Making the Derwent
The Derwent, the 3rd design to evolve within the MWC design dept., had one overarching objective - to create a smaller timepiece suited to both men and women alike. All our designs start with the movement, and for the Derwent we chose a movement that's robust and very accurate - the Miyota 6T33 - as well as being very small at just under 20mm in diameter (and of course it's a manual wind movement). The 6T33 is skeletonised but for the Derwent we chose not to exhibit the whole movement through the case-back, and instead keep the focus on the balance wheel, via a small port-hole window.
The 6T33 surpassed our expectations during testing with incredibly accurate timekeeping and with a power reserve of over 40 hours, we were very impressed. We knew this was the movement to power the Derwent as soon as the test results were in, so we got to work on the design for the watch.
For the Derwent case we wanted something that was both contemporary in form but slender and well proportioned too. The case silhouette is almost cylindrical, with a hard vertical face from the top surface of the bezel edge down to the lugs. At this point the case tapers quickly into a conical form, which does a great job of making the Derwent exceptionally comfortable whilst appearing even slimmer; at just under 9mm tall it already is very slim. The case-back has a small port-hole window showing the balance oscillating back and forth, with a radial engraved information band.
The squared wire lugs keep the straps tight to the case and are a bit more traditional than a lug-less case - which we felt was too contemporary. A lug-less case also makes the case slightly thicker to accommodate the housing of the strap inside the case, and a priority for the Derwent was its ability to slip easily under any cuff and fit any wrist.
We continue the unique crown design used on our Cherwell but scaled it down to match the Derwent proportions. We've also changed the end-cap profile slightly to bring a more contemporary edge, but kept the machined rifling texture for ease of grip and positive winding. The Miyota 6T33 has one of the smoothest winding mechanisms we've ever felt, so turning the crown is effortless with just the right amount of feedback.
At Marloe Watch Co we are very big fans of the acrylic crystal - we are just completing an article on this very thing, soon to be posted - and as such jumped at the chance to fit the Derwent with our very own custom profile acrylic crystal. It's a high-dome style with a very slight dome over the dial. The beauty of acrylic crystals is that they are repairable by the owner. In most circumstances a scratch can be polished out of the acrylic surface with ease - a little dab of Polywatch, or Cape-Cod Cloth, can remove a light scuff in no time, bringing back the wonderful warm glossy surface again. Unless the crystal is cracked, it's amazing just how repairable the acrylic is - even a deep scratch can, through some quite startling techniques, be brought back to glorious life again.
The mellowing affect on the acrylic gives the crystal low reflectivity making it very easy to read the time, also if an acrylic crystal watch is dropped or given a hard knock it is very unlikely to suffer the crystal shattering. For these last two reasons many military issue watches still use acrylic.
For the dials we wanted to introduce a bit of fun in to our world - our other two models, the Cherwell and Lomond, are quite straight-edged designs. We had a good think about inspirational places, geometries, influences and arrived at a set of 4 dials that both stand alone and compliment each other.
We have the Classic dial for those looking for a more traditional watch, with a lovely angled black chapter ring leading to a glorious ivory pearlescent, lightly domed dial.
With the Gauge dial we took inspiration from the old British oil-tank gauges and adapted it to our needs. With the hours arranged in the middle with a simple chapter scale, and the minutes around the outside in a striking blue and red micro scale, the dial has quick reference as well as a bit of excitement. Both scales stop between 5 and 7 o'clock to make way for our logos, but we keep a simple dash at each minute to retain the ease of reference.
The Sundial design is even more conceptual, with an asymmetrical layout and the same colour palette as the Gauge. In the upper hemisphere we have long sun-ray style minute markers each separated with a blue hour line that reaches beyond the minutes and out to the chapter ring. The lower hemisphere has minimal information, with the hours each retaining the extended line to the chapter ring, but the minutes hold only a small dash for reference. The 5 & 7 o'clock markers are red to frame our logos. We decided to put the Sundial design in to a rose-gold case to bring a pop of warm pink glow; the warm embrace of the sun.
Finally we have the Nautical dial. We wanted to design a watch that could be worn whether on a yacht in the Mediterranean or tacking across the Solent. A startlingly beautiful, radiant, pearlescent azure blue dial shimmers and changes as the light hits it. It's absolutely magical. With white markings showing both the timing scale and a smaller compass scale, the Nautical feels like it should be worn on the big blue. Coupled with the rose-gold case, it almost looks like a nautical instrument that could be mounted in a high-gloss rosewood box. Instead it's mounted on a deep blue leather strap contrasting the more vivid pop of the dial. To keep with the Nautical feel we have strayed from our path of traditional logo and instead placed our name radially around the dial. It's a really simple yet effective design.
All options are coupled with simple straight hands with a peak in the middle, polished and matched to the case finish. Each option is also furnished with its own vegetable-tanned strap, colour matched to each dial option. The buckles are also matched to the case finish.
At 38mm diameter the Derwent a small watch by today's comparisons. However it appears bigger on the wrist thanks to those edge-to-edge dials - suitable for both Gents and Ladies, it's the perfect timepiece for the daily wear, whether you are in the office or out and about.