Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another UK brand you may not (yet) have seen

Fraser Timepiece Company (@frasertimeco) is a new brand from Scottish-born product designer, architectural model maker, CG visualiser and photographer Gordon Fraser. Fraser has a background in Rapid Prototyping, and has spent the last two years designing a range of quartz and mechanical watches with a strong design DNA, and simple, almost austere aesthetics. The first of these - the ONE44 Chronograph and the ONE44 Mechanical - have recently been announced on Watchuseek, the well-known Dutch watch forum. 

The Fraser Timepiece Company's ONE44 Mechanical watch
The watches are (as the name might suggest) 44mm wide, and share bead-blasted matte dials, lime green highlights and the brand's large circular logo. I particularly like the design of the ONE44 Mechanical (above), with its large, uncluttered appearance, sandwich dial and bead-blasted case from German manufacturer Fricker. The movement is the veritable 6498-1 manual, with côtes de genève finish, although there is an upgrade available whereby the movement will be guilloché, PVD'd and finished in lime green accents by well-known movement decorator Jochen Benzinger. I'm seriously considering this model, although I'm also very keen on the Bremont BC-S2 SE from ATG Vintage Watches and the Schofield Watches Signalman - and I'm not sure that I'll get away with buying all three. 

Coming next year (hopefully) is the ONE44 COG, a quartz-powered chrono with large date and oversized sub-seconds.  I say hopefully, as it can be notoriously difficult for young start-ups at the moment - with the notable exception of e-pebble, which seems to have captured the imagination of the Twitterati (with the help of a Tweet or two from @greatdismal). The e-pebble project on Kickstarter has raised around £1.5m already - equivalent to pre-orders of over 25,000 units. However, with mechanical watches from new start-ups generally costing between £250-£750, one imagines that there are fewer people willing to take the risk.

The ONE44 is limited to 35 pieces, and is available to pre-order at £750 (or £1200 for the Special Edition). I note from the list of Lighthouse investors that WUS-owner Ernie Romers is down for both the ONE44 Mechanical and the Chronograph. A ringing endorsement.  

Follow the Fraser Timepiece Company on Twitter here @frasertimeco.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Guest Post: Buying the Brand

The #watchnerd was honoured to receive a submission from fellow Twitterite, @valdarrant. In this, the first (but hopefully not last) guest post, Val introduces us to the concept of "buying the brand" - i.e. purchasing a watch (or two) that represents the brand in its entirety. 

Bremont is known primarily for its over-engineered military and pilot-style watches. The Bremont case is built to protect the movement, while providing the style and appearance that enables you to wear the watch in both your personal and professional lives. If Bremont had only been around back when I was in the service, I would not have worn out a sentimental watch that is now in retirement.

Bremont MBII
Originally my only Bremont was my Martin Baker II (MBII). I loved it then and love it still. At the same time I felt as though something was missing. I also kept thinking how great it would be to have a white/cream faced watch. Something a shade dressier but still close to the robustness of the Martin Baker. I found myself drawn to the ALT1-C Cream. A friend later told me that is the “gentlemen’s color.” Not sure if that was a compliment or a concern as that is the model I seemed to keep circling. And circling. And circling. Then something important happened. The Great Russian from The North (GRTN) announced he was going to buy an ALT1-C. This was the impetus I used to convince myself of the opportunity to get one as well.

Let me just say I love it. I also love my ALT1C on a black strap. I think its what James Bond would wear in real life. While on a trip to LA I wore it almost exclusively whether at a wedding or Disneyland or the beach. Now I must say that I then and still now feel very complete in my watch ownership. I had what I needed and wanted with my contentment coming up on a year. Now to be direct I have interest in the new white Solo but there can only be two “Master and Apprentice.” So more than likely it’s a short-lived phase.

Bremont ALT1-C on Black Leather strap
As I sorted through my thoughts my main focus was how did these two watches give me all the answers. Then it hit me!!! These two watches are the best representation and foundation of everything else! Whether it’s the Solo, U2 or Supermarine (which share lineage with the MB) or the entire “Classic” line of chronographs which find roots in the ALT1-C, both watches clearly demonstrate the over-engineering and construction that to me are part of the Bremont trademark. Just look - and I mean really look - at the three part Trip-Tick case. More specifically there is no tradeoff between form and function!

I am not sure I can say the same for any other watch brand and certainly not with any conviction but in closing how often can you buy an entire brand with two watches? If there “can be only one” buy them both!

What do you think? What other watch / watches entirely represent a brand? Please do leave a comment.

the #watchnerd