The world of watches is very often associated with and closely related to the world of cars. But to some, two wheels might be better than four, and for those people, we have a very cool story to tell in today’s episode of The Petrolhead Corner. Talking recently to Johnny Garret, founder and CEO of William Wood Watches, we not only learned more about the brand and its watches but also about a very special initiative. Together with Saltire Motorcycles, William Wood Watches has created a custom Indian Scout called the Always Ready Motorbike. And just like the watches, the bike is riddled with firefighting inspiration. As luck would have it, there’s a real chance you could own this incredible piece of work as it will be the grand prize in a prize draw with all proceeds going to charity. Let’s find out more, shall we?
Open roads, the wind in your hair, and a big V-Twin rumbling along beneath you sound like the perfect day out to pretty much any biker. If you asked any of those bikers what badge that V-Twin should carry, you’re likely to get one of three answers, the most probable being ‘Harley Davidson’. The other options? Something Japanese, like Yamaha or Honda, or that other American legend: Indian.
The company actually pre-dates Harley Davidson by two years, as it was founded in 1901 in Springfield, Massachusetts (USA). Initially named Hendee Manufacturing Company, the name changed to Indian in 1923. By then, the company had already had a very successful run, both in the US and abroad. It won the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, one of motorcycle history’s oldest and most dangerous racing events.
By 1953, however, the company went bankrupt, and it would remain dormant until 2011. Since then, the company has been hard at work to re-establish itself as a leading leisure vehicle making motorcycle brand. One of the most important bikes by Indian was the Scout, initially produced from 1920 to 1942 and reintroduced in 2015.
This present-day edition of the Indian Scout is a relaxed, comfortable cruiser with the needed oomph to hurtle you to the horizon if desired. The aluminium alloy frame keeps the weight down while the liquid-cooled 1,133cc V-Twin engine packs 100bhp. It might not sound like much compared to some of the cars we regularly feature in the Petrolhead Corner, but rest assured, the Scout is plenty fast to lose your license quicker than you’d like. The base price for an Indian Scout starts around USD 12,500 (depending on where you live, of course), but there’s an extensive options list driving up that price with ease.
William Wood Watches
UK-based independent watchmaking company William Wood Watches has a rather interesting story to tell. Named after the founder’s grandfather, a decorated firefighter, William Wood Watches has embraced this firefighting legacy in all its collections. Starting with a Kickstarter project in 2017, the brand is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a special watch this year.
We’ve covered the Valiant collection and Triumph Chronograph collection before, both of which are riddled with original and interesting details related to firefighting. For starters, each watch comes on a strap made from fire hoses or fire suits with a minimum of 10 years of service. Next, there’s the unmistakable William Wood Watches logo, a 1920s fire helmet, and the crown insert made from an actual brass helmet.
Besides “just” manufacturing and selling watches, William Wood Watches has always focused on charity work. Parts of all proceeds are donated to international firefighting charities, totalling over GBP 75,000 at the time of writing this story. The company’s goal is to break the half-million GBP mark within the next five years.
Saltire Motorcycles is your one-stop bike shop based in Edinburgh, Scotland. They offer pretty much everything from training, clothing, maintenance and parts, new and used bikes and much, much more. It has been at the forefront of motorcycle business and culture in Scotland, with huge experience in the industry and international clientele. It also has a custom division called Alba Customs, which is where everything came together for this very special project.
It really comes as no surprise probably, that such an enterprise is also able to provide customisation options for those looking for a more unique and stand-out bike. And to link it to William Wood Watches even further, despite sharing a passion for beautifully crafted things, is the fact the first-ever municipal fire brigade in Britain was established in Edinburgh in 1824. Needless to say, this was the perfect set-up for Saltire Motorcycles and William Wood Watches to join forces. Saltire Motorcycles has provided the base Indian Scout, which was then customised into The Always Ready Motorbike with the Willam Wood Watches team.
The Always Ready Motorbike
The name given to the bike is the pretty self-explanatory Always Ready Motorbike. This relates to the fact that firefighters around the world dedicate their lives to the safety of others. In short, a firefighter is always ready.
Saltire started with a catalogue-spec Indian Scout and through the partnership with William Wood Watches has turned it into a one-of-a-kind custom motorcycle with a firefighter theme (which was to be expected, of course). With such a strong historical urgency radiating from the brand and a huge canvas to play with, the bike has turned out to be truly spectacular. You get the reassurance of a modern, reliable motorcycle that can be ridden safely and comfortably whilst enjoying the experience of a very unique bike in the process.
If you take a look at some of the incredible details, there are countless references to the firefighting theme and links to watchmaking as well. Heck, there’s even a watch movement incorporated in between the cylinder heads that reads “In Case Of Fire Break Glass”. This is directly linked to the caseback you see on the Triumph Chronograph collection. Of course, this doesn’t tell time, but it’s a fun nod to William Wood Watches.
From front to back, nearly everything is custom made for the bike. The frame is blackened, as is (most of) the engine. This is contrasted by the bright fire-engine red paint job with hand-applied details such as the name of the bike on top of the tank and the pin-striping on the sides and the front and rear fender.
The handlebar is finished with grips made from firehoses and repurposed ladder wood and set with a commemorative coin on the tip. This coin can also be found on top of the rear fender. The seat is completely handmade with the William Wood Watches logo sitting promptly amidst two wing-like shapes and a firehose insert in red. It’s all just very well-thought-out and to me, doesn’t look over the top at all. Sure it’s a themed bike, and the firefighting details might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the way the theme is incorporated into the overall bike is pretty darn cool. And best of all, it could potentially be yours very soon!
The Fire Fighter Charity
As mentioned, all the tickets sold for a chance to win this very special bike will be donated to charity. William Wood Watches already donates parts of the proceeds of all watches sold to The Fire Fighters Charity in the UK, alongside several other national and international organisations. On this occasion, they’ve opted to donate all the proceeds to a single charity.
The Fire Fighters Charity supports both active and retired firefighters and their families in times of need. With such a dangerous job to perform, every single firefighter is at risk every single day. It goes without saying this has a huge impact on people, both physically and mentally. The Fire Fighters charity can provide help for those who need it.
How to enter and possibly win!
The winner of the EUR 30,000 custom Indian Scout Always Ready Motorbike will be announced on May 4th, 2022. Tickets to the raffle are available from now until midnight on May 3rd. A maximum of 10 tickets per person can be purchased at a price of GBP 100 each. All proceeds of the ticket sales will go to The Fire Fighters Charity in support of firefighters and their families. And if you happen to be the winner but do not have the proper driver’s licence? Saltire Motorcycles has got you covered as long as you live in the UK. Outside of that, you would have to sort that bit out for yourself, I imagine.