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Category: british watchmaking

Charles Frodsham & Co: Independently Driven

Nine years ago, in a piece in the BHI’s Horological Journal, Derek Pratt FBHI set out a history of double-wheel escapements. The article encapsulated many ideas and approaches, from Breguet’s échappement naturel, to Daniels’ Independent Double-Wheel and Co-Axial Escapements, and described Derek’s own work to further develop these ideas into the…

Struthers London: breathing new life into old movements

Original source: Ebers, Georg. "Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque." Volume 1. Cassell & Company, Limited: New York, 1878. p 187.
Representation of the Bennu (1878) – Original source: Ebers, Georg. “Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque.” Volume 1. Cassell & Company, Limited: New York, 1878. p 187.

There’s an Egyptian deity associated with creation and rebirth, Bennu. Bennu was often portrayed in the guise of a heron, or possibly a wagtail, and played an important role in the ancient Egyptian creation myth as well as being a focal point for sun worship at Heliopolis.

Through a glass, darkly

Roger W Smith, photographed in 2013
Roger W Smith, photographed in 2013

There’s a lack of transparency in watchmaking. This isn’t news – the history of clock and watch production is littered with companies that use (or have used) partners, third parties, suppliers and agents to design, build, manufacture, power, cover or finish their pieces. Just look at the world of pocketwatches, where the point (and indeed location) of sale was often far more important than the movement within. However, even two hundred years on, in a world in which no information is secure, few of these relationships are disclosed, and many remain relatively unknown, even to the horological cognoscenti.

Ellisian Fields

When I first met Giles Ellis (creator, owner, guru) and Matt Hopwood (designer, musician, collector of English love stories) at SalonQP almost three years ago, I was struck by two things: their beards. Actually, I was struck by their watches (the  Signalman) and their passion. Whether they were describing the angle of the chamfered case, the exact dimensions of the crown, or the aluminium cigar tube that they included as a gift for the first few buyers, it was all about the design – or rather, the integrity of the design. From the Signalman watch box to the highly embossed business cards, from the handmade strap changing tool to the height of the domed crystal, from the power reserve indicator to the use of zero at twelve, every element of the watches, straps and paraphernalia had been designed. Nothing had been left to chance.

Taking flight

The Bremont Wright Flyer
The Bremont Wright Flyer

When the English brothers took to the small stage in the Science Museum’s Flight Gallery last Wednesday evening in front of an invited audience of Bremont owners, retailers, press, ‘bloggers and their staff, it was to announce, with some pride, their latest limited edition. In what has become an annual tradition, Bremont has developed a series of watches over the past three years that have incorporated historically significant items: oak and copper/brass from HMS Victory; paper from the code-breaking bombes in Bletchley; and now some of the original 1903 wing-covering material from the first ever powered flight – the Wright Flyer.

D L C

There’s a brief moment, after the long rains, when the storms break. The sun claws its way through the blackness to throw dappled rays across the sky like a Sugimoto seascape. The darkness pierced; mottled shadows suddenly sharp; glass and steel record perfect reflections; everything glows.