Garrick S1: Enough Humility, This Is British Watchmaking With Pride
Humility may well be a virtue, but it often is a risky marketing strategy. In the world of business, humility is usually a bad move because if you don’t pat yourself on the back nobody else will.
The number-one job for the marketing department is thinking of creative ways to talk about how awesome the client is and/or how amazing the product is.
But that practice often clashes with creative independent artists. While there are exceptions to every rule, some creatives would rather their work speaks for itself instead of spending time “bragging” about what they have made. This creates an interesting dichotomy for creators who want to remain humble about their skills, but also need to generate enough attention and respect to earn a living.
It is hard for many to adequately promote their products or services while staying true to the craftsman/artist ethos of hard work, dedication, and humility. When you look to religion and philosophy, opinions on humility vary widely between cultures, and depending on perspective it can be just as bad as vanity and hubris.
So taking a strong stand on humility is really just a matter of opinion, and if it hurts the bottom line then we might assume that being too humble isn’t likely to be beneficial at all.
The best approach seems to be to stand proud of accomplishments. Or at the very least let them be seen and appreciated.
This is an especially important call to arms for independent watchmakers, who tend to be studious and quiet masters rightly deserving praise yet woefully undersell their creations.
When you look at the extreme marketing efforts by run-of-the-mill brands to increase awareness and desire for their products (regardless of how inherently impressive they may be), it becomes clear that many independents are doing far too little to promote their incredible skills and beautiful creations.
The Garrick S1 is no wallflower
One small brand is taking a step to counteract just that with its latest release. Independent British watchmaker Garrick has just released its new S1.
An extension of the Portsmouth model, the S1 features the same base movement with the addition of a power reserve indication. But more importantly, the fresh design allows it to show off its beautiful mechanics.
The S1 is literally about showing off everything that Garrick is capable of, and it does it so beautifully that it lifts the brand up more than few rungs on the haute horlogerie ladder.
The Garrick S1 is all about showing off
The Garrick S1 is first and foremost a skeletonized watch, but one skeletonized in a traditional British manner. Instead of following the standard Swiss format, the main plates and bridges are kept intact with no intricate filigree or delicate portions cut away. It is more exposed than skeletonized, really, which makes a huge difference.
And the openings allow many of the individual components to shine without distraction from complicated patterns cut into the movement. The dial has been cut away, as well as most of the wheels, but the rest has been left intact to maintain that British style.
The third-generation Garrick timepieces (what I call them since the launch of the Portsmouth) are unapologetically British; it would be hard to mistake them for German, Swiss, Japanese, or even American movements.
As I stated in The Garrick Portsmouth Demonstrates This Young Brand’s Past And Future, they are inspired by historical British pocket watch movements and resemble something Roger W. Smith and George Daniels might make in terms of movement style.
But also like Smith and Daniels, showing the mechanics underneath is fairly rare and so the British tradition of stubborn humility leads to hidden craftsmanship that must be explained instead of shown.
Garrick is still a young brand and, as every young brand knows it needs to continually impress collectors and aficionados with every launch.
David Brailsford of Garrick stated that the S1 was the brand’s chance to highlight everything it does and to shine a light on the level of finishing and hands-on work that goes into every piece. The S1, for example, takes Garrick watchmaker Craig Baird around four months to complete.
That work would be a hard sell if it was hidden under a dial, so the decision was made that since Garrick’s got it, it should flaunt it.
Even better: as some of the limitations of a solid dial were removed the newly available space could include a new function. The power reserve indicator mechanism extends forward from the main plate into the space where the dial would have been, allowing the overall thickness to stay the same, which often isn’t the case with added mechanisms on the front of the movement.
Mechanics take center stage on the Garrick S1
Thanks to the lack of a full dial, the UT-G02 movement has some pretty fabulous visual depth without compromising wearability of the final watch. And given that collectors find wearability to be a major factor when taking risks on independents, Garrick does a good job at staying right in the sweet spot.
But the mechanics really are where it is at for the S1, and putting them on display has made for a significant shift from previous models. It’s true that the Portsmouth and Regulator both have an exposed balance, but as so many watches boast exposed balances these days, that really doesn’t count anymore as a visible mechanism. It takes something like the S1 and the awesome cutaway dial and wheels to truly show off mechanics.
What’s more, the effort looks entirely in tune with a historic timepiece and doesn’t feel like a mishmash of modern design mixed with classical construction techniques. This is probably the strongest point that will help Garrick stand out among its peers.
It is a small brand that stays very true to its historical inspiration, and the design of the mechanics drives home that simplicity and quality come first for it.
Using contrasts between steel, gold, and heat-blued elements keeps the look focused while also providing a touch of luxury to the fine craftsmanship.
And the rear of the movement is also so wonderfully clean and simple, showcasing beautiful screwed gold chatons, wonderful frosting and polished bevels, and, of course, the awsomeazing winding ratchet and click.
I’ve said before how much I love interesting clicks, and fellow Quill & Pad contributor Ryan Schmidt seems to agree, which he strongly professed in The Schmidt List: Top 5 Funky Clicks. While he didn’t list it in his article, this Garrick click definitely deserves to be noticed.
A lot of these mechanics come down to hand work and the wonderful talent of Garrick watchmaker Craig Baird. Not to mention that the base movement that was designed in partnership with Andreas Strehler and his company UhrTeil AG.
Strehler’s company produces the base movement components, while Baird produces the rest of the components in house by hand. The result, as you see, is simply a fantastic watch that is undeniably British from front to back (even though it is partly made in Switzerland).
I think the Garrick S1 is a transition point for the brand and for the continuing resurgence of British watchmaking.
Garrick is stepping up to the table and throwing off any pretense of quiet humility so often touted among the civilized British.
The S1 basically shouts “Hey, look what we can do!”
I hear you Garrick, and I’m listening intently.
So let’s break it down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.15 Bearing witness to the machinery beneath the beauty makes the S1 a stunner!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 88.7 » 869.850m/s2 Anything that shows me what goes on under the surface can make me lust real hard, and the combination of British design takes it to another level!
- M.G.R. * 64.4 A movement made with UhrTeil AG and extensive handmade components make for a very geeky movement!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild Power reserves are the most useful added functions for manual-wind movements, but that is where the S1 calls it good. For that you’ll need some children’s strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for the English inspired swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 11.1 Banging your knee into a table leg! Saturday morning eggs and waffles are great, but when you smash your knee into the table leg the meal can lose its luster. Still, I would do it all day if it meant getting one of these on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Four months! It’s only appropriate that the length of time it takes to make one is the time it takes to fall head over heels! Better reserve a stretch limo for the big day!
- Awesome Total * 914 Add the number of pieces that will be made overall (10), to the steel alloy used in the case (904) and the result is a very respectable awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.garrick.co.uk.
Quick Facts Garrick S1
Case: 42 x 10 mm, 904L stainless steel
Movement: manual winding Caliber UT-G02 with free-sprung balance and gold or silver frosted finish, power reserve 45 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve indication
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: £23,329 excl. VAT
Also published on Medium.