The Great British Watch Company is creating “The Few”; a British watch handmade from a WW2 Spitfire that allows enthusiasts to get closer to the aircraft by providing an authentic connection to their passion.
Britain is the historic home of watchmaking and most of the technology in a modern watch originated here.
I am passionate about preserving and promoting British history. What better represents our world class engineering and ingenuity, the British character of defiance in the face of adversity and a splash of dashing and daring – than the Spitfire.
Named after the pilots who saved Britain in her darkest hour, “The Few” is a watch based on what these heroic Spitfire pilots wore as they soared through our skies. I will use my watchmaking expertise to take parts from a Spitfire undergoing restoration and transform them into a watch; allowing you to touch a piece of history and connect directly with this iconic aircraft.
“Made in Great Britain, The Few is a tribute to the watches worn by Spitfire pilots. Almost 80 years later, as the Spitfire used in crafting the timepiece comes alive and takes to the skies again, the watch represents the last and only chance to be one of The Few.”
The Last of the Few
Sadly, in 2020 one of the last few remaining veterans of the Battle of Britain died. This leaves just one pilot surviving; Flying Officer John Hemingway aged 103 years old.
Just like these legendary pilots, the Spitfires that are airworthy are also very few in number.
They really are the last of The Few.
Both the pilots and the Spitfires are rightly revered around the world. Thankfully there are people dedicated to restoring and flying these aircraft so that future generations can share in their magnificence. I am pleased to say that my cousin, who is already a respected flight instructor, is now training to fly these icons of the sky.
Once he passes his final flight tests he will be the only Spitfire pilot in northern Britain; taking enthusiasts out for flights in renovated Spitfire planes. Ensuring that future generations remember what happened over the skies of Britain and Europe.
It is important that we never forget the sacrifice and the splendour of the pilots and their magnificent machines.
As part of the restoration work, some of the original aircraft cannot be reused.
This has presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for original parts from these historical Spitfires to be preserved forever, by being built into a unique series of watches.
These watches are authentic, beautiful and respectful to the legacy of the world’s most famous and iconic aircraft.
The Spitfire Watch “The Few”
The dial, hands and crown are all constructed from original Spitfire parts.
When a pilot ran his hand along the surface of the Spitfire as part of the pre-flight inspection, when the aircraft dove through clouds and picked up condensation on the wings, when the cockpit vibrated as the powerful cannons poured fire upon the enemy, the material in The Few bore witness to it.
This raw, authentic metal has, etched into the surface, both the memory and legacy of the Spitfire and her pilots, giving the wearer a direct connection to the aircraft.
The case, glass, strap, box and accessories are all made in the UK, with an option to also have a British-made movement fitted; making the watch as British as the original Spitfire.
The watch is named “The Few”; in honour of those few pilots who saved Britain during her darkest and finest hour. It also represents the few remaining Spitfires that are left and the limited number of watches that will be created to celebrate the heroic pilots and their iconic aircraft.
The Spitfire, a MK IX variant, is one of the last to be restored with an active combat history. It represents one of the final opportunities for original untouched WW2 Spitfire parts to be available.
The details of the Spitfire can be read in one of my Sortie posts here, where I share some of the thrilling details with you.
For those who want an experience as close to the original Spitfire pilots as possible, there will also be an opportunity to fly in the restored WW2 Spitfire, while wearing a Spitfire watch made from the same aircraft.
Part of each watch sale will go towards the restoration and upkeep of the Spitfire, ensuring that it remains airworthy and able to be enjoyed by future generations.
The Design of The Few
The design of The Few is based on the original watch that Spitfire pilots wore during the Battle of Britain; the Omega CK2129, also known as the Weems watch.
If you’ve seen the film Dunkirk then you may recognise the watch. Tom Hardy’s character wears the model and frequently uses it to check how much fuel he has remaining.
Whilst a tribute to the original watch, this model will have some modern updates. These include a larger size at 40mm, a choice of movement (Swiss or British), non-reflective sapphire glass and water resistance.
The case will be made from aerospace-grade steel and machined at the UK’s premiere science and technology facility.
Although the watch design is based on what WW2 era Spitfire pilots wore, it is also practical enough that modern pilots, including modern Spitfire pilots, can wear one as part of their uniform.
Most of the watches have already been sold. However, there are a very limited number still available to order. They are offered on a strict first-come first-served basis, and once they are sold out the opportunity to order a watch will be gone forever.
However, the spirit of the Spitfire will live on, on the wrists of those who wear them.
Will you be one of “The Few”?
If you are interested knowing more and would like a brochure, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have written a lengthy summary of the progress of The Few watch project here: https://www.great-british-watch.co.uk/the-few-watch-summary/
Roughly every month I publish a newsletter, Sortie. You can sign up above to receive it emailed to you early.
If you’re interested in the watch, the Spitfire, or both, then you can work your way through the previous Sorties. It starts with the link below, where I explain where the inspiration for The Few came from: