Schofield Watch Company, founded by British watch designer Giles Ellis, unveiled their debut models – The Signalman GMT PR and the Signalman DLC GMT PR – in 2011 at Salon QP exhibition in London. Inspired by the lighthouses of 18th and 19th century England, these new models were widely welcomed by the connoisseurs of fine watch making. With their aesthetic and high precision models, this independent watch company contributes a share of expertise to the centuries old British traditional watch-making.
The case body used on the Signalman model is a patented four part outer assembly consisting of the visible stainless steel components and featuring a two part anti-magnetic movement holder. The case is extremely complex and expensive to manufacture, machined to tolerances not exceeding 0.01mm.
Case dimensions are 15.01mm from the case back to the crystal; 44mm outer case diameter, excluding the crown and 47mm wide including the crown. 51mm from lug tip to lug tip. Strap width at the lug ends is 24mm. The lugs wrap around the wrist, dropping below the case by 4mm making the watch very comfortable on both large and small wrists. The screw in, double gasket crown is 9mm in diameter, giving great leverage, making it very easy to use. The pusher for setting the GMT sub-dial is unusually built into and through the lug assembly. The strap fitting bars are a two piece screw together assembly with large 3.5mm screw heads and 2mm bars. This gives superior support and strength while reducing wear to the straps.The Sapphire Crystal is 2.20 mm thick with an anti-reflective coating on the inside where it won’t get rubbed off. The crystal is set just below the lip of the bezel. The Schofield Signalman is a robust and elegant watch with a water resistance of 500 metres.
The anti-magnetic movement assembly consists of the dial and a special one piece movement older. This group of components helps keep magnetic flux away from the movement by providing a preferred path for the magnetic field to pass through. The Signalman DLC has the stainless steel parts of the case coated with black Diamond Like Carbon. This is the hardest anslickest of coatings available.
The case parts that are DLC coated are first microbille finished which gives a matt look. The crown and case back are left polished and uncoated.The case back is a screw down type, featuring an etching of Smeaton’s lighthouse and a stylised graphic of a Fresnel lens. The engraved lettering tells of some of the model’s details.The Signalman case design is representative of the early Aldis lamps used by the Royal Navy, and the casements of some Fresnel lenses.
The Signalman GMT PR model wrist watches uses the very high end mechanical, automatic, Swiss made Soprod 9335/A10 movement. This is the base Soprod Alternance 10 Calibre (A10) movement with the 9335 module placed on top to handle the Power Reserve and the GMT complications. Movements are regulated in 4 positions insuring an average deviation of +/- 4 seconds a day. Watches are therefore 99.98% accurate. These Soprod movements are beautifully finished and decorated using traditional Swiss methods such as Côtes de Genève, Perlage, blued screws and Rhodium plating.
The dial is a 2 part brass construction, rivetted together and coated in copper oxide matt black paint. The inner dial is further engraved for the GMT index. The GMT and minute indices marry up erfectly, the GMT 12 o’clock noon aligning with the 6 o’clock on the main index.
The applied, diamond polished hour markers are fixed to the dial using tiny pins. The non-numerical hour markers are hollowed and filled with SuperLuminova C1, the whitest and brightest lume. Designed with minimalist symmetry, there is no printing on the dial that is unnecessary. The slashed O at the 12 o’clock position is congruent with the 24 hour GMT display and military time. The slashed O is also used for clarity as it cannot be confused with any other symbol.
The power reserve indicator is designed to resemble a lighthouse beam of light; this general shape is echoed throughout the watch, i.e. the hands and hour markers. The beam of light has now been adopted formally as the Schofield logo. The minute and hour hands are diamond polished and again filled with SuperLuminova C1. The second hand has been designed with a large black central cap that hides the canon pinion and is an unusual feature in wrist watches. The counterpoise of the second hand is of the same dimensions as the counterpoise of the GMT hand but is instead solid.The date window is deliberately small and inconspicuous so as not to clutter the dial.
All Schofield straps are manufactured using top quality materials from around the world. The strap insert is custom made for Schofield and is fabricated in the classic half Remborde method. All straps are lined with fine green calf skin and feature a patented red ‘keep close’ ribbon that prevents the floating keeper loop from moving up the strap. Some straps are water resistant to 100 metres, for example, the sharkskin, horse leather and India-rubber. The buckle is the only component of the Signalman GMT PR that has not been designed by Schofield as it fitted the bill perfectly. All buckles have been engraved with the name of the company and are made with polished 316L Stainless Steel. Changing the straps is achieved by using 2 x 2.5mm screwdrivers.
The Signalman Box is manufactured and finished by hand by skilled craftsmen in the North of England. They are made with solid Cherry and based on turn of the century marine chronometer boxes. The scaling and dimensions of the box are based on the mathematics of the ‘Golden Ratio’. Each box features custom made brass work and is badged with the serial number of the corresponding watch. The Signalman DLC comes in exactly the same box as the Signalman but has been finished in a black laquer.Inside the box is a CNC milled foam insert, the brass GMT Setting Pusher and chamois leather.
The Signalman DLC is the same as the polished version in every way apart from the near black case. It is limited to just 100 pieces.