure started badly, then went downhill. He arrived without Taylor at his side, and had soon alienated star players like Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Norman Hunter; worse, between July and mid-September they’d won only one of six games, crashing to fourth from bottom of the table. Leeds had won the league in Revie’s last year, but were now enjoying their worst start in over a decade. Worse, in a little over a month Clough had spent more on transfer fees than Revie had in 13 years. To no-one’s great surprise, he was finally sacked after just 44 days in the job; the novel The Damned Utd by David Peace, and the subsequent film of it, tell a version of the tale. It was not the end for Leeds – they’ve had their moments in the sun since, though never again dominated English 50
football – or for Brian Clough who, now reunited with Taylor, became manager of Second Division Nottingham Forest in 1976. The following year Forest was promoted, then won the league title, and by the end of the ’70s had snagged two League Cups – and a pair of European Cups, too. At this point Taylor retired, but Clough stayed on, and though some of his remarkable fire had gone out, Forest won two more League Cups and reached the FA Cup Final before he retired from football in the early ’90s. It had been a career with amazing ups and downs. Always outspoken, endlessly controversial, possibly corrupt, definitely a drinker, and never less than entertaining, Clough had made it his business to annoy people, but his teams played attractive, fair-minded football, and his achievement in taking two unloved, hitherto unsuccessful provincial outfits like Derby and Forest to such success has never been rivalled, before or since. His 44 days at Leeds United, however, were another story.
The C8 Power Reserve Chronometer
celebrity not included
We love quality watches - so much so that in 2004 we started making our own. Combining award-winning British design with the finest Swiss watchmaking skills, and concentrating on craftsmanship rather than salesmanship, we’ve successfully created watches that stand comparison with the world’s greatest watch brands in every respect - apart from price. Do your research - we know you will.
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A detailed look at a watch that heaves with detail: the new C7 Apex, which we look at on page 12