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Thread: CWC Mellor-72

  1. #1
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    CWC Mellor-72

    The Mellor-72 is a reissue of the first CWC, and comes on the heels of the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer, both being remakes of the same British military watch of the 1970s. CWC has made the watch continuously over the years, but the Mellor-72 takes it back to its original form, with a hand-wind movement and monobloc case.

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    Hamilton says that the original was produced for the RAF in 1973, but a researcher has suggested that all of the 1973 watches (a whopping 25,000) went to the army. In total, Hamilton is estimated to have supplied 28,000 watches to the army, 13,000 to the RAF and 500 to the navy. CWC is estimated to have supplied 25,000 to 30,000 watches, all to the army. For whatever reason, Hamilton seems to have equated ‘MoD’ with ‘RAF’, and then ‘RAF’ with ‘pilot’. It’s all a bit of a stretch... In terms of case back markings, if supplied to the army, the watch was a W10, if supplied to the RAF, it was a 6BB. The W10/6BB was the last of the mechanical era, with its successor being the quartz G10.

    CWC says that the original was a ‘humble general services watch’, which is rather more accurate, and choose to focus on Ray Mellor, the company founder. Mellor had been Hamilton’s Managing Director in the UK, and was aware that Hamilton HQ had decided that MoD contracts weren’t worth the effort. Mellor left Hamilton, founded CWC, and made a bid for the same contracts. In commissioning the W10, CWC is said to have used the same suppliers as Hamilton, so the watches were pretty much identical. Hamilton dials had a finer font, the CWCs had a white seconds hand, and those were the only differences.

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    Hamilton USA went out of business, and CWC became the main supplier to the Ministry of Defence. CWC watches weren’t sold to the general public until around 1990, when Silvermans arranged to sell them through its military surplus store in the East End of London. Silvermans purchased CWC when Ray Mellor retired, although he continued to act as a director and advisor until shortly before his death in 2019, aged 95. Mellor had also been Master of the Clockmakers Company and President of the British Horological Institute. So the Mellor-72 isn’t a response to the Hamilton reissue, it’s a tribute to Ray Mellor, released six months after his death.

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    You could choose the serial number, so I chose 125.

    The Mellor-72 is an uncompromising reissue of what was always a basic military watch. You get fixed lugs, an awkward lug width and an acrylic crystal. The Hamilton has had some cosmetic ‘dressing up’ (textured dial, fauxtina, mineral crystal) and the back-story has been given a polish. Critically, Hamilton has come up with the odd combination of a hand-wind movement and a screw-down crown. One evening, I sent an email to CWC, double-checking that the Mellor-72 didn’t also have a screw-down crown, and five minutes later they replied that it didn’t - at 9.30pm! Hamilton has also departed from the original ‘front loader’ case, with a screwed back that doesn’t look quite right.

    The originals may have been the same, but the reissues have been made for different markets and for different reasons. The Hamilton is respectful of its origins, but it’s ever so slightly hipsterish. The CWC is a timely tribute to Ray Mellor, made exactly as he made it - and as ever, CWC doesn’t have to bother with showroom appeal. There are barriers to Hamilton making an unreconstructed 1970s watch in 2020, but for CWC it’s no trouble at all. It’s what they do.

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    If you’re me, the grittily authentic CWC is the one to have - and you pay a lot less for it. And for such a basic watch it’s actually very nice, with the brushed tonneau case lifting it above the ordinary. I couldn’t tolerate the NATO (I never can) but I’m more than happy with the watch.

    * Monobloc tonneau case (access from dial side)
    * CWC pre-1982 logo
    * Sellita hand-wound SW210 movement
    * Brushed stainless steel case, 36mm x 10mm, 42mm lug to lug
    * Water-resistant 5ATM
    * Scratch-resistant Hesalite acrylic crystal
    * 18.5mm fixed lug bars
    * Broad arrow & T markings on dial as per the original
    Last edited by tribe125; Jan 31, 2020 at 01:32 AM.

  2. #2
    So as we all surmised, resistance was futile. Congratulations!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    So as we all surmised, resistance was futile.

    I find thatís pretty much in the nature of resistance.

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  5. #4
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    On a side note, visiting the CWC website, I discovered that Silvermans has recently moved, albeit by no more than 60 yards. Itís a shame, because for those who visited the old emporium, it undoubtedly contributed to the character of Silvermans and CWC.

    This was their premises in Harford Street, with a handy pub next door -

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    It was great, rummaging around in there. There was military stuff of all descriptions, ancient and modern, some of it completely baffling. The watches were almost incidental, displayed under a glass-topped counter. A unique watch shopping experience.

    I assumed that the building was a nineteenth century warehouse, but Iíve recently learnt that it was a tram depot. I doubted this at first, because the archways arenít tall enough for trams - but then it dawned on me that the trams came in at the back... Now that I know the history, I can see that it looks like other London Transport buildings of the era.

    Harford Street was once dominated by the Stepney Gas Works, and in recent years the site has been redeveloped for flats. Itís not hard to imagine a funky restaurant going in on the ground floor of the old Silvermans building, with smart apartments above. And that would be symptomatic of how the East End has changed, and continues to change.

    For those who donít know London and Britain, the old East End was a poor, working-class district close to the docks. In the popular imagination, it was also associated with crime. Jack the Ripperís last victim, an Irish prostitute, lodged in a house near the Stepney Gas Works, so pretty close to the tram depot/Silvermans. In the 1960s, the notorious Kray gang murdered a rival in the Blind Beggar pub just down the road. There were established immigrant communities, and one of those, in all likelihood, once included the Silvermans. Itís a good thing, going from crime and urban decay to yuppie bistros and apartments, but something is lost as well.

    So Silvermans has gone modern, and this is now the home of CWC -

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    Itís not quite the same, is it?

  6. #5
    Well, on this side of the pond, the good news is that few things are old enough to be nostalgic about...

  7. #6
    Moderator gnuyork's Avatar
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    Oh Man, I like that better than the Hamilton... and the broad arrow too! (which I think is what Hamilton should have done).

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  9. #7
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnuyork View Post
    Oh Man, I like that better than the Hamilton... and the broad arrow too! (which I think is what Hamilton should have done).

    For your convenience:

  10. #8
    Congratulations, Alan.

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  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by gnuyork View Post
    Oh Man, I like that better than the Hamilton... and the broad arrow too! (which I think is what Hamilton should have done).

  13. #10
    Another Member crownpuller's Avatar
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    I'm sorely tempted, but think I'm going to hold out for the materialisation of Eddie's Smiths 'MK11'. ....

    ... Though, that thinking is subject to change at any given moment should sufficient funds become available.
    Some people have opinions - The rest of us have taste.

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