Buyer's Review – The Schofield Signalman Watch
An Article, with a very detailed an emotional Schofield watch brand Signalman model review was written by our dear friend and watch lover @xbudi_ (who you can find on instagram.. Now enjoy the read guys!
It’s all in the detail
What makes a collector a collector? Be it watches, stamps, butterflies or toby jugs we have one thing in common; no, not that real life friends are difficult to come by (think that might just be me) it’s in the thrill of the chase and that the next purchase will surpass the last. And let’s not forget that ‘buy high’ which seems only to last for a relatively short period of time or in my case until the very next time I click my favourites tab and see a long list of regular watch haunts. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am fairly obsessed with the game of collecting watches and interacting with other watch lovers but my love ultimately lies in the aesthetics, workmanship and qualities each piece offers along with gravitas, kudos or statement various manufactures bring to one’s outward appearance.
(If I refer to one as one again you have permission to set the internet troll’s on me)
However over the years “the game” as I so eloquently refer to it has changed from my usual bullish approach of buying what I considered to be the next divorce invoking purchase from big well known names at my local authorised dealer when funds allowed, or in some cases even when they didn’t, to making more wise and interesting choices from smaller more approachable and from a collectors stance, more interesting independent brands.
So allow me to bring you bang up to date and the arrival within the last few weeks of my long awaited Schofield Signalman PR, or to be more accurate the collection in person.
I first stumbled across The Schofield Watch Company online in late 2011 just after their launch at Salon QP in London that year following what I understand was the result of almost 3 years development.
I was instantly drawn to the ‘designed from the ground up’ approach and bespoke nature of the brand and the man that is Schofield’s designer and owner and self titled “Chief Everything Officer” Giles Ellis. Right from the off you know your dealing with a young watch company with little or no watch making history yet the product quality, brand identity, attention to detail and service is at a level some of the big boys can only wish to attain. I realise that smaller companies are in fact often able to give a better product and service at a lower price point due to tighter overall control and lower overheads but you get the sense that no matter how big or small Schofield becomes it’s core ethics will not be allowed to alter from the founders vision and watch word(s) detail, detail, detail.
So after a couple of months of convincing myself that the then largely unknown Schofield would fit very nicely into my collection and my new collecting ethos albeit at a price I considered relatively high at the time for an unknown brand. But I kid you not but from the moment my deposit was accepted I felt like I had made the right choice and was one of just 400 lucky first brand piece owners, 300 in polished chrome and 100 in DLC matt Black.
Having carefully hand picked my watch number via various emails with CEO Giles, my order details arrived by post on what I can only describe as stationary of such high quality which had been meticulously sourced via far flung British paper mills that the postman most of thought he was delivering personal correspondences from the Queen!
So then began my wait which past it’s original anticipated delivery date by some months due to a movement supply issue (now resolved) but unusually I really didn’t mind, just knowing I was getting a piece and that I was in the ‘Schofield Club’ was good enough and the regular email updates and social media activity were sufficient to keep me relatively satisfied and very much interested all things Schofield.
I’m not going to descend into reams of technical detail as the maker does this far better than I ever could but the main features include a Swiss made Soprad movement, a towering 15mm deep polished chrome 44mm width case designed around lighthouses of the 18th and 19th century and in particular the Fresnel lens system and all things concentric from which many of the Signalman’s features are hewed. A dial which at first glance appears effortlessly simple yet on closer inspection shows the designers eye for detail in picking up on elements throughout the Schofield brand such as the GMT and matching PR hand, the re-introduction of the slash zero at the 12 position and the beam of light power reserve indicator. The outer raised hour marker platform sits in a way that the shorter hour hand being fixed to the lower recessed central dial points to the inner edge is very clever and the extended minute hand appears to almost brushes the bezel inside edge which makes telling the time a joy for us less than 20/20 vision users. If I’m being picky the date window which is apparently “deliberately small and inconspicuous” is for me, too small and too inconspicuous for a large watch even after allowing for my previously mentioned sub standard eye’s. The sharkskin leather strap is a real supple beauty and the branded buckle although good quality only get’s the full Ellis in house design treatment in the next Schofield offering The Black Lamp Carbon which I will hopefully get hands on with later this year.
So came the call that my watch was finally ready for delivery but being that I could think of nothing cooler than collecting the watch in person from the Schofield guy’s, I enquired weather it would be possible to meet up to handover the watch and chew the fat in their back yard of Brighton in the UK to complete the transaction to which they happily agreed.
Comfy sofa found in a boutique hotel bar Giles and Matt arrived with all manner of boxes and bags which I guessed and hoped were for me!
Giles looking über fashionable and Matt his right-hand man his usual cool and approachable self handed me a padded bag of goodies which I carefully started to route through before the main event.
First off a well designed and constructed Schofield 50 ring-gauge cigar tube housing a sweet Habana Cuban. Next, another tube but this time a Grey Moon Mills Tweed strap which I requested in addition and really gives the watch that bespoke suit feel. Then a small envelope containing a supply of lug protectors to ensure as far as possible that clumsy untrained strap changing wannabe watchmakers like me don’t gouge the pristine finish on those powerful buttress style lugs. Apparently all Schofield Signalman owners normally receive these goodies by post prior to their watch arrival which is a real treat and adds to that club feel they have achieved.
To then the main event, the watch reveal; Slide the old school lid hinge to the unlock position and open sesame! Loss of words, silly grin, Christmas morning, 21st birthday all those happy feelings, hello again buy high!
Sat proudly in place the Signalman PR is what can only be described as a handsome brute and to keep those looks mirror-like finishes gleaming a genuine chamois leather square is supplied and clears polished chrome like nothing I’ve tried before.
I guess from here on in the pictures tell the handover story and to say I’m pleased, nah even a tad smug, would be an understatement not to mention that the usually short lived buy high is lasting somewhat longer than normal!
Of course this is an overly biased article from a private owner collector but i welcome your opinion, questions and views.
Check out my next watch collectors article here on watchanish.com very soon.