London-born watchmaker Claude Lyons founded the Vertex brand in both Hatton Garden and La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, simultaneously, in 1916. A century later, his great-grandson, Don Cochrane, began the journey to bring the name back to life.
To commemorate this comeback, he has introduced a brand-new timepiece, the M100 – the first Vertex since 1972, when Claude’s son-in-law Henry closed down the line, due to market pressure from the revolution in quartz timepieces.
The new model draws obvious cues from those wartime wrist pieces that are most desirable to collectors. It’s a finely honed tribute to the originals which were made to British military specifications and were precisely what you would expect of a war watch – waterproof, luminous, regulated to chronometer level and rugged.
Along with eleven other manufacturers co-opted to aid the fight against the Nazis, Vertex comprised the famed “dirty dozen” of watch brands worn by British soldiers, sailors and airmen.
With a top grade ETA 7001 mechanical movement with rhodium finish and Cotes de Geneve decoration, a ratchet wheel engraved with Vertex just like the movement found in many of the older watches, the M100 features a face that, at the time, needed to be black with arabic numerals to maximise legibility. The new iteration comes packaged in a Peli case with two straps – a black leather two piece strap, and a nylon NATO-style strap in Admiralty Grey. Proud owners will admire the brushed steel case, box crystal glass, waterproof to 100m (a fair upgrade to that of its ancestor) and 42 hours on one wind with near perfect accuracy.
Fans of vintage-inspired ‘tool’ watches should form an orderly queue.
Says Don Cochrane, “With Vertex I wanted to put our owners first and allow them to have a truly active role in how the story grows. From here every Vertex owner has the ability to invite new owners to the brand creating a real community of like-minded people.”
A limited series of 600 pieces. Price: £2,500. www.vertex-watches.com.