One of the hardest aspects of being a watch writer is finding a sufficient amount of material to write about. It is true that there are many attractive timepieces available on the market but many are derivative of other brands. When I originally established Total Watch Reviews I wanted to show consumers that strong design is available at all price points. Ultimately this is why my hours of research has led me to feature many independent watchmakers. Due to the fact they don’t have the enormous marketing resources like Swatch, Richemont and LVMH they have to think outside the box (creatively speaking).
A few weeks ago a luxury goods specialist recommended that I contact a company called the Valour Watch Company. The business is the brainchild of Mark Daniel and was only founded in 2011. Mark is an engineer by trade and became fascinated by the intricate mechanics of fine watchmaking. He also has a real interest in aviation as his Great Uncle and Grandfather both served in World War II. When I spoke to Mark he explained that brands like Urwerk, IWC, U-Boat, Panerai and Bremont have inspired his designs.
After two years of research and development the Valour Watch Company released their first model called the Sopwith Aviator. Mark personally develops the design using CAD modelling software then uses his 3D printer to produce an ABS plastic model. Once he is happy with all the details he manufactures a more refined prototype in metal. This meticulous attention to detail has finally resulted in a highly accomplished timepiece that is composed of 114 components (excluding the movement).
Initially when I first saw the Sopwith Aviator I was seduced by its multi layered façade. I was also excited to discover that the timepiece has a whopping diameter of 54mm (excluding the crown). Personally I love extra large watches especially if they are well designed. What makes this so special is the striking three-dimensional dial. From recent conversation with Mark I can now comprehend how complex this composition really is. Realistically only an engineer could accomplish a task of this magnitude. Even though the case is constructed from steel, a lot of the casing, screws and pistons are manufactured from Aircraft grade aluminium. Essentially this keeps the weight down and means that a watch of this size is actually wearable.
At the heart of the watch is a Swiss made SOPROD A10-2 self-winding movement, which has been modified to the company’s specifications. The caliber comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This mechanism has an Incabloc shock absorber and is visible through the sapphire crystal case back. Functionally the Sopwith Aviator features hours, minutes, seconds and date facility. The watch also has a power reserve of 42-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 50 metres.
Each Sopwith Aviator is presented in a luxury mahogany presentation box and has a Genuine Italian Tuscan calfskin strap. With a limited run of 200 pieces I am sure these exquisite watches will sell out fast. Priced incredibly competitively at: £1050 (approximately $1,534).
For more information about Valour Watches visit the company’s website: https://valourwatchcompany.com