The roots of Patria go as far back as 1892 as the name was registered by Louis Brandt et Fils. Therefore, the same founding family as Omega… The brand was resurrected in 2019 by a British watch designer, Jolyon Lambert, and his co-founder, Adam Stansfield, as they found inspiration in a century-old trench watch. For its second model, the duo once again pays tribute to the brand’s military heritage with a classic tourbillon watch aptly named Brigadier Tourbillon. Released as a subscription edition, this 39.5mm steel timepiece brings together a hand-finished, Swiss-made tourbillon movement and an enamel dial… And the price is quite surprising, in a good way.
The World War II era usually comes to mind when thinking of vintage-inspired military watches. Yet, World World I played a pivotal role in the advent of the wrist-worn watch. As pocket watches proved unpractical in the field, military personnel transformed them to be worn on the wrist – the so-called trench watches – before the concept became adopted by civilians. Their transitional design often included a round shape with a bulky wire soldered attachment, enamel or porcelain dials with large Arabic numerals often coated with radium.
Resurrecting the Patria name, Jolyon Lambert and Adam Stansfield have decided to pay tribute to the brand’s early military models infusing them with their own take on things. In their own words: “Our choice was to resurrect a heritage brand instead of embarking on a completely new venture. As passionate watchmaking enthusiasts, our goal was to become guardians of history and tradition. During this pursuit, we discovered Patria Watch Co, a remarkable historical brand on the verge of fading into obscurity.” Following a flyback chronograph in 2019, their second model is a retro-style tourbillon.
Fashioned out of stainless steel, the Brigadier Tourbillon comes in a versatile 39.5mm round case. With its 12mm profile, the whole watch is compact and easy to wear. It is nicely finished with brushed top surfaces, vertically brushed sides, and circular-brushed caseback. The bezel and lug chamfers are polished to create eye-catching reflections. The fluted crown is moderately sized and operates pleasantly. Water resistance is rated at 50m, which is fine considering the vocation of the watch, as you most likely won’t swim with it, but you will be protected against exposure to water.
Under the box-shaped sapphire crystal, the highly legible dial is made using glossy white enamel with large, retro-styled Arabic numerals. Inspired by Patria WWI models, these are hand-painted and filled with a proprietary mix of old-radium-toned Super-LumiNova. These are paired with elegant spade-shaped hands, which are flame-blued while maintaining the structure of their anglage, and then filled with the same vintage-toned luminous material as the hour markers.
The Patria Brigadier Tourbillon is powered by the hand-wound calibre PA 130. This proprietary tourbillon movement has been developed by Olivier Mory and is produced in his atelier, OM Mechanics, in La Chaux-de-Fonds. A shareholder of Patria, Olivier Mory worked for Renaud Papi, Sellita or ValFleurier before setting up his own business.
This large and traditional movement beats at 21,600 vibrations/hour and boasts a rather impressive power reserve of 110 hours. It displays the hours, minutes in the centre and the seconds over the one-minute tourbillon. The movement can be admired via the exhibition caseback. The classically shaped bridges are paired with a ratchet wheel with “serpentine” spokes that are in line with the watch’s vintage vibe. The decoration is traditional with Geneva stripes, perlage and flame-blued screws. Last but certainly not least, the anglage is performed by Philippe Narbel, a highly-respected craftsman from the Vallée de Joux.
The Patria Brigadier Tourbillon Subscription Edition is worn either on a midnight blue or caramel brown Italian leather strap with a steel pin buckle. It is released in a 40-piece limited edition and it comes with a 5-year warranty.
Many watch enthusiasts dream of owning a tourbillon in their collection. It is an engineering marvel and there is an undeniable prestige factor in owning such a watch. The time and precision required to craft their intricate mechanism have made the tourbillon a privilege reserved for the fortunate – but more affordable options have now emerged. At CHF 18,000, the Patria Brigadier Tourbillon offers excellent value for money and the opportunity to afford a nicely executed, hand-finished Swiss-made Tourbillon with a hand-painted enamel dial. This 39.5mm, retro-styled trench watch is lovely, and it is a pleasure to wear… if you are looking for an accessible tourbillon watch with a slightly different personality, the Patria Brigadier Tourbillon is worth a closer look.
For more information, please visit www.patriawatch.co.