M-130 : Across the Pacific

Ex RAF Officer Keith Campbell may be one of the first European partners this historic American watch company has collaborated with, but the origins of our newfound relationship seem to have rooted long ago.

When Keith Campbell http://instagram.com/captureasecond/ reached out to us after many months of mutual engagement on social media, we new right away which TWC piece this legend should be wearing in the sky with him.

TWC is not new to working with Aviators, as our Martin M-130 Limited Edition is one of our signature Pilot chronographs commemorating the infamous “China Clipper” aircraft. This flying boat, built in Maryland, was the first plane to fly across the Pacific. 

The Martin-M-130 pilot chronograph is named after the famous flying boat Martin M-130, also called the China Clipper, built at the Glenn L. Martin Corporation in Maryland. It was a plane that shrunk the world, skipping across the Pacific like a rock across a pond in an astonishingly fast sixty hours. The timepiece’s boldly colored dial was designed to replicate cockpit instruments of the 1930’s. A plush engraving of the famous China Clipper adorns the case back. This timepiece is powered by a high-grade ETA/Valjoux Cal.7750 movement that has been decorated and adjusted by TWC watchmakers. Production is limited to 100 pieces.

The development of the Martin M-130 limited edition was born on the wings of a grand dame aircraft. Named after the original Martin M-130 aircraft that opened the skies above the Pacific to commercial flights, the M-130 aircraft, and now Towson’s pilot watch that honors it can both be called by their nickname “China Clipper.” Like the Pride II, Towson’s China Clipper features an engraving of the original aircraft on the back. And unlike the tendencies of several modern brands there are no bits or bobs of metal or fabric from the seat of the original aircraft hidden away on this watch. And there’s no DNA from the first test-pilot to get off the water with the M-130. What you have is an authentic and inspired expression of a pilot’s watch that adds a dash of color to an all too often monochromatic type. Although Towson’s honorarium M-130 watch represents a return to round, the interplay of colors on the dial are the real attraction here. 

In his part-retirement, after 16 years circumnavigating the globe, Keith Campbell has translated his experience in aviation to timepieces and horological photography. The prominence of his @captureasecond account results from this creative approach to a clash of two worlds.

Like @captureasecond , the foundation of TWC is built on a collaboration of two niches and talents. For us, we bring together the accuracy of European technology in timekeeping with American design and craftsmanship in horology. 

“We make our own prototype here and we have our proprietary casemaker. We ask if they can make the case we want, because they make the best case in the world. There is no other option for us. We design and prototype everything prior to ordering stock components from our proprietary component makers so that everything comes together. We experiment with different types of hands so that the whole watch appeals to the TWC standard. We go the dial-maker and say, “We want a dial like this.” We go to the case maker and say “we want a case like this.” We look to the quality of everything. That requires collaboration with the best of the best.” - George Thomas (Co-Founder, TWC)

A clash of worlds is a foundation for TWC because it entails a stronger product. There is a reason for why the great strategy of “specialization” has dominated modern economics. Those with the aim of producing the best result must bring together the best of the best. This clash of two worlds not only applies to TWC’s longstanding relationships with Swiss movement makers and German case makers, but also within the foundings of the brand.

“I started life as a watchmaker in 1948, 58 years ago. Hartwig started out as an engineer. We work together well because he essentially does the design and engineering work that I can’t do. But I’ve had a lot of experience doing restoration of antique watches for museums. These are 200 to 300 year-old timepieces. We have both ends of the technical spectrum covered, from current engineering to an understanding of watchmaking 500 years ago.” - George Thomas

Art is a sphere in which imagination and creative skill is used to make things of aesthetic significance. A horological work of art is a sphere of imagination and creative skill used to produce the aesthetic significance of engineering and the science of time. Towson Watch Company has a purist vision for their watches, a concept of style that is above all, elegant and simple. It pushes the envelope in its American vision for design while sticking to the all-too-faithful bounds of Swiss accuracy. A horological work of art uses the best of each craft to produce a final result.

Innovation is built on collaboration, between people, ideas, and materials. To create the best, one must use the best, without cutting a single corner. 

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