Resurrected British watch brand Vertex launches its latest model, a particularly poignant chronograph, at SalonQP this week.
By James Buttery
As readers of QP will no doubt be aware – and if they’re not a ticket to SalonQP’s live spotlight on the Dirty Dozen this Saturday wouldn’t hurt – Vertex was a wartime supplier of watches to the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War.
While it supplied around 15,000 of its Cal 59 Nav watches, part of the Ministry’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ brief, not all of its military watches were so successful and in the difficult post-war landscape for manufacturing one model failed to materialise altogether.
The company, under the leadership of Capt. Henry Lazarus, was commissioned to make an ‘Ordinance timing watch’ for the War Office. Despite developing the watch in conjunction with Lemania, rationing meant that Vertex was unable to import enough of the company’s Swiss movements to make it viable and the company abandoned the project, choosing to once again focus on watches for the civilian market.
While Lemania would go on to produce its own ‘bomb disposal’ hacking seconds watch in the 1950s, Vertex would never see its own design go into production, until now.
Don Cochrane, the man behind the modern day Vertex and great grandson of original founder Claude Lyons, has selected the ordinance timing watch, now named MP45, as the brand’s second model following the well-received M100 (and black DLC-coated M100B).
The MP45 uses a new monopusher version of Sellita’s SW500 chronograph movement (itself based on the Valjoux 7750), the SW510MP, and will be available as an automatic or manual wind, with 200 pieces of each being produced in a very welcome move.
The Vertex opts for an asymmetric case design – the extra heft on the right side of the case serving as crown and pusher guards – similar to the aforementioned Lemania with a central chronograph seconds hand, a 30-minute chronograph register at the three o’clock and a running seconds at the nine.
The counters are snailed and the broad arrow military designation is present, as is Vertex’s ace-in-the-hole, 3D Arabic numerals of solid luminous material.
Cochrane relaunched Vertex in 2016, on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the original company and initially restricted sales of the M100 to a referral system, where each new owner was issued with a handful of invitations to purchase to forward as they saw fit. The system was mothballed for the M100B and thankfully the MP45 is open for general sale too.
The MP45 will be launched at SalonQP at London’s Saatchi Gallery this week priced at £3,750. For more information visit www.vertex-watches.com