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Loomes brings British watchmaking to the top of the world

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November 2017


A unique watch that summited Mount Everest in May 2017 is now being auctioned to raise money for the charity Mountain Trust to help the people of Nepal.

Loomes brings British watchmaking to the top of the world

Bonhams Auctioneers are holding an online auction of a special timepiece by British watchmaker Loomes in aid of the Mountain Trust, a small British charity working to help the people of Nepal.

The brand, which is a regular at Salon QP, is one of only a few surviving British watch manufacturers, and their creation is reportedly the only all-British-made watch to have summited Everest this century. That just goes to show the dip in watch manufacturing more generally, but that’s a story for another day.

Loomes brings British watchmaking to the top of the world

For the expedition, Loomes upcycled a NOS (new old stock) 19 jewel Smiths-based manual winding movement. Designed in the 1950s, the watch ticks as a sedate rate by today’s standards, at 18,000 vibration per hour. But back in the day, the movement would have been equal or even better some of the Swiss competition.

Of course, the original movement wouldn’t have made it far up the mountain without some adjustments. For one, it was stripped down and fitted with a new mainspring. To deal with the extreme cold temperatures, it was re-lubricated to be able to stand ranges from -40 to +60 degrees centigrade.

Loomes brings British watchmaking to the top of the world

The watch is all hand built and features a unique dial made specifically for the Mountain Trust. It is fitted in a hand-polished stainless steel case and is matched with a new Loomes hand made calf leather strap which is actually made by a British haute-couture leather firm.

Nine serving soldiers, all expert climbers, and three British officers made the trip to the peak. Sgt Milan Rai, who reached the summit on the 16th May 2017 and had to deal with snow blindness and running out of water, wore the special timepiece for the journey. As an aside, it was a good thing the Royal Gurkha Regiment was around, just in case.

Loomes brings British watchmaking to the top of the world

For a chance to own this unique watch and also help a great social cause, check out the auction online at Bonhams until Nov 7th.

The proceeds will go towards helping the poor people of the mountain regions of Nepal, a country which was devastated by an earthquake in 2015 and again with catastrophic flooding this year.

The watch comes in a hand-made presentation case, and a team flag from the expedition adds to the authenticity of the effort.