Watch enthusiast James Kirkland catches up with Kindler & Thorpe’s Paul Thorpe to ask about their exciting new arrival and soon to be released “Trafalgar Panerai”.
Paul, can tell us something about your latest creation, the “Trafalgar Panerai”
“This is a watch that has been in the planning process for a very long time. In fact, it will be the result of an idea that first came to me toward the end of 2010.
“It spent weeks on the drawing board, being designed and then re-designed.
“Without a doubt, this watch has spent more time on the drawing board than anything else that we have produced to date and I think we discarded more than a dozen pencilled proposals before settling on the final design.
Why did this particular design take so long?
“We wanted to create something very historical but at the same time, something that was very modern. A careful blend of two periods coming together.
“ I think we have a watch that will appeal to the modern wearer and to someone who appreciates their history and beautiful workmanship”.
Can you tell us more about the actual subjects featured on this watch? The title “Trafalgar” gives it away but what else can you reveal?
“Although we like the final design to be a bit of a surprise, we are now so close to completing this piece that I’m more than happy to give you an indication of what people can expect from the 58th watch to come out of our stable.
“Firstly the model that we chose is the Panerai PAM 000297 GMT in stainless steel with a stainless steel bracelet (although it can be fitted with either a rubber or leather strap) complimented with a Black dial.
“We are very excited about this particular piece. Personally it’s probably my favourite to date and a watch that I’m going to find very hard to say goodbye to.
“As you know, each watch is totally unique and its subject will never be repeated. So once it has gone, sadly, we shall probably never see it again!
“Marcus and I (Marcus Hunt is Kindler & Thorpe’s chief engraver) sat down and discussed each part of the watch very carefully.
“We decided that we wanted to replicate part of “Victory” herself and we eventually chose the “Stand of Arms” – that’s the area where the Prince of Wales feathers are seen across the stern of the ship.
“We sent the final design to Herman (Kindler) in Munich and he was absolutely estatic with it.
“It was quite a challenge for Marcus because the work involved is so very delicate and is very time consuming, but as always, he’s done a World class job. He is such an amazing artist and engraver and we count ourselves very lucky to have him as a part of our team.
“We have also included a bust of Nelson and his French counterpart Villeneuve. Again, both were difficult to achieve but look amazing. The rest I’m afraid, you will just have to wait and see!
You must get a great deal of pleasure out of producing these watches?
“Absolutely. To be perfectly frank the financial side of the business is almost secondary. I once said that we are just “feeding our own souls” when we produce a watch. And that’s really the way it is for both Herman (Kindler) and myself.
“From a personal prospective when I’m dead and gone I want people to remember me as a “horological artist”. If you can succeed at being remembered then it gives you a kind of immortality.
Something that has honestly struck me is how reasonably priced your watches seem to be, for what they are. How do you set your prices for each individual watch?
“Well that’s quite easy to answer. As I’ve mentioned more than once before, our promise to our customers is that their investment will always be safe in a Kindler & Thorpe timepiece.
“In fact, just recently a watch that we sold for just over £6k sold for nearly £9k at auction. The customer must have been delighted and we are really pleased for him.
“Of course we make money and I make no bones about that. But we like to leave plenty of room for growth in everything that we do.
“We recently sold the “Neptune Panerai” to a collector in London and I think he’s sitting on a little goldmine there.
“We had a great deal of interest in that particular piece and it was specifically chosen by World famous photographer Hugrun Ragnarsson to use on one of her shoots. I think the value of that particular watch will easily double within two years.
So do you think that same thing will happen with the Trafalgar Panerai?
“Without question it will be one of the most highly prized watches that we’ve produced to date. Wait to see for yourself, but I’m very confident about its current and more importantly, its future value. Its beauty will talk for itself…”
Kindler & Thorpe’s completed “Trafalgar Panerai” is due early June 2011