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Heritage and associated interests have always been important to us.
We think all mechanical watches are heritage products. New mechanical watches use refined versions of old technologies. Modern watches are directly traceable to the work of Harrison and others in the 18th. century and, of course, mechanical time keeping generally goes back much further. Mechanical watches are a homage to the past yet with excellent utility in the present. They are great vehicles for fine craftsmanship and engineering.
Today, in the UK at least, there is very strong interest in heritage issues, especially those from the 20th. century. Vintage road transport, classic cars, classic military vehicles, steam engines, traction engines, vintage farm tractors, vintage fairground equipment, organs, vintage aircraft and vintage boats all have their enthusiasts and events to celebrate them. Re-enactment of history is popular and 1940s events are common. Glenn Miller is still enjoyed by people of all ages via the excellent modern Glenn Miller Orchestra. Interest seems to be in the artefacts of yesteryear or in being transported for a while to earlier times, perhaps as an escape from the frenetic pace of modern life. Today's fashions seem to favour the conservative, the understated, the established and the classic. Everyone involved with our business seems to have a foot in the past in one way or another.
In view of all this retro-mindedness, we thought it might be interesting and useful to look at our watches and report on the extent to which they have styles which are rooted in the past. We hope that customers who identify with earlier times are able to find something pleasing. Some of our watches are even suitable "props" for re-enactors. All are variously in accord with the spirit of our modern times. Some are re-introductions of historic models. Some use positive aesthetic messages from the past. Others (e.g. Temption) are timeless classics in the making having a periodless character which would not have been out of place in the past, is not in the present and would not be in the future. They are fine watches for any time.
Temption watches are "clean sheet of paper" designs and copy nothing which has gone before. They are original designs but use established technology and craft skills. At the other end of the spectrum, there are Orfina, Hanhart and Archimede. The Orfina Beobachtungsuhr is both a timeless classic and pure 1940s. It is very similar to the classic models from IWC. The Hanhart Replika 1939 and Primus are time warp watches and pure late 1930s and 1940s. They are reproductions of leading edge designs from the WWII period and have enormous period charm. People love them. The Archimede range draws heavily on the 20s, 30s and 40s for its designs and now on the 50s too. Particularly notable are the pilots' watches which celebrate classics from the WWII period. Revue Thommen designs have links with various periods from around 1930 to the present day. Airspeed Retro Hand Winding and Retro Chronograph are very evocative of 30s and 40s designs even though the latter is actually an automatic watch. The Airspeed XXL has a classic pilot's watch dial.
We have watches available representing every decade from the 1930s to the 1960s as well as the many which are products of today. The 25 years which followed 1970 saw great changes in the watch industry but by 1995 the mechanical watch had become firmly established as a "proper watch" and quartz watches came to be regarded with disdain and treated as disposable items irrespective of cost.
Even the Conway Stewart fountain pens we used to sell reflect the habits and styles of the last century. At the same time they are useful and pleasing writing tools for today.
We've noticed that many of our customers turn out to be interested in classic vehicles or other collectables and memorabilia. To show we have our own period credentials outside the watch arena some classic motor vehicles from the Townrow Collection appear below. Some of the smaller items in the collection will soon be on display in a museum which we are creating in the shop.
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Below are some links to sites which address heritage issues:
Best of British (very nostalgic and very good magazine with events calendar): www.bestofbritishmag.co.uk
Old Glory (magazine mainly covering steam traction and with events calendar): www.oldglory.co.uk
Vintage Spirit (magazine covering steam and vintage transport issues): www.vintagespirit.co.uk
Vintage Road Scene (magazine covering vintage road transport): www.roadscene.com
Classic Military Vehicle (magazine): www.cmvmag.co.uk
Classic and Vintage Commercials (magazine): www.cvcmag.co.uk
Heritage Commercials (magazine): www.heritagecommercials.com
Triumph World (magazine covering classicTriumph cars): www.triumph-world.co.uk
Classic and Sports Car (magazine): www.classicandsportscar.com
Practical Classics (car magazine): www.practicalclassics.co.uk
Military Vehicle Trust (MVT) (club supporting interest in military vehicles of all kinds): www.mvt.org.uk
Ex Military Land Rover Association (EMLRA) (club supporting interest in and ownership of): www.emlra.org
Skirmish (magazine supporting living history): www.skirmishmagazine.com
Living History web site: www.livinghistoryworldwide.com
The Glenn Miller Orchestra (Ray McVay): www.glennmillerorchestra.co.uk
There are too many transport museums (road, rail, air, water) to list and many host 1940s events. There's a national fair ground museum. Bletchley Park is a heritage delight. Many steam fairs also include classic cars, commercial vehicles, military vehicles, vintage farm equipment and horses.
Bletchley Park: www.bletchleypark.org.uk
Fairground Heritage Centre: www.fairground-heritage.org.uk
Imperial War Museum: www.iwm.org.uk
Bovington Tank Museum: www.tankmuseum.org
The Scammell Register: www.scammellregister.co.uk
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