If any watch brand marches to the sound of its own drum, it has to be the English house, Schofield. I don’t mean in a technical sense, because their watches are mechanically conventional. In fact, the new Telemark happens to use one of the most popular, near-ubiquitous movements in history: the ETA 2824-2. That, I hasten to add, is a good thing, because this reliable workhorse means ease-of-servicing decades hence, as well as day-to-day dependability.
Instead, Schofield – more than any watch producer I can think of – is about attitude. Here is a company that’s offered torches, cigar tubes, pocket knives and ground coffee alongside its watches. Its marketing eschews any techniques associated with horological hard-sell: they could be flogging artisanal rye loaves and it’d seem right.
If this reeks of “hipster”, so be it: every male I’ve met connected with the firm, founder Giles Ellis being its poster child, is bearded, while the vibe is all about authenticity and style is important. Relevant to the new Telemark is how this company has revived the Italian strap culture of the 1990s with a vengeance, by hiring our good friend Simon Cudd to oversee a selection of straps so individualistic that you’re unlikely to bump into someone wearing, say, the same pink suede or blue tweed item on his or her wrist.
Whatever strap you choose for your Telemark, the 44mm stainless-steel, one-piece head to which it will attach is beautifully made, its back engraved with Jomfruland lighthouse. (The company is obsessed with lighthouses; one day I’ll tell them how I grew up a few miles from Maine’s Two Lights.) The case colour is silver, the crown machine-finished stainless steel and the strap bars vapour-blasted. Every engraving has a meaning. This lot are obsessed with such details.
Telemark’s main feature, however, is the fabulous dial. Unlike its siblings, this stark white affair sports a full set of blocky black numerals recalling AEG industrial clocks, each number accompanied by a dot of vivid Super-LumiNova C5. The hands are skeletal and filled with Super-LumiNova C3, the seconds hand tipped in red, the date window at 4 o’clock round and clear. This watch champions legibility and clarity. The company points out that the style is known as a “submarine dial” and is designed for low light readability.
Named partly to honour the classic 1965 war film, The Heroes of Telemark, which starred Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, the Telemark is a device that inspires confidence, in the manner of a Second World War Jeep sans frills. The link to the film is more than merely the name. Schofield likes the notion that the movie “is often cited as one of the best-dressed men’s films of all time”. With this watch, there’s no getting away from the thought that, beyond its utter functionality, it looks terrific.
Self-winding ETA 2824-2; hours, minutes, seconds; date
44mm vapour-blasted stainless steel
Customer’s choice from a vast selection