Introducing

Pinchbeck Watches

Pinchbeck Watches at Andrew Michaels Watches

I am absolutely delighted to announce that Andrew Michaels Jewellers (amjwatches.co.uk) are now the sole representatives for Pinchbeck Watches. If you’ve not heard of them, it’s hardly surprising. Despite being a serious name in British horology for over 300 years, more than any Swiss brand, Pinchbeck Watches hand produce a grand total of around 150 watches per year. To put that exclusivity into perspective Tag Heuer, for whom Pinchbeck share the same price point category, make over 6500 times more watches annually. With this in mind, each watch takes up to four weeks from your decision to purchase until the hand over. However, it is worth the patience. Sincerest quality craftmanship takes time. For a cherished item that will last the rest of your life, this is a small lead time.

This infinitesimal turnover is not due to lack of interest but simply because a single watchmaker creates your Swiss Movement timepiece by hand. Pinchbeck are running at full capacity at these levels. I spoke to the current director, Paul Pinchbeck, and there is a possibility to expand but he is presently happy to be creating low volume, high quality timepieces within a mass market environment to customers who care about exclusivity and craftmanship and are prepared to wait for it.

If you consider what true luxury is in the watch industry it would include individuality, choice, bespoke, unique, reliable, accurate, hand crafted, dependable and value.

Many of the high-end watch brands aspire to be many of these attributes. Pinchbeck Watches are all of these and more.

The present company is even managed by a family member, Paul Pinchbeck. Who best to have the desire to continue the family name and legacy. Paul is available to discuss any bespoke and personalised requirements for your Pinchbeck timepiece. Even the base level watches presented by the brand can be made unique with the new owner’s choice of hand set and, at an additional charge, pretty much any dial colour you could imagine. In fact, whilst I was at Pinchbeck’s premises in one of my early meetings with Paul he showed me a one-off bright yellow dial that a customer had requested for the Inigo series. You will never get that option for watches from the global brands. What you see in their catalogues is what you get. Which also means it is what everyone else can get.

Upon meeting Paul, I was immediately struck by the fact that there is nothing contrived about Pinchbeck Watches and that the entire outfit is based on passion.

Furthermore, the higher end timepieces, such as the exquisite Infinity and Christopher timepieces, are fully customisable. You choose the dial, the hands, the chapter ring, the case back and the strap colour. Plus, hand engraving is also available as an option.

Speaking of straps and hand-made crafts of the highest order: Pinchbeck Watches have exclusively united with Tanner Bates straps, which are also produced in the UK. For all models, you choose which colour you want, your wrist size is measured and the strap is made for you. See their phenomenal level of artisan leather goods at www.tannerbates.co.uk

With this in mind, it is easy to retrospectively customise your watch with additional straps, which can be purchased and fitted through Pinchbeck Watches. The Bellever range retails for £129 and the simpler, yet equal in quality, Morello range retails for £59.

The final packaging includes a certificate of authenticity signed by the watchmaker. Your watch will not be released until he is happy with the results of extensive regulation and bench testing with the movement within the case. Although not Chronometer (COSC) rated, the ETA 2824-2 used as the base ebauche is utilised in the industry for a lot of Chronometer rated watches. If you have regulation issues going forward Paul and his watchmaker would be more than happy to rectify this for you. Through personal experience I can attest to regulation figures well within the exalted COSC limits (COSC differs in that a certification is given after the movement is verified separate to the case).

Whilst not an obvious facsimile to the ubiquitous over-designed tool watches commonly on parade, each Pinchbeck watch is 100m water resistant with a screw down crown and fronted with a sapphire glass. Therefore, all timepieces hand produced at the workshop are equally at home in the most sophisticated of settings whilst also having been proven in the most extreme and hostile environments, including the North Pole, Mont Blanc and the world’s toughest rowing race (more of which below).

Each Pinchbeck watch comes with an impressive and long-term peace-of-mind 5 year warranty. This is a testament to the quality of build and the confidence Pinchbeck have in each of their products, which is a rarity in the watch industry.

The history of the Pinchbeck Watches dates way back to 1710. In this period, over 300 years ago, the horological landscape was far different to today. The British ruled the industry, in this most important of eras, with fantastic industry changing geniuses. A few exemplars include:

Richard Townley, (1629-1707), was born in Nocton, near Lincoln, and created the dead beat escapement at the bequest of experts at Greenwich to determine if the Earth rotated at a constant speed.

Thomas Tompion, (1639-1717), was King Charles II’s personal watchmaker and is considered the “Father of British Watchmaking”. He was chosen by the King to create two pendulum clocks for the Royal Observatory. These were instrumental in achieving correct calculations for astronomical observations.

George Graham, (1673 – 1751), invented the mercury pendulum and the orrery and was a Master of the Worshipful Company of Watchmakers.

John Harrison, (1693 – 1776), spent most of his life solving the Longitude problem with his famous H4 pocket watch allowing the British Navy and Explorers to rule the seas. 

Thomas Mudge, (1717-1794), was an apprentice to George Graham, he created the lever escapement, which is still the fundamental element of nearly all mechanical watches to this day.

Christopher Pinchbeck I, (1670-1732), was born into a family that took their name from the village in Lincolnshire. He created the Pinchbeck alloy, which is a form of brass which combines copper and zinc in a certain mixture to take the appearance of gold. This was the closest we came to alchemy. He created a musical clock for Louis XIV, which he was paid £500 for and a fine musical organ for the Great Mogul of India, valued at £300 in the day. His eldest son, Christopher II (1710-1783) became the King’s Clockmaker by appointment to George III, for whom he made a four-sided astronomical clock which still resides in the music room at Buckingham Palace.

In addition to the above, the Pinchbeck premises, which resides within the 14th Century Exchequer Gate, overlooks the former home of William Paley who formulated the renowned Watchmaker Theory.

To give it its full moniker in the present day, the brand is called Harold Pinchbeck, after Paul’s Grandfather.

Harold Pinchbeck (1890 – 1957)

Harold Hunter Pinchbeck was born in Cottingham, near Hull. After serving in the Royal Field Artillery he followed the footsteps of his ancestors and was apprenticed to a watchmaker in Hull. In 1923 he set up business in the Lincolnshire town of Barton on Humber, taking over a clockmaker’s shop that had been trading since before 1795. This was originally owned by Robert Sutton (1774 – 1835) who, along with the aforementioned John Harrison, was only one of two creators of all wooden clocks. Harold Pinchbeck spent the rest of his career here. His commitment to, and passion for, fine engineering inspired the current collection of Pinchbeck watches.

There are a lot of new watch brands that offer exclusive mechanical timepieces and that were created by crowd funding or Kickstarter. Pinchbeck Watches is most definitely not one of those. It has an outstanding pedigree.

Pinchbeck are now situated in the stunning Exchequer Gate within the beautiful top end of Lincoln overlooking the Cathedral and the Castle.

Exchequer Gate lies in the shadow of Lincoln’s 950 year old Cathedral
(courtesy of the Bail House website)

Pinchbeck Watches at Exchequer Gate is within a stone’s throw of Lincoln Castle
(courtesy of historiclincolntrust.org.uk)

Within these premises is an office and a workshop. It is, therefore, difficult to view your prospective timepiece and receive a pertinent handover. We welcome you to purchase one of the few Pinchbeck Watches we have in stock at Andrew Michaels Jewellers (www.amjwatches.co.uk). Alternatively, you can place your order for a bespoke Pinchbeck watch through ourselves on 01636 679638. The current collection can be viewed at www.amjwatches.co.uk/pinchbeck

For more information about the brand and the timepieces please visit www.haroldpinchbeck.co.uk

At Andrew Michaels Jewellers, located in the neighbouring town of Newark, we have a high end luxury watch salon for you to choose your new Pinchbeck watch and receive a professional and passionate handover upon its completion.

Personal Testimony.

Having met Paul Pinchbeck and discussed his timepieces I immediately bought into the attitude and philosophy of this boutique luxury watch brand. The first watch I purchased from Pinchbeck was the, now discontinued, Ravenspur. I was immediately drawn to the stark dial with its singular “Pinchbeck” script. The dial is a deep black which was originally contrasted by golden hour markers and baton hands. I say originally, because this is where the beauty of a small output, minimal team entity such as Pinchbeck benefits customers and their personal aspirations. They have the ability to be flexible coupled with the desire to allow the customer to own what they want. I had noticed, whilst viewing the watch at Exchequer Gate in Lincoln, that the hour markers could often look silver in brighter light conditions. So, I requested the watchmaker to exchange the gold seconds hand for a silver version.

Whilst, coupling the hands, regardless of how the hour markers appeared, this also created an aesthetic and functionality dichotomy. After all, the hour and minute hand are viewed as static time stamps to allow us to organise our hectic daily lives and the second hand represents the heartbeat of the watch as it commits to its rotational dressage in perpetuity. It is a playful trick of the eye that I am proud of.

Whilst discussing my options for the Ravenspur with Paul I happened to mention I was born and bred in Lincoln. In fact, I was born within half a mile, married within 100 meters and received my engineering Higher National Diploma within a mile of the Pinchbeck establishment. Paul, wisely, showed me a rendering for the Lincoln Watch they were proposing to release.

                                     

 
The limited edition Lincoln watch

I was immediately smitten with the concept of the Lincoln watch and its well thought-out details, that were pertinent to my home city and its glorious history. So, in a rare alignment of significant situations it was proposed by Paul that the Lincoln watch would be ready to the first customers just before my 50th birthday. After receiving an email containing the details of the new Lincoln watch via email, I dutifully showcased this to friends and family and the unanimous decision concluded that I had to buy this extraordinary timepiece. I contacted Paul and ordered number 1 of just 50 that were being produced. I was also delighted to find out that the cherry on my birthday cake would be a numbered print of the picture that Paul had commissioned local artist, Dominic Parczuk, to create of Lincoln’s famous landmark, the Cathedral, as viewed over the River Witham from the vicinity of the village of Washingborough, which was where, ironically, I was brought up. This very same picture is inserted into the case back.

My number 1 of 50 Limited Edition print that came with my Lincoln Watch.

This case back is the true triumph of the Lincoln watch in my opinion. Intricately patterned dials and inspirational components have been utilised on Limited Edition timepieces previously, but the miniature representation of Dominic Parczuk’s wonderful water colour creates a discrete ingredient that cannot be plagiarised by any other brand.

The Lincoln watch is the only timepiece currently available at Pinchbeck Watches that is not customisable, apart from external hand engraving at an additional cost. However, take my personal word for it, you don’t need to change a single element. Choosing to create a timepiece that was inspired by Lincoln and its illustrious history could have resulted in something fussy, verging on the twee. Paul and his team managed to circumnavigate this possible scenario by choosing constituents that complement each other. The most unique and bold element is the dial that is inspired by the Bishop’s Eye window in the Lincoln Cathedral. Opting to produce this main focal point in a warm English cream colour means that the exquisite pattern is only truly prevalent when the light hits it. This is effortlessly combined with another Lincoln Cathedral inspired component, the raised roman numeral hour track taken from the Cathedral clock. Unite these with blued hour and minute hands and a gold seconds hand and the entire façade of the Lincoln is instantly captivating whilst rewarding repeat appraisals in differing light conditions. It is remarkably difficult to design a wrist watch which oozes confidence and yet maintains a discretionary charm. This is what I love about Pinchbeck Watches in general, but the Lincoln Watch epitomises this philosophy to the extreme.

The screw down crown is engraved with the Fleur-de-Lys emblem of Lincoln.

As with all Pinchbeck watches the Lincoln sits comfortably on the wrist as a result considered ergonomics, meticulous finishing and a supple, handmade Tanner Bates strap that is made specially for the customer.

The Lincoln watch has a special meaning to me because of my pride in where I originate from. It is a constant reminder of significant moments and decisions in my life. I appreciate that this is not relevant to everyone. However, if you are from Lincoln, or you have an interest in its fascinating history, especially its world famous Cathedral and the Castle that houses the original Magna Carta, then the Lincoln watch will be as fulfilling a representation of this as any other trinket or keep-sake, whilst being an everyday utility item as well. It is the most fabulous homage timepiece I have ever seen.

I realise that this paean of expressive superlatives may seem slightly biased due to my appreciation of Pinchbeck Watches through locality. However, there is no denying that we could all become benefactors of the unrelenting enthusiasm at the core of this small family-based entity as they aspire to create unique and lifetime lasting horological dreams available to us all 

The Collection

All Pinchbeck watches are powered by the tried and trusted ETA 2824-2 automatic movement and have a surgical grade stainless steel case, 100m water resistance, a hand-crafted Tanner Bates leather strap and a sapphire glass. The ETA 2824-2 is used widely across the industry. High end watch brands such as Hublot, Breitling, Longines, Tag Heuer, Chopard, Hamilton, Ball Watch, Graham and U-Boat all rely on ETA movements. The 2824 is a robust and reliable movement which is quoted by the supplier at +/- 15 seconds per day accuracy. However, as mentioned previously, Pinchbeck differ in their application of this ETA stalwart in that their watchmaker regulates each watch to within +/-5 seconds per day within the case.

The Infinity (£4999),

Apart from the aforementioned Swiss movement, almost every other component is exclusively made in England, including the dial, heat-treated blue hands, the strap and the 40mm case. One incredible aspect of these gorgeous timepiece is that the gilt chapter ring, located between the glass and the dial, can be inscribed with your chosen dedication or script. This hand engraving is almost a lost art form and is available from no other watchmaker. Make your Infinity truly individual with this private and wondrous detail. The fastidious and finely-machined brass dial is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of warm colours which endows the Infinity with a refinement not normally witnessed at this price point. In fact, I would be willing give supposition that if the celebrated Metiers de Art facility at Vacheron Constantin were to create such a dial it would be eternally lauded. It is simply mesmerising. The caseback is embellished with an inset 18ct gold disc which is a blank canvas for your choice of LASER engraving.

The Christopher (£3999)

 The 40mm diameter Christopher, which exemplifies elegance and classicism, is almost identical to the Infinity apart from the engine turned dial. Subtle crown guards also separate the pair. All other customisable options are available, including the hand engraving on the gilt chapter ring. In addition, a bespoke dial can be designed and created. So, if you fancy your family crest or your favourite team’s colours, this is all achievable at an extra cost.

The Inigo (£1699)

This 42mm workhorse will take anything you can throw at it on a daily basis whilst remaining almost serene in its wonderful character. Like all Pinchbeck Watches the Inigo is produced in strictly limited numbers, ensuring your watch will always remain different from the pack and special to its owner. For the asking price of just £1699 you will also receive the glorious tactility and wonderful aroma of the Tanner Bates strap, sized for the individual. The case back is available with either an exhibition glass, to display the highly regarded ETA mechanical movement, or in solid stainless steel for your personal inscription engraved by hand.

The Chelsea Reach, (£5995)

The 40mm diameter Chelsea Reach is the most exclusive of Pinchbeck Watches with only 25 pieces ever being hand assembled. On top of that, each Chelsea Reach can be made bespoke. This gorgeous timepiece is elevated even further with several harmonious touches of decadence: a solid gold disc, inset in the case back, is not only hand engraved with the watch’s individual limited edition number but also offers real estate for personal messages or dedications. Furthermore, the name and year of manufacture is engraved on the gilt chapter ring. The sumptuous English made case is embellished with gold details to compliment the traditional dial, whose symbology includes the Hanover Horse, and reflects the Doggett’s Race’s rich heritage through its connections with the Fishmongers’ Company and the Company of Watermen and Lighterman.

The Chelsea Reach is the perfect timepiece, not only for followers of the Doggett’s Race, buy anyone interested in the incredible history of the City of London and its fascinating traditions. 

The Lambeth Reach (£2995)

The refined and tasteful Lambeth Reach is enhanced further still by the fact that only 270 will ever be created. The contemporary 41mm case formulates the perfect juxtaposition with the traditional dial and hands that mirror clock and pocket watch faces of yore.

Again, the symbols on the dial reflects the heritage of the Doggett Race through its connections with the Fishmongers’ Company and the Company of Watermen and Lightermen.

Each timepiece is delivered in a Tanner Bates genuine leather presentation wallet and comes with Paul’s signature on a five year warranty certificate and the hand-written initials of the watchmaker on the outer box. It is these seemingly small, but significant, details that set Pinchbeck Watches apart from the myriad of high street luxury watch brands.

Here at Andrew Michaels Jewellers we are very excited to offer our customers the opportunity to own a timepiece that they will unlikely see anywhere else. A wristwatch that is highly customisable to the point of being unique. We are also delighted to be supporting a local business that is driven by passion of creation and for whom customer satisfaction is incredibly important. On initial introduction buying from a generally unknown, such as Pinchbeck, may seem a brave purchase, but it is anything but. Extensive warranty, a strong, protective case for the proven reliable movement, hand assembly and regulation by the in-house watchmaker and a direct line to the director of the brand assures peace of mind. 

Buying a luxury watch should be an event. An amalgamation of instant gratification through exquisite packaging and presentation extending to long serving reliable companionship. A Pinchbeck watch satisfies all criteria you could possibly demand on a cherished item you wish to be able to pass down through generations. 

We are all individual. It is empowering to be able to have significant input towards the aesthetics of your timepiece. There are very few brands out there that afford this level of artistic freedom, instead of saying “This is what we’ve designed, so this is what you’re having”. This is where the high-end watch industry could learn from the automotive trade where, for a long time, the personalised nature of purchasing a new car has become an expected indulgence. I appreciate that the average waiting list for a new car becomes around three months with this procedure and that the average waiting time for a new watch is a few minutes, whilst it is sized and registered. However, I’m perplexed that the highest-turnover, high street brands do not offer some option of customisation for a small amount of their models. Therefore, if you are willing to wait a few weeks Pinchbeck Watches will individualise your (with the emphasis on your) timepiece. Then looking into the future, whilst the watch is being serviced, Paul and his watchmaker will happily consider swapping the dial or hands to fabricate a whole new aesthetic. You don’t get the option to respray or swap the interior of your car for the price of parts during routine maintenance.

Our greatest luxury is time. Why not capture it with an elegantly timeless, yet contemporary robust, Pinchbeck Watch. It will constantly satisfy through joy and pride wherever life may take you and whatever conditions you are challenged with.

All words by Richard Atkins. All images by the author and Harold Pinchbeck watches, unless otherwise stated. This article may not be reproduced in part or in whole without strict permission.
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