Following in the footsteps of brands like Ralph Lauren, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, all of which have made moves to enhance the perception of so-called fashion watches, the British fashion house Burberry is releasing a new high-end wristwatch collection with Swiss movements, called the Britain. Designed by Burberry’s chief creative director Christopher Bailey, the watches evoke the look of the brand’s most famous contribution to the fashion world, the iconic Burberry trench coat. The cases have a rounded octagonal shape and a multi-faceted three-part construction; four custom-designed bolts, inspired by the buttons on the trench coat and screwed down by hand, fasten the bezel to the case middle and caseback. The casebacks have a domed design inspired by those of classical British pocketwatches and, in the models with mechanical movements, see-through exhibition casebacks of sapphire crystal. The palette of colors used for the watches — dials, cases, straps and even the luminous treatment on the hands — is influenced by that of the Burberry trench coats. The alligator straps are available in trench, classic brown and matte black. Dials are in trench, matte black and gunmetal. The hands are treated with either off-white or trench-colored Super-LumiNova.
Burberry is launching five references of the Britain: two three-hand date models with automatic movements; another automatic with a power reserve; a chronograph with a Swiss quartz movement; and a ladies’ model with a quartz movement and diamond-set case.
The Britain Automatic (Ref. BBY1201 and BBY1203) has a 43-mm-diameter case and is powered by an ETA 2824 movement. It has a date window at 3 o’clock and hour and minute hands coated with off-white Super-LumiNova. Burberry has customized the movement’s rotor with a côtes de Genève finish and an engraved Burberry logo. The case is stainless steel with a vertical-brushed finish. The options are a trench-colored dial with dark brown alligator strap or a matte-black dial with stainless steel bracelet. The price is $1,795. (Click on photos to enlarge images.)
The Britain Automatic Power Reserve (Ref. BBY1000) contains a Soprod 9040 movement with a 40-hour power reserve; the power reserve indicator is a semi-circular subdial above the 6 ‘clock position. The dial color is matte gunmetal and the stainless steel case has an ionized gunmetal finish. The case has fine vertical brushing and beveled edges. At 47 mm in diameter, it is also larger than the Automatic cases. The hands are treated with Burberry’s custom-made trench-colored Super-LumiNova, which matches the color of the alligator strap. Price: $3,995.
Burberry uses a Swiss quartz movement for the Chronograph (Ref. BBY1103), a Ronda 5040.D. The watch’s color scheme is primarily matte black, which is used for the dial, the rubberized alligator strap and the ionized finish on the case. The solid steel caseback is screwed down by hand. The case is 47 mm, and the Super-LumiNova on the hands is off-white. Price: $1,895.
The smallest, most feminine model (Ref. BBY1400) is 38 mm in diameter and contains a Swiss-made Ronda 703 quartz movement. A simple three-hand with a small seconds subdial, the model has a case set with 124 full-cut diamonds. The dial, in Burberry’s trench color, has a sunray finish. The alligator strap is also trench-colored. Price: $4,995.
“When we first began creating the Britain, we knew that we wanted a watch based on the same design principles and craftsmanship as our iconic trench coat,” Christopher Bailey states in the press release for the new collection. “The Britain marries our heritage and functional design values with modernity and innovation, creating a watch that is as elegant as it is relaxed.”
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