The Six Pips Chronicles

Every week at 8:15 PM

We send out an email; five images and a little text to keep you in the loop. If you would like to sign-up to receive the Six Pips bulletin please click here – Schofield news bulletin sign-up. The content of these pages contain an archive of observations and forecasts, watchmaking, British commentary, Sussex beauty, manufacture, engineering, design, poetry and amusement. Schofield executes all it does by thinking and the Six Pips is no exception. We are proud to be a very British watch company and this is our history of watchmaking.

Why The Six Pips?

The Greenwich Time Signal (GTS), popularly known as the pips, is a series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals by many BBC Radio stations.

The proposal for a time signal came from one Frank Hope-Jones in a radio talk in April 1923. It was agreed that broadcasting the Greenwich Standard Time with a chronometer at the Royal Observatory tripping a switch at five seconds to the hour to create those iconic pips – using a 1kHz oscillator. The time signal was first broadcast at 9.30 p.m. on 5 February 1924.

There are six pips (short beeps) in total, which occur on the 5 seconds leading up to the hour and on the hour itself. Each pip is a 1 kHz tone (about halfway between musical B5 and C6) the first five of which last a tenth of a second each, while the final pip lasts half a second. The actual moment when the hour changes – the “on-time marker” – is at the very beginning of the last pip.

Our weekly bulletin is made up of five short posts and a snippets section outlining minor news.

  • Beater case on hand


    We have often been asked for a behind the scenes peek, what is below the surface? While this feels somewhat like putting your head on the block, I realise that we have nothing at all to hide and in fact any that visit Schofield HQ will see us laid bare. Exposed. So why not celebrate this? UNDERCURRENTS.INFO was the Blacklamp blog, a site dedicated to our now long sold out Blacklamp watch. It included development work, prototypes, sketches, amendments, hiccups and more. As we are cleaning up any confusing elements of the Schofield brand, updating this blog was important. UNDERCURRENTS.INFO has all the old Blacklamp posts but will be updated every week with some less glamorous, loosey-goosey, worker-person type posts. Please visit this damp cave full of contraband for it is our secret lair. BTW this image is of the first ever Beater case, gold steel, not raw or patinated bronze. See it on the undercurrents site…it is for sale!


  • Schofield homepage slides


    I wanted to impress upon you the great effort that has gone into the new home page slides. Best appreciated on a 5k monitor as a phone does not do them justice. The raw Bronze Beater on pink sand you saw last Pips but these two are new. The first is Future Time highlighting Schofield’s forthcoming watch, the Obscura. We are not giving much away at this stage. The Second is a slide linking to the ‘about Schofield‘ page, showing Berry Head Lighthouse with an alien background – a graphic that is actually a map of the British Isles that was drawn for another site (not live). Simon Cudd and I visited Berry Head to take photos. He was teased relentlessly because he struggled to get a shot that was better than mine 🙂 However I used his (only good one 😉 ) because it showed the antenna, and all of mine were of the lamp, like a moth I could not resist. For other awesome images check out ‘Through the lens‘.


  • Tiger loaf watch straps


    The wonderful Clayton Tannery in Chesterfield supplies us with letters that we have used for every Watch Wallet and many watch straps. We knew the famous cricket ball strap was going to be limited because they were ceasing tanning the fancy version of actual cricket ball leather. Nobody wants bright red leather now that the 80s have passed by many decades. We thought that our tiger loaf leather straps would stay with us but alas the old machine that puts the special surface on the hide has been condemned. There will be no more tiger loaves once our stock has run out. To celebrate we are offering for one week only 20% off the dark brown tiger loaf and tan tiger loaf watch straps. Discount code OLDMACHINES.


  • Eel skin strap with fork


    Our super limited edition eel skin strap has been a sought after part of our collection for years. This is the very last one in regular size. It’s only now that we’ve been able to source its perfect companion, an antique wrought iron eel spear! How we came across such a unique item will not be disclosed, suffice to say that it is a natural companion to a strap inspired by Britain’s historic rivers, waterways and culture. If you’re interested in this one-off strap and spear combo for just £180 (with VAT) £150 (without VAT) then contact us direct by email. To peruse further watch straps check out our collection and that of Schofield and Cudd!


  • Ceramic watch cases


    A little tantalising yet too awesome not to share. These are our very own samples of ceramic from which we will make cases from. It is (we believe) the worlds first offering of custom solid ceramic cases. Pick your colour!


  • Greenwich time signal machine


    • UNDERCURRENTS gets its own website! So from now on this section is like a summary.
    • Even more new entries on the Particulars page.
    • Accessories are gone but not forgotten. However if you had your heart set on something let us know – we still have some bits.
    • Ask about custom watches – an area we are expanding!
    • Custom prebuilt rare thing Beaters available – just ask.
    • New watches, not yet!
    • The pic is of The Greenwich Time Signal (GTS) machine. Generator of the Six Pips!

    “It is to be noted that when any part of this paper appears dull there is a design in it.” – Richard Steel

  • Luxury Watches BBB2

    WELCOME TO 2018

    Hello everyone, this Pips is the first of 2018 and it is filled with great excitement and optimism. With so much energy at HQ we make plans, solve problems and implement some big changes. The website is getting a lot of that energy, new images, copy and a clean up of the structure to make it easier to navigate, not just through the site but through the Schofield brand. We felt we were getting consumed by strangeness and our message was getting lost. A big difference is the removal of the accessories page. No more knives, Compellers, Toots!, books, cigars and torches. No sir! We are a watch company. Watches first, straps second, screwdrivers – naturally, a Strap Kit, maybe a new Watch Wallet and that is it. Perhaps you will find some Schofield accessories on the Schofield + Cudd site, which BTW is going from strength to strength with a new site of its own coming soon.