Luxury watch brand Christopher Ward presents the C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition in association with TMB Art Metal. The 90-piece collection offers a unique story behind it; intertwining legends from both the world of watches and the world of motorcars, in a quintessentially English fashion.
The C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition focuses on the record-breaking exploits of the Bentley Blower No.1, as well as the legend of the man who drove it. Developed by Birkin with the intention to win Le Mans, the Blower was unveiled at the British International Motor Show in 1929. It was the road version, the No.1, which was created for track purposes and which Birkin subsequently set a then-world record speed of 137.96mph at Brooklands in 1932.
Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin was a character who epitomised the bravado and courage of the early racing era. Following his death, Birkin’s family sold his assets in the 1970s and Blower No.1 was purchased by George Daniels, one of the most important British watchmakers of all time. Daniels’ achievements included the creation of the co-axial escapement, an IP later purchased by Omega, and his hand-made watches would take more than 2,500 hours to complete. Blower No.1 would remain in his collection until his passing in 2011, after which it was sold for its record-breaking seven figure sum of £5,042,000 at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Such prestige and history drew the attention of Christopher Bennett at TMB Art Metal, a company dedicated to sourcing materials of historical provenance, and this led them to acquire a piece of piston metal from the No.1 (removed from the car many years before during an engine rebuild). The ongoing relationship between TMB Art Metal and Christopher Ward has led to the creation of the C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition. Through an exhibition caseback on the C8’s reverse, a disc of piston metal has been engraved with an image of Birkin commandeering No.1 around Brookland’s iconic banked track – the location where the Blower set its 137.96mph land speed world record, an astonishing feat for 1932.
The C8 Birkin’s Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition dial has also been designed to replicate the Blower’s dashboard dial; a minute track runs around the outside, while its interior set of numbers reflects the engine’s number of revolutions per minute. Two screws applied to the dial supply a historical feel, while the white Super-LumiNova® applied to the C8’s minute numerals and hands ensure excellent legibility in all lighting conditions.
A 44mm diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated case means the C8 Birkin’s Blower will always maintain an impressive presence, while a Blower-referencing ‘No.1’ has been stamped onto its well-sized crown. Appropriate for a watch that tells the story of an industry-pioneering car, the C8 is powered by a hand-wound version of Calibre SH21, Christopher Ward’s in-house movement. The first commercially viable movement by a British watch brand in 50 years, and capable of providing 120 hours of chronometer-certified timekeeping when fully wound – the equivalent of lasting five full races at Le Mans – SH21 provides the perfect engine to keep the C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition in front of the competition.
The C8 Birkin Blower is priced at £2,495 / $2,850 and is available with a camel vintage oak leather strap or premium quality canvas webbing strap.
Model: C8 Birkin’s Blower TMB Limited Edition
Special limited edition of 90 pieces
Disc of Bentley Blower No.1 precious metal with ‘Brooklands Battles’ engraving embedded into exhibition backplate
In-house Calibre SH21 hand-wound chronometer (27 jewels)
120-hour power reserve
Vibrations: 28,800 per hour
Timing tolerance: -4/+6 seconds per day
Marine-grade sandblasted black DLC steel case
Museum grade anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Crown stamped with Blower ‘No.1’ graphic
Unique engraved individual serial number
Water resistance: 5 ATM (50 metres)
Original Blower No.1 instrument panel inspired dial with applied screw detailing
Blower No.1 speedometer-influenced hands and marking coated with SLN TC-1 Super-LumiNova®
Camel vintage oak leather strap with black DLC sandblasted clasp
Additional premium quality canvas webbing strap with black DLC sandblasted clasp included
Deluxe presentation case and owner’s handbook with signed Certificate of Provenance