The men’s watch world might be divided into two, fashion watches and time pieces. The latter often looks condescendingly at the former. Fashion watches are as the name suggests, time telling devices which follow aesthetic trends with little concern with regards to the manufacture of the movement (the mechanical bit which makes the watch function). Time pieces, on the other hand, are masterful examples of craftsmanship, which often follow classic looks. However, the distinctions between these two worlds are gradually morphing, quite right SSF thinks. When you are wearing something which is meant to chart the rhythm of your life, is an accessory to your everyday, evening and occasional apparel why have so few previous time pieces ticked all the boxes? Here are SSF’s top three men’s watches from 2013.
Bremont, is a British luxury watch brand co-founded by brothers Nick and Giles English in 2003, and has made a substantial impact in the watch industry in a very short period of time. In 2008 Bremont was made the “Best British Emerging Luxury Brand‟by Walpole and won “Watch Brand of 2011” at the UK Jewellery Awards.
The brand’s principles are durability, legibility and precision. The limited edition ‘Victory’ watch is testament to these principles. Bremont worked with The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, to create a limited edition watch unlike any other. Each mechanical retrograde watch is made with original parts of HMS Victory built into it.
HMS Victory is the only remaining 18th century ship anywhere in the world and remains the oldest serving warship still to be in commission- she still retains her own Captain, offices and crew and flies the flag of the Second Sea Lord, Commander in Chief Naval Home Command. Many years of exposure have taken their toll on HMS Victory and in 2010 a major refit was commissioned to preserve her for future generations. To commemorate Nelson and HMS Victory, Bremont produced this watch that include parts of oak timber and copper from the original ship. Part of the proceeds of each watch goes to the refurbishment and preservation of the ship.
Of the legendary sailor and ship Giles English said, “Nelson went to my school and as a boy he always fascinated me, I remember clearly the first time I visited HMS Victory. Over the last few years both Nick and myself have been working with the Royal Navy Fleet air arm Heritage and that’s when we heard about the restoration of HMS Victory. With no hesitation we approached the Navy and discussed the possibility of creating a watch using original parts from the ship. Not only did we want to make the watch unique but we also want it to be a horological masterpiece.”
Movement – BE-83AR chronograph with retrograde seconds and retrograde date. Diameter 13 1/4″, height 7.90mm, 39 Jewels, three-legged Glucydur balance with Nivarox 1 mainspring 28,800 bph. Incabloc shock protection and 46 hour power reserve. Perlage and blued screwed decoration with hand crafted stainless steel and copper rotor.
Functions – Sweep hours, minutes, retrograde seconds, retrograde date, sweep chronograph seconds, 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter.
Case – Hardened stainless steel or 18 carat rose gold Bremont Trip Tick case construction with original hand engraved copper PVD treated inner barrel (material from HMS Victory) and sapphire crystal back inlaid with original oak from HMS Vistory. Case diameter 43mm, lug width 22mm and case thickness 17mm.
Strap – Louisiana crocodile leather
Water resistant to 10ATM, 100 metres.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower honoured the team at Bletchley Park with these words: “The intelligence… from you (Bletchley Park)… has been of priceless value. It has saved thousands of British and American lives and, in no small way, contributed to the speed with which the enemy was routed and eventually forced to surrender… (It was a) very decisive contribution to the Allied war effort.”
By inventing and using ingenious machines and novel manual techniques to crack German ciphers, the 9,000 scientists, mathematicians and other crucial supporting staff at Bletchley are said to have helped shorten the Second World War by at least two years and saved millions of lives.
Bremont made 240 steel and 50 rose gold Codebreaker watches which are fittingly inspired by those worn by officers in the 1940’s. Each piece is crafted with a beautiful and never seen before Flyback Chronograph GMT automatic movement and will incorporate some relevant historical artefacts from Bletchley Park; pine from the iconic Hut 6 (the centre of the operations to decrypt the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe Enigma ciphers) and paper from one of the few remaining punch cards (used to analyse the vast amount of coded data created from the daily Enigma communications). Part of the rotor of the watch will be made from the wheel of an original Enigma machine.
Like the Victory watch before it, a percentage of sales of the Codebreaker go to preserving history a percentage of the, namely the ongoing restoration of the iconic Bletchley Park site itself.
Made in England, case made of either Stainless Steel or Rose Gold. Bremont Trip Tick case construction with treated inner barrel with punch card limited edition number (material from Bletchley park). Case diameter 43mm, lug width 22mm and case thickness 15mm. Crown engraved with pinewood from hut 6, Bletchley Park.
Movement – BE-83AR Flyback chronograph. Diameter 13 1/4″, height 7.90mm, 39 Jewels, three-legged Glucydur balance with Nivarox 1 mainspring 28,800 bph. Incabloc shock protection and 46 hour power reserve. Perlage and blued screwed decoration with hand crafted stainless steel and Bombe rotor.
Functions – Sweep hours, minutes, sweep Flyback chronograph seconds, 30-minute chronograph counter and 60 second hand counter, GMT second time zone, date.
Automatic rotor inspired by the Bombe machine incorporating parts of an original German Enigma rotor.
Strap – Classic style leather strap.
Water resistant to 10ATM, 100 metres.
Sony SmartWatch 2
This, admittedly unconventional looking, watch allows even the busiest of men to multi-task.
Lifestyles today require most men to be contactable 24/7. To accommodate this, SmartWatch 2 allows the wearer to receive and initiate calls or text messages, browse recent calls, check emails, a calendar, Facebook, Twitter, gmail and more. A multi-layer colour touch screen lets you browse and read all your notifications.
Runners, can use SmartWatch 2 as a phone remote with the Runtastic app. Runtastic monitors your progress and measures your results, and the graphic interface has been adapted so you can view your progress on your wrist while you exercise. Not only is the SmartWatch 2 waterproof IP57 and scratch resistant, if it is bright and sunny, it has an impressive sunlight-readable display.
There are appealing features for music lovers too. When you are using a wireless Bluetooth headset for music, you can use SmartWatch 2 you can still make or receive calls via the SmartWatch. When a call comes in, you can see who is calling on the display, press once to answer and enjoy hands-free calling.
Google Play gives the wearer scope for individuality as you can find a wide range of apps from productivity tools to entertainment apps. You can even organise the icons on the watch’s home screen as you want. What’s more, there is a choice of five straps in durable silicon and two in stylish leather.
Compatible with all smartphones using Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and later
Battery time – low usage 7 days (watch always on)/normal usage, 3-4 days (watch always on). Charges via micro USB
Case- dimensions 42x9x41mm, 122.5g, transflective LCD 1.6” face (pixels 220×176), aluminium body and silicon/metal stainless steel wristband