Today we are gonna take a look at a watch from a company called Smart Turnout. The company was founded by Philip Turner in 1999 and started with jumpers, ties and socks, and over the years they also started to make cufflinks and finally, watches and watch straps. The company is based in Britain. The logo of the Smart Turnout company is a family crest – a Lion Passant. But before we take a look at the watch, let’s do an interview with the founder of the company Philip:
- Introduce yourself
My name is Philip Turner, the founder of Smart Turnout a Men’s Watches and Accessories company with roots in the military and a quintessentially British take on the watch industry. In 1988 I joined the Scots Guards after following in the family tradition, fascinated by the bold and striking colours I saw in the military. I began to come up with my own unique colourways. After a decade in the Scots Guards, I was invited to take part in a military horserace called the Grand Military, at Sandown racecourse. It was the perfect opportunity to show off the racing colours I had designed, so I had them knitted into a jumper for the event as well as producing a jumper in the colours of the Scots Guards. My friends, colleagues and family were so impressed by my choices that I found myself creating regimental accessories for them as well. In 1999, Smart Turnout was born. I combined my eye for design (which had transpired in my school years) with my love for watches and thus came our NATO straps and watch collection. I learnt that with a dash of colour and some inspiration a watch could be transformed into a piece of art that really told a story, whilst being fun and fashionable at the same time.
- What started your watch passion?
I was gifted my first watch by my parents on my seventh birthday. At such a young age, I was fascinated by the timepiece and became fond of its simple beauty. I also admired the watch that my Mother gave to my Father soon after they married; it was beautifully made and stood the test of time, which probably inspired my goal to create watches that are truly timeless. My father’s military watch was fastened with a NATO strap, adorned by his regimental colours, I always found it rather quirky and fun, and so when I joined the army and received my own military timepiece I was delighted to have my own regimental colours on mine.
- What makes a good wristwatch to you?
For me, a truly good wrist watch is one that can see you through life, one that is fit for every occasion which is why I am so drawn to watches that allow for interchangeable straps. Being able to add a leather strap for a day doing business and a colourful grosgrain strap for a day of exploring is convenient and fashion forward. In terms of craftsmanship, any good wrist watch must be robust and well made, there are a lot of things life throws at us, and a good watch should be as resilient as the man wearing it.
- How much watches do you have in your personal collection?
I’ve never been one to make obvious watch choices. Instead, I keep my collection small and am usually taken by vintage timepieces that I find on my travels. If a watch can tell a story, that is what I like. A battered strap and a few scratches won’t put me off, it is all about the character and heritage for me. My favourite watch in our collection has to be the Officer watch, based on one of the army’s standard timepieces given to soldiers in the First World War.
- Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is one who appreciates British authenticity, we try not to follow trends, rather create pieces that people instantly recognise as good true British design. My ideal customer also has a sense of difference about them, one who is not afraid to wear what they want to wear and experiment with colours whilst appreciating the history behind them.
- Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
One of my biggest passions is walking; I was brought up in the countryside and often visit my parents who still live in Lincolnshire. I enjoy walking the dogs and exploring the outside, it is crazy how many things can inspire you whilst on a walk or hike, sometimes it’s the nature and sometimes it’s just having that time to clear your head and have some real thinking time.
- How do you see Smart Turnout watch brand in future?
I hope that Smart Turnout will continue to expand both our watches and accessories collection, with an aim to be recognised as an iconic British brand. We continue to see more and more customers coming to us through word of mouth which is fantastic. I hope that through the quality of our pieces and staying true to our roots we will continue to grow organically.
- Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?
Yes, we are currently working on a new watch to be made in England, we are aiming to begin making more watches here on our home turf and to constantly increase our quality and design in a strive for absolute perfection.
So today we are taking a look at Smart Turnout Officers watch. It has styling cues from the old WW1 watches that were given to the army officers. Also has some pocket watch styling too. Thee watch came in this small cardboard box with a clear top to see the watch. I think this packaging isn’t the best as the watch costs around 305 euros and for that price I want to see at least a basic clamshell box. Inside the box, we have the watch itself, manual and guarantee card. First impressions were good. I was stunned by how thin it was actually and how small. When I chose the watch to review I didn’t look into specifications of this watch. I thought it would be this chunky piece of metal 42mm and up and very thick. But it is rather small for the looks and very thin, not that it is a bad thing, to me that is a big plus!
The case is made of 316 stainless steel. The case has bead blasted finish on the case. The diameter is 40mm. Which is a very good size for every day use and it fits small hands just as big hands good. The thickness is only 10mm, but that is due to the domed crystal if the crystal was flat it would be 7,5mm thick. And that is amazing to see. I really was thinking that this will be at least 13mm thick. This way it wears very well and fits under the cuff nicely. The lugs on the watch are actually wire ones and they are fixed. So that means you will only have to go with nato or zulu straps. But due to the thinness of the watch and how the lugs are going down, the watch wears not so high in the wrist than other watches on nato straps. Usually, I complain about nato straps making the watch sit very high from the wrist, but this one sits a lot closer to the wrist. The lug tip to lug tip is 48mm and the lug width is 20 mm, but 18mm strap would also work without problems. The watch has what is called a coin edge on the bezel. The crown is at 3 o’clock and has this classic onion look. The crown is a push/pull and is easy to operate. The case back is snap on. Case back has polished finishing with some specifications and Smart Turnout logo etched in it. On top of the watch sits a domed mineral crystal. It is a shame they didn’t put a sapphire on there, as at this price point most of the watches already have sapphire. The water resistance is 5ATM (50m) which is plenty enough. But no swimming with this one, only light splashes or rain.
The dial is really great looking. The dial itself is in black. Around the dial, there is minute track going around it in white colour. The numerals are in this art deco style and also in white. I really like that they are big and easy to see. We also have small seconds dial at 6 o’clock and under it, we have “Swiss Made”. That was another surprising thing to discover that it is fully made in Switzerland. Usually, these kind brands make their watches in China as it is much cheaper. At 3 o’clock we have a date window. The hands are in a spade shape and are in white. There is no lume on the dial or the hands.
The movement inside the watch is Swiss made Ronda 6004D quartz movement. A great quartz workhorse. Ronda is one of the lead quartz movement makers in the world. The battery life on this one is from 2-3 years. The strap is a black genuine leather nato strap. The strap has a good quality and another surprise was that it was made in England. The stitching is good too. Hardware is the most basic one but works well.
Overall I like the watch. I’m a big fan of the WW1 and WW2 era pilots and officer watches. The case is cool, I like the size and how thin it is. The dial styling and the numerals are really beautiful and eye-catching. Also that it is Swiss Made is a really good thing. The only downside is that mineral crystal. If sapphire was there, this would be a perfect watch, but as you know, there is no such thing as a perfect watch. Would I suggest buying this? Well, yes. But look out for discounts!