A tritium gas-lit crown? A Moonglow ring in the dial? You have my attention Mr. Giles Ellis and I predict that your stunning new Schofield Blacklamp Carbon watch will be a star of Salon QP.
I, like many others loved the Schofield Signalman watch. It was and is an extremely well designed piece and its lighthouse-inspired styling was referenced to great effect in its ever-so-slightly tapering case, its lightbeam power reserve and in its magnified lens-style meeting of crystal and bezel.
The Blacklamp Carbon not only builds upon the lighthouse theme, it redefines it. On their website Schofield website put it simply as "Lights From Within" - and this is where it gets really interesting.
Firstly though the case, because it is indeed a complex construction created using "a special matrix of carbon fibre, hand-laid and formed into small billets. A single billet is used to create one Blacklamp watch case, making each watch subtly different from the next". Now - carbon fibre, although a high-tech and therefore and increasingly desirable watchmaking material can more often than not be stealthy and dare I say it a little sterile, not so the case of the Blacklamp which has been meticulously milled by hand to expose characteristics which are more akin to woodgrain patterns.
Schofield have named this material "Morta", an ancient name for bogwood and an entirely appropriate term given the similarities in appearance of both elements. The case follows the contours of the Signalman but the new material promises to offer a whole new perspective on its noble form.
The dial of the Blacklamp Carbon retains the elegance of its predecessor together with the added English quirkiness which caused the industry to sit up and take notice of this youthful brand upon its launch just two years ago. The diminutive numerals, the light beam motif, the strike through zero and the broad sword-like hands with their pointy overhangs, all are eye-pleasing features.
With their Signalman, the lighthouse theme proved to be highly emotive, but with the Blacklamp Carbon, Schofield introduce a new experience which will connect the wearer with his timepiece in a most unique way. Tucked beneath the sapphire at the dial edge, there is a ring of NASA-developed Moonglow, a photoluminescent material which will, when activated by a light source emit a soft glow onto the dial surface and integrated into the crown, a self-powered tritium gas light provides a constant pinprick of light beneath the cuff.
The development of this piece involved a collaboration with James Thompson of Black Badger Composites (such a talent that quite frankly he is deserving of his own written article) and what began as a musing in the mind of Schofield's Giles Ellis quickly became a reality. In a stoke of design genius, Schofield have worked with James to define their theme in a highly originative fashion. I think that the subtle use of technology is inspired and I make no apology, I am smitten by this new watch.
Each Schofield Blacklamp Carbon watch will be a pay tribute to adifferent English lighthouse with each watchdenoted by the location co-ordinates of the tower and character of flash from the lamp within. Alas just 101 pieces of the Schofield Blacklamp Carbon will be made, get in quick enough and you can have your pick - also in the box will be a special little 500 Lumentorch which can be used to activate the Moonglow ring in the dial - brilliant.