Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Page & Cooper story
In 1969, the staid and often stuffy world of Savile Row was grasped firmly by its public school lapels and flung into a new era of working class heroes donning bespoke suits and shirts. It was nothing short of outrageous, and the revolution was courtesy of Nutters, the tailoring business established by Edward Sexton and Tommy Nutter. Darlings of the media world, the business was backed by Cilla Black and worn by luminaries such as Sir Roy Strong, Elton John and Mick Jagger. Traditional Savile Row tailoring skills, combined with innovative design, earned Tommy Nutter immense respect. He designed Hardy Amies personal wardrobe and famously dressed three out of four Beatles on the Abbey Road album cover.
The question is, did Harry Page and George Cooper of pageandcooper.com really meet outside Nutters in the swinging 60s and decide on a life of acquiring fine things for fine people? We don’t know; there is no mention of Messrs Page or Cooper on Google, no pictures of them posing laconically with the Rolling Stones ‘through a glass darkly’, just pictures on their site hinting of a glamorous past. But what we do know is, they have spelt Savile Row incorrectly on their website, more than enough to infuriate the staid and stuffy traditionalists.
That aside, it’s a good story, and in their bid to provide the finer things in life to discerning fashionistas, particularly of the diving and driving set, the boys have recently been appointed authorised dealers of Squale Watches. Not only that, they’ve also been fortunate enough to dart across to Milan and grab an exclusive interview with Andrea Maggi, owner of Squale Watches.
The Andrea Maggi interview
Q: How did you become involved in the watch business and how long have you been involved in the watch business?
A: My grandfather had a jewellery factory which he was forced to close during the Second World War. After the war was over he restarted it and also began to produce watches. My father joined the firm and when a child I used to go on business trips with him during the holidays. I maintained my involvement even whilst I was at University.
Q: What is the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?
A: I am most proud of managing to establish business contacts with prestigious names in the watch making industry and seeing some of my Ideas flourish and prosper. With SQUALE I am involved in a major project and am acutely aware of working with a brand that was, and still is, a pioneer in the sports watch sector.
Q:What training do your crafts people have?
A: All of our watch making staff have attended schools specific to their craft and hold the relevant diplomas. They have served long apprenticeships with master watchmakers, learning about the most crucial phases in assembly and if necessary how to correct malfunctions in mechanical movements.
Q: How long does it take to make one time piece?
A: Developing a new design is a really long process. I have estimated that it takes about a year from conception to production. There is great complexity both from the technical and stylistic point of view.
Q: What new techniques or materials have you seen arrive in the last few years?
A: During the past few years a myriad of new materials have been introduced to the industry: titanium, carbon, bronze and then lower grade materials such as plastic. In addition, new material treatment techniques such as PVD, DLC have also appeared. This is amazing proving as it does that the watch making industry is always kept up to date. My one criticism is that sometimes this innovation can be confusing to the customer.
Q:The wristwatch has seen a dramatic rise in popularity over the last few years, where do you think this passion has come from?
A: Speaking personally I believe that that the watch is the only item of 'man jewellery' that a man can wear on any occasion. The arrival of ever more new consumers to the market over the past few years has made the watch an ever more desirable item. A combination of mechanical precision, technology, beauty and style in one package. Watches are still at the top of both men and women's 'wish lists' although for women appearance is still the most important factor.
Q: What do you think of the trend for making larger time pieces?
A: Extra large diameters have been a phenomenon of the post 10/15 years. I think they are on their way out and in a few years the trend will be sharply reversed. For example, SQUALE is still making diameters of 40mm (extremely rare in sports watches) and for women we actually produce watches of 27mm.
The Squale Watches story
The Swiss tradition of precision watchmaking, combined with a love of the sea and diving, were the two factors that led C. Von Büren to work exclusively on the construction of professional divers’ watches from the early 1950's.
Initially the 'Squale' mark appeared on the cases of Swiss watches of various makes, as a symbol of quality and fine production. In the 1960's, Von Büren started to produce watches bearing the Squale mark on their dial, starting the brand’s professional and commercial history. First of many sporting successes was with the World diving title won in Cuba in 1968. The 1970's saw the birth of the first '1000 metre' watch with sapphire crystal and a revolutinary bezel which only moved after the wearer intentionally depressed the bezel.
Squale continued to produce for other brands and started to supply the elite corps of a number of armed forces, such as Italy’s Folgore Brigade and the Italian Navy’s Diving Corps.
The name Squale has become synonymous with quality and is the benchmark for divers’ watches Internationally. A status it has enjoyed for several decades.
Squale watches are entirely Swiss made with a tradition of precision watch making, combined with solidity and durability. The case is made from Swiss 316L steel. Black PVD coating on Squale Watches is by Beretta the World famous gun manufacturer. All components are Swiss, winders, winder sleeves and gaskets. These are essential parts for a watch that has to withstand high pressures and salt water.
Squale Watches are painstakingly assembled by master watchmakers, taking the greatest care over the fitting of the gaskets and ensuring that each case is airtight. Every watch then undergoes strict examination, with regard to water resistance and timekeeping accuracy.
Quality tests are performed on every single watch and not on a sampling basis. The movement’s reliability is certified by the fact that Squale has always been a direct customer of the ETA Factory at Grenchen, guaranteeing that all movements are of the finest quality. The watches range in price from £410.00 to just a shade under £750.00.