The idea seemed simple at first. David Brailsford dreamed of creating a timepiece that would incorporate features designed to appeal to fellow admirers of watches. The specification of the watch would harness traditional elements of watchmaking including thermally blued screws and hand-finished bridges, all delivered at an accessible price.
David, a proud Englishman, wanted his watch to be assembled in Britain with a significant percentage of its composition created in his home nation.
Taking the bold step to invest in an existing British watchmaking facility, Brailsford established Garrick and embarked on a journey to realise his dream.
An enhanced movement
In the early stage of the development process, it became obvious that Garrick would need to use an existing Swiss base movement. The expense of creating a “Manufacture” movement would prove prohibitive for the newly formed company. Nevertheless, Brailsford remained determined to add significant value to the movement in Britain.
A vintage hand-wound Unitas 6498.1 has been selected for Garrick’s first timepiece, the Shaftesbury SM301. The company has painstakingly modified the movement to its own exacting specification.
New in-house open bridges have been designed to reveal much of the gear train, similar to watches from a bygone era, bestowing a vintage appearance to the movement’s architecture. Hand-bevelled bridges, adorned with Geneva stripes, stand testament to the adroit skill of the time-served watchmakers who work in the Garrick workshops.
The thermally blued screws evince a vivid fusion of blue and purple shades which grace the movement, denoting a sense of luxury.
In-house free sprung balance
Garrick has equipped the movement with its own in-house free-sprung balance.
The majority of mass-produced watches include a balance equipped with an index-adjuster which is used to alter the effective length of the balance spring between two pins, making the watch run faster or slower. This approach is often employed in serially produced watches due to ease of assembly. Unfortunately, the disadvantage of this type of balance is that the isochronism is slightly compromised and more susceptible to change, depending on the position the watch is held.
With a free sprung balance, the spring is a fixed length. The rate of the balance is altered by adjusting the position of weights affixed to the balance wheel. Garrick has given due consideration to the airflow as the balance swings to and fro. The balance wheel, made of Invar, incorporates weights which are positioned in-board to mitigate turbulence, hence ensuring greater accuracy. This approach by Garrick demonstrates the fastidious attention to detail which pervades the culture of the company.
The movement is regulated and tested to ensure a weekly variance of only +3 seconds per day.
Shaftesbury SM301 indicates hours and minutes with leaf-shaped hands and includes a small seconds display at 6 o’clock. On the face of it everything seems simple. However, the dial is more complex than it first appears.
The three-part dial construction includes a machined brass dial with two chapter rings mounted above on steel pillars. Thermally blued screws hold the chapter rings in position. The different levels accorded by the layered construction grant depth to the dial composition.
Garrick is keen to ensure that its customers feel their Shaftesbury SM301 is personal to them, offering a broad choice of dial options, including anodised aluminium and enamel variants. Furthermore, the company offers a personalisation service where individual requests can be considered.
An arduous journey
Where components have not been made in-house, Garrick has sought to procure British made items, congruent with its original mission.
Sadly along the way, some of the promises freely made to Garrick have been unfulfilled, delaying the release of the Shaftesbury SM301. However, David Brailsford has not deviated from his desire to “buy British” wherever possible and his patriotic tenacity has prevailed.
The company has achieved its stated aim, making components in-house in its English workshop and sourcing additional components from reliable suppliers, many of which are based in Britain.
The creation of a new watch isn’t simple. Indeed, the journey to produce the Garrick Shaftesbury SM301 has been arduous. However, the outcome has certainly justified the effort. The resultant timepiece offers an attractive blend of attributes, delivered at a competitive price of £3995.
Deliveries of the first Garrick models have already commenced and positive initial feedback has vindicated the time-consuming approach taken by David Brailsford and his colleagues.
- 316L Stainless Steel.
- 42mm Case
- 12.5mm Depth
- Sapphire Crystal with AR Coating
- 20mm Lugs
- Sapphire Crystal Exhibition Caseback
- Machined Brass Dial with a choice of rhodium plating or enamel coating
- Stainless Steel or Aluminium chapter rings (a choice of anodised coatings)
- Chapter Rings are raised on steel pillars
- Thermally Blued screws hold the Chapter Rings in place
- Manual Wind NOS Unitas 6498.1 base movement
- In-House Free Sprung Balance -Â tested and regulated to ensure a daily variance of +3 seconds
- In-House Open Bridges with beveled edges
- Thermally Blued Screws
- Hours and Minutes displayed on theÂ raised center dial
- Seconds displayed on sub-dial at 6 oâ€™ clock
- Hacking Seconds
- Power Reserve: 42 hours
- Frequency: 18000 vph
- Rhodium PlatedÂ Hours & Minutes
- Red Sub Seconds
- 316L Stainless Steel pin buckle
- Alligator or Premium Leather
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