Collaborations with an English watchmaker

Why we collaborate with British manufacturers and artists.

As proud English watchmakers we have undertaken the task of supporting world class and on the most part British manufacturers, artists and creatives by way of supply, commissions and competitions. With governmental funding to the arts decreasing we want to actively support and promote artists, designers, film makers, photographers and artisans as part of our ongoing social responsibility.


The Blacklamp by Luke Forsythe

In conversation with film-maker and street photographer Luke Forsythe in London last spring, we commissioned him to make a film for us. We asked him to explore the aesthetic of our latest watch the Blacklamp Carbon and come up with a piece of work that could add to the imagery. This beautiful piece of moving image was filmed on location on the south coast of England, the coastline that gave shape, colour and inspiration to the Blacklamp.

Luke comes from a family of photographers and cinema managers and has followed in that tradition becoming a film director and street photographer. He has always been acutely aware of the differences between the two mediums and in recent years he has begun developing a response to this dichotomy.

A film is made by a crew, a photograph often made alone. Film is generally shot and played rigidly at 25 frames per second at a 50th of a second exposure, profoundly affecting the result.

Working alone, Luke uses time-lapse and motor drives reconstructing the conventional way of seeing, a less time based reality is observed.  This film The Blacklamp is part of a series of films he has made in this manner.

The film should be watched in peaceful surroundings. It should be considered much like our Blacklamp manual wind wrist watch.


The Last DLC Competition!

Furthering our commitment to the arts, Schofield ran a hugely successful writing competition where entrants were asked to creatively write something centred around the letters D L and C. Our winner, an infallible Mr C was presented with his very special watch worth over £4000.00 at Blacks club in Soho. For further competitions look at the events page.

Mr C's winning entry

The Schofield Watch Company Last DLC Competition winner


Tide Time by Mandy Barker

English Watch company Art commission Mandy Barker
English watch brand Schofield Art commission Mandy Barker Soup

Mandy Barker is an award winning photographic artist who exhibits throughout the world. Her work is a combination of beautifully crafted photographic images and social commentary. Mandy’s work highlights the environmental issues surrounding dispersed plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and challenges the viewer to understand the problem and to become actively engaged in helping work towards changing it.

Mandy’s work inspired us to think more deeply about our own connection with the sea and our role in helping people to appreciate its beauty and care for its preservation. Having met Mandy and talked some more about her work we decided to support her by commissioning a piece of work called Tide Time. This beautiful piece of photographic art has now become part of our Tide Time project that incorporates all of our Environmental Social Responsibility. Should you wish to buy a limited edition signed print then you can do so simply by emailing us.

For more information on Schofield’s environmental social responsibility project Tide Time please visit our dedicated blog here… Tide Time.


The Balvenie whisky and Tim Keeley master bat maker

  • The Balvenie distillery

    The Balvenie distillery

    The full tour and sample

    Located in Dufftown on Speyside, in the north-east of Scotland, lies the Balvenie distillery. Balvenie is a single malt...

  • Tim Keeley

    Tim Keeley

    An afternoon with the legendary cricket bat maker

    As a boy I spent many hours listening to Test Match Special on the radio with my grandfather in…


Lambs Navy Rum

Lambs approached Giles with a view to doing a photo shoot, a video and an interview. They felt that Schofield represented luxury craft. He obliged and they reciprocated the favour with copious bottles of rum, tots of which are rationed daily amongst Schofield staff.

English watch company Schofield's CEO Giles Ellis for Lambs Navy Rum


Onoto – The Schofield fountain pen

In the autumn of 1905 Thomas De La Rue & Co. Ltd launched the first self-filling fountain pen guaranteed not to leak – the Onoto Patent Self-Filling Pen. It was unique. A new plunger filling system put an end to clumsy and time-consuming use of eye-droppers to fill a pen with ink. This remarkable innovation was to feature prominently in the many different styles of Onoto pens to be made over the next 50 years making it one of the most successful of all British fountain pens.

Like most pens of the period, the first Onotos were manufactured from black vulcanite, with intricately chased patterns on the barrel and featuring an over/under-fed 14ct gold nib. Within a few years the Onoto range expanded with a variety of different sizes, finishes and prices. Mottled red-black ‘polished antique’ and chased red vulcanite was popular as were the elegant sterling silver, solid gold filigree and engine-turned overlays.

There were now Onoto agents across the globe – from Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, Bombay and Cairo to Milan, Stockholm, Lisbon, Johannesburg and Trinidad. Transparent pens, with the ink supply visible, were all the rage and by the mid-1930s premium-priced Onotos with sterling silver and solid gold overlays were again to the fore. The first Onotos with ink-visibility were introduced in 1935 and a new range of Onoto Minors and Onoto Magnas launched in August 1937.

The Onoto Magna with an impressive two-tone No 7 nib soon got a reputation as being one of the best fountain pens ever made.

Since then there has been a loyal following for Onoto pens among collectors and connoisseurs of fine writing instruments world-wide, with many original Onoto pens selling for many times their original price, and becoming investments. Continuing interest in the Onoto brand and a steady increase in the luxury pen market in recent years have resulted in the re-launch of Onoto at the London Stock Exchange in May 2005 with the announcement of the first new Onoto pen for 46 years.

Famous names that owned an Onoto pen include Field Marshal Haig, Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Edgar Wallace, Natsume Soseki, the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji era and Queen Mary.

Mystery surrounds the naming of the company, but it is possible that it was named after Ono Tokusaburo, a Japanese watchmaker.

Schofield’s Managing Director Giles Ellis, a collector of fountain pens and whose daily writing pen (up until now) was an Onoto Magna, wanted to add to the Schofield line up of EDC (Every Day Carry) products. Naturally Onoto was first choice and the owner Alastair Adams was happy to accommodate Giles’ exacting standards. Typical to Schofield, there was to be no compromise in design and Onoto were masterful in there approach and understanding of the art that is pen making. The Schofield Fountain Pen and writing set has sold out and due to internal strife within the British pen industry will not be re-issued.

English pens for English watchmakers Schofield


Cherchbi – The Schofield Watch Wallet

Cherchbi was established by Adam Atkinson in 2007 and began with a simple idea to make bags using the discarded wool of the ancient Herdwick breed of mountain sheep.

The Herdwick has a 1,000-year heritage and worthy reputation as Britain’s hardiest mountain sheep. Reared primarily for it’s specialty meat, the breed has EU protected food name status and appears on menus of many of the country’s best restaurants. However the fleece had long been considered almost worthless and was sometimes burned.

Over a period of four years Cherchbi transformed this low value fleece into a high quality cloth: the Herdwick No.10. Herdwick No.10 is a pure wool, it’s colour and texture derived from the distinctive Herdwick fleece. It is spun, woven and finished entirely in the British Isles. The fleece originates in the Cumbrian Lake District and is spun into yarn in Kilcar, County Donegal. The spinning process is slowed giving the yarn greater strength. This is woven into cloth in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Extra picks are added into the loom creating an unusually dense weave. The tweed is sent to Galashiels in the Scottish borders where it undergoes specialist finishing. Finally, in Lancashire, the finished wool tweed is bonded to its cotton.

Cherchbi has now become a leather goods and accessories brand using the best natural raw materials including vegetable-tanned English saddle leather, their own Herdwick No.10 wool tweed, brass Riri zips, cotton, linen and solid brass & pewter hardware. Most of these materials are locally sourced to their specification and are natural and sustainable. Our wonderful, British made Watch Wallets V2 are now in stock.

British leather tannery supply British watch brand Schofield


Abraham Moon Mills – Schofield limited edition watch straps, the Schofield Strap Kit and Schofield Watch Wallet

Abraham Moon and Sons is a family owned company located in Yorkshire, traditional home of the English cloth mills.

The company was founded by Abraham Moon in 1837, the year Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne. Abraham Moon lived in the community of Guiseley and supplied many local families with yarn to weave cloth on hand looms in their homes. When the cloth was woven he would collect the pieces, paying the weavers for their work. The cloth was then scoured (washed) locally and hung out to dry in the surrounding fields. Abraham would then transport the pieces by horse and cart to Leeds for sale in the market.

In 1868 Moon had a three storey mill built on Netherfield Road, Guiseley, less than 300 yards from his house at the top of Oxford Avenue. The mill had an abundant source of local water which was soft and ideal for scouring and other processes necessary in woollen manufacture. The business continued to flourish, but in 1902 the original multi-storey mill burned to the ground. The company was moved to the centre of town where a much larger single storey mill was built. Moon Mills became a fully vertical mill, with dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing processes all taking place on one site. Nowadays Moon Mills is regarded as one of the finest exporters of fabrics in the world. Moon Mills works alongside Schofield, providing fabrics for our watch straps, the Schofield Strap Kit and the Cherchbi x Schofield Watch Wallet.

English Tweeds for British watch makers Schofield


Benson and Clegg – SWC Lapel Pin

We have made a very limited run of Schofield blazer buttons in collaboration with Benson & Clegg, cutters to the Royal Family.

Benson and Clegg has a long heritage in bespoke tailoring reaching back to the formation of the company in 1937. Granted the Royal Warrant to King George VI in 1944 Benson and Clegg became renowned the world over as the creators and fabricators of the King’s formal wear. In 1992 it was granted a Royal Warrant to The Prince of Wales, providing the Prince’s household with bespoke buttons and badges.

Nowadays Benson and Clegg is situated in the Piccadilly Arcade on London’s famous Jermyn Street and is recognised the world over for its buttons and badges and respected for providing true bespoke tailoring.

The buttons are created by craftsmen following a tradition of artistry and excellence established in the 18th century. Nine separate hand operations, including clipping, pre-polishing, plating, burnishing, fine polishing and buffing ensure that these finely tooled buttons meet the exacting tradition of fine English tailoring.

The Schofield Button is finished in Antique Silver, hand stamped, softened, polished and buffed to our own unique design. It is made in England, in the Jewellery quarter of Birmingham, by a small team of craftsmen. A perfect tribute to British watch making. This pin is available as a collectors item, please enquire.

English watch makers Schofield SWC pin


Millerain – Schofield limited edition dry wax cotton English watch straps and the Schofield Strap Kit V1,2, and 3.

The history of British Millerain can be traced back to the industrial revolution, and the year 1880 when the Miller family started the cotton business in Halifax, Yorkshire. Six generations later the company is now based in Rochdale, Lancashire. The early years saw the production of waxed fabrics for the rigors of life in the armed forces. However, Millerain soon developed a reputation as a leader in the field of waterproofed fabrics. Over time these fabrics have also become synonymous with English country pursuits.

British watch straps


Ventile – Schofield limited edition watch straps

The long pedigree of the fabric goes back as far as the late 1930s. With war looming, the British government thought that there would be a shortage of flax that was used in those days for fire hoses and water buckets. An alternative was required and research was commenced into the use of cottons, woven in such a way as to keep water in.

With the onset of World War ll the research team, based at the Shirley Institute in Manchester, was asked to expand their work into the development of pilot’s immersion suits. During World War II Britain depended upon convoys carrying vital supplies across the Arctic Ocean. These convoys were particularly susceptible to attack from submarines and long range bombers. Home based RAF fighter escort cover was impossible because of long distances involved. In an attempt to find a solution Winston Churchill promoted the concept of catapulting expendable Hurricane aircraft from the decks of merchant ships to provide local cover for the convoys. However, there was no means of landing back on the deck so the pilot had the choice of ditching the aircraft or bailing out into the sea. There was no problem in spotting the pilots who had signals and lights, but the water was so cold that life expectancy was only a few minutes.

There was an urgent need for a new, protective clothing fabric that would be comfortable in the cockpit under combat conditions and that would also keep a pilot warm and dry in the sea. After many trials the scientists developed the fabric called ‘Ventile’. When made into finished garments, life expectancy in the sea was extended from a few minutes to 20 minutes and rescue was now a real possibility. 80% of anti-submarine pilots who fell into the sea survived.

Ventile is made from 100% cotton using a long staple fibre, only found in the top 2% of the world’s crop. After gentle spinning and doubling, the yarn is woven into a very dense Oxford weave, using up to 30% more yarn than conventional woven fabrics. It is not coated or laminated, the combination of the dense weave and the swelling properties of the fibres when wet provide excellent weatherproofing. The natural product offers a high level of comfort and is waterproof, windproof, but breathable, durable and quiet in use. It also has strong resistance to tearing and burning.

Ventile fabrics for RAF clothing went into mass production in 1943 and the military association still remains to this day. Garment designs have changed over the years but you will still find Ventile suits in modern Tornado jets with the RAF and other NATO air forces. It is popular with birdwatchers and naturalists because, unlike synthetic fabrics such as Gore-Tex, it is quiet when in use. It is very popular among survivalists and bush crafters in the European forests because of its strong resistance to tearing and fire. It is also widely used in polar expeditions. Famously Ventile was used during the 1953 British expedition to Everest, forming the outer fabric on Edmund Hillary’s Parka jacket. 100% Ventile cotton patches were also integrated into Sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s sports jacket which he used on various Everest expeditions including the successful 1953 first ascent.

As a very British brand – Schofield are proud to use Ventile in our a range of watch straps made with British fabrics. Available in the shop here… British watch straps.

Sir Hillary and Norgay smile at the British Embassy in Kathmandu, after their conquest of Mt. Everest


Grove and Sons – The Schofield lanyard for the Acme ‘Titanic’ Whistle

Grove and Sons is the last remaining horn button manufacturer in England.

James Grove founded his business in 1857 with his wife, Ann Elizabeth and began by selling buttons from his hotel room as he travelled across Europe. At that time, buttons were either made from Horn or Hoof. Many were compression moulded with crests; either fancy or military insignia.

During the American civil war company archives show that both Confederate and Unionist sides chose to have their buttons made by James Grove.

The Company was incorporated as a Private Limited Company on 11 January 1917 and records show that around 600 men and women were employed at that time, making and polishing buttons by hand. Over the years, compression moulding of Horn and Hoof became too labour intensive and therefore too expensive and so the manufacturing process switched to injection moulded machines. The turning of Horn buttons on lathes however continued.

One of James Grove’s traditional trades was uniform buttons, supplying the Ministry of Defence, British Railways and the General Post Office.

During the 1950s James Grove started making synthetic buttons from a material called casein (made from a milk derivative). This material is now quite rare. The curing of the raw material is a lengthy manufacturing process, taking several weeks. The finish however is very smooth and shiny making an extremely desirable button, especially for the ‘couture’ fashion industry.

English watchmakers Schofield are proud to have collaborated with Grove and Sons on customising our horn toggle to accompany the Schofield linen lanyard. Today, the company, which is still owned by the Grove family, is the only manufacturer of real Horn buttons in the UK. Sadly Grove and Sons have changed hands and they are not producing new buttons but selling off old stock.

English watchmakers Schofield - made in Britain Titanic whistle


Acme – The Acme Titanic whistle and Schofield lanyard

Acme was the brain child of Joseph Hudson, a farm worker from Derbyshire who moved to the city of Birmingham, like so many during the Industrial Revolution, and trained as a toolmaker. Hudson converted the wash house at the side of his end of terrace “ back to back” home in St Marks Street into a workshop where he made many things to help increase his family’s income. His early products were snuff boxes, cork screws and whistles.

His whistle business was very small until in 1883 the London Metropolitan Police advertised for an idea to replace the policeman’s rattle, a cumbersome means of communication for the bobby on his “beat” (the name given to his patrol). Joseph Hudson invented a novel whistle for the purpose. It could be held in the mouth leaving the hands free, a clear advantage over the rattle. Joseph Hudson’s dilemma was in finding a distinctive and far carrying sound. Pondering on this problem as he played his violin he failed to place his instrument down firmly on the table when he had finished playing and it fell to the ground and broke. He noticed what a jarring and discordant sound it made as it broke and sensed that this was the type of sound he needed for his new whistle.

The police tested his new whistle on Clapham Common and were delighted when it was clearly heard just over a mile (1.6Km) distance.

Over the next 135 years Acme developed and patented over 40 different whistle designs. Here are just a few of these world firsts: The Metropolitan Police Whistle, The Acme Thunderer, The Acme Siren, the Silent Dog Whistle.

By the year 2000 sales had reached big numbers. The Acme Thunderer alone had sold over 200 million with the many other whistles of the range adding dramatically to its total. Sales may now be in millions to every corner of the globe but some things never change. Joseph Hudson used to insist on blowing every whistle himself personally before it left the factory.

Acme Whistles made and supplied the original stock of Thunderers for officers and senior ratings of the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner. Surviving examples discovered over the years have commanded high prices at auction and generated considerable publicity. The collector’s model featured alongside the Schofield Lanyard is still made from all the original tooling.

As a British watch brand we wanted to make a linen lanyard for the famous ACME brass ‘Titanic’ whistle, as an accessory to accompany the Schofield Signalman wrist watch.The lanyard uses a laser engraved horn toggle made by Grove and Sons, the last remaining English horn button manufacturer. The linen rope is of the type used for hanging weights in antique clocks. There is a custom designed brass toggle and leather cord attaching the lanyard to the whistle. It comes packaged in a card box labelled with a portrait of Commander Lightoller. In an incredible career Commander Lightoller was, amongst other things, the highest ranked officer to survive the Titanic, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and at the age of 66 sailed to Dunkirk rescuing 130 men aboard his boat the Sundowner. This product was limited and has sold out.