Is the Elliot Brown Holton Professional Bomb Proof?

Alford Technologies - Watch explosion

Over the years Elliot Brown Watches have gained notoriety amongst professional communities for their build quality and by demonstrating an ability to survive against the odds in some of the most extreme tests of endurance.   

Tests like:

  • Circumnavigating the globe mounted to the bow of Clipper 70’ racing yacht
  • Being smashed onto concrete attached to a fire bomb
  • Descending 2,000m through the water column in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Being run over multiple times by a 2000kg Land Rover Defender
  • Breaking a human powered wingsuit speed record jumping from 30,000ft (246.6mph / 396.9km/hr in case you were wondering).

Naturally leading us to the answer to the question ‘Could an Elliot Brown watch survive an explosion?’ Something we've wanting to know since we founded the business:

  • How much shock protection does our movement shield system provide?
  • What sort of G-force does it take to break a watch?
  • How tough is a bolted down steel case back?
  • Will triple sealed crowns survive the pressure shock of an explosion?
  • Will the sapphire crystal shatter when a watch is blown high into the air?
  • Is an Elliot Brown watchstrap strong enough to withstand an explosion?
  • Could a watch survive landing from great hight onto rocks?

Let’s be honest, no-one needs a watch that’s actually bomb proof because humans aren’t, but knowing what your watch is capable of gives the owner a sense of unrivalled confidence.

A good friend and ex-military photographer introduced us to Alford Technologies, a demolitions specialist operating from a disused stone quarry in the Mendip Hills. The call was made; "How do you feel about blowing up a watch"? The answer, a resounding, "Let's do this!"

Alford Technology Quarry A couple of weeks later we were sat in Alford’s briefing room signing disclaimers, ready to head down the steep tracks to the base of a quarry, which felt like a film set. 

With a Holton Professional 101-001-N02 wrapped around 4 pieces of steel ‘rebar’, a remote-controlled bomb disposal vehicle placed the watch on top of a couple of concrete blocks. A 250g charge was buried 200mm into the ground, 1m from the watch. 

Elliot Brown Holton Professional

Cameras set, we withdrew to the safety of a secure shelter to prime the detonator. Shouts of “Warning, Firing!” rang out and we got to press the big red button to initiate the device. The shock wave went through our bodies like a high velocity ghost.

Our watches have stainless steel cases, solid strap bars, toughened sapphire crystal, oversize seals, solid steel bolt down case back and movement shock protection system but would they prove beyond any doubt that they are as robust as we believe them to be?

After blast one, the watch rocked back a little on its concrete perch, peppered by a considerable amount of high velocity earth from the 6ft crater hat had appeared next to it. A quick clean of the sapphire crystal revealed it to be working normally. The curiosity to push the watch further was insatiable and we had willing assistants.

A second 250g charge was placed directly under the concrete blocks, with the watch placed on top. “That should do it” they said…

Confining the blast directly beneath the blocks was far more powerful, the crater considerably larger, the breeze blocks and watch totally disappeared. A search ensued until the shout came “found it!”. Amongst the rocks, the metal bars had separated, the watch looked wrecked, its webbing strap and our solid strap pin had been ripped from one side of the case, watch face down in the quarry rocks. Despite the wreckage and a significant dent on the bezel, the watch was still ticking and keeping time.

Our watch executioners were dumbfounded - it had survived against the odds. Could this dented, twice blasted time keeper withstand a third explosion?

Elliot Brown HoltonWe painted a piece of scaffold pole bright green (so we could find it post blast), fitted a new strap bar and rubber strap then secured the watch to the pole. The blast procedure on concrete blocks was repeated, this time with 500g of plastic explosive underneath. Our friendly team of experts weren’t hopeful.

The explosion was significant. It left a 12ft crater and no evidence that there had been a couple of blocks and a watch. The search party set out; Billy the chief technician let out a loud expletive “F…ing hell, no way!”. Clinging to the end of the bar was the watch, it was blackened and peppered with debris but against huge odds it, had survived this massive explosion.

Just to be absolutely clear, the watch was a standard Holton Professional, fresh from the box with nothing done to prepare for its ordeal. The technicians at Alford are demolitions experts, they do this day in, day out and they were certain the second and third blasts would blow the watch to pieces and tried to convinced us of its likely fate.

The ‘exploded’ Holton sits proudly in the “tried and tested” cabinet at EB HQ, left exactly as it was found on the quarry floor. It survived against the odds and deserves its place in Elliot Brown history.

There is purpose to extreme testing like this aside from the childish joy of pressing a big red button, it’s to prove beyond any doubt that our watches are the most durable on the planet. What’s the relevance to you? It simply means you can throw one on every day, go about your business, tackle anything and know your watch will simply be there when you need it.

Are Elliot Brown watches bomb proof?

Based on this evidence… definitely.

Elliot Brown Watch in Explosion

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