When Brit Jim Marshall created his first amplifier in 1962, he had no idea that his name would go on to become synonymous with rock music, thanks in no small part, to the brand’s distinctive snarling distortion and sheer capacity for volume. Before Marshall, most amps came out of the US, with Fender being the big dog. But Marshall, a gifted singer, drummer and self-taught engineer, thought he could do better and, by the end of the 1960s, “the Marshall sound” had gone global.
Adopted by musicians from Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck to Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Slash, Kurt Cobain and Paul Weller, the Marshall amp became ubiquitous on the rock stage, with perhaps the brand’s most legendary “ambassador” being Jimi Hendrix. And when Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel needed an amp that went up to 11 so that it was “one louder” than the usual amplifiers, there was only one company that he trusted to deliver. The mega-watt amplifiers turned the wall of amps or “the Marshall stack” into a stage backdrop that signalled loud. Battles for the highest decibels ensued, with a member of Kiss once declaring: “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.”
On news of Marshall’s death in 2012 at the age of 88, the music world immediately went into mourning, with Slash tweeting: “R&R will never be the same w/out him. But, his amps will live on FOREVER!” Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx thanked him for being “responsible for some of the greatest audio moments in music’s history – and 50% of all our hearing loss.”
In Time With The Music
Despite the company’s overwhelming success, Marshall took pride in craftsmanship and insisted on keeping the business UK-based, so today The Marshall Amps company is still run from its headquarters in Bletchley, Milton Keynes. Constantly innovating and expanding, the Marshall empire now encompasses headphones, music speakers, Natal drums, bass company Eden and the Marshall Records label. A proud history and a positive future combined with the highest quality are what define Marshall and now these qualities have been celebrated in a unique watch partnership with Raymond Weil.
Already known for its Music Icons Series, which has seen timepieces inspired by, among others, David Bowie, AC/DC and The Beatles, as well as Gibson Guitars, Raymond Weil has chosen to celebrate the favourite amplifier of the rock generation with the Marshall Amplification Limited Edition chronograph timepiece. The 43mm case is coated with black PVD, while the dial has the texture of an amplifier’s external grille. The white chapter ring mimics the appearance of the Marshall logo against the black amp body and the gold-coloured sub-dials at 6 and 9 o’clock are reminiscent of the volume controls. The hands and indexes are generously coated with Super-LumiNova for ultimate readability at the slightest glance, while there is a date aperture situated at 4:30. Completing the stealthy look, the watch comes on a black leather strap with a black PVD folding clasp.
Speaking of the collaboration, Elie Bernheim, CEO of Raymond Weil, told Revolution: “Marshall catered to a generation of trailblazing musicians who wanted more than mere amplifiers; they sought a new sound and looked to Jim Marshall, who was innovative and doing things differently. My grandfather, Raymond Weil, too, had the same trailblazing mentality over 40 years ago – to create elegant and refined Swiss-made watches for women and men at great prices. Music and art stimulate our creativity and lie at the heart of all our international partnerships, which is why we chose to collaborate with the legendary Marshall Amplification brand and we could not be happier with the limited-edition Marshall Amplification timepiece.”
On working with Raymond Weil, Jon Ellery, Managing Director of Marshall Amplification plc says: “Marshall has always been a pioneering business, forged from the entrepreneurial foresight and acumen of our founder, Jim Marshall. We were excited to partner with Raymond Weil as they, too, are an independent family business, and also forged with an entrepreneurial spirit. We love how music and art is at the heart of Raymond Weil’s inspiration and they use this to celebrate icons in the music industry by creating innovative limited-edition timepieces. We utilised a lot of key elements that best represent Marshall and worked closely with the Raymond Weil design team to create what we feel is a Marshall masterpiece – a watch that Jim would really be proud of.”
Limited to 1,000 pieces, the caseback is numbered and engraved with the Marshall logo and the watch is presented in a custom box inspired by the signature Marshall amplifier. Currently on pre-order, the watch will be available at raymond-weil.com from September 2018.
Quartz chronograph; central hours and minutes; small seconds at 3 o’clock; 30-minutes counter at 9 o’clock; 12-hours counter at 6 o’clock; date window between 4 and 5 o’clock
43mm black PVD-coated stainless steel; screw-down caseback with Marshall logo; water-resistant to 30ATM
Black calf leather with white stitching and stainless-steel RW folding clasp with black PVD coating and double push-security system