So, this morning I went to collect my latest acquisition. The Schofield Watch Company are based about ten minutes walk from my house. Ever since I heard about them I have been keen to purchase a piece from them - purchasing from such a local company makes for a real sense of connection with the brand. Having never seen the watches in person I contacted Schofield and arranged to visit their office.
I received a very warm welcome (and some very strong coffee) and spent quite some time with Giles Ellis, owner of Schofield and designer of both the Signalman and Blacklamp. There was no pressure to place an order, and we had a very interesting chat about the Schofield designs, materials, production techniques and the watch industry in general. I also got an insight into the design and prototyping of the next model - the Beater. I won't say anything else about that, apart from stating that both the design and quality will be as uncompromising as the previous models. Keep and eye out for the launch at SalonQP!
Anyway, off the back of this meeting I decided to go ahead and order one of the few remaining Signalman GMT PR models out of the production run of 300. Giles had shown me the range of straps available, and I really couldn't decide at the time. Given that I was collecting the watch in person I left the decision until the watch was ready (about two weeks). Giles and Nathan have been a pleasure to deal with throughout.
In the end I went for the long-length black India Rubber strap, partly because the material itself is fantastic, but also because it contrasts so well with the polished case and helps to highlight the fact that the dial is actually a very dark grey rather than black. Nice matching polished buckle signed with the Schofield logo. I have no doubt that I will be adding several more straps at a later date....
So, what do I think? Hopefully the pictures will give an idea of the exceptional level of quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail. The watch is beautifully made and completely unique. There's no mistaking this watch for anything else! I chose the Signalman rather than maybe waiting for the Beater as I like to own a watch that really exemplifies the brand, and this watch represents Giles' original vision. Same reason that I chose an MBII from Bremont's range. Yes, the watch is big and tall - it's also heavy. Even though it's a complex multi-part case, it feels like it's hewn from a single billet. The polish is amazing - I'm trying to resist carrying a polishing cloth around. The dial work is beautifully crisp. The lume is good, although the watch is still pretty legible without it because of the polish on the hands and markers - similar to a Grand Seiko. The movement is very nice - easy to set, nice winding action, nice feel to the crown. The GMT is easy to set independently via the pusher in the bottom-right lug with the supplied brass tool. Seconds hand sweep is nice and smooth. There's a little rotor noise but not obtrusive. The mechanism sounds nice with a soft, fast tick.
Anyway, enough waffling - here's the picture overload.....
Finally, I'd like to say thanks to Giles for making probably the world's most difficult to photograph watch!