The Derwent Gauge - Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

The Derwent Gauge - Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Inspiration for our watches has stemmed from many sources - beautiful British bodies of water, inspirational and iconic individuals, as well as (less alliterative, but equally influential) man-made landmarks and objects. The Derwent Gauge was inspired by the latter, and its existence is all down to a very coincidental happening indeed.

We named the Derwent collection after Derwentwater, one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District. This 3-mile long lake is the source of some of the most stunning views in the area. Surrounded by heavily wooded hills (or fells, as the locals would say) which change colour palettes not only with the seasons but by the hour as the light hits them, and studded with islands which pleasure boats putter to on their daily voyages - the lake is a true treat for the senses. It was on the banks of this lake that the idea for our Derwent range was born.


While on a trip exploring this beautiful patch, we happened upon the remains of an old pressure gauge abandoned on the banks of Derwentwater and immediately fell for its beautiful style. 

Whether this particular gauge had been used on a boat, an aircraft, industrial machinery or something else, we don't know. But once we had cleaned off the mud and taken a closer look, we did a bit of detective work to find out a little more about the instrument - we were delighted to find out that it hadn't travelled far in its working life; in fact, it was a local. 

The gauge we found was designed by British thermometer maker Sidney Brannan. Sidney founded his business in 1913 and his family continue to run the business to this day from their base in the Lake District.  

Brannan Gauge
A similar Brannan pressure gauge to the one we found inspiration in

The gauge's precise yet stylised inner and outer rings, angular hands and vibrant red and blue accents immediately caught our attention and sparked our imagination. Beautiful in its own industrial way, we wanted to honour this instrument and its place in the Lake District with a watch that feels traditional yet contemporary. 

Derwent Gauge

Our aim for the Derwent range was to design a series of pieces which hark back to the dress watches of the 50's and 60's - watches that inspired the very beginnings of MWC. While drawing inspiration from the beautiful old Brannan gauge, the dial is more contemporary with a subtle domed form leading outwards to an angled chapter ring, which draws the eye in towards the dial. The simple pitched profile hands afford the wearer maximum readability, whilst subtle yet striking red and blue accents add flair to the design and pay tribute to the original gauge. Most watches of this era had solid case-backs, but the Derwent Gauge offers a small porthole displaying the balance wheel smoothly oscillating back and forth, another contemporary element bringing this timepiece into the 21st Century, whilst the hi-dome custom acrylic crystal lends itself well to this classic aesthetic. 

It seems almost insulting to the beauty of the natural landscape that what triggered this particular design was a piece of industrial equipment forsaken at the water's edge, rather than the stunning scenery of the beautiful lake, but - as the happiest of coincidences often are - it was an unexpected, seemingly trivial moment which has grown into one of our favourite designs. 

The Gauge, much like its sibling the Sundial, was certainly born from an unusual and unexpected source of inspiration but remains a true piece of the Lake District. With the Classic and Nautical sold out and numbers of the Gauge and Sundial dwindling, we will be sad to say goodbye to the popular Derwent range - each one created with the utmost respect for the place and people who make the Lake District what it is. 

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