Precision: Winter 2017

Timing is everything

Reservoir

The classic analogue watch face has existed for hundreds of years. The earliest clock faces – which appeared more than half a millennium ago – had just an hour hand, that was later to be joined by a minute hand and much later still a second hand. Today, the vast majority of buyers remain loyal to this watch layout – it is familiar to them from when they learnt to read as a child and reading it becomes as natural as knowing when to breathe. But in a resurgent watch market it is not surprising that some companies want to try and shake things up a bit. 

New French company Reservoir has a range of watches based around the theme of instruments from cars, planes and submarines. Each watch has a 43mm case and a dial featuring a retrograde minute hand. The hand moves from zero on the left to 60 on the right, before clicking back to zero again at the end of the hour. As it moves back to zero the number in the little window below it jumps on to indicate the next hour. Below that a fuel-gauge style indicator shows how much more power the watch has before it runs down. 

All Reservoir watches are water-resistant to 50 metres and are powered by a Swiss automatic movement. 

From £3500, www.reservoir-watch.com

The Reservoir Supercharged pays tribute to pre-war-era racing cars, and comes with either a black or a white dial

The Reservoir Tiefenmesser (German for depth gauge) is submarine-themed aeither a stainless steel case, or a solid bronze case with a titanium caseback

The Reservoir Airfight, inspired by aircraft cockpit instruments, has either a black PVD-coated stainless or a titanium case

The Reservoir GT Tour pays tribute to 1960s sports cars. Case in satin-finished steel, or steel with black PVD coating

Bremont

Britain’s watchmakers were once the best in the world. In the mid-1700s finding ever more accurate ways to tell the time was the pinnacle of technological progress, and Britain was miles ahead. In 1759, the Yorkshireman John Harrison finally solved a conundrum that had been eluding his rivals for years – he invented a marine chronometer to determine longitude at sea. This revolutionised navigation and played a vital role in Britain’s dominance of the oceans. 

But while many of the great watchmaking inventions came from Britain, the processes of large-scale production were handled much better elsewhere, most enduringly in Switzerland. By the time battery-powered watches appeared in the late 20th century, British watchmaking had gone the way of the Empire. 

Nick and Giles English are the best-known faces of a 21st-century drive to get the British watch industry going again. In 2002, the brothers abandoned careers in finance and founded the watch brand Bremont. The aeroplane-obsessed Englishes began by making pilots’ watches and have since diversified into beautifully made diving watches, sailing watches, and even pieces inspired by Norton motorbikes and Jaguar E-Types. 

The brand’s rapid growth has been driven in no small part by the ability of the brothers to sell a narrative of a family firm driven by passion. This year, as part of their novel approach to publicity, Nick and Giles embarked upon a 3500-mile drive across the US in a 1973 Porsche 911 that Giles has owned for more than 20 years, and a Jaguar E-Type that their father bought for their mother more than 30 years ago (below). 

The trip took them from New York down to Washington DC, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and finally to San Antonio in Texas. The idea was to get to know more of their retailers and buyers in the US, their second-biggest market after the UK. Along the way they also found time for a spot of fundraising, campaigning to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which struck shortly before they embarked on their trip. 

“We had a really touching response from everyone we met,” says Giles English. “Two beautiful cars get a reaction anywhere in the world, but the English number plates, right-hand drive and Globetrotter British cases on the racks initiated many conversations. What we realised was that road trips are in the American blood – they get it and understood why we were doing it.”

They naturally had a few mechanical issues along the way, particularly with the E-Type. “It had been with my mother for many years with few miles on it and that caused many issues with the brakes and clutch,” says Giles. “In hindsight we should have put more miles on it before the trip and changed some of the older components. The 911 was great but then I have always used it regularly. Mechanical things hate to be left unused.”

Giles says that a love of cars and watches often goes together, because as well as both being all about “cogs and gears”, they also share “great engineering and ageless beauty”. He adds: “If a mechanical watch is well serviced it will still work in 200 years, and so will a classic car. Few other possessions offer this.”

Bremont is increasing the amount of manufacturing that is done at the firm’s facilities in Henley-on-Thames and Silverstone, but they still have to rely on Switzerland for many watch components. But could a large-scale revival
of the British industry be on the cards?

“We are working hard at this and that has always been our aim – to play a significant part in the revival,” says Giles. “Whether it is investing in training watchmakers, CNC machinists or movement designers, Bremont is investing considerably to bring these skills back. Nothing is quick in watchmaking and a revival will take time – it is a marathon that we are on here.”

www.bremont.com

Christopher Ward

They said that it could not be done. The business model would not work because nobody wants to buy luxury watches online. But Mike France, co-founder of the online-only watch brand Christopher Ward, is not one to be held back by conventional wisdom. 

In the 1990s, following a successful series of retail jobs with some of the British high street’s biggest names, France was brought in to turn around the struggling Early Learning Centre, much of which he did by developing it as an online business. When he sold the business to Tim Waterstone for £62 million
in 2004, France found himself wondering what challenge to take on next. 

He undertook a forensic examination of the watch industry, helped by the insights of some well-connected friends, and thought that he spotted an opportunity. France found out that he could have access to the same watch movements and components that are used by the vast majority of the dominant Swiss companies. By selling online he realised that he would be able offer watches at a greatly reduced mark-up than those of these competitors. 

“Everyone said that you can’t sell a luxury product online because potential buyers will want to see it for themselves before they buy it,” he explains. “Well, they said the same thing about climbing frames when
I was running the Early Learning Centre, but they were wrong.”

He founded the company in 2005 along with former Early Learning Centre deputy Peter Ellis and Chris Ward – a friend and fellow businessman who gave the firm his name. “Our passion was to produce high-quality desirable watches at reasonable prices,” says France. The rest of the market was sceptical, but not any longer. Selling Swiss-made, British-designed watches Christopher Ward has thrived, and only now are other brands catching up to the idea that online is a viable outlet for luxury watches. 

But France is modest about the success. “Through a series of lucky breaks we were able to get through those early years. Now we have our own atelier in Switzerland and in 2014 we became the first British brand in 50 years to produce our own movement on
a commercial scale.”

France has a lifelong love of cars, which he puts down to early memories of handing spanners to his father as he repaired a series of old cars on their driveway on a housing estate just outside Liverpool. When talking about a Renault GTA A610 Turbo that he used to own, France shows the signs of being a true enthusiast. After several attempts to track down his original car and buy it back, he laughs as he describes how he is “desperately trying to recapture a feeling of joy at owning such a brilliant car when I was younger”.

The collaboration with Morgan, therefore, seemed like a perfect fit when it was announced last year. Morgan approached Christopher Ward and it transpired that the two companies already had a number of clients in common. A design partnership has now produced three watches, one for each of the cars in the Morgan range: the 3 Wheeler, the Classic and the Aero. Each watch contains a custom version of Christopher Ward’s hand-wound in-house movement. 

The Morgan watches are made available “exclusively to current and former owners of a Morgan motor car” and are sold through the Christopher Ward website and at Morgan dealerships. For non-Morgan people there is an ever-growing range of watches, both quartz and mechanical, all designed in the company’s Maidenhead headquarters and lovingly put together in the Christopher Ward atelier in Biel, Switzerland. 

www.christopherward.co.uk

Frederique Constant

A lot of Swiss watchmakers are a bit coy about prices. It is almost as if it is a touch impolite to talk about anything so obvious as how much something costs. Not so for Frederique Constant, which has always made a point about producing what it calls “accessible luxury”. It makes an impressive range of watches, from quartz-powered dress watches to moonphases, in-house chronographs and even a very Swiss take on the connected watch. Across the board they keep prices as competitive as possible, without compromising on quality.

Flyback Chronograph Manufacture

A flyback chronograph – in which you can restart the stopwatch with one push of the button – is a desirable complication that dates back to the 1930s. The new in-house movement in this watch took Frederqiue Constant six years to develop. The case design is also inspired by chronograph designs from the 1930s, with rectangular pushers for the start/stop and reset functions. Available in stainless steel, with or without a rose-gold plate. You can admire the movement, complete with its fancy gold winding rotor, through the sapphire caseback. From £3495

Horological Smartwatch

Frederique Constant got in on the smartwatch game early. But there are no blank mobile phone screens here – in this second incarnation of its connected watch, there are various smart functions hidden beneath the face of a classically styled dress watch. It tracks your activity during the day and night, providing feedback via your smartphone to tell you how well you are exercising and sleeping. And there is no need to charge it – it runs off a regular watch battery that lasts several years. The functions are controlled by a single pusher on the crown and there are discreet icons on the screen to let you know when you have calls and messages. Anything that cuts down on the number of times you have to get out your phone and look at it has to be a good thing. £980

Slimline Moonphase Manufacture

One of watchmaking’s more whimsical complications, there is something pleasantly daft about having an indicator on your watch that tracks the waxing and waning of the moon. Like everything Frederique Constant does, the Moonphase watch is priced at a level that can make certain competitors look a touch on the pricey side. It has an in-house automatic movement and a date subdial on the left nicely balances the moonphase indicator on the right. With a 38.5mm case in either rose-gold plated or polished stainless steel. £2595
www.frederiqueconstant.com

Blancpain

Blancpain is known to many motor racing fans because of the GT series that bears the its name. While Blancpain is now firmly embedded in the world of motor sport, the Swiss company has been making watches since before the age of steam, let alone the arrival of the motor car.

In 1735 a man called Jehan-Jacques Blancpain set about producing watches in a workshop in an upstairs room of his house in the Swiss mountain village of Villeret. Blancpain and his descendants built a pioneering watch company that remained in family hands for almost 200 years. It is now part of the Swatch group and is one of the luxury jewels in the watch giant’s line-up. 

One of Blancpain’s best-known watches is the Fifty Fathoms, a diving watch produced in 1953 following a design brief from two commanders of a French navy diving unit. The Fifty Fathoms was the first diving watch to have a rotating bezel to record elapsed time under water and the first to have an automatic movement. As the name suggested it was water resistant to fifty fathoms – around 300 feet. The watch was immortalised in the 1956 film The Silent World when it appeared on the wrist of Jacques Cousteau. 

Blancpain has played a key role in the resurgence of the mechanical watch market in the late 20th century and under Swatch ownership it has revisited pieces from the back catalogue, including modern takes on the Fifty Fathoms as well as making new pieces like the motor sport-oriented L-Evolution range. 

www.blancpain.com

The Blancpain L-Evolution Chronograph Flyback Rattrapante has a carbon-fibre bezel, caseback and dial, and is equipped with a split-seconds column-wheel chronograph with a rattrapante lap-timing function. Look closely and you will see that the hour counter at nine-o’clock is shaped like a Lamborghini badge, reflecting Blancpain’s GT series commitments. £40,600

Blancpain Tribute to Fifty-Fathoms MIL-SPEC. Released this year as a tribute to one of the original 1950s Fifty Fathoms watches that was made to strict military requirements. The modern watch has a four-day power reserve and a water-tightness indicator at six o’clock on the dial. In the unlikely event of water seeping into the mechanism, the indicator would change colour. Limited edition of 500 pieces. £10,310

MeisterSinger

Having a watch with only one hand may seem a bit unusual at first. But in fact it is a glimpse back to an earlier time in horological history. The earliest clocks, on churches and town halls, had just one hand for the hours with minute hands not added until later. The German brand MeisterSinger has made a speciality of handsomely designed one-handers. The clear dials mean you can read the time accurately enough if you need to. But it is also a reminder that life does not always need to be a rush. The MeisterSinger No. 03-40mm has a slim 40mm steel case and an automatic movement. 

£1645, www.meistersinger.com

Farer

Farer is one of several British brands getting a name for itself in the resurgent 21st century watch market and has an expanding range of handsome, classically styled watches. The company ethos is adventure and the line-up includes automatic watches that take their names from great explorers’ ships –Beagle, Hopewell and Endurance. The Farer Beagle has a 39.5mm stainless steel case and a Swiss-made automatic movement. 

£875, www.farer.com

Junghans

Max Bill was a Swiss architect, artist and all-around design genius of the Bauhaus school in Germany. In the 1950s he was asked to design watches and clocks for Junghans. His Junghans wall clock remains a brilliant example of a simple, classic design. The Max Bill watches are such an important part of the Junghans back catalogue that the German firm decided to re-release the range in 2010. They are available as quartz, automatic winding and hand-wound. The Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope has an automatic chronograph movement with a 48-hour power reserve. 

£1630, www.junghans.de

Hamilton

Hamilton began life making railroad pocket watches in Pennsylvania, USA, in the 1890s, and later during the two world wars created wristwatches for soldiers and marine chronometers for the US Navy. Famous in the 1950s for making Elvis’s beloved triangular Ventura watch, Hamilton is now Swiss-owned and headquartered, and makes a wide range of designs, many of them playing on the brand’s rich heritage. The Hamilton Broadway Auto Chrono has a screw-down crown and is water resistant to 100 metres. 

£1600, www.hamiltonwatch.com 

Certina

Swiss brand Certina has been around since the late 19th century and is known both for its pioneering work in the early days of the wristwatch and latterly for its involvement in a whole range of sports, from boxing to Formula 1. It has been the official timekeeper of the World Rally Championship since 2013. The Certina DS Podium Chronograph 1/100 sec has a 44mm stainless steel case and is powered by a high-precision quartz movement. 

£670, www.certina.com

BRM

Bernard Richards is a French watchmaker with a lifelong enthusiasm for motor racing. He began training as a watchmaker in 1974 before starting his own company making precision parts. In 2003 he began producing motor racing-themed watches under the name Bernard Richards Manufacture, or BRM. At an atelier near Paris the watches are made by following the belief that it is “from the excellence of the details that the performance is born”. The BRM V12-44-BN-AG has a 44mm brushed stainless steel and black PVD case, plus a high-quality Swiss automatic chronograph movement. 

£5345, www.brm-manufacture.com

Cartier 

Back when the skies still existed to be conquered, a gentleman wore his watch on a chain. But this can make checking the time difficult when both hands are busy. The pioneering aviator Albert Dumas-Santos wanted to be able to time how long he was keeping his experimental planes in the air, so in 1904 he spoke about it to a friend by the name of Louis Cartier. Cartier’s solution was one of the first watches that was designed to be worn on the wrist. A wide range of variations on that original watch exist in the Cartier collection today. The Cartier Santos 100 comes in a variety of case materials including steel (left) and ADLC carbon. 

From £6200, www.cartier.com

Hublot

Any company that has a watch called a Big Bang in its collection is unlikely to be known for its shyness. And Hublot watches are bold, statement timepieces. Previously these pages have shown not only the Big Bangs, but Hublots that shout even louder such as the audacious engine-like LaFerrari watch. But Hublot does also make some very nice watches of a more sober variety, such as the Classic Fusion. That said, with its 45mm case it is never going to pass entirely unnoticed, but then what would be the point of that? The Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium has a polished and satin-finished titanium case and is powered by an in-house automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. 

£6400, www.hublot.com 

Audemars Piguet

The Royal Oak was a game changer for Audemars Piguet. A steel sports watch introduced in the early 1970s with a price tag to match contemporary gold watches, the Gerald Genta design took a while to be fully accepted by the buying public, but it ended up being a massive success and became the face most readily associated with Audemars Piguet. Genta would later describe the Royal Oak as his masterpiece. There have subsequently been countless evolutions and incarnations of the watch. The new Royal Oak Chronograph in titanium is part of a range celebrating 20 years since chronographs were added to the Royal Oak range. It is a limited edition of 500 pieces and has platinum links in its titanium bracelet. 

£35,900, www.audemarspiguet.com

Tudor

The first official Tudor watches appeared in the late 1940s. The company was founded by Hans Wilsdorf, who had earlier founded Rolex. Wilsdorf conceived Tudor as a brand that would share the same dedication to quality as Rolex, but at a more accessible price. In the last few years Tudor has seen a surge
in popularity due to a range of beautifully updated takes on the company’s early watches. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono has an in-house automatic movement and comes on either a riveted steel bracelet or an aged leather strap.

From £3330, www.tudorwatch.com

Rolex

Rolex’s reputation stretches so far that most of its Swiss neighbours are filled with a mixture of jealousy and awe. But there has never been a sense of Rolex resting on its laurels. Like all companies it draws on past models for inspiration, but Rolex also continues to innovate both in terms of design and manufacturing processes, and makes watches in a wide range of styles, some of which look very different to how the casual observer expects a Rolex to look. One of the best-received recent releases is the Yacht-Master II, which features a chronograph specially designed to time regattas.
An esoteric complication, for sure, but one that is presented in such a handsome and ergonomically pleasing way that you don’t need to be a yachtsman to take a shine to it. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II is available in either stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, or a combination of steel and Everose gold.

From £13,700, www.rolex.com

Omega

Omega will forever be known as the company that put its products forward for a series of rigorous Nasa stress tests, and was then selected to put watches on the wrists of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for the Apollo 11 space mission. Aldrin’s watch even made it down onto the moon’s surface, while Armstrong’s stayed in the landing module. Even though the Speedmaster was chosen as the moon watch, it was not designed for that purpose. It was first made in the late 1950s as a racing chronograph. The Speedmaster is still one of the best-loved watches in the Omega range. The Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer has
a 42.25mm case in either stainless steel or Sedna gold. 

£6240, www.omegawatches.com

Jaeger-LeCoultre

If you asked a group of watch-obsessives to name the best companies of all time, the Mount Rushmore of horology, your patience would come to an end long before the debate did. One name that any sane person would include, however, is Jaeger-LeCoultre, which has been making ingenious, beautifully presented watches for close to 200 years. Even if you know nothing about the inner workings of a watch, there is enough to admire in the aesthetics alone. Take this Master Geographic, for example. Normally world timers have the names of 24 cities written around the dial. With a watch this deliberately uncluttered that risks ruining the look, so the simple solution has been to cut an elegant section out at the bottom so the wearer need only look at the cities needed. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic has a stainless-steel case and an in-house automatic movement. 

£8250, www.jaeger-lecoultre.com

Rado

The power reserve is an interesting feature on a mechanical watch, acting like a fuel gauge that tells you how long it is before it needs winding. With a manual-winding watch, this is simple – you just take it off and wind it. With an automatic-winding watch like this Rado, however, the watch is wound by the movement of your wrist. So if the eight-day power reserve is getting low, it is probably a sign to get up and move around a bit more. The Rado Diamaster Power Reserve has a monobloc ceramic case and a PVD-coated titanium caseback.

£1670, www.rado.com

Glashütte Original

The Saxon town of Glashütte is the hub of German watchmaking. But being in the former East Germany meant that for many years the town’s creativity was compromised by the smothering influence of Soviet occupation. While you would think that a Communist regime would result in dreary generic products – the watch equivalent of the Trabant – in fact an interesting if restricted range of watches continued to come out of Glashütte during those years. The fall of the Berlin Wall, however, and the international revival in the mechanical watch market, has seen companies like Glashütte Original really come into their own, making luxury watches that look forward while paying tribute to those that were made behind the Iron Curtain. The Glashütte Original Seventies Panorama Date has a 40mm case, an in-house automatic movement and comes on either a black rubber strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. 

£9900, www.glashuette-original.com

Panerai

Panerai was founded as a workshop and watchmaking school in Florence, Italy, in 1860. In the early 20th century it began supplying the Italian navy with tough, easily legible watches that divers could read underwater. From necessity grew the style that can still be seen on Panerai watches today. Since the brand was revived in the 1990s it has grown to become one of the few that almost everyone has heard of, even if they take only a vague interest in watches. It helps that the distinctive Panerai look is unmistakable. The Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio 1940 now comes with a green dial. 

£7700, www.panerai.com

Richard Mille

And now for something completely different. Motor racing fan Richard Mille began making watches under his own name at the turn of the 21st century. From the start he was not afraid to aim at the top of the luxury market and ignore everything in the rule book along the way. In terms of pricing, innovation, materials and design he is constantly making pieces that are impossible to ignore, winning the respect of press, peers and plutocrats. The company is involved in a range of sports, from F1 to Formula E, and Alain Prost is among its many brand ambassadors. The RM 70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost is not a driving watch, though, but a cycling watch made in collaboration with the four-time F1 champion and keen cyclist. It features a mechanical mileage counter within a curved tonneau case that’s angled to make it easier to read while on the move. 

£POA, www.richardmille.com

Bamford Watch Department

When George Bamford started customising luxury watches in 2004 he made a lot of friends but also upset a few people along the way – the watch industry takes its products very seriously and does not always take kindly to having people mess around with them. But Bamford is a fully committed watch lover and nobody could ever accuse him of mere tinkering. One of his signatures, making black versions of a wide range of luxury watches, involves a proprietary process called MGTC (military grade titanium coating) which makes a deposit of 4-5 microns on the surface of the watch but also penetrates into the steel, so the look will last as long as the watch. This is the year that Bamford is welcomed into the establishment. It earlier announced a partnership with Zenith and has now done the same with fellow LVMH brand TAG Heuer. As a result it will be producing customised versions of some of TAG’s most popular watches. The Tag Heuer Autavia by Bamford Watch Department is a customised version of the 2017 Autavia, a re-release of the celebrated Heuer chronographs worn in the 1960s by the likes of Jo Siffert and Jochen Rindt.

£7000, bamfordwatchdepartment.com

Zenith 

There has been much change at Zenith recently, with LVMH watch supremo Jean-Claude Biver publicly giving it a clip around the ear and telling it to up its game. Outwardly, though, things look strong. Zenith’s watchmaking heritage is very strong, with the 1969 El Primero automatic chronograph considered to be one of the most ground-breaking movements ever made. Evolutions of that same movement are core to Zenith’s range today. The El Primero was unveiled in the same year as Land Rover revealed its Range Rover prototype. The two companies are celebrating this coincidence with a Velar special edition of the El Primero. The Zenith El Primero Range Rover Velar has a 42mm ceramised aluminium case and a chronograph with central seconds and tachymeter scale.

£7200, zenith-watches.com

Bulgari

Bulgari launched the first Octo Maserati in 2014 as a celebration of the car maker’s centenary. The Octo, available in many other iterations, takes its shape from an ancient wall carving in the Basilica Nova in the Roman Forum. The Maserati version features a retrograde minutes-times-ten hand that rises from 0 to 6 like a rev counter and then snaps back to zero as the hour jumps on. The Bulgari Octo Maserati Grandsport has an automatic movement and a
DLC case with exhibition caseback. 

£10,400, bulgari.com

Patek Philippe

The grand old Genevan firm Patek Philippe has been operating non-stop for almost 180 years. It is without doubt a watchmaker that commands respect from all others as it continues to make wonderfully engineered, beautifully designed watches with not a hint of compromise. As with all its watches, this annual calendar is given a reference number that might not mean much to the casual observer, but which reads like poetry to any true Patek-obsessive. The Patek Philippe 5396R has an annual calendar and moonphase complications, and comes with a new blue sunburst dial with applied gold hour markers and a rose-gold case.

£36,720, www.patek.com

Chopard

Just as Mercedes has AMG, Chopard has L.U.C. The initials stand for Louis-Ulysee Chopard, the man who founded the brand in 1860. Just over 20 years ago, L.U.C was set up to make the company’s haute horlogerie watches, the most complicated, experimental and lovingly hand-crafted pieces. The Chopard L.U.C Lunar One is limited to 100 pieces and the platinum case houses an automatic in-house movement with annual calendar and moonphase indicator.

£55,910, www.chopard.com

Parmigiani

Parmigiani Fleurier has been around for just over 20 years and in that time has gained a reputation as watchmaker that stands with the very best. Parmigiani has just revealed its latest collaboration with Bugatti in a partnership that stretches back well over a decade. The new Type 390, with its brand-new cylindrical ‘engine block’ and auto-inspired ‘bodywork’, is a tribute to the equally off-the-wall Bugatti Chiron. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390 

£26,200, www.parmigiani.com

IWC

The International Watch Company was founded in 1868 in the pretty little Swiss town of Schaffhausen on the banks of the Rhine in northern Switzerland. The founder was an American man called Florentine Ariosto Jones, who was looking for a skilled workforce to make watches for the US market. Now part of the Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont, IWC has a long history of making top-quality watches for pilots and engineers. The Portugieser family has been around since the 1930s when two Portuguese businessmen commissioned IWC to make wristwatches that could match the accuracy of marine chronometers. This new Portugieser Chronograph has a stainless steel case and a blue dial. £6550, www.iwc.com

Montblanc

For a company that is known for making pens, Montblanc certainly does make some very nice watches. But then it has taken the whole enterprise seriously, particularly in acquiring – via parent company Richemont – the respected watchmaker Minerva. That gave it excellent watchmaking facilities and know-how, as well as adding some all-important gravitas to a company trying to make its way in a crowded watch market. The last few years has seen the watchmaking establishment take notice of Montblanc, and it looks like one day it could be just as well known for watches as it is for writing instruments. The Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Chronograph has a red-gold case and a matching chocolate dial and strap.

£POA, www.montblanc.com

Luxury specials

Tim Layzell

Tim Layzell is a talented painter of serene landscapes like Caribbean beaches and Tuscan fields, but he is best known for pictures that are far less peaceful but no less beautiful. A staple at Goodwood for years, Layzell has a unique pop art style that manages to capture the sense of speed at which cars are travelling around the track or up the hill better than a photograph ever can.
His pictures are available as both originals and prints. 

www.timlayzell.com

Barrington Watch Winders

An automatic watch is a marvellous thing, a perpetual motion machine that gets all of its power from the movement of your wrist. The problem is that if you have more than one watch, winding is limited to the number of wrists you have, and the less watches tick, the greater chance there is of fluids drying and the movement possibly encountering performance issues as a result. The answer is to keep your watches permanently wound up and ready to go in a winder. It is the best way to look after any automatic watch – and they look pretty cool too. 

Barrington single-watch winders £125; Quad-watch winders £595 barringtonwatchwinders.com

Deakin & Francis

Deakin & Francis has been making jewellery in Birmingham since the late 18th century. The seventh-generation family business is now run by brothers James and Henry Deakin, qualified gemmologists who also learnt on the job from their father. The company is known for innovative handmade cufflinks and accessories that use precious metal, enamel and gemstones. The Deakin & Francis Sterling Silver Hexagonal Dress Stud cufflinks have a hand-cut mother of pearl inlay and blue sapphire centre. 

£595, www.deakinandfrancis.co.uk

William & Son

For the gentleman who really likes to be able to get a decent grip on his hip flask at times of need. The sterling silver Ergo Hip Flask is available in 4oz and 6oz, depending on your individual thirst level.

From £1260, www.williamandson.com

De Lamerie

De Lamerie is based in Stoke-on-Trent where it makes and designs striking bespoke china, glasses and cutlery. Made to complement any dining room or superyacht, many of the company’s designs are influenced by the 18th century Rococo period. It was a famed silversmith from this era, Paul de Lamerie, who inspired the name. 

Prices POA, www.delamerie.com