Blackbird Watch Manual Vol.4
In the fourth volume of Blackbird Watch Manual, we dedicate our stories to the adventurers and explorers, the risk takers that give us a wider perspective on the world around us.
Starting with our cover story exploring into the haute horology side of Ralph Lauren. His fashion empire grew from his personal sense of style to become one of the most recognisable and well-respected brands in existence. He turned his attention to haute horlogerie in the late 2000’s, going against the grain of the fashion industry which had generally seen watches as add-ons rather than collectibles in their own right, and we start off with the Automotive collection, a theme that is close to Lauren's personal interests.
The motoring theme continues with a look at how two and four-wheeled transportation has enabled people to explore the world at large, with motorcycle adventurers such as Elspeth Beard, who, prior to becoming an award-winning architect, was the first British woman to complete a solo ride around the world. Before her, the intrepid participants in the 1907 Peking to Paris rally took their cars across roads and desert, pushing the limits of people and machines. What’s even more impressive is that these feats were achieved with none of the enabling technology we might take for granted today.
If that’s not challenging enough, we also have stories on the 1953 Everest expedition which turned Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay into household names and the watches that were worn during the exploration of space. Then we have Mike Horn who has made exploration into a way of life, having circled the planet numerous times in every possible direction and through each climate extreme.
Lastly, within the watchmaking industry, Ming Thein recounts the unlikely story of his brand that sees its origins not in the Swiss heartland, but in Malaysia. Switzerland has its own innovators, too, such as Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, the technician and designer who teamed up to launch Urwerk, one of the most forward-looking brands in the industry.