There’s a lot of feelings when you get the first production spec watches through the door. This is it, the final stage of production. All roads lead to here. There’s a million things going through your head and you're excited to discover all the little things that you spent ages fiddling with, and see if they live up to your own expectations.
Within the first moments you know. The eye is unbeatable at finding faults; it has its own oddity mechanism built-in. It’s drawn to things that look suspicious, off-centre or squint. You’ve spent so long now staring at the design that if there’s anything out of place your eye will quickly expose it and it’s amazing how little something needs to be askew, for the eye to see it.
In the past this was the point where we would know how good the manufacturer is and how high their standards are, and quite a lot of the time at this point we would be going back with a list of things that needed put in place for the final production run. We are very impressed with the partner for the Coniston, for the production set are flawless. Everything is as it should be. Finishes are exceptional. Placement of the hour and 12 markings are spot on and executed well. The printing is all centred and matching. Cases and hands are finished as we would expect; there’s definitely a level of quality in the Coniston that is impressing us more than we have been in the past, and that’s saying something as our other models are exceptionally high quality.
The Coniston is an amalgamation of all our collective knowledge so far from each of our previous designs. There’s a little bit of the Cherwell, Derwent, Lomond and Haskell in here. The dial is most obviously influenced by the Cherwell with the applied hour markings and double-layer dial. The Derwent is there with the outer chapter ring. The Lomond seconds track is there too and the case-back and movement take influence from that range too. The Haskell is referenced in the case shape and lugs, which we’ve developed to be a bit more purposeful and the lugs a little more raked and interesting.
The Coniston has its own features though, like the beautiful sapphire crystal and those fascinating reflections and refractions. The hands are unique to the Coniston and take influence from the cross-section of a wing. The engraved and paint-filled ring on the case-back is new; something we printed on the crystal before is now acting as an angled frame for the movement, bringing everything outwards from within, to make it look like you could touch the mechanism itself. Finally the crown; this is another Coniston unique design but clearly taking cues from our other crowns, with the angled grip and engraved icon - this time machined to create a block 'M' icon that stands proud of the bead-blasted surface.
At night though, more interesting things are revealed. The lower-level on the dial is a sea of super-luminova, turning the centre area into an island in silhouette, with hour blocks extending outwards. The minute and second hand tips are thrown into silhouette too, their black outlines clear against the glowing blue. The chapter ring is angled just so, allowing the glow to reach upwards and illuminate the track, so even in the darkness you can see to the minute what time it is. Within the minute and hour hands are segments of lume which easily identify which is which, and in the fleeting moment when both overlap, the hour hand’s first segment is displayed through the minute hand, turning both into one 4-segmented glowing hand.
We now take the production models, once we’ve fed back our comments to the manufacturer, and use them for marketing. This means getting all the photographic and video content we think we’ll need for our launch campaign. A lot of time is spent setting this up, from macro shots to lifestyle and placement images, to studio shots and various angles for the website. We do all of this in-house. Then the video content is generated which takes a lot longer than stills, as we have a number of methods and equipment that are very time-consuming to set up. Once this content is gathered we can then start planning our launch campaign and getting things ready for pre-order. Pretty soon we will be taking delivery of our first production run, and this means quality control, logistics setup and ultimately shipping. There has been a lot of effort in this project so far, but the last phase is always the most intense of them all, but it’s exciting to know that soon the Coniston will be on the wrists of our customers around the world.