fter working in the engineering technology industry for 15 years, James Lamb opened his watchmaking studio in 2020, with a focus on taking his passion for traditional metalwork and applying it to the development of one-of-a-kind watches. Each timepiece created is individually made for its owner and combines multiple elements of traditional watchmaking, including enamel work and hand-made cases.
“As far back as I remember I have been fascinated by watches in one way or another. Growing up in the 80’s I was only really aware of quartz digital watches as the vast majority of the mechanical watch world was suffering terribly from the so called ‘quartz crisis’,” says Lamb. “Later as I became older, I wanted to buy a ‘real’ watch. From that moment I was hooked, learning about those giants of horology whose genius and determination produced such wonders equalling and surpassing the finest work today. I decided I had to be part of this world so I enrolled with the British Horological Institute and after winning a couple of student prizes became accredited a few short years later.”
In 2021, Lamb introduced his first series of watches: The Origin Series – a limited edition of 50 handmade watches. The first theme for this series is inspired by the classical elements of nature; Fire, Water, Air and Earth.
A culmination of James Lamb’s 20 years of experience in the watchmaking, silversmith and precision engineering industries, The Origin Series is his first release, showcasing traditional horological craft with entirely hand made .935 Argentium silver cases and champlevé vitreous enamel dials hand-crafted in Britain.
The Origin Series Argentium silver case is created entirely by James Lamb from flat stock bullion and shaped to final form using only simple hand tools, the lathe and fire. Not content with just making the case, other components James produces in his workshop are the sterling silver dial blanks, winding crown, pendant tube, sterling silver dial feet, ceramic subdial and decorated movement holder of the Origin Series.
The case design has presence but is comfortable for all wrist sizes. The finely profiled bezel and sapphire crystal maximises the aesthetic impact of the dial, yet allows the case to maintain moderate proportions. Each case is hallmarked at the London Assay Office. The solid silver laser engraved case back is finished with a design that echoes the theme of the dial.
“From the moment I saw James’ design for the Origin Series, I knew we had to work together.” says Asher Rapkin, co-founder of Collective Horology. “Lamb is one of the very few modern watchmakers that eschews CNC machines, making every case painstakingly by hand. The final result is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also a connection to a bygone era where watches were truly crafted by the hands of the maker.”
Pietro Tomajer, founder of The Limited Edition (TLE), and Asher Rapkin, co-founder of Collective Horology met virtually during the pandemic and became friends through their shared love of independent watchmaking. It’s no surprise that Tomajer and Rapkin both came across James Lamb’s work at the same time. Together, they approached Lamb to create a unique edition of the Origin Series that would be made available exclusively to clients of TLE in the UK and Europe and Collective in the United States.
The product of this partnership is the Original Series ‘Azur’, a unique capsule of twelve watches - six to be delivered by TLE and six delivered by Collective - that showcases Lamb’s unique watchmaking sensibility. It took well over a year from the first conversation to the delivery of the watches, with multiple prototypes and new approaches developed by Lamb in order to create the final product.
Unique to the ‘Azur’, the dial features a laser engraved geometric pattern which is then finished in a rich, blue enamel which surrounds the eccentric dial, made of ceramic by Lamb and pad printed. As with all Origin Series watches, the 39mm watch cases are made by hand from .935 Argentium Silver, which unlike Sterling Silver, is far less likely to tarnish. The cases feature fine finishing - evolved from that of the original Origin Series - as well as laser engraved case backs that mimic the geometric patterns on the dial and are hallmarked by the London Assay Office to reflect both the materials used and the maker’s mark. The watch is powered by the robust and reliable premium grade Sellita SW-210 movement, which is held in the case with a custom fabricated silver spacer.
“James Lamb’s work epitomizes the true meaning of artisanal work,” says Pietro Tomajer, “pushing his craft to the making of the cases, a very rare feature even in independent artisanal watchmaking, James is showing the full extent and the depth of his approach to watchmaking. Being part of the creative process for over a year with James Lamb and our friends at Collective Horology was a real treat, as it allowed us to be part of the creation of a gem that will be certainly treasured by some of the most astute watch collectors. The Origin Azur creates a wonderful balance between the ancestral craft of bespoke, hand-crafted watchmaking and a contemporary touch ensured by a one-of-a-kind tridimensional, architectural almost, hand-made dial.”
Priced at £7,300 excluding VAT and $8,900 excluding taxes, the James Lamb Origin Series offers collectors an incredible opportunity to own a truly handmade, one-of-a-kind watch at a highly compelling price point.
- Watch size: 39mm diameter
- Height: 9.75 mm high
- Lug to lug: 48mm
- Strap size: 18mm strap width (curved or straight)
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal
- Case: Handmade .935 ArgentiumTM silver case and crown with solid silver hallmarked caseback
- Dial: Enamelled, laser engraved silver dial with blue enamel; ceramic pad-printed subdial
- Hands: Heat blued steel hands
- Movement: Swiss made, premium grade Sellita SW-210 hand wound movement
- Limitation: 12 pieces, 6 available via The Limited Edition (UK/Europe) and 6 available via Collective Shop / Collective Horology (USA)
- Pricing: £7,300 excluding VAT, $8,900 excluding taxes