Designing a Watch
Inspiration is such an important factor for us when designing timepieces. Our watches are truly original, but inspired by the world around us. Our First Edition, the Cherwell, was inspired by the prestigious university city of Oxford, and is named after the River Cherwell which meanders through this City of Dreaming Spires.
Design - The Devil Is In The Detail
When designing the Cherwell we had several prerequisites. The first was to design something bespoke - a true ‘from the ground up’ design - as few stock parts as possible. The second was to present the time clearly and efficiently, but also dynamically. And finally the Cherwell must be beautiful and comfortable to wear, whilst also feeling great to hold in your hand. Too often, tactility is neglected when designing physical objects, especially those worn for long periods of time. Picking up your Cherwell and winding it should feel just as good as wearing it on your wrist.
Every element of the Cherwell's design has been carefully considered - a robust and accurate manual wind mechanical movement; a slim yet modern sized beautifully designed custom case; a large sub-dial displaying the sweeping seconds ticking by; and the bespoke crown designed to remind the wearer to turn it and keep that heart beating.
Our Beating Heart
We use hand-wound mechanical movements in all our timepieces. The beating heart of the Cherwell is the beautiful Sea-Gull ST36, which was selected not only for its reliability, but also its delicate and eye-catching engravings that can be seen through the exhibition case-back.
With the Cherwell we strived to create the archetypal classic wristwatch, complimented by contemporary touches. As we develop the range these values will remain at the heart of the Marloe brand.
The Cherwell has a simple, beautiful, and cleverly designed bespoke case - the sides are gently tapered which, when worn on the wrist, give a sleek and elegant look. The weight of the Cherwell is designed to convey a feeling of quality and strength whilst visually appearing refined. The bezel is thin and gently angled to leave the dial feeling open. The lugs are steep and tapered, which along with the angled case sides, places the strap snug to the case to avoid unsightly gaps and comfortably secures the watch to the wrist.
Within the efficiently designed case is a robust and accurate mechanical movement, whose beat is maintained by winding the bespoke crown. Our crowns are a signature element with angled grooves and a subtle taper to promote positive and quick winding. The face of the crown is concave, inverting the reflection and adding a light halo around our engraved M icon.
The window to the soul of the Cherwell demands special attention - the curve of the crystal matches the bezel angle to form an almost seamless arc over the dial. Double-domed and made from Sapphire, the crystal is piercingly clear and allows the dial to be read from any angle. To cut down on excessive reflections the crystal is treated with an anti-reflect coating.
We believe the rear of a watch should be as spectacular as the front, so the Cherwell flaunts the oscillating balance wheel with a large glass aperture. Internal engraving on the crystal can be seen only at certain angles offering an intimate flourish. Surrounding this visual spectacle is an inverse engraving with the words of renowned British author, poet and scholar, C.S. Lewis. Lewis served on the English faculty at Oxford University and, along with close friend and fellow novelist J.R.R. Tolkien, were active in the informal Oxford literary group; the Inklings.
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour
The dial is the watch. It should excite and intrigue from first glance. It should invite the eyes to take a deeper look. Light and shadow should play on it. Balance is of utmost importance.
The Cherwell is designed as a dress watch with a contemporary feel, and we use several elements to achieve it. The dial is made up of two layers, combining to offer a simple yet elegant way of reading the time efficiently. The base layer holds the minute markers detailed by subtle squares that line the outer edge of the dial - a visual cue to a minute’s duration, these markers start and stop at positions 1 to 5 and 7 to 11. The '12' index, as well as the sub-dial at position 6, replace the need to display all 60 minute-markers.
The sub-dial is sunken sharply and furnished with a stunning radial pattern that shimmers in the daylight - the sweeping second hand providing a visual acknowledgement that the watch is powered. The hour batons, polished or bead-blasted depending on the version, rise just that bit higher than the upper layer and stretch out into the void towards the perimeter. The hands, again polished or bead-blasted, reach out and visually touch their respective marker with clarity and purpose.
The gently worked, hand-stitched strap of soft cowhide nestles comfortably around the wrist. Specific strap colours of black, tan and navy blue have been chosen to complement the various dial options, and we think you’ll love them.
The vegetable-tanned saddle leather has a natural and organic look, whilst offering high durability and strength. Vegetable tanning is an old-world, artisanal process, and thanks to this the straps have a unique and genuine aesthetic.
Take a look at the Cherwell Collection in our store.