June 08 2011
Lucia van der Post
I do love a product with a romantic back story, and they hardly come more romantic than Dent. It’s one of the oldest British watch brands, which alone makes it something to cherish. Dent is the company that made Big Ben, that started making pocket watches in the mid-19th century and moved into wristwatches after the first world war. It supplied chronometers for Darwin’s Beagle as well as watches to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Churchill’s first watch was a Dent and it has supplied royal houses all over the world.
These days it isn’t as well known as it ought to be, it being a rather a cult little house, but now there’s renewed interest in the brand because it is launching a watch housing a new movement for the first time in 60 years. It’s called the watch The Denison, after Edmund Beckett Denison, who designed Big Ben’s movement, and though it is made in a Swiss factory it has been designed entirely in-house.
It’s a classic, three-handed watch based on the English-style lever escapement. The design is based on an earlier Dent that was sold during the 1920s and ’30s, while the winding rotor is embellished with engraving in the style of that other classic English designer, William Morris. The back is just as lovely to look at as the dial and the movement itself is visible through the officer-style case back.
Only 100 Denisons will be made in 18ct rose gold and another 100 in 18ct white gold. If you want one you’ll need to ring and one of the company’s directors will arrange a meeting. Orders will take up to six months; it costs £26,500. But check the website, which is full of fascinating information.