Made in England

On the subject of unusual and different watches, this week I’ve been searching around for a stylish but different dress watch.
I wanted something not big – and slim & elegant and this one impressed me so much it’s now my very latest aquisition.

The Windmills "Threadneedle"

The Windmills "Threadneedle"

And this really is something different – a  “Made in England”  watch – surely something special?

Certainly the J&T Windmills Threadneedle model 10004/01 mechanical hand wound 17 jewel adjusted movement watch looks terrific.  In fact I have to say it looks nothing short of stunning with that special subtle gleam of a Sterling Silver case and those singular articulated lugs and offset onion crown @ 2.

17 jewels adjusted, hand wound.

17 jewels adjusted, hand wound.

The shape of the case itself is both sophisticated and elegantly slim (7mm) with beautifully rounded and polished sides. The description “sophisticated”  suits this timepiece perfectly when one turns it over to see a rather stylish fully decorated back which although quite striking, also has that superb British subtlety – in that it is totally hidden from sight to all but the wearer and owner of this fine piece.

Decorated back with individual watch number

Decorated back with individual watch number

The original WI "Windmills" Sterling silver hallmark.

The original WI "Windmills" Sterling silver hallmark.

The dial is classic pocketwatch or even clock in style, so reflecting the origins of the Company it is honouring.

I particularly like the fact that it is a “wide” face and uses the whole case width with long and dark fine shaped hour and minute hands and a fine overhung centre sweep seconds hand.  Both the minute and second hands align and meet the first inner curve of the numeral markers perfectly. The hour hand just meets perfectly the iner edge of the roman numerals, thus making a precise reading of the time assured.  A simple function that many manufacturers could and should take the trouble to emulate.
Slightly elongated Roman numerals in black and a neat date aperture @6, which is large enough to give clarity without compromising the elegance of the whole, complete the frontage of this very stylish watch.
Note the “Made in England” on the bottom edge – something you don’t see too often these days and which I have to say, it’s rather nice to see it.

So is this Made in England indication justified?

A question which could be asked of many a Swiss Made watch and I fancy the answer to both questions would be much the same if truth be known.
To have the numenclature “made in” or “X made” is basically a matter of where, what and how. And importantly how much of the where, what and how is in the Country so defined.
Here in the UK the Trades Description Act requires certain parameters to have been met – namely “… goods shall be deemed to have been manufactured or produced in the country in which they last underwent a treatment or process resulting in a substantial change”.
Indeed a judication was actually made a year or so ago and these are some of the facts disclosed.

The J&T here is designed in the United Kingdom – in London. Prototypes are developed in China and subsequent samples are refined in their Essex, England facility.
The movement is sourced from Switzerland as a pure “Chablon” movement – this is a “raw” movement set where a complete set of the components of a watch of which all or part of the components are not assembled or partly assembled (marketed in this form). In the case of this particular mechanical display movement the dial and hands are not included.
The chablon is subsequently engraved, tested, and the watches assembled and quality controlled by specialist watchmakers at the Essex assembly facility.  J&T watchmakers decorate the movement with bespoke Windmills “plates”, which is a manually intensive task, seat the dial on the movement and fix and set the watch hands in a careful and time consuming proces.

Deployment engraved "Windmills"

Deployment engraved "Windmills"

After testing the full “casing up” (assembly) process is undertaken where watchmakers insert the movement into the case, fit the crown to the stem and wind the watch fully, and after a further 48-hour testing process they approve the watch for packaging and despatch.
Also the value of components sourced abroad is only 34% of the ex-works price, so value-wise the watch can easily be described as “Made in England” and as I say, there are many, many so called Swiss Mades, that would struggle to prove their heritage if challenged. So well done J&T.
Indeed the British Horological Federation (BHF) confirmed that the use of foreign movements was common practice in the watch and clock trade, and that labour and parts would provide substantial added value to the final product.

So a British watch promoting British heritage, re-launched if you will and named in honour of the revered watch and Clock making family J&T Windmills of the 19th century.  A great idea and from what I’ve seen so far – a very, very well finished and presented watch.

Perfect addition to my collection.

Perfect addition to my collection.

I purchased this watch from the very patriotic sounding  http://www.BritishWatchCompany.com and very efficient they were too.  Placed the order and received follow up emails with order acknowledged, payment confirmed, order process stage 1, then stage 2 confirmed – posted. All within the space of minutes.  Nice web site with a good range of watches at pretty decent prices too.

Couldn’t wait to get it “on the wrist” and pleasantly surprised to find that the strap and deployment buckle were of a sensible length and not overlong as so many are today and with watch dimensions of 38mm diameter and an approximately 7.5mm depth (the sapphire crystal is slightly domed, so 7mm more like).  It is therefore very slim to wear and will easily slide under any sleeve.

On the wrist - perfect!

On the wrist - perfect!

Accuracy –

Had the watch for a little while now and on checking accuracy I measured a gain of just 3.75 seconds per day, which is pretty darned good.  And this was not winding it as you should at the same time each day, so I’m expecting a slight increase in the overall accuracy as time goes on.  I’m used to quartz accuracy but this seems to me to be pretty impressive for a mechanical.

Downsides –

None is the short answer.  My only slight issue is with the deployment buckle which I find a little fiddly.  But I’m pretty certain this is more me than the buckle as I’m just not used to them.  I can however see the clear justification for this option as they without doubt save wear and tear on the strap and having this supplied as standard has to be another plus.  And it is very comfortable.  So more a personal preference – not a downside at all. 😉

I forgot to mention that the watch also comes supplied with a very nice presentation box around 12″ long in a burr walnut style with a green baize padded interior.  Large enough and with interior compartments which can easily be used as storage of cuff links and so on.
In fact I’ve gone and got myself a pair of black onyx and MOP sterling silver mounted cuff links, just to celebrate and compliment my new Joseph & Thomas.
Finally – a 2 year Guarantee, instruction booklet plus a potted history of Windmills – makes this watch complete.

So it’s been a  “best of british day” all round….. and as for the J&T ? ….. I’m very pleased and dare I say “proud”.

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