Hands On Exclusive – The new 2013 Bamford x Asprey Rolex Sky Dweller and Explorer II!
A few days ago we were invited to the Knightsbridge James Bond like office of George Bamford with the pretense of shooting some of the new Bamford Watch Department collection. What I didn’t foresee is that we would be offered the chance to debut the new additions to the Bamford x Asprey collaboration.
(click images for hi res versions)
I doubt most of you need a horological history lesson, so for anyone that does here is a quick overview.
Asprey was established in 1781, and is a retailer (and manufacturer) of jewellery, polo equipment, silverware, travel accessories and leather goods. It holds 2 Royal Warrants and has supplied various embellishments to royalty around the world for many decades.
In the watch world Asprey held a partnership with Rolex for a long time. One of the most collectible Rolexes produced, the 1665 SeaDweller with an Oman crested logo dial, would have been retailed exclusively by Asprey at the beginning of it’s life, been engraved ‘Asprey’ on the caseback and been supplied in a green box with the Omani Khanjar printed on one side and Asprey signed on the other. I wish I had a clear picture to hand of one of these but the only ones I have taken were on my mobile phone and frankly the quality of the images suck! :'(
So onto modern day, and last year Asprey revived their role as suppliers of Rolex watches but this time with a twist, as all of the pieces are made by bespokers Bamford Watch Department. Last year saw Bamford versions of the Daytona, Deep Sea SeaDweller and the Milgauss. This year I feel they have chosen a better range in the Sky Dweller and the new Explorer II.
Having featured the original Bamford Sky Dweller previously (click here) it was quite a surprise to see how well the new purple colourway worked with the blackened 18k white gold case and bracelet. The weight of the watch is surprising as we always expect the black customised watches to be steel, whereas of course the Sky Dweller is only available in precious metals from Rolex.
The Explorer II in comparison I feel has a good balance between restrained and overt, with contemporary white borders around the hour markers which match with the hands and dial text very well.
The argument will always arise between people that believe watches should not be altered, and the truth is that everyone will have a different opinion. Whilst I would be selective about what watch I would customize myself (I really thought quite long and hard about having a Patek 5961P made with a fuschia pink dial obviously, being as metrosexual as I am) I do believe there are real merits to being able to involve yourself in creating an alternative to a ‘standard’ stock mid level watch. If cars were the same there would be no velvet wrapped Ferrari 599GTO driving around Knightsbridge as we speak, and that would be a travesty in itself!
Here are some more goodies we shot while we were there…
The limited edition Bamford Rolex Deep Sea Sea Dweller collaboration with artist Mark Quinn:
Black, blue and white YachtMaster II!
Coupled with some other sweet things
Bamford Patek Philippe 5712 and my favourite smokes of the moment, Hoyo Epicure No 2
The Bamford Explorer II ‘Ghost’
And to finish, this is what greets you when you walk through a very ordinary looking residential door in Knightsbridge…
We hope you enjoyed the article, and as always we welcome your comments, thoughts and arguments below
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