The company that brought the world the trench coat is introducing its first serious venture into horology. We say first, because we believe that this is the beginning of a greater venture into watchmaking. Collaborating with the Fossil Group, the English label Burberry announced the launch of The Britain, the name of the watch collection bearing a range of Swiss movements in both mechanical and quartz forms, and designed by Christopher Bailey himself.
While other fashion labels have ventured into horology before – Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, to name a few – the challenge of any fashion label that is hoping to create an iconic watch design is what should be preserved in the brand’s DNA, and what can be innovated. After all, fashion labels tend to move with each season, reinventing themselves constantly. Louis Vuitton had the Tambour watch design, Hermes the Arceau and Cape Cod, and Burberry has The Britain, which bears a design inspired by the D-rings of the trench coat, which were a military invention to hold onto miscellaneous items such as maps.
The Britain will, unsurprisingly, stir memories of some other watch icons in its design – the soft octagonal shape of the watch with satin and polished surfaces, stands out with a military-inspired colour code – browns, olive greens and blacks are seen throughout the collection – and leather straps are treated to evoke a vintage appeal. What we truly love about The Britain is its curved back, that allows the watch case to be larger, yet still feel perfectly comfortable on the wrist. In fact, the flagship model, a three-hand model with power reserve that is sized at 47mm, doesn’t look like its behemoth size or feel like it, even on a smaller wrist. (I can personally attest to this.)
Three sizes exist, with quartz chronograph models and three-hand mechanical models powered by ETA movements as well as a Soprod module for the power reserve piece. A ladies’ model is dazzling with diamonds on the bezel, and for the gents, a truly classy design in 45mm automatic is also available. Like its larger sibling, it doesn’t feel like a 45mm watch on the wrist. Check out the video and ad campaign on Burberry’s website and here as well.