Saturday, August 18, 2007

Not only men's wearing watches

ALFRED Dunhill Timepieces go back a long way, around the time when motorcars first hit the road at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1903, cars afforded little or no protection from the weather and, with all the manual adjustments, hand throttles, crashing gearboxes, fuel and ignition settings that had to be manually tweaked while driving, well, how could the well-dressed gentlemen have time to check his pocket watch to find out what the time was?

The answer was obvious to Alfred Dunhill. If we could have a clock in the house, why not have one in the car? So, he came up with a pocket watch that fitted snugly inside a sturdy, dashboard-mounted brass case. The case was teardrop shaped and had a hinged porthole cover which allowed the watch to be removed at the end of the journey.

The Dashboard Clock in brass casing circa 1903 was usually placed upside down to protect it from the mostly unfavourable weather in England.
This was Dunhill’s first foray into watches and it opened up a whole new world for his company.

Soon, he was interpreting the timepieces in unprecedented ways; the belt buckle watch, the lighter watch, the pen watch and the money clip watch. Wristwatches, however, remained his forte.

The tradition continues today, with cars continuing to inspire the dunhill watch collection.

The A-Centric, an understated watch inspired by dunhill’s century-old “Motorities” heritage has the outer chapter ring displaying the days of the month marked by a revolving hand with a crescent tip. The unique Rev-o-Meter Calendar, inspired by the classic rev counter in cars, reminds the wearer when to advance the hand to a new month.

The classic looking A-Centric Pentagraph with its five dials.
For those who like classic looking watches, the A-Centric Pentagraph, with its central 12-hour dial and outer date ring is a combination of old world elegance and a contemporary look.

Its name derives from five separate hands, all driven from the centre of the dial. The hands indicate hours, minutes, seconds, date and an additional time zone.

The outer ring is a 24-hour dual time-zone indicator, the second ring gives the date, the third ring shows the seconds and the main one, a 12-hour dial, represents local time.

The Wheel Watch Chronograph with its unique mono-lug case.
The Wheel Watch Chronograph has a unique mono-lug case shape that harks back to metal spinners often used to secure wheels to period sports cars.

The orginal Wheel Watch, the Petrolhead, with its power reserve and date display features, is now complemented by a chronograph version designed for timing everything from the speed of a McLaren F1 to the perfect boiled egg.

With its 42mm case bordered by an engine turned bezel that cleverly conceals the crown and push pieces to maintain the clean lines of the watch, this watch is something fun and unique.

A 1936 facet watch which was the first wristwatch to appear in a dunhill catalogue, though the earliest dunhill watches dates to 1925.
Other watches in the collection include the rugged “Citytamer”, a sophisticated and elegant watch with a horizontally-split, two-part case with top-loading screws inspired by the bonnet of a period sports car and “Carwatch”, which takes its cue from the Edwardian driver’s watches designed to be worn on the side of the wrist, rather than on top so that they could be seen without the wearer having to release take his hands off the bucking steering wheel.

  • The A.Dunhill Ltd watch collection is available at the dunhill boutique at Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.

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