The Daymark is the latest from the Sussex coast watch brand, taking its inspiration from a Dartmouth landmark
By James Gurney
Schofield has been such a fixture on the British watchmaking scene that they’ve been noticeably out of the news of late. As the project hits its tenth birthday (the brand didn’t formally launch until 2011’s SalonQP, however), it’s about time we caught up with Sussex’s finest watch brand.
Given half a chance, I suspect that Giles Ellis, the man behind Schofield, would design the clothes you wear with a Schofield and the room, or indeed, space, you wear it in. As it is Schofield’s design universe extends well beyond the watch head, so that even the packaging for a spare strap buckle is a complete little piece of Schofield style. On the brand’s site, there are beautifully engineered torches and watch tools and even an anodised aluminium cigar tube and, quite obviously, there’s coffee (Yellow Bourbon, grown 1,150 metres up in Brazil).
But, before you write off Schofield as irredeemably hipster though, take a look at the watches and the value that such pure hipster zeal imparts. Ellis is almost the archetype for the hipster designation, but aside from the coffee and coding obsessions that implies, there’s a deep and informed respect for product design – just watch one of his SalonQP lectures on the subject. One of the brand’s most overt influences (on naming as well as design) is British coastal architecture – Schofield even bills itself as “A British Watch Company that faces the sea”
That means design that respects the techniques used to make watches, a judicious sense of control that turns up the volume on the packaging while keeping the product impressively clean. And with six years in the market, Schofield has developed a pragmatic sensitivity to the brand’s audience – there’s a rational approach to limited editions that doesn’t make a fetish of numbers (the Tide Time was made in a 31 piece edition only because that’s the number of shipping forecast areas), but re-assures the brand’s audience that the other Schofield in the room will be sufficiently different.
Beyond the packaging, the branding and the distribution, it’s the watches that count. And this is where Schofield delivers on the promise. Based on Soprod, Unitas and ETA movements, the watches feature sophisticated cases executed in a variety of materials including bronze, DLC treated steel and Morta, a carbon composite developed by an industry leader mostly because Ellis challenged him to do so.
The latest from Sussex, the Daymark, is of a piece: with the same case dimensions as the Signalman watch, it’s made from vapour-blasted stainless steel in one block. More noticeably the dial design is spare but a detailed evolution from the Signalman (and a complete volte-face from the Bare Bones): the hands are stubbier and more angular, directing the eye to the contrasting outer section and chapter ring, while the dial carries only the model name with the word ‘Daymark’ placed at the bottom of the chapter ring. There’s a new crown with a nail notch and a groove running around that allows easier access – something that Schofield refer to as better “affordance”.
Giving its name to this watch is a blunt obelisk of Portland stone on the coast of Dartmouth – more precisely, at the mouth of the river Dart, which in pre-digital days was notoriously hard to find from the sea. It’s effectively a lighthouse without a light, or quite literally a mark visible during the day.
The watches will be available for £3,600, however, Schofield is running a competition: to win a Daymark watch, all you have to do is take a photograph of a man-made coastal structure and email it to the company before 23rd April 2017. See http://schofieldwatchcompany.com/competition/ for more details.
To find out more, visit Salon QP at The Saatch Gallery on 2-4 November 2017.