Monday, 13 November 2017

Vertex M100: A Brand and a Watch Revived

Many watch brands have been looking back into their archives to produce modern variations of  classic designs. In the case of Vertex, the company itself has been revived by Don Cochrane, great grandson of the original founder of Vertex (in 1916), Claude Lyons. He has in turn has recreated an updated version of a watch that was produced by the company for the British military in 1944. 

Vertex M100

The modern Vertex M100 is based on the 1944 Cal. 59 Navigation watch which was one of twelve similar watches (called WWWs) made by various brands for use during WW2. The twelve, now known as 'The Dirty Dozen' are collected by military watch enthusiasts (very few manage to accumulate the complete set). In my watch collecting days I owned some five of the twelve and one of those was the Vertex WWW. Its well-proportioned design and practical, robust construction made it a favourite and I still own one (see the image below). 

An original 1940s Vertex WWW

Don Cochrane has managed to capture the spirit of the original in a watch that is larger (40mm as opposed to 35mm). Both are hand-wound easily legible dials and stainless steel cases. On occasion modern homage watches fail to capture the looks of the original because scaling up a watch doesn't always preserve its proportions. By carefully tweaking the appearance of the case and dial Vertex have somehow kept the rugged attractiveness of the original without making the M100 a pastiche. The luminous numerals has been applied so that they are three dimensional and this adds a contemporary and minimalist look to the watch.

I wore one for several weeks and enjoyed the experience of winding it daily. Automatic watches are fine, but I like that connection with a mechanical watch when it's wound each morning; a moment of peace as you prepare to rush out to face the world. The watch is legible, comfortable to wear and feels robust and solid.

The luminous numerals

Don Cochrane has produced a watch that can't just be bought by anyone. Keen to avoid it becoming the object of collectors buying it for what it represents rather than what it is, ownership comes through recommendation or ownership of an original Vertex WWW. Priced at £2500, it preserves the practical tool watch character of the original and is something different yet highly wearable for the man or woman looking for a well-designed and attractive watch. The military design gives it a well-proportioned simplicity that makes this an adaptable watch for the man or woman of a sartorial leaning. See Vertex for more information.


coljay said...

It's a nice looking watch, but you have to be referred? Really? Is that some kind of joke?

grey fox said...

That's not completely what I say here, coljay, but essentially the thinking is to prevent it becoming yet another watch that's simply bought as an investment. Anyway, it's a good quality watch and the thinking behind its marketing is, for me, secondary.


Jay said...

With a big birthday approaching next year I'm considering a high end watch, and this fit the bill. Great watch IMO, but that marketing idea is an absolute turn off. Not a 'club' I want to join.
Tudor will be getting my money!

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