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Co-Founders Alex Brown and Ian Elliot both studied engineering and approach daily life with effervescent ingenuity in everything they do. No problem seems to phase them - instead there's a quiet moment of consideration when you can almost sense the brain cells aligning. It is this that has allowed them to re-think and behave differently to the rest of the watch world.
Every Elliot Brown watch has their DNA all over it and whilst there are many watch models and variants, every one is extraordinarily capable thanks to this approach.
Engineering elegant solutions to problems with a mildly obsessive manner is in our blood.
A watch case usually has several points of weakness, but with clever re-engineering and some new thinking, Elliot Brown have largely eradicated these, starting on the inside and ending with practical AND elegant outer casing and strapping choices.
Here are some highlights:
Movements are housed within a shock protection system comprising of a stainless housing (rather than a plastic clip mount as used by the rest of the industry) that floats inside the outer watch case held by a series of silicone elastomer dampers. The dampers are held within precisely machined recesses on the inner faces of the watch case. Machining tolerances are extremely fine as the movement has to be a push (interference) fit into the housing as are the dampers into the watch case. The effect is that the outer casing can take incredibly hard hits whilst the relatively fragile movement remains unscathed.
The crowns or winders on sports watches typically have a screw down mechanism where after adjusting the time or date, the crown needs to be screwed back into the watch case for the crown seal to become operative. That's all well and good if you remember to screw it down but many people forget and if the watch sees any water it's often game over for the watch. This problem has been completely overcome by a simple yet elegant engineering solution of using triple seals that work just as well when the crown is pulled out to the adjust position or seated back against the watch case. We use screw down crowns to but two seal remain operative even when they're unscrewed so you the customer can never get it wrong.
Sprung strap retaining bars are the industry norm but they're weak. Why would you risk a loved, valuable timepiece on such flimsy retaining devices? So we set about creating a more elegant solution, and have continued to develop our strap retaining system culminating in a single solid steel bar, threaded and recessed with a matching 5 lobe driver that locks into the end of the bar. A strap change using this system is the work of a few seconds yet it's totally indestructible reliant only on the strength of the material the strap is made from rather than acting as the primary weakness.
Compressor case backs increase their sealing capability as pressure increases by being bolted down rather than screwed so that when pressure increases, the case back is able to slide up the bolts by a fraction of a mm to compress the seals that little bit more. During construction, bolting the case back down compresses seal perfectly without the risk of the seal tearing or folding due to over torsional stresses associated when tightening and has the added benefit that the case back itself is always 100% aligned. there's nothing more frustrating that seeing beautiful case back detailing at a jaunty angle so we did away with it and added functionality at the same time.
Crystals or glass are the primary weak point of many watches so we go to great lengths to test them to make sure they're fit for purpose using either hardened and tempered mineral crystal or sapphire that's incredibly thick -3.2mm on the Bloxworth. We treat every crystal to an anti-reflective coating but we only apply it to the underside to give perfect vision in all lighting conditions but without the annoying fingerprinting associated with anti-reflective coating when applied to the outside. Every crystal is pressed into the watch case inside an i-ring seal - we're quite unusual in that we colour match the i-ring to the dial colour. It's a tiny detail you'd probably never notice until we told you but if you look at other watches that don't match the i-ring, you'll see the difference.
Case finishing is something of an obsession for us and we're constantly thinking up news ways to protect and extend the life of every watch. That's why on some models, Holton and Tyneham where the outer bezel is designed as a protective shield and takes most of the knocks, we send the bezel components off to be case hardened. They end up 6 times harder than the marine grade stainless cases which means they are incredibly hard to scratch or mark even under severe impacts. To most people it's just a bezel but to us it's an opportunity to add a functional detail that helps take the anxiety out of wearing our watches for literally any occasion.
Luminosity is something we take very seriously and use wisely. It might be white that glows blue, it might be green that glows green or pale cream that glows cream. When we design a watch, its night time appearance has to be as on point as its daytime persona with simple easy to read markings that will glow all night - up to 8 hours in fact so long as the watch has had a good 'charge' for a few hours in daylight. A common misconception about luminosity of watch markings is that they should just glow no matter what but if you treat them like a solar panel that needs to take in energy before it can give it out you'll be on the right path. We only use a material called SuperLuminova - it's the best we know of and whilst there are gas discharge tubes and EL in watches, some are too bright for the military applications some our watches are put through. SuperLuminova strikes the right balance for us.
Our watch dials are designed like a story that sits perfectly with the hands, hour batons, micro markers, sub-dials and inner bezels. When we created the Kimmeridge women's model, we set a course on a smaller more elegant version of the Canford and the two look remarkable similar. It would appear a simple task to minimise the Canford design by a few mm but in reality it took 50 design versions until we knew we had 'the one'. If you take a look at the Kimmeridge it is indeed a more elegant Canford but look closer still and you'll spot that there's no shield under the words Elliot Brown on the dial because it lacked sophistication in this execution. If you look at the balancing arm on the end of the seconds hand, that's the home of the shield and serves as a perfect example of how by obsessing over the smallest detail, it means you can simply enjoy the watches we've created for what they are.
Much like Patagonia or Barbour will repair your garment when something happens to it, your Elliot Brown is a lifetime purchase that can be maintained and serviced economically to keep it functioning and on your wrist for years and years. That's not by chance but is a carefully planned part of how we operate because every part is component based so we can re-case, re-strap, re-glass, re-dial, re-finish (not coloured cases) replace movements, hands, seals batteries and keep your watch going.
Have a read of how we developed our rubber or clamp buckle webbing straps - they act as a perfect example of solving a number of simple strap problems like work hardening over time, weakening or fading under intense UV and ozone, becoming odorous, to being completely impervious to salt water or wet conditions yet being supremely comfortable, long lasting and smart enough to wear with a suit. You can have you cake and eat it, it just takes the right sort of approach, a not insignificant amount of precision engineering and the tenacity to persevere until the end result isn't just acceptable but exceptional.
So, as you can see from the highlights above, engineering elegant solutions to problems with a mildly obsessive manner is in our blood.