Loupe. Issue 30. Autumn 2023.

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Loupe. The magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 30. Autumn 2023

If Isaac Newton made watches

Even Britain’s most famous – and famously single-minded – physicist would find the gravitational pull of the C1 Moonglow hard to resist. Powered by our ingenious JJ04 movement, and with a sapphire dial that boasts two beautiful 3D ‘moons’, it can chart the phases of the moon accurately for 128 years. Add in surprisingly durable construction and sophisticated British design and you’re looking at a watch that’s simply out of this world. Want to know more?

Do your research.



The magazine of Christopher Ward.

Size matters

This issue has a distinctly female feel.

The starting point for this is The Twelve (36), whose subtle proportions make it perfect for women’s wrists – and men who like a watch that whispers its presence.

After we take a deep dive into The Twelve (36), we interview the UK’s premier disco queen, DJ Paulette. A UK house music scene veteran, Paulette talks about her musical childhood, overcoming obstacles and what DJing teaches you about life.

When it comes to watchmaking, the women’s market has taken second place for the big watch houses. But as Laura McCreddie-Doak argues, manufacturers now realise that targeting women makes sound financial sense.

Finally, a profile of UK watch business veteran Neil Duckworth. Learning his craft at the family jewellery shop, he became the UK distributor for TAG Heuer, helping to make it one of the most popular brands in the country. Now he’s running his own watch company, Duckworth Prestex, which you can read about in a brilliant interview.

Enjoy the issue!

Editor: Anthony Teasdale

Art Director: Jamie Gallagher

Designer: Sam Burn

Photography: Peter Canning

1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL


When Ray Davies of The Kinks penned the iconic hit, Lola, nobody, including Ray, would have guessed at the prescience of the lyric:

“Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world”

It could be a Harry Styles song rather than a classic from 1970.

In our own small way, by removing men’s and women’s labels from our collection over a decade ago, Christopher Ward foresaw the ever-increasing fluidity of gender that’s now taken for granted.

The less macho nature of the largely male-created post-financial crash world has seen a gentle decrease in the average size of men’s watches. In contrast, the growing confidence and status of women (hallelujah!) has seen their watch diameters increasing.

Thirty-six millimetres is where ‘watch genderism’ is at its most blurred, and the new Twelve (36), which you can see from page 12, has arguably the broadest appeal of any watch we’ve ever created.

Mr Davies would be pleased. As, we’re sure, would Lola.

5 Contents Features 12 – 23 Small is big Take a tour of The Twelve (36) 24 – 27 Northern soul What life has taught disco legend DJ Paulette 28 – 33 Rainbow nation Stunning photographs from A Portrait of Britain Regulars 6 – 9 The Brief Latest news from Christopher Ward and the wider world of watches 10 Classic Ward A second look at the W900 Belisama Diamond Automatic 11 Drawing board News on the next-generation C1 Moonphase 42 – 45 O-pinion L A in the 1970s, UK watch collection, poetry, best women’s podcasts 50 Great watch-wearers Marie Antoinette 34 – 37 The future is female Why watch companies are starting to target women 38 – 40 King of the roads The history of London’s King’s Road 46 – 49 His finest hour Industr y veteran Neil Duckworth on his new watch business Northern soul 24 — 27 Small is big 12 — 23 Future is female 34 — 37

CW sponsors elite Premiership Rugby

Christopher Ward has announced its sponsorship of the Gallagher Premiership, England’s leading Rugby Union competition.

“We’re incredibly proud to be Premiership Rugby’s new Official Timing Partner,” says CW’s finance director, Joe Keech. “Although it’s largely UK-centric, the Premiership has increased awareness in other important markets, such as Italy and France, where our association with the sport can only help.”

Mike France, CW CEO, believes there’s a sweet spot between rugby union fans and watch-lovers.

“From our research – yes, we do our research as well! – we learned that rugby is loved by many of our current and potential new customers. And so when we learned there was an opportunity to become the Gallagher Premiership’s Official Timing Partner, we jumped at the chance.”

Christopher Ward kicked off its sponsorship by providing three new inductees to the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame - Matt Banahan, Brad Barritt and Tom Youngswith an engraved C60 Trident Pro 300 each at Twickenham in May.

Try harder!

Latest news from Christopher Ward and the wider world of watches

Hello ‘Consort’!

Christopher Ward launches stunning new dress bracelet

The new ‘Consort’ bracelet will be available on the Sealander series before expanding across the CW range. Designer William Brackfield says: “The bracelet is thinner and more dressy than our regular ‘Bader’ bracelet. It also has more links per row, increasing comfort and flexibility.”

At just 3mm thick, the Consort has five links from left to right, with polished links around the centre of each row and polished flanks on the side. And while it will be first available on the latest Sealander

‘colour’ watches, it’s been engineered to fit any watch with CW’s quick-release system.

“The clasp is taken from The Twelve’s bracelet – though here there’s increased polishing,” says Will. “This makes it feel more luxurious and gives the wearer an undisturbed ‘journey’ around the bracelet. You might not notice the clasp, it’s so well-engineered.”

For Christopher Ward CEO Mike France, the Consort is a natural progression for the company – offering customers greater choice and enabling them to change the character of their watch without buying a new timepiece.

“A consort supports a monarch, and the Consort bracelet fulfils this role with a

What the press said about The Twelve

Christopher Ward’s new integrated watch, The Twelve, has been one of its most successful launches to date. And the watch press has been uniform in its praise.

“Christopher Ward has answered the prayers of watch fans the world over in creating something that ticks virtually every box in a fat, black marker pen,” says Andrew Morgan of Watchfinder & Co. “The Twelve benefits from a remarkable attention to detail and quality that makes you question the entire industry.”

Meanwhile, Ariel Adams of aBlogtoWatch believes, “the product not only puts a

smile on the face of wearers but also makes them feel immediately comfortable with what they paid for it”.

At Fratello, Ignacio Conde Garzón believes The Twelve delivers unbeatable value for money. “The watch offers design and highend features you'd expect from significantly pricier pieces from some big names in the industry at an unmatched price.”

Finally, Rikki from Scottish Watches is deeply impressed. “The finishing, the lack of movement on the bracelet and then that dial you can just fall deeply in love with,” he says. “I can't actually fault anything.”

watch. It’s subtle, refined and beautifully polished, giving it that high-end jewellery feel. The Twelve challenged us to think about our bracelet offering – the Consort results from what we learned.”

The Consort bracelet is available now

7 harder!


Hi Jason! What sort of content do you create on Complecto?

Our content aims to elevate underrepresented voices within the watch industry and help brands tell their stories to a broader audience than they may have historically engaged. Dynamic video content is the most exciting way to do this. But we’ve also published original editorial content series spotlighting members of our community during Women’s History Month in March, and our Watch Couture series, which is focused on personalisation and style.

When did Complecto begin?

I launched Complecto in April 2022 to create the kind of community I wanted to be a part of – one that lowered the barrier to entry, was hyper-intentional about diversity, and welcoming to collectors and

enthusiasts at every experience level. As a longtime collector, the lack of women and people of colour at events always struck me. And the historical lack of representation of women and people of colour in watch media seemed to reinforce these dynamics. It seemed a missed opportunity, and I wanted to address this directly.

Were there other obstacles?

A lack of access and education were big barriers to entry into the hobby. Figuring out where to start your journey can be intimidating, and finding a group of collectors willing to share their knowledge isn’t always easy. I wanted Complecto to be a safe space where people could come and learn, ask questions and be a source of inspiration, education and discovery.

Can you describe your members? Who are they?

Our community is incredibly diverse. Just watch any of our events or meet-up videos, and you’ll find collectors from all backgrounds and experience levels. Complecto is comprised of enthusiasts at every level of the hobby, and you’re just as likely to find someone wearing a high-end independent like De Bethune or FPJ, as you would a Seiko or Brew. Our members are creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, police officers and watch industry professionals. You name it: we’ve got it!

Tell us about your Back To Watch School education events

The series was produced in partnership with Bezel, a watch marketplace committed to authenticity, transparency and trustworthiness. The inspiration was our shared belief that a lack of transparency and education remains one of the biggest barriers to entry into the hobby. Our goal was to ‘peel the onion’ back on things like

Complecto is an inclusive Instagram watch community. We speak to its founder, Jason Gong, about why they welcome all watch-lovers

watch authentication and explore the different career paths available to those who want to join the watch industry.

How did you get into watches?

My journey started with my first Swatch – gifted to me on my eighth birthday. It was a translucent blue model on a yellow strap, and despite growing up in Brooklyn, NY, wearing it made me feel like Jacques Cousteau! From then, watches became a way to imagine all the different adventures I could aspire to experience. And as I became an adult, they came to represent and celebrate personal and professional milestones.

What are your favourite brands?

Of the mainstream ones, my favourite is Rolex. When you consider what they’ve been able to achieve from an industrial manufacturing and vertical integration perspective, it’s astonishing. In the world of independent haute-horology, I love Grönefeld. They’re producing some of the most interesting and beautifully finished watches in the industry.

And anyone else?

Christopher Ward has blown me away in the last couple of years. The C1 Moonglow and Bel Canto, in particular, are absolute standouts. The brand is bringing a level of design, finishing and complications unheard of at these price points. I believe this fusion of luxury, innovation and accessibility has made CW one of the most exciting brands in the industry. I look forward to adding one to my collection in the future!


Summer has a different feel in Biel – it’s quieter, there are fewer people around, and there’s a feeling of relaxation in the air. While businesses remain open for June and the first three weeks of July, many close for a month as we near August.

These block holidays are old-fashioned, but the Swiss CW team benefits from having everything shut down and being able to switch off. During the vacation, we enjoy the lake of Biel – and the vineyards next to it!

It certainly won’t be quiet at Christopher Ward in the coming months. We’re working flat-out on the production of the Bel Canto and upcoming new products for late autumn, while some new ‘Atelier’ products will appear over the next year or so.

We’ve hired watchmakers and people responsible for the quality control of the parts. With the growth of the brand and the higher quality demands, the atelier has to expand to cope. And we’ll continue to hire qualified staff in the future.

Looking back over the last few months, we’ve all been blown away by the reaction to The Twelve. On the day after launch we were able to discuss the watch with customers at the Windup Watch Fair in San Francisco. These conversations confirmed that we'd created a high-quality product at a reasonable price – something that made me and the team in Switzerland very happy.

Letter from Biel

Christopher Ward has always believed mechanical watchmaking should be available to as wide an audience as possible. And that includes making watches for women as well as men. The company has released a series of women’s watches over the years: one of which, the W900 Belisama Diamond Automatic, is now regarded as a classic.

Released in September 2012, the W900 Belisama Diamond Automatic was a sophisticated ladies’ watch that brought Cartier-style design together with the highest levels of watchmaking. Along with its sister model, the W90 Belisama Automatic, it was the only ladies’ watch the company made with an automatic movement.

The rectangular case was embedded with 30 diamonds in the bezel, while the Art Deco dial boasted ‘stretched’ Roman numerals at the ‘even’ numbers. When you turned the Belisama over, you’d see directly into the ETA 2671-2 movement – a touch demonstrating the piece’s quality.

“I’m incredibly proud of the W900 Belisama Diamond Automatic,” says CW co-founder Peter Ellis. “And while it never sold in the numbers we hoped it would, it demonstrated our commitment to creating timepieces for an audience that other watch companies often ignore. It was certainly ahead of its time!”

W900 Belisama Diamond Automatic


Release: 2023

The C1 Moonglow is one of Christopher Ward’s best-loved watches. Powered by the ingenious Calibre JJ04, it can monitor the moon accurately for a remarkable 128 years.

The success of Moonglow shows an appetite for the moonphase complication, especially Christopher Ward’s unique approach, which increases the size and texture of the ‘moon’ – placing it front and centre of the watch. Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed at No 1 Park Street.

“While we may tweak the C1 Moonglow in the future, we’ve been working on a new watch that uses it as a starting point, but takes it in a different direction,” says CW designer William Brackfield.

At present, details are sketchy, but William says the CW team have taken a less-is-more approach. “This watch reduces the Moonglow to its essentials so that it’s almost abstract,” he says. “And yet it still delivers the same moonphase functionality.”

Christopher Ward CEO Mike France has worked with William on the project. “The dial will surprise many people, not just with its simplicity, but because of the natural material we’ve made it from,” he says. “Suffice it to say it’ll provide the perfect background to the textured ‘moon’.

There’s another lunar connection. The new watch will be released at the end of October when the night sky will play host to a ‘hunter’s moon’ – a full moon that in times past indicated it was time to go hunting in preparation for winter.

“You could say it’s also the perfect time to go hunting for a new moonphase watch,” says Mike.



Reclaiming one of the classic watch sizes for men, while adding new accessibility for women, The Twelve (36) is one of the most radical pieces Christopher Ward has ever made

Words: Matt Bielby

The Twelve (36)

The Twelve, Christopher Ward’s first integrated bracelet watch since 2010’s C20 Lido, has been such a smash hit that additional variations were a certainty. Meet, then, one of the company’s least surprising (and radical) pieces: a fresh incarnation of The Twelve at the practical and inclusive size of 36mm.

What’s a couple of millimetres between friends? In most walks of life, not much. But in the world of watches, where everyone has an opinion, each millimetre matters. “I’ve got big wrists so I need a hefty timepiece,” say some. “Mine are skinny: anything large looks ridiculous,” claim others. What’s easy to forget, however, is that what seems big or small has as much to do with fashion as the watch itself.

Thirty-six millimetres then. For men, this is a classic, elegant size, the same width as the original Rolex Datejust, and larger than many vintage men’s watches (the likes of John Wayne and Muhammad Ali sported pieces far smaller than this). And for women, it’s visible and striking, but so wearable.

There’s a paradigm shift going on across the industry right now, with men’s watches getting smaller and ladies’ watches getting bigger. The Twelve (36) is where they meet in the middle.

And for Christopher Ward – which has long taken an ‘agender’ approach – this isn’t a man’s watch or a woman’s watch, it’s just a watch, and it’s up to you to decide if it works for you or not. What lends heft and strength to one sex offers crisp elegance to the other – and a feel-good factor to both.

The Twelve is Christopher Ward’s contribution to perhaps the hottest category in watchmaking in recent years, the integrated bracelet sports watch. Originally a high-end 1970s style – known for sharply creased edges and unusual bezel shapes –models boasted bracelets and watch heads that appeared to be hewn from a single piece of metal. Today, thanks to classics like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, integrated watches are read as confident, desirable and reassuringly expensive.

Or they were, until The Twelve arrived.

As is the Christopher Ward way, the task with The Twelve was to create a groundbreaking new version, with all the enticing looks and feel of the best of the breed, but very little of the cost. The result is strong, stylish and undeniably more jewellery-like than most Christopher Wards, a quiet riot of light play and sparkle, perfect for those with a bit of magpie in them – or who simply like to show off a little.

With The Twelve (36), intriguingly textured 3D dials – another feature of the classic integrated bracelet watch – come in a range of enticing colours, including Nordic Blue, a lighter Glacier Blue (both familiar from the 40mm version), plus a new twist on the bestselling Arctic White, which here becomes warmer, softer and dressier thanks to the use of rose gold hands and markers. Also exclusive to The Twelve (36) is a new shade – a pale green called Frosted Lichen.

And there’s another significant difference between the two Twelves: the 40mm


has a date window at six, while the 36mm has no date window at all. “To include one, we’d have to lose the entire six o’clock hour marker,” says CEO and co-founder Mike France. “On a smaller dial like this, we prefer the clean, simple look. It encouraged us to change the dial furniture too, so the hour markers are proportionately slimmer and perhaps even more elegant than on the larger version.”

On the reverse, the display caseback remains, but now features a snap-back design, again necessitated by the size. “There’s just not enough metal to have a screw back and retain the quick-release strap capability,” designer William Brackfield says. “And, as one of the joys of The Twelve is swapping between the bracelet and optional custom-designed rubber straps, keeping the quick-release was vital.” Happily, water resistance remains at 100m.

The Twelve (36) is a watch with incredibly broad appeal, but also one that lives or dies by its details. “See it in the metal and you’ll realise just what a remarkable achievement it is, especially in terms of design detail and level of finish,” says Mike. “The reaction we’re getting is astonishing.”

And key to this is that size – at the same time both shocking and anything but.

For most people, most of the time, 36mm simply works. Whoever you are, whatever your age or style or sex, you might find The Twelve (36) – like Baby Bear’s porridge – is just right.

Exclusive to
The Twelve (36) is a new shade – a pale green called Frosted
This isn’t a man’s watch or a woman’s watch…

it’s just a watch


The Twelve (36)

Diameter 36mm

Height 9.95mm

Lug to lug 40.8mm

Weight 56g

Strap width 22.5mm integrated

Case Stainless steel

Movement Sellita SW200-1 Automatic

Vibrations 28,800 per hour (4Hz)

Tolerance -/+ 20 seconds per day

Available now

Rubber - £850 | $995 | €1,095

Steel bracelet - £1,050 | $1,225 | €1,350

DJ Paulette

Manchester DJ and broadcaster

DJ Paulette has spent 30 years educating and entertaining with her impeccable musical selections

– and now she’s telling her story in a brilliant new memoir

Manchester has always been a musical place. From The Smiths to New Order, Stone Roses to the Happy Mondays and Oasis, you’d be hard-pressed to find another city with such a formidable pop heritage.

But if you know Manchester and understand the rhythms of life in Ardwick, Moss Side, Hulme, Old Trafford and Whalley Range, for at least 60 years, its musical pulse has been provided by the post-war West Indian immigrants (and their offspring).

Their clubs, dances and ‘blues’ parties may not have made headlines (or inspired walking tours), but without the jazz dancers, the early house music heads, and the mid-’80s breakdance crews on Market Street, there would have been no ‘Madchester’, and certainly no Haçienda nightclub.

Nobody personifies this cohort better than Paulette Constable – known to clubbers and radio listeners around the world as DJ Paulette. For 30 years, she’s been one of the key players in British dance music, and in 2022 won a Lifetime Achievement Award from DJ mag.

Now, she’s written a book, Welcome to the Club: The Life and Lessons of a Black Woman DJ. Described as both a memoir and a ‘call to arms’, according to its publisher, the book is “a celebratory exploration of the music industry and an attempt to do justice to the often-invisible women who keep its heart beating”.

Here, Paulette chats with Loupe to talk about everything from prejudice in the music industry to the power of perseverance and how it really feels to stand behind the decks.

Hi Paulette! Going back to the beginning. Was music always a big thing for you?

I come from a really musical family. My mum was a singer – she had a band that was big in Manchester. She’s also a jazz vocalist and performed at the Eisteddfod in Wales. Through the 1960s my parents were part-owners of the Ebony Club, one of the first integrated venues in Manchester – a place where black and white people could listen to music together.

We did loads of singing, I was one of those kids that would go on stage and sing

and dance. We didn’t get to the status of The Jacksons, but that’s who we modelled ourselves on when we went to the West Indian Centre. Through school I passed my Grade 2 violin when I was seven; me and my twin played in the school orchestra, and I can still play piano by ear. And yet, I didn’t want to do music production. I like records and I like music made by other people.

What was your first DJ gig like? Unpaid? No! I got paid! I went from my first gig to a residency at the Haçienda. I wasn’t planning to be a DJ. I was a clubber – and have been since I was 15 years old. My family are known in the Manchester clubbing set. We’re ‘faces’. A friend of a friend was putting on a party at the Number 1 club in Manchester. She’d run out of money to book a proper DJ and someone told her about my record collection, and that she should ask me. She said to me, “I’ll pay you £30,” – which was decent in 1992. “You’re playing from 9pm till 2am.” Without that booking, I wouldn’t be a DJ.


What life lessons has DJing taught you?

God, lots! In terms of politics it’s taught me patience. Like every job in the world, you have to do 10 times more as a black DJ, as you do as a white DJ – to get half as much ‘sunshine’.

Does being a northerner play against you as well?

Of course it does! In 1994, when I moved to London, and I had a residency at the Zap club in Brighton and regular dates at Heaven, I wanted to work in radio – I’d had a radio show in Manchester. I went for a meeting on this and was told I’d never get a show on the radio in London with a Manchester accent!

The north-south divide is real whatever job you’re in. If you’re in a job in London, you’ll find it harder to climb the ladder than if you’re ‘Jonty’ or ‘Camilla’ who went to private school. This teaches you resilience. DJing has taught me to be sure of who I am musically – and what I stand for in life. And to not be afraid of branching out and be curious. It makes you an explorer – you’re always looking for something!

Have you ever had a terrible gig?

Everyone has! You’ve been booked somewhere – and the music is totally different. Once I was doing a big party for a radio station in Paris. We always

had this party once a year in the Virgin store on the Champs Elysees. I’d played it before. I was a headliner. All these DJs are playing before me, I’m listening to the sound system and can tell something isn’t right. There’s feedback. I went on, and the guy before me said, “There’s only one CDJ working.” I said, “How have you managed?” – and he went, “Oh it’s just happened.”

Then what?

The place is full. I start off, and put my CD in. Nothing. I tried all four CDJs – only one was working. The crowd is starting to get a bit testy as the music’s stopped. I looked at the DG of the radio station and asked if there was a sound tech about, and he said, “Why don’t you sing?”. I lost it!

Tell us about your new memoir, Welcome To The Club

A normal person, no matter what industry they’re part of, will see themselves in it. In order to get an idea of how I’ve progressed through the last 30 years, I’ve drawn on the experiences of people who came up with me, employed me or DJed with me. There’s people like [BBC jazz DJ] Gilles Peterson, [legendary London DJ] Norman Jay, plus female DJs like Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy and BBC Radio 6 Music’s Jamz Supernova.

“DJing has taught me to be sure of who I am – and what I stand for”

The UK ‘acid house’ scene has a myth that says it began when four London DJs went to Ibiza and brought the culture back here. You say that’s not the case…

At the same time it was starting, there were lots of other parties that weren’t archived or talked about because they happened in the north of England. It’s the same with the contribution of black people in London – that’s why Norman Jaye’s commentary is so essential because we’ve not been counted into any of it. In any job or discipline, whatever difference you make might be overlooked by the gatekeepers.

But the book also tells the pandemic story and how we came out of it: what we missed, what we could have done and what we did to rescue our culture, which looked like it was going to be destroyed. But it’s not all serious – it’s music, it’s funny, there are loads of laughs in there!

Going back to the job of DJing itself: can you tell us about how you feel before you play?

Nervous! I’ve been DJing for 30 years –and it’s never changed. And following lockdown it’s got worse. That feeling is adrenaline and it’s also anticipation. I always want to do my best. Ten minutes before my set I’m reading the room. If my friends are with me, I can’t pay them any attention, because I’m looking at the clubbers. Who’s dancing? What are they dancing to? What tracks are working? What tracks aren’t? Is it the bass people like? Or the hi-hats? There’s a lot to take in!

Do you plan your sets?

I’ve never planned one in my life! I don’t tailor playlists to a party, because you can come a cropper. If the crowd doesn’t react as you think, you can mess up. Shorter sets are harder. You have to nail it straightaway. I’m not someone who likes to walk away from a gig feeling like they haven’t done their best. I’m there to give them a good experience – they’re not there for me. They’ve paid to have an experience. I have a responsibility to entertain. It’s not the big ‘I am’ it’s the big ‘We share’!

Welcome to the Club: The Life and Lessons of a Black Woman DJ is published by Manchester University Press, and will be available in the autumn

28 Photo book


Britain is a nation in flux. A country that manages to be both profoundly traditional and intensely modern. That reveres its history but is also uncomfortable with portions of its past. A magnet to immigrants, London has become Europe’s New York, taking in the tired, poor (and notso-poor) masses in search of a better life.

These recent changes have sparked endless conversations about what it means to be British and how the country can welcome people from all over the world while maintaining a cohesive national identity.

The Portraits of Britain photo book series, which began in 2018, is an impor-

tant part of these discussions. The latest incarnation (the fifth) has a selection of intimate portraits that say much about the state of the nation.

These include a man wearing an Elizabethan-style ruff made from plastic, an MP with her baby son in parliament, and a Zimbabwean environmental activist looking chic in a studied portrait. All British life is here.

As the publisher says: “These honest portraits offer an alternative view of our shared identity, an eclectic celebration of Britishness and an uplifting account of the triumphs and struggles of the people who inhabit these isles.”

And while the British may often seem at odds with each other (especially on social media), this collection shows that, for the most part, the majority of people rub along nicely: no matter where they’re from.

Portrait of Britain 5 is published by Hoxton Mini Press, hoxtonminipress.com

A new photo book shows that despite its recent changes, Britain remains as beautifully strange as ever
Page 28: Grayson Perry by Manuel Vazquez, London Page 30: Ruvimbo by John Boaz, Milton Keynes Page 31: Jonny Goode at Pride by Gabrielle Motola, Margate Page 32: MP Stella Creasy and son, Pip, by Rachel Louise Brown, Houses of Parliament, London Page 32: Renaissance Of Plastic Waste by Danielle Kalinovskis, London Page 33: Unsung by Olufemi Olaiya, Buster Hill, Petersfield

With celebrity endorsements and stylish innovations to the fore, is the women’s watch market finally living up to its potential?

asks Laura McCreddie-Doak
Women’s watches

The future is

You could argue that it all started with Queen Elizabeth I, who was gifted a tiny clock set into a bracelet by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in 1571. Or with another queen, this one in France – one Marie Antoinette who patronised watchmaker Abraham Louis-Breguet throughout her life, even sending him a commission from prison.

But it’s probably best to fastforward to 2009 and chart the beginning of a sea change in women’s watches with Patek Philippe’s Ladies First Chronograph. At the opening of the new showrooms on the Place Vendôme, the brand launched its firstever in-house column wheel-controlled chronograph movement – the CH 29535 PS calibre.

Nothing new there, except it also announced that this calibre would have its first outing inside a women’s watch, the Ladies First Chronograph


(above); something that was unheard of at the time. Prior to this, women had two options – ‘shrink and pinks’ (men’s watches made smaller, given a quartz movement and a pink dial), or wearing a man’s watch; something popularised by Jemima Khan when then-boyfriend Hugh Grant gifted her a Panerai.

That Patek Philippe would launch a manufacture first and do so in a women’s watch signified a shift; an acknowledgement by Switzerland that women wanted more. They wanted proper mechanics in a watch designed specifically for them.

Other brands took note. IWC, a brand that had proudly claimed it was “engineered for men” in 2014 unveiled the Portofino Midsize – a collection designed exclusively for women with a sophisticated black and white ad campaign shot by Peter Lindbergh, starring Emily Blunt and Cate Blanchett (above-right) in dinner suits.

Montblanc followed suit with its Boheme launch. The horizons were broadened thanks to fashion houses starting to take watches seriously too, bringing with them a sartorial sensibility that was lacking in most Swiss manufacturers.

In 2011, Dior launched a masterclass in how to marry complicated mechanics with breathtaking beauty with its Grand Bal line. These timepieces had the rotor mounted on the dial; clever, but the real stroke of genius was turning this necessary yet boring bit of machinery into a couture spectacle.

By connecting the movement of the rotor to the swish of one of Dior’s famous ballgowns, it transformed this piece of metal into a catwalk. It has since been woven with lace, turned into a fan of feathers, and even decorated with beetle wings.

The other crossover pioneer has been Chanel. The likes of the J12 and the Premiere were just the tip of the ballet pump. After the success of the Monsieur de Chanel, a surprising men’s watch that housed its first in-house movement, Chanel turned its attention to its women’s watches. Its Calibre 2 took Mlle’s favourite

flower, the camelia, and rendered its architecture as a skeletonised movement housed in the iconic outlines of the Premiere case. It was beauty and brains combined and was a mere taste of where Chanel was going to take its watches.

There was the Calibre 3, which had movement parts that were galvanically grown, watch dials that showcased couture sewing techniques, and creating timepieces inspired by seamstresses pin cushions, with 2023’s Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles collection, blurring the lines between couture and watchmaking.

And these names are just the headlines. Name any brand and you’ll find that their women’s lines are now as well thoughtout, designed and executed as its men’s. Breitling has created a non-patronising feminised version of its Navitimer, a proper pilot’s watch for women; Vacheron Constantin launched its Egerie collection,


which is a celebration of couture techniques, and Zenith’s Defy Midnight line opened the door to a female-oriented integrated bracelet design that isn’t a Royal Oak. The list could go on.

This isn’t just a marketing ploy, it’s making brands money. According to a 2021 report by Allied Market Research, watches priced above $1,000 sold to women in 2019 accounted for $23.7bn, which equates to 54.4 percent of the market. This figure is expected to rise to $26.7bn by 2025. The likes of Watches of Switzerland

have reported sales of women’s watches growing, while on a brand level, JaegerLeCoultre’s sales of its famed Reverso are split 50/50 along gender lines.

However, just as women’s watches are having a moment, many brands are removing gendered categories from their communications altogether. On Christopher Ward’s website there is no filter for gender, Zenith is grouping according to case size now, and Girard-Perregaux arranges its watches by collection. There are arguments both ways. Removing gender from the conversation (many argue it shouldn’t be there in the first place) means that one’s watch choices aren’t scrutinised along traditional gender lines. What’s stopping a man, or anyone for that matter, from wearing a 28mm diamond-set creation other than public opinion? But the concern is, as there isn’t gender parity in R&D departments or at many of the top-level decision-making

roles in watch brands, the default design position in creating a gender-neutral design will always be ‘male’ because there’s no one else in the room.

Maybe this isn’t the way the problem should be addressed, and it’s the parameters that need to change. Perhaps we need a paradigm shift – a whole new design language created that doesn’t rely on time-worn binaries.

These binaries are already breaking down. Hip-hop stars love of a ‘bussdown’ (that’s custom-setting a watch with diamonds to you and me) means that diamonds are no longer just a girl’s best friend, while one of the hottest dial shades this year is pink, with Idris Elba being papped wearing the new Gucci 25H in a delightful ‘Pepto Bismol’ shade. The Met Gala red carpet this year was full of men wearing dress watches with sub-40mm cases, something that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. What more could be achieved if watch brands ditch the gendered expectations of size, colour, stone setting, and rethink ‘the watch’ entirely? Now that would be exciting, however you identify.

King's Road

If you love 20th-century pop culture, you’ll have heard of the King’s Road. From the epicentre of the ’60s ‘swinging London’ to the ground zero of punk rock in all its safety pins-and-glue-sniffing glory, the King’s Road has a mythical status for UK arts. In a comprehensive and incredibly entertaining book, author Max Décharné tells the history of this west London street, while here Max talks to Loupe about the people and places that have made it so special.

Hi Max! When did the King’s Road get its global reputation as an epicentre of ‘cool’?

It was TIME magazine’s April 1966 article, London: The Swinging City that did it. According to its writer, Piri Halasz, the piece remains the most commented-on cover of TIME magazine in its history. But the article was a flashpoint for something that had been building up for at least a decade. In 1955, Mary Quant opened Bazaar, her first boutique on the King’s Road.I interviewed her for the book, and she said by 1960, she was flying to New York once a month as she was doing so much business in the American market.

It wasn’t just a fashion thing, was it?

At one end of the King’s Road is the Royal Court theatre, and in the 1950s you had the ‘angry young men’ playwrights coming out of there with productions like John Osborne’s Look Back In Anger. The idea

that a play he wrote while living on a barge on the Thames would be opening on Broadway within two years was unthinkable. A lot of theatre directors like Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson also became film directors, making ‘kitchen sink’ dramas like Saturday Night And Sunday Morning and A Taste Of Honey, which became hits around the world. They starred ‘cheeky northerners’ like Albert Finney – and that softened everybody up for The Beatles.

What was the reaction abroad?

People started thinking, “Where’s all this happening? Why should we care what’s going on with England?” I’ve got copies of the New Yorker from the 1950s and the only adverts that mention Britain are for shortbread, Scotch whisky or to do with Windsor Castle. The Time cover was from a cumulative effect of Mary Quant’s mini-skirts and The Beatles. Who, incidentally, used to stay at the Sloane Square Hotel at one end of the King’s Road, before they moved to London.

Can you tell us about the beginnings of the King’s Road?

If you go back to Tudor times, Henry VIII had a place in Chelsea, then a tiny village

outside London. His former friend Thomas More owned a large house there: when More got his head chopped off, Henry inherited the land! By the 17th century, after we’d had that minor disagreement between Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I, Charles II built the King’s Road, so he could get between his palace at Hampton Court and London. It was a private road, but if you were wealthy, you could get a ‘medal’ stamped with the Royal Seal on it and use it yourself. That stayed until 1830.

When did the association with creativity begin?

The 18th century. If you lived in those times, you might go to the various pleasure gardens around London – and one opened in Chelsea, Ranelagh Gardens near the Royal Hospital. In 1762, you could see Mozart, aged eight, doing a performance at Ranelagh. A couple of decades earlier, Handel also performed one of his major pieces there. You’d also find high-class ‘ladies of the night’ and fashionable ‘quack doctors’!

That continued to the 19th century. Jane Austen lived in Chelsea while Edgar Allan Poe went to school in the area. Later, pre-Raphaelite artists like Dante Gabriel Rossetti moved to Chelsea, and it became an artists’ colony full of purpose-built studios. Oscar Wilde lived there when he was writing, Mark Twain had rooms nearby as did Bram Stoker when he wrote Dracula!

What about into the 20th century?

Chelsea was heavily bombed in World War II. There were people living there as you could look different, and not get beaten up. Quentin Crisp [outwardly gay writer and actor] lived there for 30 or 40

“Charles II built the King’s Road to go between Hampton Court and London”
London’s King’s Road is a byword for a particularly British brand of cool – but what caused this unremarkable thoroughfare to become the world’s hippest street? Author Max Décharné has the answers

years before moving to New York. Same with George Melly and Noël Coward. Ian Fleming lived there and in the early 1950s began to write the James Bond books. Bond lived on an unnamed square off the King’s Road. There was obviously something in the water!

The King’s Road’s second ‘golden age’ was around punk. How did that scene begin?

It all happened in the ‘World’s End’ down towards the Fulham end of King’s Road –it’s named after a pub that’s been there since the 17th century. It was always the cheap end of Chelsea, and into the 1970s you could get a bedsit there for very little rent. In 1971, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren started out at 430 King’s Road which had been a series of boutiques with names like Hung On You, Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage – the latter of which was having problems. So Westwood and McLaren started squatting and set up a stall in the back of the shop. The day after they opened up for business, the manager of the main shop didn’t show up so they just took over the whole store!

Were they ‘punk’ from the start?

They certainly wanted to shock. They tried teddy-boy gear, then rubberwear and fetish stuff. Malcolm then went to New York trying to revive the career of The New York Dolls. He’d seen what New York punks

looked like – especially singer Richard Hell with his ripped-up shirts, T-shirts and spiky hair – and wanted to start something of his own here.

Did this lead to the Sex Pistols?

They auditioned Johnny Rotten at the Roebuck pub in 1975. It was very bohemian – Francis Bacon and Peter O’Toole drank in there – plus lots of old geezers. It was cosmopolitan, but not snobby. The pub next door, The Man In The Moon became a punk venue – Adam & The Ants and X-Ray Spex played there. There was also an important record shop three doors down, called Town Records. It stocked all the things – like US imports – that other places couldn’t get. It became a magnet for suburban punks.

Did you visit it yourself?

I’m from Portsmouth, and went up there, but even by the late 1970s I felt like I’d missed out. In 1981, I was living across the river in Battersea. I’d walk up Oakley Street, and go past one blue plaque for the polar explorer ‘Scott of the Antarctic’, then past David Bowie’s old place, the property where Oscar Wilde’s mother lived, and the house

where Bob Marley And The Wailers stayed when they were put up by Island Records. But it had already moved on.

When did the King’s Road become just another road?

My book deliberately finishes in 1979. Even though there were interesting boutiques there in the ’80s, you couldn’t set up a shop or live there on a tight budget. And who was living in Flood Street – where they shot the cover for The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper – but Margaret Thatcher! She moved there to Downing Street in 1979, and what followed was the ‘Loads-a-money’ decade of the 1980s. It’s interesting, the Saatchi Gallery is now on King’s Road in the old Duke of York’s barracks. And who ran the ad campaign for Margaret Thatcher in 1979? The Saatchis!

King’s Road by Max Décharné is published by Omnibus Press, out now

‘Spelunker’: try saying that a mile underground

Let’s hear it for the ‘spelunkers’ – the heroic subterranean explorers of the 1970s. And the inspiration behind ‘GMT-explorer’ watches, which provided 24-hour timekeeping for light-starved cavers. Now we’ve resurrected the genre with the C63 Sealander GMT. Not only does it boast a twin timezone movement, a hi-vis 24-hour hand and a dial that’s as legible as it is beautiful, but you don’t have to be a spelunker to wear one. Want to know more?

Do your research.


Shore thing

In late 20th century California, if you wanted to see its citizens at play you would head to the beach. Populated with lifeguards, roller-skaters and beauty queens, its focus on a form of beauty that was defiantly skin-deep was a precursor to today’s selfie society.

Into this sun-soaked paradise stepped photographer Tod Papageorge. Beginning his career in New York – and most famous for his shots of celebrity disco, Studio 54 –Papageorge first visited LA’s beaches in 1975. He returned in 1978, 1981 and 1988 – adding to a body of work that’s now been collated in a book, At The Beach

“With these pictures, I worked with the belief that the closer I came to describing the literal nature of the place and people I was photographing, the more surprising the pictures that came out of that process might be,” says Papageorge. “All while transforming (I hoped), the casual,

unselfconscious physicality of these beachgoers moving from the boardwalks onto the sand and back again into form and meaning.”

The images show a city at ease with itself, its people perhaps struggling to believe its good fortune. There are countless bikinis, endless tanned torsos and perhaps a little too much volleyball – in short, the epitome of the American dream, if your dream involves good-looking people reading Jackie Collins novels on the beach.

One final thought. Some of these photographs are 48 years old. And while they retain the timeless, chic modernity of 1970s California, their Pepsi-Cola-Fleetwood Mac world is as removed from us as the late 1920s were to them. The torsos may not be quite as taut, too.

At The Beach is published by Stanley Barker

Culture that’s worthy of your time
The sunny beaches of 1970s Los Angeles are the subject of a illuminating new photo book that puts the body beautiful front and centre

The day out

The Harris Clock Collection, Belmont House

While museums and art galleries in the UK have their fair share of horological treasures (witness Thomas Barry’s Astronomical Clock at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), one of the country’s best watch and clock collections can be found in the panelled rooms of Belmont House, a stately home in Faversham, Kent.

The creation of George St. Vincent, the fifth Baron Harris, the collection features 340 clocks and watches, mostly from between 1750-1850 – the so-called ‘golden age’ of English clockmaking.

Lord Harris fell in love with horology in the early 20th century, and spent the rest of his life collecting – and servicing – a wide array of timepieces. He also served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and was founding president of the Antiquarian Horological Society.

The collection is a treasure trove for any lover of traditional clockmaking, and features several Breguet pocket watches (including a stunning five-minute repeater), an eight-day table clock by John Fromanteel and a month-going ‘audience-timer’ by Antide Janvier. Belmont House is open all year, but if you’d like a more curated experience of the collection, the venue also offers guided tours every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until the end of September.


The podcasts Podcasts for women

First up, The Guilty Feminist with Deborah Frances-White. This award-winning podcast explores the complexities of modern feminism with humour and honesty (there’s a reason it’s had over 100 million downloads in seven years). Host Frances-White interviews a wide range of guests, from comedians to politicians, to discuss everything from body image to workplace equality.

If you’re looking for something a little more nourishing (literally), Gabby Logan’s The Midpoint may be to your taste. In every episode, Logan digs deep into all the intricacies of middle adulthood and talks to nutritionists, sleep gurus and even doctors specialising in hormone treatment.

For fans of self-help podcasts, Francesca Amber’s The Law Of Attraction Changed My Life is one to download. The ’cast covers a wide range of topics related to the law of attraction, including how to use it to manifest your dreams, overcome limiting beliefs, and create a positive mindset.

Finally, Outspoken Beauty with Nicola Bonn. Even though its focus is beauty, Bonn talks to experts – and big stars –about everything from skincare to body image, and always challenges the status quo.


The novel Money by

Following Amis’s death in May, we’re reprinting this 2020 review by Helen

of his most famous novel

The ultimate consumer novel, and a product of its time, Martin Amis’s Money is an evocation of the cities, the commercials, the appetites and the pornography of 1980s London and New York.

Its central character, John Self directly addresses readers: “Hey, brother. Listen, sister,” experimenting with a new way of being a narrator. In some of its postmodern moments, the narrator brings us along with his small cast of central characters, straight into the novel’s action, resulting in a hall-ofmirrors reading which feels as much like the onslaught of life experiences he describes in his excessive, trippy story.

Bouncing along in an energetic tone, the story gradually tightens its screws of meaning on the reader. As aspects of the human condition are examined through anti-hero Self’s lived experience (love, loyalty, financial security, physical health), we read on just as voraciously as Self consumes his way through life.

If in this novel, Amis was experimenting with the extremes he could push a character’s experience and his authorial standpoint, then one of the results he may have hoped for is his reader’s repudiation of the lifestyle being evoked here.

But was it meant as a moralistic tract? Unlikely, it’s far too nihilistic. Now in the 2020s, we’ve lived through nearly four more decades of global commercialisation and consumption than its first readers did in 1984. As Self concludes: for all his money, his imprint on the world would not seem to have made any changes.

My life is measur’d by this glasse, this glasse

By all those little Sands that thorough passe.

See how they presse, see how they strive, which shall With greatest speed and greatest quicknesse fall.

See how they raise a little Mount, and then

With their owne weight doe levell it agen.

But when th’ have all got thorough, they give o’er Their nimble sliding downe, and move no more.

Just such is man whose houres still forward run, Being almost finisht ere they are begun;

So perfect nothings, such light blasts are we, That ere we’re aught at all, we cease to be.

The poem On An Houre-Glasse

It’s not the first occasion we’ve highlighted a poem that ruminates on the relentless march of time in O-pinion. And this, by John Halle, is particularly humbling, comparing humanity to the sands of an hourglass.

As the sand in hourglass trickles away, Hall reflects upon the transient nature of life itself, inviting us to contemplate the brevity of human existence and our own mortality. The message is simple: cherish the present and recognize the value in each passing moment.



Duckworth Prestex

When it comes to the British watchmaking industry, Neil Duckworth has seen and done it all – and now with his own brand, Duckworth Prestex, he’s creating a set of timepieces which would do anyone proud


Few people have had as much influence on the British watch landscape as Neil Duckworth. Beginning his career at his family’s jewellers, Prestons of Bolton, Neil became the UK distributor for TAG Heuer in the 1980s, helping it become one of the most popular watch brands in the country.

In 2020, with time on his hands because of the pandemic, Neil decided to resurrect Prestex, the in-house watch brand of Prestons of Bolton. Using the name, Duckworth Prestex, he designed a set of timepieces inspired by Prestex’s designs but with larger case sizes and modern style flourishes.

Today, Duckworth Prestex produces five collections, with more to come later in the year, all of which fulfil Neil’s promise to produce “practical, affordable, innovative and exciting watches that can be worn daily for any occasion”.

Here, we talk to Neil about the DNA of Duckworth Prestex, how he helped TAG Heuer multiply its sales and what it felt like to play the piano with a Beatle.

Hi Neil! You began your working career at Prestons of Bolton – AKA ‘the diamond centre of the north’…

I started working there in 1976, aged 21. On a Saturday, there’d be a queue about 100 yards long all day. A typical jeweller would sell one or two diamond engagement rings a week. Prestons of Bolton would sell 200 on a Saturday! And they’d come from all over.

How was your family involved?

Prestons was founded in 1869 by James Preston. He hired Gertrude Duckworth when she was a teenager, and she inherited the business when he died. She was feisty and ran the shop with my grandfather, Frank Duckworth. He died, and then, when she passed, my father took over in 1948. Prestons wanted to sell their own watches.

Like every other jeweller, they’d source timepieces in Switzerland and put their names on them. My grandfather had the presence of mind to call the Prestons watch ‘Prestex’. As the ‘ex’ suffix denoted luxury.

How long did this last?

Prestex was discontinued in the 1960s, as everyone craved Swiss watches – Omega, Longines or Rolex. No one wanted own-brand watches, even though they were made in Switzerland! Prestons used to sell enormous amounts of Omega watches: they were the largest stockists outside London, and I sold them for six years.

How did you become a dealer ?

We used to sell Heuer and Omega stopwatches. Heuer would close their subsidiary in London because of the ‘quartz crisis’ and had to raise capital. We got a call: “Do you want the exclusive rights to sell Heuer stopwatches in the UK?” I said: “I wouldn’t mind, but I’d want the exclusive of the whole brand, not just stopwatches.” We made them an offer, and they accepted. I knew nothing about watch distribution!

We bought their entire UK stock for £60,000 and, in 1982, set up a new company to distribute their watches in the UK called HeuerTime UK Ltd. The stopwatches were boring, but I saw in their watch collection – which was five percent of their business – some cool dive watches and chronographs. A Heuer looked like a Rolex, was made in Switzerland and was an eighth of the price! I went to the Swiss and said: “We can make it great if we do two things. First, focus on watches – you’ve got a fabulous product –and two, advertise. I suggest we spend £80,000.”

What’s the difference between Heuer and Tag Heuer?

The Heuer GM in Switzerland rang me and told me they were being bought by TAG, a Swiss-Saudi conglomerate based in Geneva. They were in Formula 1 and owned TAG McLaren, with arms in banking and insurance.

They rebranded Heuer as TAG Heuer. I thought I’d lose the contract. I called the owner in 1986 to say congratulations and said: “I’m about to spend £80,000 on advertising in the UK: is my contract safe?” He said, “If you’re spending £80,000, your money’s well invested.” I said, “That’s good enough for me.” They brought in new management and extra funds for product development, sponsorship and advertising. And then it took off – the UK was 50 percent of European business when I left in 2001.

Moving onto the present day and your own watch brand, Duckworth Prestex…

I’d thought about launching it in 2017 but was dissuaded by some friends. But in 2020, with plenty of time, I thought, “Let’s do it”. I was so excited once I got going. Designing the products and seeing the prototypes


come through was brilliant! I was going to call the brand Duckworth, but my mother reminded me that my grandfather and father made ‘Prestex’ watches. However, I also wanted my name on the brand. Eventually, I decided to use both Duckworth and Prestex. Patek Phillippe does it, Vacheron Constantin does it – why not me?

What’s the link with Prestex?

I had a small collection of original Prestex watches and built up the collection by buying more off eBay. One particular model struck me: a 1939 cushion-shaped gent’s watch. I’ve copied this for my watches and used the same numerals and minute ring. The original is only 29-30mm wide – that’s too small – ours are either 39mm or 42mm. But they all have that cushion-shaped case, distinguishing us from other brands. In terms of price, I wanted it to be accessible – above £500, but less than £1,000. That means I use Japanese Miyota movements. They’re excellent quality and cost a lot less than Swiss ones.

Tell us about the different models…

My first watch was the ‘Bolton’, which has an unusual Art Deco font. Then there’s the Belmont dive watch, named after a village north of Bolton where I used to go sailing as a kid. The next model is the Rivington, named after another place near Bolton, and that will be a GMT – out in October. Instead of a wave pattern on the dial, it’ll have a waffle and come in four different colours, with a bidirectional ceramic bezel, 24-hour hand and applied markings. It’s our first GMT and our highest spec yet.

You seem very keen on Bolton…

I am! And I’m still a supporter of Bolton Wanderers!

Finally, there’s a photo of you at the piano with George Harrison. What’s the story?

During my time at TAG Heuer, I met many interesting people, from Nick Mason of Pink Floyd to F1 drivers like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. One night in 1997, I went for dinner at Ron Dennis’s house – he was the principal of TAG McLaren. He told me to bring my guitar – and I also took the singer Kiki Dee, a friend of mine. I drove to his house, walked in and saw George Harrison. I thought, “Bloody hell!” He said, “I’m George,” I thought, “I know that.”

Go on…

There were about 12 of us. George was quite a wag, a typical Scouser. After dinner, Lisa Dennis said, “Will you play a tune when we go through to the other room?” I said, “You’ve got to be joking, there’s a bloody Beatle there.” She gripped my arm tighter and said, “I want you to play a tune”. So I said to George, “Do you mind if I play one of yours?” He said, “No, as long as I get the royalties.” I sat down at the piano and played Something, his most famous tune. And to the man who wrote it! He applauded and said, “That was great!” Amazing!

Back to the present day: you’re a member of the Alliance of British Watch & Clockmakers. Why?

It’s been extraordinarily beneficial – it’s such a welcoming organisation. In my old career with TAG Heuer, other brands were the enemy. You didn’t share information, and you didn’t fraternise with them. Not so in today’s world of micro brands. We’re all supportive of each other. CW CEO Mike France and watchmaker Roger Smith set up the Alliance and it’s been fantastic – it gets the whole watch community talking. Now I’m looking to do a collaboration!

For more, visit duckworthprestex.com

“Designing the products, seeing the prototypes come through was brilliant!”

Celebrities have long been associated with iconic watches. Some – like Paul Newman – even lend their name to their timepieces. But the most famous and complex celebrity watch was never worn by the person it was designed for. We’re talking about the Breguet No. 160 Grand Complication, a work of perhaps the most celebrated watchmaker of them all: Swiss horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Commissioned in 1783 by an unknown French army officer, the watch was made for the Queen Marie Antoinette of France, who admired Breguet’s work and owned several of his watches. According to the Breguet watch company today, Marie Antoinette was a regular visitor to the workshop on the Quai de l’Horloge, and a keen proponent of his timepieces – the original influencer.

Breguet spent years working on the 60mm timepiece, incorporating numerous complications such as a perpetual calendar, minute repeater and even a thermometer, while the self-winding movement was accurate to +/- 60 seconds per year. Sadly, the intended

recipient never saw the completed watch, as she and her husband, Louis XVI, were captured by French Revolutionaries in 1792 and put in the Temple prison. Inevitably, she met her end at the guillotine in 1793.

The Marie Antoinette watch, however, did live on and was completed in 1802 at a cost of 30,000 francs (over six times the cost of Breguet's other major work, No. 92). The ‘Marie Antoinette’ remained in the possession of the Breguet company until it was sold to Sir Spencer Brunton in 1887, eventually finding its way into the collection of Breguet expert Sir David Lionel Salomons in the 1920s.

In 1983, the watch was stolen from the Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem – though recovered two years later. Today, the Breguet No. 160 Grand Complication is on display in Jerusalem, while a replica can be found at the Breguet Museum in Paris.

A coda. In September 1792, as she awaited her fate, Marie Antoinette asked Breguet to send her “a simple Breguet watch”, which she received at her cell in Temple prison. Once a great watch-wearer, always a great watch-wearer.

Great watch-wearers 50

Less metal. Same mettle.

When asked for feedback on the C60 Trident, our Forum said “…make one that still gets noticed, without feeling its presence as much on your wrist.” This new C60 Trident Pro 300 is the result. Same widths. Same lug-to-lugs. Yet an average 1.75mm lower pro le across the range. By using a sapphire case back, it’s an average 14.67g lighter, too. This means its depth rating is now only as good as a Submariner. To compensate: we’ve added extra lume, a new bezel and an optional screwed-link bracelet. Plus actual compensation of £94 average saving. Less. And more, then? Do your research.



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