Although the modern watch industry now focuses on Swiss Made, England is credited with the birth of precision mechanical watchmaking and from the 1600’s to the 1800’s, English watchmakers were considered to be the best in the world. It was in 17th century London that Ellicott’s legacy began.
Beginning in the late 17th century with John Ellicott, a true master of horology credited with the world’s first centre seconds hand, the Ellicott name quickly gained a reputation for innovation. The quality of both mechanics and aesthetics continued with Ellicott’s son, John Ellicott II who followed in his father’s footsteps to learn the craft of watchmaking. Ellicott II was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and appointed watchmaker to high ranking nobility including King George III, making his watches treasured items amongst discerning collectors.
Today historical Ellicott pocket watches are displayed at the Musée International d’Horlogerie and Patek Philippe Museums in Switzerland and the British Museum, London.
The business thrived until, after four generations, the Ellicott family ran out of heirs. The brand lay dormant until its 21st century reincarnation by current CEO Pierre-Andre Finazzi who created Ellicott SA in 2001.
Today Ellicott is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the heart of contemporary Swiss watchmaking but pays tribute to the heritage of the Ellicott name. Ellicott has always aimed to innovate and, incorporating creative flair and high-tech materials, it occupies a very special niche in the world of watches.
It is with great pleasure that we can extoll the virtues of Ellicott’s watch making for women. It was Pierre-Andre Finazzi’s wish that the brand did not make an existing model more feminine but create a unique timepiece developed only for women.
The day-to-night Lady Tuxedo Chronotimer collection features an elegantly curved diamond-adorned tonneau case and is available in rose gold, titanium, steel and DLC (diamond-like carbon). The dial is totally or partially paved with diamonds depending on the level of sparkle you desire and the watch is finished with a black onyx cabochon crown and sophisticated alligator strap. Equipped with a self-winding [glossary id=’6838′ slug=’chronograph’ /] with 1/5th second time measurement, a 30-minute counter, small seconds and a power reserve of 37 hours, the Lady Tuxedo Chronotimer has brains as well as beauty.
Lady Tuxedo Midnight is the latest incarnation in a series with only 99 of each model available. Lady Tuxedo Midnight features a self-winding [glossary id=’7581′ slug=’mechanical-movement’ /] that sounds hours and quarters on request and is available in rose or white gold and steel, fully or partially set with diamonds. With a dial that features a diamond set moon and stars, the Midnight is inspired by the modern-day Cinderella, who needs to be aware of the approaching midnight. Prices start at just over £9,000 for the steel case Chronotimer rising to £45,000 for Lady Tuxedo Midnight.
Ellicott’s most recent masterpiece in haute horology is the Royal Skeleton, a limited edition piece named for its [glossary id=’7604′ slug=’skeleton-movement’ /]which has been cutaway to expose the wheels, springs and bridges and is showcased through a transparent case. Skeleton watches are a key watchmaking trend in 2013 and this manually-wound example is housed in an 18k pink gold case.
Rewind to 2012 and the brand launched its hugely complex manual RS38 Master Complication, a tribute in memory of John Ellicott II. It features the world’s thinnest minute repeater with [glossary id=’7587′ slug=’perpetual-calendar’ /] and [glossary id=’7583′ slug=’moon-phase’ /] and packs seven complications into a slim 18k rose gold case, its intricate mechanism visible through the transparent caseback. A unique timepiece, this watch retails just under £210,000, a jaw-dropping figure.
The Majesty was created in tribute to King George III and features an in-house Calibre MG3 movement with a world-first circumferential rotor, made from 18k gold, which travels around the outside of the movement enabling the watch’s intricacies to remain un-obscured. In 2011 Majesty MG3 was presented to HM The Prince of Wales, completing an historical journey for the brand as watchmaker to kings.
In contrast the Mach One collection is modern, masculine and dedicated to aviation. If your man has ever dreamed of having a Top Gun moment then he needs one of these on his wrist to accomplish it! The Airforce and Skymaster models are made from a carbon epoxy used in aeronautical stealth technology, the dial is reminiscent of an aircraft instrument panel, and it contains power reserves of up to 50 hours.
Watch connoisseurs will be drawn to Ellicott’s Springfield collection. Designed in collaboration with horology master Christophe Claret, this concept model is another world first for Ellicott. The motion of the oscillating weights is asymmetrical, inspired by the shape of butterfly wings, and the intricacy of the tourbillon mechanism is seen through the dial. The Springfield is available in rose gold, white gold, titanium and with a jewellery options including baguette diamonds on the indices and around the bezel and crown.
The Ellicott Consumer
In an industry full of luxury brand heavy weights it is refreshing to see independent brands occupying niches in the market. Who is the Ellicott consumer? It is someone who is looking to stand out from the crowd with an unusual timepiece and someone who appreciates the finer points of watchmaking and its mechanical mastery.
For an explanation of the more complex horology terms in this article, check out our Glossary.
Ellicott timepieces are available on request via Eve’s Watch, please contact or visit www.ellicott.ch for further details.