Particulars is a page dedicated to explain some of Schofield’s more esoteric language and watch terminology. This lexicon, understood by those that have been with us from the start, can sometimes be confusing for our more recent visitors. The Six Pips newsletter that wends its way to thousands of mailboxes every Thursday at 8:15pm will often contain the words, terms and phrases you see below. This is an in-house glossary.
The inspiration for naming our unique carbon composite comes from the ancient material Bog-oak or Bog-wood, also known as Morta. Bog-oak is a rare form of timber because when brought out of the ground it is in the early stages of fossilisation. The mineralisation makes the oak very hard and abrasive to work. The growth rings and medullary rays have been preserved in the timber, which has a very deep colour, almost black. These characteristics are not a million miles away from the carbon fibre composite used in the Blacklamp, a material that, after a solid year of R&D resulting in a ream of scientific documentation, we have coined as Morta.
Sussex & England
Many times we’ve been pulled up on the grammatic anomaly that is Sussex & England, but naturally it is for good reason. Whilst designing the cricket strap and box and we spent time with master bat maker Tim Keeley and studied in detail his amazing collection of vintage, modern and legendary cricket bats. Some of the players batted for both the Sussex and England teams, hence Sussex & England, which suits our geographical sensibilities as Schofield HQ is located in Sussex yet we work, play, and source as often as possible within England.
The Blacklamp dial explicitly describes a common Schofield design feature of concentric circles. A record groove dial adds texture and mirrors the radial brushing found on our case backs, the concentric circles found on our Fresnel lens, the mathematical divisions used for spacing dial elements and the overall symmetry found in most Schofield watches.
The movement holder is the ring that secures the movement to the inside of the case. Ours are designed to look like airlock door locks, concentric layers of rotating metal. We also pride ourselves on this piece of design because of its simplicity and elegance, enhancing the complexity of the movement.
Tritium Gas Insert
A gem of a thing, the Blacklamp Carbon crown is machined from titanium, finished with a polished face and bead-blasted sides and back. The face is engraved with the Unicode map symbol for a lighthouse, filled with black ceramic. The icon’s central dot has been replaced with a tritium gas insert. The radioactive gas is encapsulated within a glass vial, encased in a nickel silver cylinder with a sapphire glass window. This self-glowing device is machined and fitted into the centre of the crown emitting a dull glow for 11 years. Your own little lighthouse. The Blacklamp crown is a modern jewel for a gentleman, a play on the Cartier sapphire cabochon.
Fish skin straps have always been on Schofield’s radar. Their beauty fits perfectly within the Schofield brand but their delicacy does not. Giles, having spent some of his youth fishing for eels in the River Adur, remembers all too well how difficult it is to dispatch one of Britain’s most resilient of river fish. We were fortunate to find a small supply of tanned skins from eels caught in the River Thames (for jellied eels, YUK!) which were both handsome and hardy enough for us to fabricate a limited run of straps.
All We Make Is Treasure
Treasure is word synonymous with pirates, smuggling and clandestine contraband. It is also something to be discovered and that sums Schofield up. A dilemma to either share or keep to yourself.
This watch was commissioned by Brighton’s legendary tattoo artist James Woodford (Woody). The dial was requested to look like Sussex mud. Rather than a rich from loam I opted for a greasy slightly green chalk and clay mix. This special watch was known as the Tattoine acknowledging Woody’s love of Star Wars, the colours and the fact that it was paid for in ink.
The GLTD rings that we insert between the crystal and the dial are machined from a specially developed acrylic with a large particle size of strontium aluminate. A large particle size gives a superior persistence and brightness of glow. These rings are machined for us by James Thompson of Black Badger Composites, who has extensive experience with exotic materials. His site… http://www.blackbadger.se
Crust, otherwise known as verdigris, is a green carbonate that forms on bronze when exposed to air or seawater. The Bronze Beater, in both the force patinated or raw varieties, offers the watch the opportunity to transform over time by collecting verdigris. The quantity of pigment depends entirely on the surrounding environment and your body’s chemistry.
The Fresnel lens is commonly referenced in Schofield watches and accessories, this crown design is no exception. The polished dome is a mathematical facsimile of our domed crystals and the black filled engraving represents the iron support structure for these massive lighthouse lenses.
We wanted a house ink. We wanted it to be original. The only way to achieve this was to mix it ourselves. It is messy but worth it. We have written every address label and signed every document for many years using nothing but this dark teal ink. Fish guts is a totally inaccurate description of the colour unless you’re talking about rotten old swim bladders.
The case of this Beater B1 watch, the precursor to the Bronze Beater Batch 2, is titanium that has been painstakingly finished by hand. The case is prepared, bead blasted, ultrasonically cleaned, then placed in a kiln at around 500 degrees Celcius. We allow it to air dry and then it is cleaned again. This slow change from grey to vivid blue is a unique finish in the watch industry and is incredibly beautiful. Part of the reason we stopped making this watch was because of how expensive it became to make and the case bluing contributed to that.
The Fountain Pen
The Schofield fountain pen was made in collaboration with Onoto Pen Company (Churchill’s go-to). Influenced by the design of classic British and Japanese pens, it was made of resin, with silver chased band, a silver plated beryllium bronze clip with an onyx cabochon. Engraved Sussex and England, an explanation you can see further down the page.
This logo was influenced by classic mid-century design. Having taken the Beam-of-Light logo apart and reassembling it back to front, the fat ends of the wedges now touch and it has been flipped 90 degrees. The negative space between the diamonds now forms the original logo shape. This is used to replace the SWC roundel logo that was a little too close to the GWR (Great Western Railway) monogram. This device is also made up of six separate pips and is used occasionally for our The Six Pips (TSP) newsletter.
Toots! Original Jazz Coffee shares the same name as our miniature Dachshund. Both should be spelt with the exclamation mark! Both Toots! are named after the late great jazz harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans (listen to the track Hummin’). It is a little known fact that Giles is an accredited harmonica teacher.
The Daymark is a Victorian structure that sits atop the cliff above and behind the hamlet of Kingswear on the opposite side of the river to Dartmouth in Devon. Giles discovered the Aid to Navigation quite by accident when running the cliffs in the days when running distance was fun! The Daymark is a lighthouse with no light, a beacon to guide mariners up the river Dart whose entrance is notoriously hard to find. This grey cone of Purbeck stone has its fingers in the soil anchoring it from bad weather. It is the avatar and namesake for the Daymark watch.
Fix the Idea
Fix the idea was a phrase used on the inside poster of our fountain pen box. Fix the idea means to make your ideas real, perfect for writers like J Carroll, who wrote ‘The Crow’s Dinner’ verbatim with a Schofield fountain pen. We first came across this phrase on an Italian poster that read ‘Fisso L’idea’.
RT is an abbreviation of ‘Rare Things’. Rare Things is a special term allocated to products made in extremely limited numbers. Extremely limited means generally less than five. These might include colour variants of production models, special commissions, bespoke items and whimsical pieces.
Straps for the Land and Sea
Notice the logo in the A. Notice the strange sentence structure and the words long and short. This was the first graphic to represent our growing strap division. When we first sold watch straps no man bought a short size, they all opted for long. Until they tried them on and they were too long – so were swapped for short. We changed Short to Regular and sanity was restored. The scallop represents the sea, the fox land. Schofield watch straps are made for any situation, environment and dress code – but you knew that 😉
We harp on about Sussex because we love it. It is my home and home to Schofield Watch Company. There is a strong link between watch making and rurality, the light and the quiet, the Swiss farmers turning their hands to make components through the slow winter months (see here). Sussex is a county that for most of its history faced the sea and not London. The railway changed that. And these facts make us love it all the more. Talking about Sussex is not a marketing exercise but a way for us to factor in an important part of our daily lives so as not to displace it with too much Schofield work. Sussex features in most Six Pips Newsletters.
Bare Bones is a term we use to describe watch dials with no graphical printing, statement design pieces which emphasise colour and or geometry. The original ‘Beater Bare Bones’ dials are large fields of lustrous enamel within a polished brass frame. The ‘Signalman Bare Bones’ are machined and plated in such a way as to exaggerate the dial geometry of the original ‘Signalman’. The Bare Bones is a bold piece of anti-branding with the word ‘Schofield’ only appearing on the buckle (optional).
Father and Son
Father and Son projects are those where Giles works alongside his father, a super skilled woodworker. The products are painstakingly designed and made in the sheds and garages of Sussex. The Box of tops was one such project, it was an aspirationally priced wooden box of 25 handmade spinning tops. A true Arts and Crafts piece.
This is a name of a small friction folding penknife made by master knife smith Michael Morris. The Ladyfinger commonly defines a biscuit, cocktail, Okra, a cactus, a type of banana, small firecrackers etc. We sold Ladyfingers between the years 2014 – 2017 with many limited editions in different materials and colours produced for Christmas.
This term describes how we finish the cases of some Bronze Beaters. Bronze is an alloy predominantly of copper and tin with the addition of other metals like manganese, nickel or zinc. Copper oxidises superficially, a copper oxide layer forms that protects the underlying metal from further corrosion. You can apply patina by treating the metal with various chemicals to give a desired effect. For example by applying ferric nitrate to copper you force a yellow-brown patina. We treat our cases in a recipe that specifically gives us a dark brown, nautical propeller look. This is rubbed back exposing the bare metal to add contrast. We also make raw cases that will acquire their own natural patination where results are unpredictable depending on environmental factors such as perfume, salt water, sweat, etc…
The Blacklamp was launched in 2013. It was unusual and forward thinking by way of conceptualising the case material but leaving other aspects of mechanics and watchmaking simple. The case was carbon fibre constructed in a specially developed in-house style that we called Morta. The design hook was a glowing ring that illuminated the dial from the outer circumference once charged. The Moon Glow ring was developed in collaboration with James Thompson AKA Black Badger. The movement was a hand wound ETA/UNITAS 6498-1 with custom hack function.
The Compeller is our take on a fidget spinner. The word is a portmanteau of compel and propeller. It is made from the same bronze we use for the Bronze Beater. They are over engineered by Spinner standards, with balanced spin times exceeding 5 mins – which is a lot for such a small device.
BBB2 is for Bronze Beater Batch 2 and is the designation for the 2017 issue Bronze Beater. This watch is characterised by the use of a Swiss automatic ETA 2824-2 movement, a solid caseback, a bronze handset with a Sign-O-life second hand and a double blue dial. It is available in both raw and patinated versions.
Every Christmas we take great pleasure in creating limited edition EDC (every day carry) for example, torches uniquely coloured and knives in unusual materials. All Christmas crackers are packaged in exotic papers, ribbons and tags collected throughout the year for this specific use.
Lug Protection are specialist stickers manufactured by Schofield to protect the lugs of your watches when undergoing a routing strap change. These are plastic no-rip stickers with 3M adhesive that is re-stickable many times without leaving a residue. A small hole die cut into the sticker is perfectly sized to leave access to the strap-bar screw head where the remaining area masks the lug from scratches caused by slipping with a screwdriver. Every sticker reminds us to go carefully.
Cricket Ball Strap
The cricket ball strap was originally launched inside a cricket bat box, handmade by the legendary Tim Keeley and his brothers. Notice the cricket bat graphics and especially the use of four stars meaning maximum awesomeness. When did this become five? The cricket ball strap is made from authentic cricket ball leather, in which the red dye is not colourfast and is prone to coming off on your cuffs. Sadly the tannery no longer makes this leather so these straps are no longer in production.
The screwdriver holder was a short-lived product built around three Burgeon screwdrivers that we commonly used for changing watch straps and buckles. Shortly after manufacturing the driver holder we decided to rethink screwdrivers, launching instead a screwdriver that was designed for horizontal use rather than vertical use typical to Swiss screwdrivers.
This durable and incredibly tough leather is the same used to fabricate hand guards, grips and belts for gymnasts and weightlifters, the cracked white surface a nod perhaps to the chalk on their hands. Grips can be worn by female gymnasts on the uneven bars and by male gymnasts on the high bar and still rings. The white surface cracks to reveal brown underneath with the watch strap becoming browner with age.
Lenticular means lens-like, lenses being a major part of the Schofield design language. Shown here is the Blacklamp case back with a domed sapphire crystal, much like the domed sapphire crystals that protect the dials of all of our watch models. A window needs not be simply a means to a view, it can catch the light, add colour, magnification, refraction and be beautiful in its own right.
B2 is for batch 2. It is a Beater watch model designation. This is different to our specified limited numbers for some watch productions. It gives us more flexibility. B1 was a Beater watch that was limited in production because we changed dial markers and movements. It became B2, both the raw and patinated versions, because of these changes and will continue as B2 until other changes are made that fundamentally change the appearance or mechanics. B1s and B2s still have a numerical serial number or custom monogramming.
EDC stands for everyday carry. It is a term used to describe what is commonly found globally in pockets and bags. Famously there are a couple of websites devoted to pictures of EDC which makes for fascinating insight into the minds and lives of the people that post these photographs. Schofield products are EDC focussed, our watches and accessories making up essential daily kit for survival in the modern world.