Garrick Norfolk

Angus Davies reviews the new Garrick Norfolk. This is the latest watch from the Norwich-based company, inspired by a maritime instrument and featuring a gorgeous grand feu enamel dial.

This detailed review of the Garrick Norfolk includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Norfolk is synonymous with the ‘Broads’, a series of rivers and lakes. This array of waterways attracts hordes of tourists each year. Many choose to navigate the picturesque aquatic thoroughfares in small boats, progressing gently through the waters at a relaxed tempo.

Now, Garrick, the British watch company, has created a new timepiece which references this beautiful enclave of East Anglia, beating at the comparatively relaxed frequency of 2.5Hz.

The ‘Norfolk’ is a new timepiece from the Norwich based watch company and the latest chapter of the horological trilogy which started with its inaugural watch, the Shaftesbury SM301, and was soon followed by the Hoxton SM302.

More models in the pipeline

Recently, at SalonQP, I visited the Garrick exhibition stand. Despite Garrick’s relative youth, the company’s UK based workshop in Norwich has proved to be a fertile ground for product innovation. Indeed, the dynamic duo of David Brailsford and Simon Michlmayr have caused quite a stir with their prolific work rate.

Garrick Regulator - ESCAPEMENT watch review website by Angus Davies

At SalonQP, Garrick also revealed their own, very striking interpretation of a regulator. This watch reveals its balance in the upper westerly region of the dial and is equipped with three distinct displays. The Garrick Regulator successfully fuses the modernity of a black DLC 42mm stainless steel case with the classical temperament of a historical horological instrument, equipped with gorgeous lancine hands and an eye-catching minute display adjacent the crown.

Andreas Strehler – a new exclusive movement to be revealed in 2016

Garrick has recently announced it has been working closely with Andreas Strehler of Uhr Teil AG. Andreas is an eminent watchmaking genius, responsible for an array of incredible watch movements housed within timepieces from H. Moser & Cie, Harry Winston, Maître du Temps and Maurice Lacroix. Recently, Andreas has been helping Garrick develop its own exclusive movement which the company plans to reveal in 2016.

At SalonQP, I chatted to David Brailsford and quizzed him about the degree of ‘added value’ taking place in Norwich relating to this exclusive movement. David informed me that Garrick will make some of the bridges, along with its own, technically challenging in-house free-sprung balance, previously showcased in the Shaftesbury SM301. Subsequent finishing, assembly and regulation will also be performed in Garrick’s own workshop. The cases will be sourced from the UK, whilst the dial and hands will be made by Garrick’s own craftsmen. Indeed, this watch will be imbued with a high quotient of British content.

Interestingly, Andreas Strehler was present on the Garrick stand during SalonQP, validating his close involvement with the British watch company. From discussions with Andreas, it is clear he has clearly formed a close and friendly working relationship with David Brailsford.

On a personal level, I have always admired Andreas Strehler. Indeed, he is one of my horological heroes and, arguably, one of the greatest watchmaking talents of his generation. In 2013, he received the Prix Gaïa in the category Artisanat?Création. The following year he created ‘the most precise phase of the moon indication ever built in a wristwatch’ and as a result is the proud holder of a Guinness world record.

During SalonQP, Andreas also showed me some of his latest timepieces including the Time Shadow, a spectacular watch I will be reviewing in detail on ESCAPEMENT in the near future.

However, returning to the Garrick Norfolk, it provides a heady mix of talents which demand discussion. I left SalonQP with the Norfolk prototype, presented in stainless steel and have since enjoyed a hands-on experience, learning more about this interesting and surprisingly affordable taste of British craftsmanship.

The dial

The Norfolk is said to be inspired by maritime instruments of the past. Garrick commissioned freelance designer Michael Horlbeck to mastermind the aesthetics of the Norfolk. In my opinion, the outcome is superb. On one hand it walks its own path, delivering a highly unique mien, but conversely, it proffers broad appeal, evidenced by the huge swathes of people I saw crowding around the exhibition stand at SalonQP.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

The dial canvas employs grand-feu enamelling, delivering a pure, unsullied demeanour. Garrick produces this dial in-house. Firstly, it turns the dial from solid silver and then applies enamel to both sides to prevent it warping during the firing process. Typically, grand-feu enamel dials are found only on the most expensive timepieces, hence it is remarkable to hear that the Norwich-based company offers the Norfolk at the very agreeable price of £2,295 (RRP as at 6.12.2015 – steel version).

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Thermally blued ‘Maritime-hands’ impart the hours, minutes and small seconds. Each hand features an anchor-like appearance proffering an abundance of eye-appeal. Garrick has imbued the appearance of this watch with a high quotient of style but not at the expense of clarity with all indications proving simple to interpret.

Another admirable trait of the dial display is the exquisite exploitation of differing depths. The small seconds display incorporates an applied steel circlet, conferring a sumptuous appearance. Furthermore, the arcing applied cartouche, positioned between 3 and 6 o’clock, is more typical of watches costing five or even six-figures.

Lastly, concluding the specification of the display, a black printed minute track encircles the periphery of the dial canvas, enhancing ease of read-off. Indeed, with the Norfolk, Garrick has shown that practicality does not need to come at the expense of style. The dial vista is incredibly handsome.

The case

The 42mm steel case is superbly executed. A British company makes the cases for Garrick, but Michlmayr then expends much energy polishing each case personally with his own, time-served hands.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

The bezel and the top surfaces of the case, including the upper portion of the lugs, are highly polished. Conversely, the caseband and the solid caseback are satin brushed. The contrast works well.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Gracing the caseband is Garrick’s distinctive onion-shaped crown. It has become a signature of the brand. The crown does not gouge the wrist, unlike some similarly shaped competitor’s crowns, and it proves simple to manipulate.

The watch accords a very agreeable fit. The 42mm case diameter is probably one reason for this, bestowing ubiquitous appeal to a broad section of male wearers. Moreover, the lugs sharply taper downwards, readily guiding the strap to envelope the arm.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Gold plated version of the Garrick Norfolk

My press loan was fitted with a solid caseback which is standard fitment on the base model. It was also labelled ‘Prototype’, albeit the watch appeared tip-top and ready for sale. For a modest surcharge of £500, Garrick offers an alternative version of the Norfolk with a sapphire caseback, screwed balance wheel and gold plated case. The gold plating does provide a more affordable means of achieving the same visual appearance of a solid gold case, but is clearly much cheaper.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Gold plated version of the Garrick Norfolk

However, as Brailsford points out, the company has the flexibility and expertise to offer bespoke watches, hence a solid gold case, a free-sprung balance or a personalised engraving are all within the company’s impressive capabilities.

The movement

The Garrick Norfolk is equipped with a ‘new old stock’, vintage Unitas 6497. The hand-wound movement is legendary for its reliability. The frequency of the balance is 18,000 vph (2.5Hz) and the power reserve is 42 hours.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENTGarrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Gold plated version of the Garrick Norfolk

Closing remarks

The Norfolk watch, presented by Garrick, delivers an incredible quotient of craftsmanship, individuality and majestic allure for an amazingly affordable price.

Garrick Norfolk - watch review by Angus Davies, ESCAPEMENT

Gold plated version of the Garrick Norfolk

Whilst I like the appearance of the gold plated version, I would personally select the model in 316L stainless steel. This latter material is a fantastic all-rounder, offering both corrosion and scratch resistance. Furthermore, where plating will ultimately require renewal in years to come, stainless steel, by virtue of its nature, will offer greater longevity.

If I was to acquire a steel Norfolk, a distinct possibility I might add, I would feel compelled to ask Mr Brailsford if I could have the exhibition caseback and the company’s superb free-sprung balance. I accept that this would cost more than £500, but at these prices it is possible to indulge one’s own horological foibles.

Based on my observations at SalonQP, Garrick is clearly causing a stir among watch enthusiasts and following my experience with this Norfolk, it is not difficult to see why. With their own very unique appearance, Garrick timepieces wonderfully reference their place of origin, delivering a broad appeal many will want to explore.

Video Review

Technical specification

  • Model: Garrick Norfolk
  • Case: 316L stainless steel; diameter 42.00mm; height 12.50mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
    Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
  • Movement: Vintage Unitas 6497 base, hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5Hz), power reserve 42 hours
  • Strap: Black leather strap presented with a stainless steel pin buckle
  • Price: £2295 (RRP as at 5.12.2015)

 

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