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 1000-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.
ONOTO - THE SCHOFIELD FOUNTAIN PEN V1
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.
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.
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.
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.