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As official timing partner of the 17-18 edition of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race and with the experience of the 15-16 race under our belts, we hatched a plan to carry out the toughest watch test ever devised.
Forget diving or going into space in pressurised / protective environments where humans co-exist happily with their time pieces and who’s wrists and environment keep them relatively warm and cosy.
In July ’17 we fixed a fresh out of the box Broadstone Clipper Ltd Edition onto a steel bracket using nothing more than it’s strap pins and mounted the bracket to the bow of a Clipper 70’ racing yacht in Gosport, Hampshire. The yachts made their way up the Irish Sea to Liverpool where after a highly emotive starting ceremony, the race commenced – next stop Brazil. The yachts circumnavigate the globe travelling a course of 40,000 miles but zig zag across the wind travelling more like 50,000 nautical miles over 11 months. They cross six entire oceans and encounter everything mother nature has in her arsenal, from the freezing Southern Ocean sleigh ride with tower block sized waves to a full on hurricane mid north Pacific with very choppy 14m waves. We had two ambassadors on board, one was Bex Sims who works for the fire brigade and when you consider that their longest 13m ladder reaches 3 stories high but is smaller than the wave height on that leg. Incredible conditions crew members told us they never wish to experience again.
To put some kind of context around the journey, if we sent a watch on a trip from Southampton to Plymouth down the south coast, it would be a pretty stern test of any watch when mounted the bow of any boat - hitting wave after wave, thermal shock after thermal shock, constant salt water immersion / drying and hitting any objects floating in the sea day and night.
This watch has sustained such intense punishment without the comfort nor warm of a human wrist for months and months. It’s been forced through millions of waves, hit solid debris, for 1000’s of miles, across entire continents and oceans, in temperatures from sub zero to tropical and with winds up to 110mph.
At each stopover Matt Ogg our intrepid ambassador gave the watch a visual check just to make sure it was still there and keeping time. On the leg from the USA across the Atlantic to Derry, it took some damage but soldiered on. Would it still be ticking when it reached Liverpool?
At a rainy race finish in August ‘18, Alex and James removed the watch. On closer inspection it had gained some pretty gnarly looking scars but was keeping perfect time.
It’s simply incredible and difficult to put into words what this watch has been through.
It was such a proud moment realising that our standard build wuality is so naturally capable straight out of the box.
The watch now resides in our office in exactly the same state as it left the Clipper Yacht – if you’re ever passing Poole, pop on in for a cuppa because holding a watch in the palm of your hand with this kind of provenance is quite a ‘thing’.