For the last few weeks I have been testing out and enjoying a new watch made by a company called Elliot Brown, the watch I have been getting hands on with is the Bloxworth 929-003. Elliot Brown is a relatively new company, but the two friends behind the company have a wealth of experience between them and are setting out to change peoples perception of the humble sports watch.
Ian Elliot, was co-founder of the successful and globally recognised company Animal, where his partner in crime Alex Brown was the resident Horologist (watch maker to you and me). Ian is credited with designing the velcro watch strap and Alex designed, repaired and serviced watches for Animal for 17 years.
Alex and Ian have set out to create watches that will withstand the rigours and abuse of everyday use whilst still looking incredibly slick and performing perfectly at all times. The Bloxworth is no exception and it has certainly coped with a variety of situations over my time testing it and is still looking great and performing beautifully.
During the design and testing stage, the crew at Elliot Brown have subjected the watch to some pretty intense rituals including dropping a 3kg pendulum hammer into the watch to test the elastomers that protect the timepiece against extreme shock.
The crown on the watch also ingeniously features 3 seals set into the crown and that means the crown remains sealed to water and dust no matter at which position the crown is set in. Each watch is also dropped into water which is then pressurised to 200m to ensure every one of them is waterproof to that depth – that would be some wipeout!
The watch glass is 2.8mm toughened mineral crystal which is hardened and tempered and after nearly a month of constant abuse during some pretty testing conditions remains scratch free. Elliot Brown also use Superluminova luminescent on the watch and this works brilliantly at night, even the clasp features the Elliot Brown logo in Superluminova and this is a nice touch.
Before I get too involved in this review I feel I must set my stall out early and make it clear that I have no expert knowledge of the internal working of watches or any real interest in watch design. What I am interested in, is the aesthetic looks of the timepiece, the durability it offers me in my day to day work and hobbies and that the functionality and timekeeping is reliable.
When I was first approached by Ian to take a look at the Bloxworth, I made it quite clear that I was intending to wear the watch 24 hours a day, not only in my role as Surf Report Editor, but also during my “real” job as a gas engineer. Ian gave me his blessing to indeed put the watch through its paces and for me that was a relief, because I have a terrible track record with watches. I didn’t tell Ian, but in the past I have broken watches within a day of getting them, including a Fathers Day present, so I relished the opportunity to see exactly how tough the Bloxworth would be.
Right, so on with the review.
The Elliot Brown Bloxworth, arrived packaged in a very substantial padded box, elegantly decorated with the EB logo, the box is well made, heavy and will certainly protect the enclosed timepiece during transit. Inside the box along with the watch was also a small, beautifully crafted screwdriver, and this allows the owner to carry out their own adjustments to the strap. This is particularly handy, as I somehow managed to measure my wrist wrong during my original conversation with Ian and I had to carry out my own strap alterations.
This in itself is a great idea and saved an annoying trip to the local shops to track down jewellers that would adjust the bracelet. I am also pleased to report that the alterations are a piece of cake to carry out and within five minutes I had removed a link from either side of the clasp and had reassembled.
Not only do you have the option of easily removing and adding links to the bracelet, if further adjustment is needed, there is also the facility to move the strap in out of the clasp by simply depressing the pin in the spring bars that secures the strap to the clasp.
Whilst we are on the subject of the clasp, this watch has a really clever and well thought out feature and that is the ability to extend the clasp at the push of 2 buttons either side of the clasp. When the buttons are depressed the clasp slides outwards into a choice of 2 positions and the thinking behind this clever idea is that this gives you the option to wear the watch on the outside of your summer or winter wetsuit. Ingenious, and it worked perfectly over my 4mm wetsuit on the largest setting, although a couple of times I have found the clasp a little bit sticky.
To show just how strong the strap on this watch is, I have attached a video below the article of Ian Elliot hanging off a boat crane in Poole Harbour using the Bloxworth 929-003 as a carabiner to support him! I think you will agree, that shows supreme confidence in his product and shows just how strong these straps are.
The most striking thing about the Bloxworth and the first thing you notice when you start to handle it, is the solid feel and the weight of the watch. The watch is constructed from 316 marine grade stainless steel and the case is forged from a solid block of steel – this gives a real sense of quality and durability.
During the course of the few weeks I have had the watch I have worn it continually and have undertaken a huge array of activities. I have worn it during my work as a gas engineer, whilst digging out footings with a JCB for my brother, whilst painting, gardening, plumbing and concreting. Not only have I been wearing the Bloxworth at work, I have also worn it at play and have been Paddleboarding, Surfing and Bodyboarding in my spare time as well as hanging out in the local with a pint, and in every situation the watch looked great.
I have had a really positive time with the Bloxworth and it is a fantastic looking watch that is built to last and feels incredibly robust. Not only is it tough and functional it also looks great and fits in every situation. No matter if worn on a building site, in the sea or adorning your wrist on a night out, the Bloxworth is a cracking looking watch that suits every occasion.
So, after nearly a month of rigorous testing do I have anything negative to say about the Bloxworth? Well, there are a couple of things I need to mention. I have been wearing the watch 24/7 even in some situations when I would not have worn it if I was not charged with putting it through its paces. Squeezing my hand inside boiler cases, or laying concrete has lead to the the watch picking up some scratches. This is par for the course but past watches I have had would have been ruined by now, but the Bloxworth whilst in perfect working order is showing some signs of scratching on the clasp and some of the links.
The outer bezel has also collected a couple of scratches during testing and if I was to say the watch has a weak point, then this would probably be it. I am not sure what the bezel is made from, but as this is a major part of the watch that you look at every time you read the time, maybe another material like a ceramic might have been a better choice.
Other than that the watch is fantastic and if I am brutally honest I would say that if the watch wasn’t on loan and I had paid for it, I simply would not have subjected it to some of the situations I have done during testing.
So, onto the price. There are actually 8 different designs in the Bloxworth range, some with leather or canvas straps and some with the stainless straps as in the one I have featured. The range starts at £450 for the canvas ones, with the most expensive one coming in at £600. The Bloxworth 929-003 with its beautiful blue face, as featured in our review carries a price of £550. A replacement strap is available for £95.
I won’t go into details about the inner workings of the watch, I don’t have any authority on these things but all the details regarding the watch movement and further information on the watches can be found at the official Elliot Brown website. All the watches are covered by a 12 month guarantee and it is worth pointing out that Elliot Brown are also offering a custom watch building service so if you want a truly unique timepiece that you know will last for years, get in touch with the guys who will be happy to speak to you about your ideas.
So if you are looking for a watch that is both stylish and robust, that will look fantastic in everything you do and will still be going strong years from now, Elliot Brown have just the watch for you. It is with a heavy heart that I am now finishing this review, because it now means I have to return the Bloxworth and I am really going to miss it!