TECH SPOT: Bernard Richards’ Records TB

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Four years in the making – an automatic diver’s watch at a 90? angle.

After four years of development Bernard Richards Manufacture has created an automatic driver’s watch with a fully functional movement set at a 90° angle. With this little number you’ll never need to lift your hand off the steering wheel to check the time again.

In an issue of WatchPro dedicated to titanium watches it is only fitting that we should feature another in the Tech Spot pages, although it is the angle of this watch rather than the material that makes it exciting.

Bernard Richards Manufacture (BRM) prides itself on creating watches that become an “obsessional dream”. Whether or not this particular model captures the imagination of the watch-buying public, Records TB has certainly been an all-engrossing project for the development team at BRM.

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Records TB has been four years in the making. And after nearly 1,500 days spent researching, developing and testing, the team have come up with what they believe is a first in the market: an automatic watch that operates offset by 90°.

The watch has what the brand claims is a unique shape and rotor that sits the face of the watch up as though it is a dashboard on a car. This angle allows the wearer to be able to read the time without having to move the wrist.

Ease of time reading is something that has long fascinated watchmakers hoping to cater for the motorsports fan, and many have strived to create a watch that needs as little wrist twisting as possible. In the 1930s watchmakers created models with hinged lugs that allowed wearers to shift the position of the watch to the edge of the wrist to make it visible while driving.

Then in the 1970s Bulova created its Computron watch that displays time on an LCD screen and is powered by a quartz movement. And in the Noughties, art house manufacture MB&F created its award-winning HM4 Thunderbolt that has two dials – one for the watch face and the other to show a power reserve – set at 90°.

While WatchPro would have to say that MB&F clinched the 90° trick first, at £105,000 – if you can find one that is, as the house has notoriously small edition runs – it is not going to be on the majority of retailers’ must-buy lists. The Records TB model, however, offers a more accessible route to a 90° watch face at £7,000.

Getting the RRP down to what the brand calls “a normal price”, was a large part of the research and development process. While the watch took four years in total to create – with the brand extensively testing out its durability it on active bodies including as tennis players and drummers – two of these years were taken up simply trying to find ways to shave pounds off the price.

When the team came up with its dream watch, which included a retrograde hands concept, the price was fairly astronomical. But, little by little, the brand chipped away at the price by finding more cost-effective solutions to some aspects of the watch and, unfortunately, abandoning some features altogether.

And what was left after the penny pinchers were satisfied is what you see on this page: a titanium and carbon fibre watch with racing stylings and, yes, a face that you can read without ever lifting your hands from the steering wheel.

The Stats

Movement: Modified ETA 2671
Case: 44mm grade II titanium and stainless steel with sapphire crystal glass
Plates: Carbon fibre
Water resistance: 100m
Series: Limited to 25 pieces
per colourway
RRP: £7,000
 

This article was taken from the December issue of WatchPro. You can read the digital version of the issue online by clicking here.

 

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