The New Schofield Treasure Watch Is A Glittering Testament To England’s Past
Inside all of us, there lives a magpie. For some, the magpie is the dominant beast of the subconscious. It compels its host to seek out shiny things wherever they may lie and scavenge them to beautify their nest. For others, the magpie is small and softly-spoken. But when poked, prodded, or mildly cajoled, it can’t help but poke its beak out into the unknown world in search of glittering goodies. I would profess to have a smaller internal magpie than many. However, even I cannot deny that my fluttering forager has stirred thanks to Schofield’s latest release. It’s a pair of new Treasure Watches that exemplifies the strapline at the very heart of the brand: “All We Make Is Treasure.”
It’s hard not to be charmed by Schofield‘s output. There is a genuineness and earnestness to everything Giles Ellis designs. He pours his heart, soul, and a distressing number of hours (both diurnal and nocturnal) into the design of his watches. The nuances of case designs and his deeply personal inspirations may unfortunately be lost on the uninitiated. But the case backs of Schofield watches are a totally different matter. They have almost always been a canvas of easily digestible expression. They are frequently works of art, often with a touch of irreverence, and always with a great deal of personality. Even someone brand new to this craft can see the skill and genius that goes into their creation.
The heart of what matters
With this release, Ellis is aiming to tap into the very heart of the brand. Schofield has long embraced the treasure aspect of the industry. Watches are functionally obsolete items that continue to set our pulses racing. Why? Because they are emotional objects. If you want an example of how that kind of object resonates with the watch-loving audience, you need only appreciate the rapid sell-out of the brand’s most recent release, the Bronze Beater B4.
There’s a sensation of wonder that drives many of us more obsessive watch hunters to distraction. That sensation is very similar to a childlike awe, inspired by swashbuckling tales of treasure-hunting expeditions. We think of pirates! Of danger! Of risk and reward! In a modern world replete with relative luxuries, the concept of treasure is a quickly fading one. But it’s one that compels those of us born long enough ago to remember a more analog way of life.
Feel the earth beneath your feet
For a brand so often associated with the sea, Schofield has always been incredibly earthy. In truth, it is not the sea per se from which Ellis draws his inspiration. Rather, it is the coastline of Britain — the jagged, rugged line between the swirling expanses of wind and waves and dry land itself. From the products and their stories to the way they are packaged — in an ash box with no plastic or foam inside — it’s clear that Ellis can feel that solid earth beneath his feet.
Both Ellis and his watches ring of a time gone by. They are connected to an evaporating realness in things. Tactility matters more to him than likes on Instagram or blowing up on TikTok like the next viral craze. Permanence in objects excites him much more than a new iPhone every two years. Though Ellis never set out to own a mechanical watchmaking company, the ethos of his wares suits him surprisingly well. Perhaps that’s why a personal project of passion bore on for years longer than intended. Perhaps it’s also why his watches speak loudly to those who “get” them and say little to those who don’t.
It’s a culture, a way of life…
It isn’t the aesthetics of a Schofield watch that tend to divide people. Some love the look, and some find themselves rather indifferent to it. Few I have met actually dislike the look of the pieces. But that isn’t what makes someone part of the Schofield family or not. This is a club of like-minded individuals. Of course, the products matter. The old head behind their design sees that each and every item to bear the Schofield name is up to snuff. But beyond that, there is a culture to this brand that really does mark it as something special in this day and age. The watches themselves may well be a type of treasure, but the ideas upon which the brand is built is a rarer kind of goody still.
…binding all of those practical elements of our culture together is its soul.
I’m often asked why certain “new” brands that, for all intents and purposes, aren’t that thrilling get me so geed up. The question is perhaps easier to answer now than it has ever been thanks to UNESCO recognizing the culture of watchmaking as significant to humanity. Yes, the focus of that acknowledgment will be on the mechanical masters around the world. It’ll be about the hand skills and the great many crafts that intersect with the world of watchmaking now and then. But binding all of those practical elements of our culture together is its soul. Schofield watches do not have ground-breaking movements within them, but they are designed and brought to life with care, diligence, and an incredible sense of emotional touch.
These two watches are limited to 29 pieces in total. They commemorate the ten years since Schofield first launched the Signalman in November 2011. Both watches have stepped black dials and gold handsets, along with sumptuously decorated case backs and an identical retail price of £3,480 (incl. VAT and free shipping within the UK) or $2,900 (US, Canada, Europe ROW + shipping). One of the watches is made from high-polished stainless steel while the other has a brass base, covered in a heavy gold plating.
Which hoard will you uncover?
The case backs show an “X” marking “the spot,” set above runic script, mountains, rivers, and the sky above. But perhaps even cooler is that each watch is serialized with the name of a treasure hoard found in the UK. Number 1 is Sutton Hoo, number 2 the Ringlemere Cup, and so on. Which hoard will you uncover? The gold X on the case back is formed by bonding a gold-plated brass disc (representing a gold coin) behind the wire-eroded aperture in the multi-stepped stainless steel component. Not bad, eh? If you want to snaffle one of these gems for yourself, head over to the official Schofield site and get digging.