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Aviation has long been a mainstay of watchmaking. This should be no surprise as the first wristwatch – the Cartier Santos – was made especially for pilot Alberto Santos Dumont in 1904. Since then, the likes of Breitling and IWC, have brought pilot-specific watches into the mainstream.
Some 64 years after RAF Flight Lieutenant Ray Holmes successfully defended Buckingham Palace from an oncoming Luftwaffe bomber by ramming it in mid-air with his Hawker Hurricane, P2725, our partners at TMB Art Metal excavated its wreckage from underneath Buckingham Palace Road. Limited to 100 pieces, this watch contains a piece of aluminium from P2725's engine that has been engraved with a map of London, whilst remembering the heroism of those throughout the RAF’s ranks as we approach its centenary.
Precise. Legible. Beautiful: the C8 Power Reserve Chronometer is a watch firmly rooted in the tradition of British aviation timepieces like the Smith’s Mk II A clock. But its looks are just part of the story: powered by a new complication of Calibre SH21, the watch can run for an incredible five days on just one charge.
Aviation is something we take for granted, thinking nothing about circling the globe in flying metal tubes and meeting colleagues for lunch on a different continent. But the new Christopher Ward C8 UTC Worldtimer reminds us of the wonder of flying: linking the design of classic military aviation with the possibilities of modern jet travel in one ingenious, and very beautiful, watch.
Recalling a time when watches were tested for accuracy by regulator clocks, this is a most unusual watch. For a start there’s only one centre hand (minutes), while the hours and seconds are shown in subdials at opposite ends of the dial. If the unusual design doesn’t get you, the sight of the stunning, hand-wound Unitas 6498 movement through the back will.