The Magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 11. Winter 2018
We weren’t We weren’t around around in 1965, in 1965, but the but the C65 Diver C65 Diver is theiswatch the watch we would we would have have mademade if we if had webeen. had been. The best Theofbest the of 60s, the remastered. 60s, remastered. A classic A classic dive dive watch watch enhanced enhanced by the by very the latest very technological latest technological refinements, refinements, sporting sporting a lithe amasculine lithe masculine aesthetic aesthetic but with butdiscreet with discreet dress styling, dress styling, that you that can you wear can wear anytime, anytime, anywhere. anywhere. A timepiece A timepiece that can that proudly can proudly stand with standthe with world’s the world’s great contemporary great contemporary dive dive watches watches in every inrespect every respect - apart- from apartprice. from price. Do your Doresearch. your research.
Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
One of the things I’ve always admired about Christopher Ward is the way they aren’t afraid to promote other companies they find simpatico, be they British watchmakers – you could say ‘rivals’, but the watch world is big enough to accommodate many approaches and price points – or outfits in other markets who’re doing groundbreaking work. And in this issue I was lucky enough to work with more of these concerns than usual, visiting the remarkable Rega in Southend-on-Sea – perhaps the world’s best turntable maker – and chatting with skilled specialist British horologists for the Christmas Gift Guide. At this time of year we traditionally introduce you to CW releases that might make a great present for someone, but this time we’re throwing the gates wide open, and recommending watches, clocks and experiences by other people too. British horology might be bijoux these days – but it’s growing. And if Christopher Ward can do its bit to encourage things, well, you won’t find a better Christmas gift than that.
United Kingdom of Bronze Whether you personally subscribe to British novelist LP Hartley’s view that, ‘the past is a different country; they do things differently there,’ or are more inclined towards the celebrated American novelist and Nobel laureate William Faulkner’s observation that, ‘the past is never dead. It’s not even past,’ there’s no doubt that watchmaking has definitely been leaning towards Faulkner’s view of late. At least if the plethora of vintage-inspired watches in the market is anything to go by. The astonishing response we have seen to our own C65 Trident Collection reinforces the strong trend towards everything retro (thank you, by the way, to those of you who have made the C65s so important for us), but it is the emergence of bronze – that most ancient of materials – as the ‘metal du jour’ we are acknowledging in this issue of Loupe. Since launching our first Trident Bronze this time last year, we have added a 38mm version and two bronze limited editions, the nearly sold-out C65 SH21 and the C60 GMT – and, this month, the intriguing new ‘Ombré’ version also takes a bow. It seems that if the past really is a different country, its borders are open to all and plenty of people are visiting… But hey, that gets us into a whole different conversation. Chris, Mike and Peter
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Ollie Edwards Cover: The C60 Trident Bronze Collection 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 12 – 19
Hot Metal When Christopher Ward launched its first bronze C60 Trident, little did anyone know how big a hit it would be. The new Bronze Age has just begun…
20 – 25
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide Some of the most exciting names in the British horological world give their first impressions of our watches, and we celebrate their amazing achievements, too…
In a Spin Modest, hard-working, endlessly innovative, and refreshingly egalitarian, Rega – the record player people – might just be the world’s best at what they do, but they refuse to charge over the odds for it
26 – 27
28 – 39
40 – 43
Bronze age 12 — 19
What have tigers got to do with breakfast cereal – or, indeed, petrol? Very little, you might think. But don’t tell the ad men tasked with creating company mascots…
World Class The new C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer: gorgeous, easy to use, and almost unbelievable value
Vinyl junkies 20 — 25
Regulars 07 – 11
45 – 50
Insight What we do, and how we do it. Four young CW watchmakers talk about learning the trade, plus daytime TV’s most celebrated watch wearer
Your first look at some exciting new iterations of the C65 Trident Diver, plus Chris Ward himself talks about his time at, er, Christopher Ward
Christmas treats 28 — 39
£1695* The C8 Power Reserve Chronometer
A-List 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.
News, reports & innovations. This issue: New C65s, a non-sporting Challenger, and a rare rose gold CW
The remarkable C5 Malvern 595 gets a striking new look
New rose One of the world’s slimmest mechanical watches, the C5 Malvern 595 is just 5.95mm high – so slipping unobtrusively under the tightest of dress shirt cuffs – and boasts a beautifully simple design that appeals to watch purists: no date window, no second hand, no numbers on the dial, just batons, hands, and the discreet Christopher Ward logo. Until now it’s come in two forms – a polished steel case sporting either a white dial or an intriguing grey one, with a selection of straps or bracelets
– but it’s now available for the first time in a rose gold PVD case with rose gold hands. The C5 Malvern 595 Rose Gold takes what has always been both a gorgeous and ground-breaking horological achievement, and gives it a striking and elegant new look; the perfect Christmas gift, we’d say. The C5 Malvern 595 Rose Gold is available now, £595
Drawing board Two glorious new iterations of the smash hit C65 Collection are coming our way early next year…
The first C65 Trident Divers were all hand-wound watches, and now here’s an automatic take on the theme. But wait! There’s more to this new version than that, for along with the new movement comes a new dial design too… Due early spring.
C65 Trident Diver Automatic
C65 Trident GMT Red-Blue
The classic so-called ‘Pepsi’ colour combination for dive watches, with a bezel rendered half in red and half in blue, gets a fresh outing with this new variation on the C65 design. Made popular by one of the great watch icons, Rolex’s celebrated GMT-Master, it features carefully selected muted red and blue bezel colours and the C65 GMT design, making this watch far more than a simple homage. The first red-and-blue GMT-Master was launched in 1954, but the new version seen at Baselworld 2018 was one of the hits of the show; may we suggest that the C65 ‘Pepsi’ might just be one of the hits of 2019 too? Due early spring.
Guitar man New musical CW Challenger Alex Hedley is having quite a year, and winning the coveted singer-songwriter competition at Thame Town Music Festival is just part of it… Until now, most of the Christopher Ward Challengers have been sportspeople, but now the mission to support young talent has moved to the world of rock too, Alex Hedley blazing the way. So, Alex, when did you get into music? At middle school I got a guitar, and played in bands through school and college. After a while, though, I started concentrating on making an interesting set with just me and an acoustic guitar. The big early influences on the stuff I do now – a mix of alternative folk and rock – would be Nick Drake, John Martyn, Jeff Buckley and Pink Floyd, though currently I’m listening to a band called Frightened Rabbit, and I like Bon Iver’s first few albums a great deal too. My influences change every few months or so! Did you always write your own songs? I started in middle school. They were mostly very bad three chord rock songs, though they improved a bit as I went into upper school. But the process is painstakingly annoying, because I throw away 90 percent of my songs before I’ve finished them. I’m incredibly picky, which is a bit of a curse. I’ll write down about 100 ideas for
each song, then start playing them; some make the cut, but many others get the axe. And what subjects are you exploring these days? Currently a lot of my songs seem to be about the relationship between me and music – like, how it’s the best thing ever, but can also be the most irritating obsession. It’s draining trying to strive for greatness all the time, but it’s a worthwhile thing to do. How different is it being a solo act? It’s a lot easier in many ways – it’s certainly easier to get the sound right at gigs, and you don’t have to carry loads of equipment around. But the ‘musical obsession’ thing does tend to get amplified when you’re on your own, and you don’t have others to bounce ideas off, back you up – or simply say, ‘That was quite good,’ occasionally! What do people like about your stuff? The ‘realness’ of it, and that it doesn’t seem too manufactured, I suppose. Tell us about the singer-songwriter competition at Thame Town Music Festival. I definitely didn’t expect to win, as there 9
were so many great acts playing and the standard was really high. The song I played is pretty catchy, though – which is usually a sign of an okay song. Beyond winning, the experience was great; I played to such an amazing audience. And now, of course, you’re Christopher Ward’s first musical Challenger… Yeah, and I’m really excited to see what’s in store. It certainly seems a great thing to be a part of, and should really help out on the promotional front. Finally, what’s next? My biggest gig to date was supporting Louis Delort at Café De la Danse in Paris in September, so things are going well at the moment. I’ve just finished a tour for my current EP, but I’ve still got a few dates scattered around the UK towards the end of the year, too. And I’ll hopefully be playing three or four shows in Portugal in November, which is very exciting – I’ve never even been there before. For more, alex-hedley.com
London Calling CHRISTOPHER WARD
In an unprecedented second reference to the punk classics in a news story intro, Christopher Ward is also ‘going underground’… Commuters into central London are due a treat from 5 November, when Christopher Ward’s first ‘out of home’ ad campaign launches across rail terminal big screens and tube platform poster sites. Asking a series of searching questions about what luxury really means – in the
Fresh Prince The launch of a unique watch, made for the sailors and shipbuilders of HMS Prince of Wales A unique Christopher Ward watch has been commissioned to celebrate the completion of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, with £10 from the sale of each one going to the carrier’s welfare fund charity. These 43mm pieces each carry a unique engraved serial number, and a silhouette of the ship itself; prices run from £435-£520, depending on whether you take it on a NATO, leather or rubber strap, or stainless steel bracelet. To buy one or find out more, call Christopher Ward on 01628 763040
company’s typically no-nonsense, straightforward way, of course – it’s going to be big, bold and hard to miss! Spotted the campaign? Tag us in your feedback and photos online @chriswardlondon (Instagram and Twitter) @christopherwardlondon (Facebook)
Catching up with Chris Ward, co-founder, front man, and the guy who gave his name to a certain watch company… Tell us a bit about you, Chris. I was born in Liverpool in 1960. My mum worked in a biscuit factory, and my dad drove a crane on a building site. I grew up in nearby Huyton – a real jumpers-for-goalposts childhood – where I went to grammar school, and got my first job at Littlewoods, age 18. I worked in buying for the chain store division, where I first met another co-founder, Mike France, and later moved around companies in the midlands and the north. I was at Philip Green’s old Sears, and Olympus Sport, where I was Head of Buying. I set up Reebok’s apparel supply infrastructure, then did an MBA and supplied for businesses including Samsung, Disney, Lego and Tesco, finally reconnecting with Mike – and Peter Ellis, the other co-founder – in 2004. The rest is history. How was the first year of Christopher Ward, and what sticks in your head when you look back at it now? Our first year was all about setting the business up and getting our C3 and C5 Malverns to market; it was in our second year, 2005, that things actually started gaining momentum. What sticks in my head is the horological learning curve – and running to the post office at 4:30pm as the early sales started trickling through. How did you first get into watches? My parents gifted me what – at the time – I considered a ‘proper’ watch after I did my O Levels; it was a gold-plated Tissot with a
mesh bracelet. I still had it until about four years ago, when I lost it – along with a number of other watches – in a house break in. It wasn’t worth a great deal, but a watch’s value isn’t only measured by the price tag. What developments have excited you the most over the years, and why? The obvious answer is Calibre SH21 – creating it and bringing it to market really was David and Goliath stuff, which brands bigger and richer than us have failed to match. It proves that ingenuity and determination can prevail over scepticism and narrowmindedness. A close second, though, is the moment our first CW Challengers climbed a mountain in Tajikistan and planted our flag on it. It upset a few people, and made me chuckle. What takes up most of your time now? As the company’s grown, I’ve bit-by-bit been able to relinquish the day-to-day jobs that took up my time, and I’m now using that to re-engage with our customers, particularly via social media. The world has changed a lot over the last 14 years, and the channels through which customers communicate with us are very different now. With modern communications the way they are, if you’re awake you are working – especially in an international business like ours – so there’s always something in one of my many inboxes that I need to deal with. But, as long as you keep your diary organised, a lot can be achieved.
Chris: happy to see the CW flag up a mountain
Outside of watches, what else is at the front of your mind? I spend an awful amount of time (my wife, Wera, says too much) coaching three youth football teams and watching football – two local teams and, of course, Liverpool. As father to three football-mad sons, though, my course was set a long time ago. Outside of that, I have a love for street art – what used to be called graffiti – and I like diving. (Though I don’t particularly enjoy diving in today’s plastic-filled oceans; thank goodness the world is beginning to wake up to that.) Finally, surprise us. Mike and Peter like to remind me of the time I picked them up at Basel Airport, very late at night on one of our Swiss visits, and I’d forgotten to refuel the car. At midnight – on a deserted mountain, in the dark, half way up a steep incline – the car coughed, sputtered and gave up the ghost. However, I put it into neutral, released the hand brake, and allowed the car to free-wheel down the mountain to a service station that, fortunately, was still open. You have to admire the Swiss!
The runaway success of bronze as a watch case material has seen immediate sell-outs, and the development of an extensive Christopher Ward Bronze Collection. And it seems like the Bronze Age is only just getting going, tooâ€Ś
Watch design trends are not particularly fast moving – or they usually aren’t. The renewed interest in mechanical calibres is decades old. And the desire for smaller watch cases is at least five or six years old, with 40/41mm the current sweet spot – far larger than vintage watches of the ’50s and ’60s, of course, but tiny compared to the behemoths of the last couple of decades. Both of these – as well as smaller micro trends, like blue dials or three hand faces – are all part of a larger trend, however, one that says ‘away with the bling’ and concentrates on more of a back-to-basics, honest craftsmanship type approach. These days watchmaking – like much of the wider culture – seems obsessed with the authentic, the analogue and the ruggedly individual, and over the last half-decade, in particular, this has manifested itself in two new ways. One is the fresh enthusiasm for retro, vintage-style design, and the other is the seemingly unstoppable march of bronze. “When we launched our first bronzecased watch last year, it was a version of our best-selling C60 Trident,” says CW co-founder Mike France. “And though we hoped and believed it would do quite well, it was really something of an interesting experiment. We were totally unprepared, certainly, for just how quickly it took off. And if bronze was hot back then, it’s become even hotter since. The use of bronze for watch cases is a trend that shows no signs of stopping any time soon – or even of slowing down.” Bronze is, of course, an alloy of copper and tin – usually around 12% tin, occasionally with small amounts of other metals (from aluminium to zinc, nickel to manganese) mixed in. It was first created six or seven thousand years ago, gave its name to The Bronze Age in the Near East (and, later, Europe) in the three millennia before Christ, and has been used for statues and weapons, mirrors and coins, music instruments
and ship fittings. Until very recently, though, it was never used for watches. Part of the reason, of course, is to do with its intrinsic qualities. It’s a little more brittle than stainless steel, and a little heavier, but the main difference is that it rapidly takes on a vintage-like matte patina on exposure to moisture (not necessarily buckets of water, but just the stuff it absorbs from the atmosphere and your skin). This protects it from corroding beautifully – hence its use on ship propellors and the like – but gives each example a unique, ever-changing mottled appearance over time. This was a look that held little appeal to many in the past, but seems thrillingly personal, old-school and honest now. The first bronze luxury watch is generally considered to be Gérald Genta’s Gefica of 1988, and it took a while for the idea to catch on. Initially its use was limited to expensive, low-run models from the more risk-taking and smaller-scale end of the luxury watch spectrum, but over the last couple of years – and particularly with the launch of what’s rapidly growing into an extensive Christopher Ward Bronze Collection – things have been changing at quite a pace. “Bronze watches are a perfect example of the low key, keeping-it-real aesthetic so many of us embrace these days,” Mike says. “And the way they develop a patina with age is endlessly fascinating. It gives them an individual edge few things can match. People tell us that their bronze Tridents have become their most treasured watches, and a big reason why is that your watch becomes unique to you.” With the immediate success of the first bronze Tridents, then, Christopher Ward wasted no time in widening the range to four. That the bronze case should now be made in both Trident sizes – the regular, fairly large 43mm case and the more modest and versatile 38mm – was something of a no-brainer, but then came a rather more radical thought. Why not offer each of these in two versions?
“If bronze was hot back then, it’s become even hotter since”
C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600; open series; raw or patinated; £795 (available in 38 and 43mm) 15
C60 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC Limited Edition; 300 pieces; £995
“You’re almost certain to never see another watch like this”
One would be ‘raw’, with the bronze unmarked and untouched, ready to develop its own unique patina on the owner’s wrist, and the other would be pre-patinated, so the wearer wouldn’t have to wait weeks or months to enjoy the full extent of bronze’s unique oxidising properties. “Achieving this meant experimenting endlessly with the properties of bronze,” says senior designer Adrian Buchmann, “but we eventually came up with a new process to oxidise the surface at high speed, quickly ageing the copper in the metal to bring out the blackness. We experimented with pre-aging the cases before constructing the watches, and how long we should pre-age them for – it was all a bit of an adventure – until we arrived at the process that seemed best. We now force-age the complete watch – so the matching buckle enjoys the same process, and it’s only the exterior of the bronze case that starts to oxidise, not the inner surfaces – and we only do it long enough to get the process going, not so much that it goes very dark and doesn’t allow the owner to add their own patina through use.” Though how quickly a bronze watch case will change colour depends very much on your skin type and where you live – hot, humid Singapore versus cold, dry Norway, say – these watches now come to their owners with something like four months worth of wear already ‘built in’. “Right now we’re probably selling around 30% of our bronze watches patinated, and the rest in their raw, untouched state,” Mike says. “And the plan is to offer both options with every bronze watch we sell from now on.”
The C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600s are an open series, but their success has seen Christopher Ward start to offer a number of additional new bronze models, all dive watches of one type or another, and all on limited edition runs. “Even so,” says Mike, “we now offer perhaps the widest, most cohesive Bronze Collection available anywhere, with additional models being considered all the time.” Next up, for instance, is the striking C60 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC Limited Edition, which answers a new question that few had thought about before bronze became so popular. With the case developing such an interesting patina, a striking contrast between that and the pristine face beneath the sapphire crystal starts to develop. For many that’s interesting and enjoyable, but what if you wanted a watch where the collar and cuffs match, so to speak, and the face has the same aged look as the rest of the case? The answer is the Ombré COSC LE, which achieves its more unified feel through a specially made dial, which is painted and then hand scratched – so no two are the same, just as no two cases will be – and gives you perhaps the ultimate in bronze individuality. “We’re bringing the outside inside, if you like,” says Adrian, “and it took quite a bit
of experimentation to get to the perfect solution for this. The results, though, are extremely striking – while remaining resolutely anti-bling. In fact, this is perhaps the most individual watch of all, as both your dial and your case are unique. Only a handful of watch brands – Zenith and Anonimo spring to mind – have experimented with anything similar, so you’re almost certain to never see another watch like this.” But that’s not all. Already available are a couple of other bronze models too. The C60 Trident Bronze GMT 600 Limited Edition runs an ETA 2893-2 movement, and marks the first time we’ve seen a GMT complication in a bronze watch case. Interest in this particular watch is sky high, we’re told, and it looks likely to be another that will sell out rather quickly. “It’s particularly good looking, with the GMT hand in a nice light blue, which contrasts brilliantly with the bronze,” says Adrian. “It looks great on a leather or canvas strap, and comes in at £995, great value for a GMT.” And then there’s the last of the Bronze Collection so far, the C65 Trident Bronze SH21 Limited Edition. This one’s been so popular, every one of the 150 made has already been snapped up, so finding one will be like hunting for hen’s teeth. “This is a very special watch, with a special look – not just the bronze case, but the fact that it has a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, unique amongst C65s,” says Mike. “It’s also the first C65 Trident Diver to run our in-house SH21 movement. Even so, though, we were surprised it sold out quite as quickly as it did. I suppose
that, in retrospect, the triple whammy of the bronze case, the winning C65 aesthetic and it being a limited edition should have given us a clue!” So what is the future for bronze watches? Interest is still on the up, it seems, and part of the appeal is that this metal looks so different to anything else, and yet – unlike gold or platinum, or even something like ceramic – doesn’t cost too much more than regular stainless steel. Plus, of course, it suits today’s authentic vibe brilliantly. “We’re always interested in new case materials,” says Mike, “but not since titanium has anything seemed to work this well for watches. In fact, I think bronze has an even wider appeal.” It must have some sort of downside, though, surely…? “Only that it seems to suit the more rugged, outdoorsy watches best. That’s why it works so well on Tridents, and why we haven’t yet attempted a bronze dress watch. For one thing, it would risk making your white dress shirt cuffs go green.” A minor issue, then, and easily fixed by a wardrobe of dark-coloured shirts. And anyway, small idiosyncrasies are all part of the appeal of bronze. These are not watches designed to be all things to all men – far from it – but instead to have a striking, unusual, inherently casual and highly personal allure. A bronze Trident – whatever the model – is a Trident that’s unique to you.
1. C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600; open series; raw or patinated; £795 (available in 38 and 43mm) 2. C60 Trident Bronze GMT 600 LE; 300 pieces; raw or patinated; £995 3. C60 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC LE; 300 pieces; raw or patinated; £995
IIn na sspin pin Rega Turntables
Rega is probably the worldâ€™s best hi-fi company, their innovative, wellpriced turntables spearheading the vinyl revival.
“We really don’t want to grow any more,” says founder and guiding light Roy Gandy. “Our target is simply to stay in business, so we can keep doing the things we love.” It’s a very unusual company, Rega. Hidden away on a Southend-on-Sea industrial estate, they make what are generally considered the world’s best turntables and (to a lesser extent) amps and speakers, yet their products are by no means the most expensive. Their factory – designed and built by the engineers there – is packed with like-minded enthusiasts who move from position to position on the production line, so no-one gets bored. Senior management, as we traditionally understand it, doesn’t exist. Distributors and stockists are generally enthusiast-led one-man-bands. Privately owned, it will never be sold or floated on the stock market, and, on the eventual death of founder Roy Gandy, will be held in trust for the people who work there. Rega began in 1973, when vinyl was the only game in town and a young Roy made his own turntables and speakers, then got asked to make more for a local hi-fi shop. The son of a classical pianist, he grew up on Mozart, gets a little upset when people try to categorise music – “I enjoy all genres, although I confess that I struggle with opera” – and considers himself an engineer at heart. “I’m a guy who has to know why something happens,” he says. “But I’m an unwilling businessman, really. Our industry is a small one, and from the very beginning we’ve never had to
market or sell ourselves; distributors came to us. And if they offended me – like Alan Sugar, a blustery, rude man who shouted at me – I just ignored them. Of course, this meant we only worked with people I liked, which wasn’t the best if they couldn’t actually sell. It’s taken us 45 years to get to where we are now, with staff and distributors I enjoy working with, but who are good business people, too.” These days Rega charges just under £300 for their cheapest turntable, the Planar 1, with their long term best seller – the Planar 3 – coming in around £500; together with an amp and a couple of speakers, you can put together a complete Rega system for under £1,500. Not cheap exactly, but not high-end luxury either – indeed, they’re constantly told that they don’t charge enough for the world’s super-rich to be really interested. “I refuse to believe that ‘most expensive’ is always best,” Roy says. “Take a bottle of wine. Even if you use the most expensive processes, it’s almost impossi-
ble for a single bottle to cost more than £40 to produce, so why charge £2,000 a bottle? It’s only because Russian oligarch types have too much money and a collector’s mentality, so they’ll pay anything. They’re just showing off, basically, and it’s distasteful to me.” What makes Rega special is that the engineering comes first, never the marketing (famously, they never advertise) and certainly not the price. “It’s easy to download plans to build a perfectly satisfying loudspeaker,” Roy says, “but there’s never been written information on turntable design, and we don’t know why. Everyone tends to make them the same way, following the dogma – but the dogma is wrong. It tells you that you solve the major problems by making everything bigger and heavier, and that just doesn’t work. The big issue isn’t musical quality, but getting rid of the noise from the motor and bearings. Very early on I got annoyed by the constant background hum all turntables made – all that grinding going on behind the music – so I started to explore engineering ways to get rid of it.” For decades Rega did well making quality kit at a reasonable price, but things changed about ten years ago, with the vinyl revival. They’d been stocking up dozens of ideas for fresh engineering solutions, but had never been able to implement them. Now they did. “A good engineering concept is always the best mix of compromises,” Roy says, “and we decided, for the first time, to go all out and make every change we could think of at once. That meant space-age materials – ceramics and titanium – and looking at every aspect of our design. Luckily for us, the MOD and Formula One were both instigating spending caps back then, which meant the specialist suppliers we needed suddenly had capacity.”
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“We’d genuinely love a true competitor who we could test ourselves against and argue with. But nobody else thinks about the engineering of turntables as we do. Everyone else sticks to the idea that bigger is better”
challenge, and price follows from that. We try to keep to the same financial formula, though. We might sell 4,000 Planar 1s in a month, and only 50 of the RP10 at ten times the price, but we make the same profit margin on all of them.”
The results were, says Roy, “gobsmacking.” Confident their ideas were okay, they now pressed similar techniques and design choices into service on models using different materials, and for the first time in its history Rega could offer a coherent range of five turntables, each clearly better than the last and selling at between £250 and £3,000. “As each turntable improves, you have to improve all the parts to get the same engineering compromise,” Roy says. “Take the platter. The stiffer and flatter the material you use, the better the sound quality, but stiff costs money. Float glass – the method used to make modern windows – is stiff, flat and not expensive, but it’s a compromise in other ways: it has to be light-weight (so as not to put too much stress on the bearing), but you also want weight near the edge, so it spins easily. A flat sheet of glass doesn’t do that, but it’s a good compromise at the price. Ceramic, on the other hand, is even stiffer and can be moulded with more weight at the outside, but costs a lot. For every model we make, we start with the engineering
One thing Roy doesn’t take very seriously is the modern cult of vinyl. “It’s become a buzz word now,” he says, “but it’s really just a tool. I’m certainly not anti-digital per se.” The problem with CDs, MP3s and the like, Roy explains, is that they’re good enough most of the time; yes, better music reproduction might be possible digitally, but there’s no real demand for it. And it remains difficult to pick up microscopic dots with a laser, then process that information. “Vinyl is quite primitive too, of course,” Roy says, “but it’s still a better way of picking up musical detail. And although there’s some very bad vinyl out there, thousands of good LPs are much better than any digital music release. The trouble is, 90% of people probably don’t notice it.” Basically, most of us consume music while driving or cooking, when sound quality is less important. But for Roy – and many a Rega customer – music is for listening to. “I don’t like background music,” he says. “It’s just a distracting noise. If I hear music, and there’s something special about it, I have to switch off everything else and just listen. And almost everyone who recognises the quality of what we do is of a similar mindset.” With the amps and loudspeakers it makes, Rega has hundreds of rivals, but with turntables the guys don’t really have any competition at all. “We’d genuinely love a true competitor,” Roy says, “who we could test ourselves against, and argue with about how to approach things. But nobody else thinks about the engineering of turntables as we do. Everyone else sticks to the idea that bigger is better. We’ve even published
plenty of our ‘secrets’ to encourage them, but no-one seems interested.” They do copy you, though. “Yes, our shape – and our colours.” (Though black is the best seller, Rega turntables come in a range of flat brights and even patterns too, Roy being both playful and mischievous and something of a student of colour psychology.) “But they see it as styling, rather than driven by practicality. We admire people like Colin Chapman of Lotus, a true visionary who thought about car design in a different way to most people. He, too, saw the advantages of light weight, and achieved something because of it.” So, what’s the future for Rega? It’s certainly a company in Roy Gandy’s own image. Each team here has a leader, yes, but they don’t have authority over others. Instead, Roy says, everyone just takes responsibility for their own jobs. “I might own Rega, but I still get told by other people what I have to do,” he says. “And it works wonderfully. My philosophy is that you rarely need to make decisions. You just need to have enough information, then the decision makes itself. The problem becomes when you don’t have all the information, and you have to take a gamble – which is what most people call ‘decision making’. For me, it’s simple: a product has to come at a price people are happy with, and perform objectively better than a cheaper one – and when those boxes get ticked, we have something we can sell. But it’s not any decision-making that gets us there – it just happens.” For more, rega.co.uk
C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer
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The C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer marks the moment Christopher Ward ‘completes the set’ of premium dress watch models using the dynamic C1 case; it also offers some of the greatest value in the wristwatch world
In the first issue of Loupe we ran a piece on the C9 Worldtimer, which saw the first – and, to date, only – use of the JJ03 Worldtimer module, developed by master watchmaker Johannes Jahnke to work with an ETA 2893 movement. It was a striking piece, and amazing value, but not a conventional watch. Well, now JJ03 is back, powering that watch’s replacement, the C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer. This is the last of the company’s premium dress watches to move from the old C9 case to the 43mm version of the more sophisticated C1 Grand Malvern case – but the innovations don’t end there. “We called the old C9 model a ‘Worldtimer’, but it was really more of an unusual, innovative, but – to many people – slightly hard-to-use GMT watch,” says company co-founder Mike France. “A GMT watch gives you the time in two zones simultaneously, but a true Worldtimer lets you see what time it is everywhere in the world at once. And this new watch is very much a Worldtimer.” On the old one, if you remember, the top of the dial displayed airport codes rather than full city names – LHR for London Heathrow, for instance – which corresponded to red dots on the world map in
the centre of the dial. The hour hand was set to 24-hour mode too, meaning it went around the dial once a day, rather than the traditional twice. On the new watch, however, the cities disc features the full names, the map in the centre has changed to a projection centred on the North Pole – and the hour hand works the traditional way, on a easier to comprehend 12-hour cycle. An orange ‘city indicator’ on the dial makes it easy to pick out a favoured time zone – Paris, say – wherever you are in the world. Worldtimers are, by their nature, ‘busy’ watches, cramming lots of information into a small space. The basic idea is that you can see at a glance the time – and, indeed, day or night status – in each of the world’s 24 major, whole-hour time zones. There are two rings on the outside of the dial: a 24hour ring with the numbers 1-24 on it, their colouring indicating daylight or nocturnal hours, and a wider cities ring on the very edge of the dial, each city representing one of the 24 main time zones. Use of the worldtimer function is straightforward: line your local time up against your current city using the 24-hour GMT ring, and you can see what time it is anywhere else in the world within the same glance.. Although affordable Worldtimers are a relatively recent proposition, the concept has been around for ages. Take the ‘World Time’ Bonbonnière, for instance. It was made in about 1790, is attributed to Pierre Morand, and has the names of 53 different 27
locations engraved around a 24-hour dial. It was in the early 1930s, though, nearly half a century after Greenwich (London) was established as the prime meridian of the world’s 24 main time zones (and when air travel was becoming established), that Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier created the first mechanism to display them all on a single dial. He’d eventually help many of the major brands of the time develop Worldtimers, such as Vacheron Constantin, which, by the end of the ’30s, had produced the first Worldtimer as a pocket watch, and Patek Philippe, which created the first Worldtimer wristwatch. Not so long ago, the only Worldtimers you could buy were incredibly expensive watches, created by just a handful of the very high end brands, but in recent years an increasing number of companies have introduced their versions of these watches. £5,000 is considered remarkable value for any watch offering this functionality, yet the C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer combines an in-house complication with attractive design, great legibility, and topnotch detailing, all at a fifth of the price. That this elegant watch, more usable than its predecessor, can be had for under £1,000 makes it 2018’s biggest steal. The C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer is launched in early November, £995
P 30. Bramwell Brown
P 32. Mr Jones
British Watchmakersâ€™ Gift Guide
P 38. Robert Loomes P 36. Harris Horology & International Watch Seminar
P 34. Schofield
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide This year’s Gift Guide could easily have been a simple jog through our biggest hits of the year, but we thought we could do better than that. Christopher Ward has always been keen on encouraging and promoting like-minded companies and people, of course, and not least other UK watch and clockmakers. There are people doing incredible work in every sector of the market. So then, why not round up a selection of our favourite horological Brits, and send them each an example of one of our latest, most tempting watches for their consideration? They could tell us what they thought, and it would give us a chance to promote what they do, too. Everybody wins – and not least anyone lucky enough to receive one of their creations (or, indeed, one of ours) as a Christmas gift this year. Let’s see what they have to say…
With the bronze trend huge in watches right now, and there being quite a history of the metal in clock-making too, we decided to send Rob a C60 Trident Bronze How did the Trident Bronze strike you on first seeing it? It’s brilliantly packaged, and I loved the unboxing experience. I had a wedding to go to the following weekend; it was over in Ireland, and I was pleased to be able to wear the Trident to that. It complemented the smart but unfussy dress code.
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
Bramwell Brown Did your opinion change after you’d spent some time with it? I liked its size and weight, but that may also have been down to the strap – which has a lovely fabric finish on top of leather, that is the nicest thing to wear next to your skin. And, overall, the quality was, of course, excellent. I enjoyed the clean face and dial too, and – as you’d expect – the rich colour and texture of the bronze. And would you buy this watch yourself? Even though I’m a clockmaker, I don’t collect watches per se. But yes, I’d be sorely tempted to buy this one. It’s very different to everything I currently own, for one thing, and I think you need watches in a collection that don’t compete for wear-time on the same occasions. C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600, £795
People were adding complications to clocks long before watches existed, of course, and Rob LeighBramwell of Bramwell Brown is one of the most exciting modern proponents of the style Horology isn’t just about watches, of course, and people have been making clocks for centuries, from early sundials and water clocks to the first mechanical models, which really become recognisable to modern eyes around the end of the 13th century, when major clock projects were commissioned by the big churches of England, Italy and France. We had to feature a clock-maker this issue, then, and settled on Rob Leigh-Bramwell of Bramwell Brown Clocks, part of the brother-and-sister team – with sibling Sarah – behind a range of quirky, British-made timepieces. “We make unique and novel wall clocks, designed to mechanically forecast the weather as well as tell the time,” Rob says. “Little clouds move around the faces, reminding you whether you need your umbrella or not. We hand-assemble all our clocks at a workshop in Hampshire, and our customers tend to be people seeking a unique gift or wanting something very special for the home.” Their clocks certainly look amazing, and run at between £350 and £750, depending on model and spec,
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
for assorted sizes ranging from 33cm to 53cm across. “People say they create great family moments with children, who tend to be amazed by the mechanical movements. With the world more and more immersed in digital screens, they enjoy their analogue nature. In fact, there’s little in the contemporary home that elicits excitement like our Weather Clocks. People often draw comparison with other tactile and resurgent older technologies, like vinyl records or Polaroid cameras.” In a nice bit of synergy, Rob tends to wear a Timewise from another of our reviewers this issue, Mr Jones Watches. “It has artwork by Clifford Richards,” he says, “and, compared to some of their models, it’s easy to read at a glance. People always point to the rotating owl’s head and ask me about it.” 31
For more, bramwellbrown.com
When we forget that watches should be fun, we forget much of the reason why we wear them, and don’t just rely on our phones. One man who certainly hasn’t is Crispin Jones of Mr Jones Watches
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
Crispin Jones runs Mr Jones Watches, makers of fun, relatively low-priced, and incredibly striking quartz and simple mechanical watches in the Swatch mode – but infinitely more arty, more inventive and more special. It’s perhaps surprising, then, that – when he’s not wearing one of his own watches – he can be found sporting vintage pieces, especially by Smiths. “They were the last English manufacturer of mechanical watches from the ’40s up to the early ’70s,” Crispin says, “I cherish the quality of them. They aspired to a very high standard, and provide a link back to a pre-digital age. Their design language was fairly conservative, in total contrast to the watches we make.” Take the Number Cruncher, at the bottom of the page opposite and aimed
squarely at urban 20-30 year olds who may not currently wear a watch at all. It has a very unconventional way of displaying the time, the hours being plucked from the sky by a giant, city-roaming monster, while the minutes (and people and cars) are shown in his churning, animated stomach. “As with many of our watches, the ‘hands’ are transparent discs,” Crispin says, “which allows us to create a more graphical way of displaying time. It’s a kind of mini-diorama that you carry around with you. In a way, the time display is incidental to the overall effect.” But though it’s a tonne of fun, this little watch was by no means easy to make, with some 14 separate printing operations required to print all the 32
colours on the glass. “The design was created for us by an artist called Onorio D’Epiro,” Crispin says. “We love working with outside people, as they bring such a fresh take to the design of a watch face – indeed, we deliberately avoid working with people who’ve designed watches before. This time around we encouraged Onorio to think as outlandishly as he could, then worked out how to realise his vision afterwards. Creating an animation using the motion of the seconds hand was something new – it’s not particularly legible in terms of reading the seconds, I grant you, but it serves to give the whole scene a feeling of movement and energy.” For more, mrjoneswatches.com
Mr Jones makes fairly small watches by modern standards, so we gave him the opposite: a matte black C8 Power Reserve Chronometer How did the watch first strike you? I really enjoyed the unboxing experience – the attention to detail was wonderful to see. The watch itself had a real feeling of quality and class on first handling it, something that’s only grown with time. I found the movement decoration interesting. You’re not following the traditional aesthetics of watch making, but rather taking design cues more from the aviation or automative worlds.
Mr Jones Did your opinion change after you’d spent some time with it? Over a couple of days I found I particularly liked that it has a sub-seconds dial and that the movement hacks, so I was able to set it to the exact second. I appreciate how well it performs against quartz-time, too – incredibly well, actually, to within a handful of seconds. I also like that it’s manually wound – you’re able to view the mechanism in more detail, without the rotor obscuring anything. Maybe the power reserve could be more in scale with the date window, though? C8 Power Reserve Chronometer, £1,645-1,695
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
We sent Giles one of CW’s biggest recent hits, the ‘60s-referencing C65 Trident Diver How did it strike you on first seeing it? The design is elegant and resolved. The choice of blues for the dial seemed a little lighter than is conventional, but brings a unique charm. The details in print, hands and metal finishing are extremely precise, and even seen under a loupe the second index is sharp, with all lines having square edges; the same is true of the luminescent hour index, with no evidence of bleed or glue. The dial is as good as it gets, and the hands, too, are staggeringly clean.
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
Did your opinion change after you’d spent some time with it? I found the watch has perfect heft for its size – it’s not so light that it feels cheaply made, yet not so heavy that it’s uncomfortable. The unidirectional bezel assures you don’t accidentally knock your dive time shorter, with absolutely no play and a substantial click every 30 seconds. The crown, such an important functional element on a hand-wound watch, is beautifully designed and perfectly matches the case proportions and finish. I also marvelled at the leather strap’s quick-releasing spring bars, making the change of straps a breeze. We removed the back to take a peek inside and found a beautifully finished movement with blued screws and engraved bridges, fantastic detailing for a watch circa £700. C65 Trident Diver, £695-£760 34
The chunky, masculine, and evocative watches of Giles Schofield make intriguing aesthetic choices, and somehow manage to be both bold and rather subtle at the same time… Giles Schofield’s eponymous watch company grew out of a simple desire to design and build a luxury watch to his own personal style and requirements. Even today he does pretty much everything himself, designing not only the watches, but also the accessories, packaging, graphics, websites, photography and, he says, “the endless chorus of variables that go into the creation of something made with passion and vision.”
The Daymark Dark is designed to be both strong and somehow restrained
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
Schofield watches tend to be solid and confident, yes, but understated too (we like to think of them as quietly in-yourface), and their latest – the Daymark Dark, a sleek, brooding, ceramic-coated new take on their house model, the Daymark – is a case in point. It’s rendered in dark matte tones which are, Giles says, “reminiscent of the shadow beneath the overhang, the rock face sprayed by the sea and the rain.” The Schofield Daymark Dark costs £3,840, measures 44mm across, and is powered by an ETA 2824 movement; it’s water resistant to 200m, too. Plus, it’s extremely scratch-resistant. “When sprayed continuously with water two and a half times as saline as seawater over the course of 1,000 hours, no impact was made,” Giles says. “Stainless steel corrodes after a mere 100 hours.” For more, schofieldwatchcompany.com
Ever fancied the chance to make your own watch? Now, thanks to James Harris – watch servicer and restorer – you can…
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
James Harris wears two different hats. At Harris Horology in South London, he services watches and restores clocks, and at the International Watch Seminar he runs weekend courses on watchmaking, in which you get a chance to complete a mechanical wristwatch running a Unitas 6497 movement hand-finished by you, and tailored to your own taste through dials, bezels, crowns and straps. “The International Watch Seminar is a great chance to get an inside look at being a watchmaker,” James says, “as we guide you through some of the processes coveted in the ‘Haute Horologerie’ world, such as pearlage, black polish, and heat bluing. Really, it’s aimed at anyone with an interest in watches – or anything mechanical! – and you don’t need any experience. A lot of people who come along who’ve never picked up a screwdriver before, but still leave with a watch they finished and assembled themselves. It sounds pretty exciting, right? After all, how many of us can show off a watch in which we played a key part?
“We can also customise dials,” James says, “so your watch can carry your own name or logo to truly make it yours. It’s a really wonderful opportunity to get an insight into the world of watchmaking, learn how they work, and walk away with your very own to keep forever, all while having a huge amount of fun.” Meanwhile, what sort of watches does James himself wear day-to-day? “I don’t tend to go for one style or brand,” James says, “although I do have a small collection of vintage Omegas. Generally, though I keep all my watches different from each other, I must admit to having a thing for ‘tool’ watches. Since I spend most of my time in a workshop, I like wearing something I don’t have to worry about, and I’m not a fan of having to ‘baby’ a watch. My daily beater is usually an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, which is bulletproof but can also look smart when it needs to.” For more, harrishorology.com, internationalwatchseminar.com
We thought we’d try out James with one of Christopher Ward’s timeless classics and perennial best-sellers, the C60 Trident Pro 600 How did the Trident first strike you? I loved it! This was the first time I’d seen a C60 Trident in person, and it looks great. It’s the smaller details I like, such as the bevel on the edge of the sapphire glass, and the green painted hour marks, which give a flash of colour. I’ve been wearing it almost non-stop for the last couple of weeks as, in my opinion, it goes with pretty much everything.
Making your own watch – and choosing the dial style!
Harris Horology & International Watch Seminar
Did your opinion change after you’d spent some time with it? As I said, I like a watch that’s workshop safe, and the C60 fits that bill perfectly – the sapphire glass and ceramic bezel mean I don’t have really have to worry about dings or scratches from the equipment we have here. It also feels really solid on the wrist, and is easy to read thanks to the massive hands. It’s definitely an easy go-to everyday ‘beater’! And would you buy one for yourself? I think I would, yes. It’s good-looking, tough and accurate, and you could wear it no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going. I’m never going to go diving, but that doesn’t mean a dive watch isn’t the right watch for me. C60 Trident Pro 600, £660-£725 37
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
We sent Robert a model we thought might appeal to him, seeing as he prefers a simpler watch. Would, we wondered, the remarkably slim and elegant C5 Malvern 595 be right up his street? How did the 595 first strike you? It’s deliciously slim and elegant, and the plain dial with no applied batons or other unnecessary decor suits my notion of a proper watch. My first Swiss watch was an Omega de Ville with no seconds hand: an 18th birthday present, and a similarly elegant proposition. The plain silvered matte dial is perhaps my favourite style, too. It was first used by English watchmakers in the 1780s and remains, to me, the most beautiful and useful background for hands.
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide
And did your opinion change at all? It takes a significant amount of time and testing to produce a ‘simple’ stainless steel case like this. The slimmer the case, the more demanding it is to make. The movement is an outstanding choice, too. The ETA 7001, better known to many by its old 1970s name, the Peseaux 7001, is a brilliant manual-wind watch with a heritage in proper watchmaking. Many serious Swiss brands continue to use it in watches costing far, far more than this Christopher Ward offering. And would you buy this watch yourself? It’s almost me. But after years of wearing a robust stainless steel case, I found it surprisingly light – and, for me, definitely a dress watch, to be worn with black tie and proper patent dancing shoes with leather soles. C5 Malvern 595, £595-£680 38
Looks too elegant for Everest, you say? Don’t be fooled…
Robert Loomes offers beautifully finished, complication-free, 100% British watches hand-made to order Up at pretty Stamford, in the southern corner of Lincolnshire, lives one of the county’s most dedicated watchmakers, Robert Loomes. A keen student of the history of the British watch industry, he hand-makes his watches to order in the old-fashioned way – indeed, every component in each one is made in England, and they’re powered either by much-modified new old stock Smiths movements, or their own movements of similar design. “I normally wear our Robin watch, one of the first we made,” Robert says. “I’m not fond of gizmos on a watch, and like them simple: yes, I see the point of a chronograph, but I don’t need to know the barometric pressure in Sydney.” To buy a Loomes watch you usually need to make a pilgrimage to Stamford yourself, but right now there’s a near-
British Watchmakers’ Gift Guide The simple, elegant – and oh, so slim – 595 case
unique opportunity to get one a different way. This November they’re auctioning one of their watches through Bonhams – and this one’s extra special, as it summited Everest with the Gurkha Climbing Team in May last year. All proceeds will go to them. “Each Gurkha wore a British-made watch, just as Sir Edmund Hilary did on the first successful Everest climb in 1953,” Robert says, “with one of them wearing our unique GWT watch. It of course uses a British movement, based on a Smiths Imperial calibre.” Received by Joanna Lumley on behalf of the GWT, the watch was handed over in a ceremony at Stamford Town Hall before the team left for Nepal in 2015, the 200th anniversary of Gurkhas in the British Army. But circumstances overlook them. Their climb was in full sway when
devastating earthquakes shook Nepal, and the team assisted other climbers off the mountain to safety, then got stuck in with relief work. Last year, though, almost the exact same group of Gurkhas left for a second attempt, again taking the Loomes GWT, and arriving so early in the season that the Nepali Sherpas took them along for the vital route preparation they do at the start of each season. 13 serving Gurkas made it to the top and returned safely, this watch on the wrist of Cpl Milan Rai all the way. Interested in owning a genuine piece of watch history? It’s being auctioned by Bonhams, starting at the WatchPro Awards dinner in London on 6 November, and running though until the 16th. For more, loomeswatches.com/auction
’ E R Y T HER ! T A E R R G
What are? Company mascots, of course. Yes, they can be cheesy or annoying as hell, but some of them are genius, too – and we bet you remember them all anyway…
Christopher Ward doesn’t do mascots – indeed, they’re pretty much incompatible with the company’s awaywith-the-fripperies approach – and almost the entire Swiss watch industry seems wary of them. In fact, expensive brands in general – cars aside – tend to eschew mascots, while popular goods, food especially, embrace them. Over the last century or so, this has created some pretty bizarre sights: cigarette-smoking camels; geeky cowboys; sexy Somerset rabbits; music-loving terriers; tea-drinking sock puppets…
Naturally, even the most established mascots have mutated with the times. Take the famous Rice Crispies trio, Snap, Crackle and Pop. They’ve been depicted as big-eared gnomes and small-eared elves; elderly gents and precocious children; a threesome and a foursome (an additional elf, Pow, was briefly introduced in the 1950s). They enjoy a myriad of different names around the world too (Pif, Paf and Puf in Denmark, say), giving them a fascinating history – but not quite fascinating enough to make our list. Here are the ones that did…
Michelin Man Introduced: 1894 Also known as: Bibendum A cheery, blobby giant built of stylised – and, bizarrely to a modern audience, white – rubber tyres, the official mascot of the French Michelin company is one of the world’s oldest mascots, and still amongst its best known. He was created by cartoonist Marius Rossillon – better known as O’Galop – using a rejected beer-holding figure he’d created for a Munich brewery. By dropping the beer glass and redrawing the figure to be made of tyres, Bibendum was born. (The name came from the line ‘Nunc est Bibendum’ – or ‘Drink up!’, a quote from Horace – written under the original brewery figure, and looking so good with the image it was used on the first of the new ads anyway. Now, though, the suggestion became that Michelin tyres ‘drink up’ any obstacles in the road.) And why is the Michelin Man – as most outside France know him – white? Because car tyres were light grey until the addition of carbon as a rubber preservative in 1912. Around then, the MM briefly became black too, before reverting to his original colour – simply because it printed better.
Jolly Green Giant Introduced: 1928 Most likely to say: “Ho, ho, ho!” The Laughing Cow Introduced: 1921 Also known as: La vache qui rit Little foil-covered wedges of soft cheese have been sold by a jovial red cow since the early 1920s, the name a play on the phrase ‘La Wachkyrie’ – French for ‘Valkyrie’ – which founder Léon Bel had seen on the side of a travelling WW1 meat wagon. Bel drew the original version himself, but it’s barely recognisable – she’s not red, not laughing, and doesn’t wear ear-rings made from the brand’s distinctive round, flat cardboard boxes. A few years later, however, illustrator Benjamin Rabier – creator of Gideon the Duck, one of the inspirations pulled upon by Hergé in his creation of Tintin – redrew the old girl in her modern form. And – to quote the brand’s most famous advertising campaign – what is the answer to the question, ‘Why is The Laughing Cow laughing?’ The truth is, nobody knows for sure…
Green Giant has been a brand of the Minnesota Valley Canning Company since the introduction of a new variety of pea, the Prince of Wales, in 1925. These were big, sweet and tender, but oblong and wrinkled too, so nobody wanted them – encouraging the growers to market them themselves. But – brilliantly – they refused to apologise for the size of their new peas, and instead made a virtue of them, commissioning Carly Stanek to create a promotional mascot. The original version wasn’t very happy-looking – more a grim caveman in a bearskin – but by 1935 ad agency Leo Burnett had revised the character, giving him a smile, an outfit made of leaves, and adding the word ‘Jolly’ to his name. And when he made his first TV appearances in the early ’50s he became properly famous, especially when the signature “Ho, ho, ho” was added in 1961.
Mickey Mouse Introduced: 1928 Mickey Mouse wasn’t created to be the logo of The Walt Disney Company – instead, he began as one of their many characters, the captain of a tugboat in the animated short film Steamboat Willie – but he soon became the face of the company, and is now one of the world’s most recognisable characters. The earlier Oswald the Lucky Rabbit looked very similar – except with longer feet and rabbit ears – and was Disney’s first anthropomorphic animal star, but when Walt lost the rights to his bunny he quickly came up with a replacement: there were too many cartoon cats around at the time, and cows, horses and frogs were rejected, but there was a pet mouse in the Disney office which became inspiration. ‘Mortimer’ Mouse soon changed to Mickey, and truly became iconic when Disney realised he could draw his distinctive round ears as full circles, no matter which way Mickey was facing.
Captain Morgan Introduced: 1944 Most likely to say: “To life, love and loot!” They’ve been selling rum under the name Captain Morgan since World War II, though the trademark has bounced between companies – Canadian outfit Seagram introduced it using their Jamaican distillery, the Puerto Rican Destileria Serrallés took over from the mid-’80s onward, and most recently it’s been made in the US Virgin Islands by London-based business Diageo. Over the years, the promotional character – based on the Welsh privateer Sir Henry Morgan, who raided Spanish shipping while serving as Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica – has been developed in ways that leave the historical original behind. Both hero and villain, the real Captain Morgan is lionised for keeping Jamaica out of Spanish hands – and loathed for torturing prisoners, especially during his attack on Spanish forces at Panama. Changing depictions in the increasingly fanciful TV ads and on bottle artwork, meanwhile, have emphasised the captain’s youth and fun-loving nature.
Ronald McDonald Introduced: 1963
Colonel Sanders Introduced: 1952 Most likely to say: “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good”
Tony the Tiger Introduced: 1952 Most likely to say: “They’re gr-r-reat!” When Kellogg’s introduced a new breakfast cereal, Frosted Flakes – later called Frosties – in 1952, they were fronted by a new character created by Eugene Kolkey of Chicago ad agency Leo Burnett: Tony the Tiger. Named for another ad man there, he and three rivals – Katy the Kangaroo, Elmo the Elephant and Newt the Gnu – were meant to compete for public popularity on the boxes, but Tony was the obvious winner and the others were quietly dropped. He’s become more muscular over the years, and developed an occasional extended family – though family ties did not always extend to other promotional tigers. Indeed, Kellogg’s took Esso to court over their long-established tiger mascot in the ’90s.
The inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s celebrated ‘secret recipe’, and the brand’s living mascot until his death in 1980, Colonel Harland David Sanders was never a military man – ‘Kentucky Colonel’ is an honoury rank, given to notable people from all walks of life, including Muhammad Ali and Winston Churchill – but rather an insurance salesman and petrol station worker until he started selling fried chicken during the Great Depression, real success coming when he started to franchise his recipe (and unusually speedy pressure fryer cooking method). With the method patented, Sanders himself became the company symbol, creating a uniform for himself (goatee, white suit, string tie) that he never wavered from, wearing nothing else in public for the rest of his life, and even going so far as to dye his beard and moustache to match his white hair. 42
The Marlborough Man Introduced: 1954 One character who seems certain not to make a comeback – retired as he was in 1999, after almost 50 years – is the Marlborough Man. When first conceived by ad agency Leo Burnett, this new mascot was designed to take what had once been sold as a ‘woman’s cigarette’ – described as ‘Mild as May’, because it had a filter – and transform it into the epitome of masculine individuality. Though Marlborough had been designed to address fears about the dangers of smoking, the new idea was to ignore all health concerns and instead promote these cigarettes through images of manly, individualistic figures – war correspondents, sea captains, and, most successfully, real-life cowboys – which soon made it smoking’s biggest brand.
Though these days the McDonald’s fast-food chain’s clown mascot is depicted as existing in the real world, on his introduction in the early ’60s he lived in a complex fantasy land, populated by the likes of Mayor McCheese, Birdie the Early Bird and the Hamburglar. Ronald McDonald’s origins remain in dispute, though: he was either created as “the hamburger-happy clown” by Washington DC radio star Willard Scott, or by that area’s McDonald’s franchisee, Oscar Goldstein, and his ad agency. All agree, however, that Scott was the first actor to play Ronald – though it was a later performer, Coco the Clown, who came up with the highly distinctive outfit and make-up in 1966. Though the company still uses Ronald, his value has been in dispute in recent years – is he responsible for childhood obesity? Do modern audiences still respond to him? A recent revamp has seen him swap his yellow jumpsuit for cargo pants and a rugby shirt, though the shoes and make-up remain.
Duracell Bunny Introduced: 1973
Captain Birdseye Introduced: 1967 Also known as: Captain Iglo Clarence Birdseye, founder of the famous eponymous frozen food brand, was an American taxidermist, inventor and frozen food industry pioneer. The kindly sea captain who reps his famous Birds Eye seafood brand is generally depicted as a white-bearded, kindly older chap, often with a pre-teen crew in tow; it was a look that said ‘family friendly’ when the character was first introduced in 1967, but which encourages knowing looks these days, hence numerous attempts to update things. In 1971 he was briefly killed off – Birds Eye ran an ‘obituary’ in The Times – but he was brought back at the height of the Cod Wars. The latest actor to portray him – Riccardo Acerbi – is a disconcertingly attractive grey-bearded silver fox.
An infuriatingly cocky anthropomorphic pink toy rabbit, the Duracell Bunny was initially introduced to illustrate the fact that more expensive alkaline batteries last much longer than their cheaper zinc-carbon rivals. To that end, the creatures – not just a single bunny, but an entire species – were seen outlasting other batteries in races or (most famously) drumming competitions. So far, so unremarkable – until, over a decade after the Duracell Bunny was introduced, rival brand Energizer brought out its own bunny mascot as a sort of parody. Also pink, but with much bigger ears and sunglasses, this too beat a drum – and when Duracell failed to renew its US trademark, Energizer pounced, filing a trademark claim that means the Duracell Bunny can no longer be used in North America. These days, the terms ‘Duracell Bunny’ and ‘Energizer Bunny’ have entered the English language to mean something with endless endurance, but which one you use depends on whether you’re in the US/Canada or the rest of the world.
Tetley Tea Folk Introduced: 1973 Most likely to say: “Tetley Make Tea Bags Make Tea” Why have one character mascot when you can have a whole family of them? These guys are like The Smurfs or The Borrowers, but all committed to a single task: selling tea. A group of animated Yorkshire factory workers, led by the kindly perfectionist Gaffer and the daft, kind-hearted young Sydney, the Tea Folk were a huge hit from the early ’70s to the new Millennium, then disappeared for a decade before being sporadically revived in updated, distressingly hoody-wearing CGI form. The shocking thing is that it took them this long, Tetley sales falling off a cliff in 2002 immediately after their retirement, allowing rival PG Tips, with its chimp and Monkey mascots, to become Britain’s bestselling brew…
Red and Yellow Introduced: 1954 (modern versions 1994) The American chocolate brand M&M’s was inspired by the similar British brand Smarties, which Forrest Mars Sr of the Mars Company saw soldiers eating during the Spanish Civil War; because the chocolate pellets were coated in a hard syrup shell, they wouldn’t melt in the heat. Since the early ’50s, M&M’s have been fronted by talking anthropomorphic candy characters, initially one plain and one peanut, but since the ’90s an entire extended family have developed, each with a distinct personality. Most popular are the obnoxious, cynical Red and the happy, naive Yellow; such big names as Jon Lovitz and John Goodman have voiced them at various times. Distinctly adult – and even sexual – compared to most food mascots, they’ve given M&M’s a sort of frat boy, gross-out comedy appeal…
Aleksandr the Meerkat Introduced: 2009 Most likely to say: “Simples!” The most successful recent mascot has been Aleksandr Orlov and his friends and family, a gang of anthropomorphic, aristocratic Russian meerkats used to promote the price comparison website comparethemarket.com in Britain and Australia, the entire enduring campaign based around an unashamedly weak pun: that ‘meerkat’ and ‘market’ sound a bit the same, so users of the genuine thing are going to Orlov’s fictitious ‘comparethemeerkat.com’ instead. Orlov is depicted as a vain, cultured oligarch living in Moscow and London, and is often joined by sidekick Sergei and occasionally by a baby meerkat called Oleg, plus various inhabitants of the Russian village of Meerkovo and others. The success of this witty, beautifully rendered little alternative universe has seen comparethemarket.com become one of the UK’s best recognised brands.
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Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
The Rolex Files Multi-threat actress, stand-up and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is one of Hollywood’s most committed watch enthusiasts, and though she tends to be loyal to brands, her tastes are impressively eclectic When you’re rich and flashy, it’s not difficult to acquire a pretty damn impressive collection of fancy watches – but that doesn’t make you a watch aficionado, as such. One who definitely is, however, is comedian, daytime TV host, LGBT activist and occasional actress Ellen DeGeneres. Though she’s not performed stand-up in over a decade, she was huge on the US tour circuit in the ’80s. And, more recently, both her ’90s sitcom Ellen and her still-current daytime comedy chat show The Ellen DeGeneres Show have been huge hits. Her acting? That continues, though more sporadically; right now, she’s probably best known as the voice of Dory, the regal blue tang in Finding Nemo and its sequel. As with so many celebrity watch fans, Ellen’s brands of choice are predictable, but hard to argue with: Rolex and Patek Philippe. She is most often seen in an endless display of enviable Rolexes, including an Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, an Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master, a white gold ‘Smurf’ Submariner, an Explorer II ‘Steve McQueen’, and several GMT-Masters, including
one with a green face and another with the rare ‘Blueberry’ bezel insert. Perhaps most of all, she loves Daytonas, both vintage and modern – she once said it’s “the only watch I wear”, stretching the truth more than a bit – of which she seems to have at least seven. All in all, a very nice selection of new and vintage Rolexes. And her Patek collection is perhaps even more impressive, ranging from the relatively affordable Aquanaut Travel Time (a mere £26k) to various members of the Grand Complication family. Though they might not get as much wrist time, she has key pieces from Audemars Piguet, Omega and others too. Ellen’s Rolexes tend to be 40mm, and she’s not the only female celeb to enjoy a relatively chunky men’s watch – Heidi Klum always looks great in her Panerai Radiomir, for instance. One model in particular, though, seems to have become a favourite with a whole swathe of Hollywood women – and, you guessed it, it’s the Daytona. They’ve been seen on the wrists of Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, Victoria Beckham, Rihanna and more, their thin lugs and relatively modest cases meaning they look big, yes, but not ridiculously so. Some of these wear theirs loose, like a bracelet, but Ellen doesn’t. She’s too much of a serious watch fan for that. 45
Gianluca & Joe 46
Selim & Petra 47
Here at Loupe we mostly tend to hear from Christopher Ward’s more senior staff members, but what’s it like starting out as a watchmaker? To find out, we caught up with four newbies, two from Switzerland and two from England. In Maidenhead we have Gianluca Volpe and Joe Olswang from the workshop team, while over in Biel it’s Petra Just, head of atelier, and junior technician Selim Görgün. So, how different have their experiences been in the two countries?
So, guys, how did you get into watches? Joe: Growing up in the ’80s, it was mainly digital watches, and I remember being enthralled with one I got from Argos, which had a TV remote control as part of it. (You could tune it to work with pretty much any TV – great fun for me, not so much for my teachers when they tried to show us educational videos.) I also loved a Transformers watch, given to me by my uncle. To this day, I think watches should be fun. Gianluca: Through the musician, John Mayer. I play guitar and came across a YouTube video, ‘Talking Watches’ with John Mayer. I’ve loved watches ever since. Petra: My father worked in a watch factory, and I remember being very impressed and so excited when he gave me and my sisters a little gold pocket watch. And what was the first watch to really make an impression on you? Gianluca: The Rolex Submariner. I saw the seemingly infinite number of reference numbers there are – all those different models – and thought it was really cool. Selim: My dad gave me a nice Omega for my birthday. From then on, I’ve loved the precision and craft behind them. What did you want to be as a kid? Petra: A teacher. My strengths were in
mathematics and physics, and still are. Selim: A dentist. At school, though, I was good at maths, and everything is about numbers and precision in watchmaking. Gianluca: A vet, because I love animals. But I didn’t get along at school very well – the problem was, I didn’t have enough patience. (Ironically!) Joe: My dream was to be a footballer for Liverpool and England, and I always thought I had a good chance of becoming a musician too – I played guitar and keys from an early age, and would study albums like Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced and try to play them off by heart. I used to play chess for the school in international tournaments, too. (More fun than it sounds!) I think my slightly obsessive tendencies, and problem-solving nature, help when working with watches.
the time. Though I had no formal training, I’ve been learning on the job from Andrew and Max here, who’ve taught me along the way. They’re my mentors. Joe: I’m pretty new to it, starting at the ripe old age of 35. I was a radio plugger in the music industry for 15 years, promoting artists to radio stations like BBC 1Xtra and KISS, and had a brief stint running a children’s clothing company too. In fact, it was only over the last three years that I really started appreciating watches. I bought myself a nice Rolex Submariner Z serial Two Liner, and started flipping various pieces on eBay. It sounds like a cliché, but I really want to set up my own watch company one day, either buying and selling luxury pieces or starting my own brand. I’m on a mission to learn everything I can, and I’m in a great place to do that here.
So how did you get into watchmaking? Petra: It was always pretty clear that I should do a technical apprenticeship, and – as I grew up in Grenchen and Biel, two watch-making cities – the most obvious career path was to become a watchmaker. Gianluca: Via my dad, who knew Chris and Mike from Christopher Ward through the Opera Festival he runs. I’d just left school and needed a job, and the company was looking for a new technician at
What do you love about the job? Gianluca: Sitting down with a broken watch, and the satisfaction of getting it running again. There’s something cathartic about it. Of course, very occasionally you’ll come across a watch that seems to have every possible fault with it – you fix one thing, and another appears! Or you get a watch that runs horribly but, when you inspect it, seems to be absolutely fine. Joe: Yes, it’s the satisfaction of getting a
“The internet was my mentor before I came here. I was opening up watches and trying to learn how they worked by trial and error, which was pretty frustrating and (at times) costly!” broken watch running – although seeing how the company is progressing is also really impressive. We all get on really well in the workshop too, which is a bonus. Petra: I love to repair customers’ watches, as they always tell a story, and the challenge inherent in finding what the error is helps satisfy my love of analytical thinking. Selim: For me, the best bit is at the end of the manufacturing process, when I get to check every complication, from the first to the last. (I love complications!) Do you feel you’ve had enough support in your mission to be a watchmaker? Joe: Though there are a few watchmaking courses in the UK, I think you learn the most by being hands-on. Petra: I would count a couple of people as real mentors to me, both during my apprenticeship – when my boss heavily influenced me – and later, when I worked at Omega. But really, you have to learn from your own mistakes, and need as much experience as possible. Got any real heroes in the industry? Gianluca: I think everyone admires George Daniels, simply for building every single component of a watch from scratch. Generally, I like brands that stir things up a bit – and would even admit to liking Swatch’s
Sistem51 watch. It’s a game changer, and only costs £150. Joe: The internet was my mentor until I came here – I was opening up watches and trying to learn how they worked by trial and error, which was pretty frustrating and (at times) costly! – but more recently the boys in the workshop have been great, teaching me as I go along. Petra: No individual heroes, but the whole industry impresses me. Watches are just really nice objects, and I love the way they bring a smile to people’s faces. Selim: I tend to look up to the watchmakers at Patek Philippe. They set the standard for quality.
What watches do you really love? Gianluca: Anything with extravagant complications, like perpetual calendars or tourbillons. Or watches with an interesting design, be it Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak or Patek Philippe’s Nautilus. Joe: I’m a sucker for functional watches which have stood the test of time, so classics like the Rolex Submariner and Omega Speedmaster are my go-to. I also admire really impressive movements, but have a soft spot for a robust workhorse like the ETA 2824, too. And our own Calibre SH21 – a double barrelled movement with 120 hours power reserve at the size and price it is – is quite a feat too.
Anything you find really frustrating about the job? Joe: It can take a lot of practice to do things the other guys make look effortless. And dust is a major gripe of mine – it can appear from nowhere! Petra: I hate it when you’ve prepared everything on your watchmaking bench to repair a specific model, and you think it won’t be much of a problem, then you simply can’t find the error. But I’ve found that, if you keep calm, you’ll suddenly realise what the issue is – perhaps it’ll be a slightly bent wheel, or something else equally tiny which is very easy to miss.
Finally, in a perfect world, what would you be doing in ten years’ time? Petra: I’d still be in the watch industry. I’ve just completed a course in company processes, so I’d like to do something with that knowledge – perhaps improve the way things work at a watch company. Selim: I’d be in my own office somewhere, dreaming up new concepts. Making my own watch really would be the ultimate achievement for me.
That’s how long the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race takes. And for the first time ever, a woman – Australia’s Wendy Tuck – crossed the line first to claim victory There are few sports in which women and men seem able to compete on a totally level playing field, but one of them is long distance yacht racing. (The only other significant one is equestrian events.) This year’s Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, in which identical 75foot boats compete over eight legs, six oceans, 11 months and 40,000 nautical miles, finished, for the first time, with female captains taking the top two slots: 53-year-old Aussie Wendy Tuck skippered Sanya Serenity Coast to victory, fairly closely followed by 25-year-old Brit Nikki Henderson in Visit Seattle. Though the route changes each time – this year it was Liverpool to Liverpool – the race is normally held every two years, and is maximised for downwind sailing. It’s the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, who was first to complete a
single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, and is designed – amongst other things – to be highly accessible. Around 700 sailors took part this year, and something like 40% had no real sailing experience, and a similar percentage were female. The race is, of course, named for the historic tea clippers – Thermopylae, Cutty Sark and so on – that were designed for speed rather than cargo space, and carried high-value goods like tea from China to Britain and elsewhere. But what does all this really mean for female sailing? Well, Tuck is the first woman to ever win a Round the World yacht race, while Henderson is the youngest ever Clipper race skipper. And though both of them tend to talk the achievement down – “I don’t think it’s about being a woman,” says Tuck, “I just do what I do” – Knox-Johnson is rather more strident 50
about the significance and potential implications of this year’s race. “The impact of the success of both Wendy and Nikki cannot be underestimated,” he says. “If this gets even one more girl to start sailing and dreaming big, then I’ll consider everything we have done over the last 11 months to have been a huge success.” Amongst potential future stars, of course, is Christopher Ward Challenger Lizzy Foreman, an up-and-coming long-distance yacht racer currently sponsored by the company. Perhaps we’ll one day be celebrating a world-beating achievement by her, too.
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.
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A closer look at a watch steeped in vintage detail, the C3 Grand Tourer