When bespoke meets high horology: the new Garrick S3 is an excellent example of hand craftsmanship executed to perfection

When bespoke meets high horology: the new Garrick S3 is an excellent example of hand craftsmanship executed to perfection 

This British brand is getting to be known for a fair few things — engine turned dials, use of thermally blued screws instead of chemically treated screws, collaborations with UhrTeil AG and Andreas Strehler, use of emblematic anchor-like (Maritime) hour and minute hands on dials — and now following the success of the Norfolk, Portsmouth and the Regulator models, the young brand’s evolving power can be witnessed in all its glory in the new Garrick S3.

Garrick burst on the watch scene about six years ago. Starting with the Shaftesbury and Hoxton timepieces, it quickly evolved into a brand featuring watches of increasing complexity and creativity. 

The Macro-context 

David Brailsford and Simon Michlmayr, the two masterminds behind Garrick have made us believe that not only is there a market for British brands, but by creating bespoke pieces brands can acquire a faithful niche consumer base that values high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. 

It’s then safe to say that Garrick — a brand that usually uses heavily modified Unitas movements but has now developed its first in-house movement (calibre UT-G01) — is here to stay.

The Micro-context

At Baselworld 2019 Garrick presented the Series 2 (S2) as a follow up to the Series 1 (S1) from 2018. This was the company’s fifth watch and the first to use a central sweep seconds display. A success, it depicted an evolution of its existing collections. 

One of the most memorable and striking features of this release was the engine-turned dial, the execution of which could be compared to the likes of Breguet.

And now, the British company based in Norwich, England is out with the Series 3 (S3). It is these watches that are designed to honour traditional English-style watchmaking that we are looking at today. 

The First Look

Like the S2, the new release is also a mirror-polished & brushed 42mm diameter watch, with a traditional round case that features a mirror-polished bezel. 

Garrick S3
S3 | Courtesy COPYRIGHT © 2019 GARRICK MICHLMAYR GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The case is flanked by a large onion crown reminiscent of Zenith’s Pilot’s watches at 3’o clock. 

The movement is again hand-wound and features the same indications: central hours and minutes with off-centred small seconds at 10’o clock and a power reserve indicator at 2’o clock.

The Second Look 

On second look, the dial is what sets this new release apart. 

In a way the S3 is almost coming full circle. Aesthetically it’s more close to S1 than it is to S2. 

The S1 featured an unobstructed view of the movement, while the S2 featured an engine-turned bluish-grey dial in the middle. The S3 now features a dial similar to S1 in that it is sans the guilloche patten of the S2 and features more of the movement view. 

This movement, the new calibre UT-G04 however, has been updated and redesigned. 

The main difference between S1 and S3 can be seen on the mainplate: S1 had an open-worked dial which exposed a series of gears and pinions positioned atop the mainplate while S3’s dial most strikingly features a number of recesses which accommodate a myriad of components such as chatons and other black polished parts. These parts sit flush with the upper mainplate surfaces, providing a neater appearance than the S1.

Garrick S3
S3 | Courtesy COPYRIGHT © 2019 GARRICK MICHLMAYR GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Keep looking mate, it’s a work of art 

The balance wheel at 6’o clock is the main tour de force feature of the S3. 

A prominent bridge spans the balance wheel and is enriched with straight graining and black polishing. The movement is endowed with a Trinity free-sprung balance made of Sircumet, a non-magnetic alloy exclusive to the brand. 

The hand-frosted rhodium-plated movement features gears and a wide number of components are made in-house using traditional watchmaking machines such as jig borers and lathes.

Garrick S3
S3 | Courtesy COPYRIGHT © 2019 GARRICK MICHLMAYR GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It

No point in beating about the bush, the dial is fairly complex and legibility can be a concern. 

To solve this, Garrick has made use of the colour blue. 

The Roman numerals hour track, Maritime hour and minute hands, small seconds display and the power-reserve indicator are all crafted in-house and thermally blued. These blues in the dial really pop out and help with the readability of the dial. 

Garrick S3
S3 | Courtesy COPYRIGHT © 2019 GARRICK MICHLMAYR GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Roman numerals add further to the nakedness of this dial helping integrate the watch as a whole. I believe the Arabic font might not have worked as well. 

I also like how the power reserve indicator at 2’o clock takes the shape of power increasing / decreasing, thereby eliminating the need for further text on the dial. 

Garrick S3
S3 | Courtesy COPYRIGHT © 2019 GARRICK MICHLMAYR GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Maybe it’s just me but the positioning of the sub-dials at 2 and 4 make them appear like eyes and the balance wheel at 6’o clock seems to appear like an open-mouth; maybe Garrick wasn’t intending this, or maybe they were, but one thing is for sure, architecturally the dial is very well balanced and geometrically it’s a wonder of a design.  

The watches will be produced in limited numbers of 5 pieces per year and the customers can select either a discreet nameplate or choose to eschew dial-side branding.

The latest Garrick S3 offered in stainless steel or 18-carat gold is an open-hearted mechanical beauty that will sit well in any collection. 

To find out more about the Garrick S3 and other Garrick watches, visit their website here.