When setting about designing the first Brooklands chronograph watch, Simon and Sir Terence Conran knew that they wanted to create something truly unique, a watch that combined the heritage of British motor racing, the rich history of Brooklands, the innovative timekeeping within the sport and the craftmanship of Swiss made watches.

With Sir Terence on board with the project, they worked to design a watch that was inspired by Brooklands’ heritage within every intricate element of a chronograph.

close up shot of the back of the triple four watch

The Importance of the Designer

After a trip to Brooklands Museum inspired Simon to create a heritage-based chronograph watch, he knew he would need someone special to design it.

Sir Terence Conran, known for his work re-designing the post-war Britain we know today, was recommended by the Design Museum.

Not expecting much back, Simon decided to shoot for the stars and emailed Sir Terence. Three weeks later, he received a reply that surprised him.

Sir Terence Conran asked to meet at his London penthouse. Little did Simon know how significant this really was.

As they met up to discuss the watch project, Simon discovered that Brooklands held a special place in Sir Terence’s heart as he fondly remembered spending days at the track with his father watching the racing while his mother, bored by the motorsport, took flying lessons there.

This was a chance for the famous designer to pay tribute to his beloved parents and childhood.

Sir Terence Conran

Inspired by the Napier Railton

The starting point for Sir Terence was a trip to Brooklands Museum.

On this trip, he took particular inspiration from the Napier-Railton car. This car was commissioned by John Cobb, designed by Reid Railton and constructed by Thomson & Taylor in 1932. The car would run on regular pump fuel, be thoroughly reliable and be capable of breaking endurance records. As well as capturing various endurance records, the Napier Railton holds the all-time Brooklands lap record of 143.44mph set in 1935.

In February 1933, the Fairey Long-Range Monoplane set a World endurance record by flying 5410 miles non-stop. This aircraft was powered by the 24 litre, 570hp, Napier Lion XIA engine, and it was no coincidence that this was the engine chosen to power the Napier Railton car. The layout of this engine was three banks of four cylinders (Triple-Four) and although capable of 1350hp in supercharged form, this de-rated version was selected for reliability.

Sir Terence wanted to reference this incredible engine, the engine that made the Napier Railton car so successful. The unusual triple-four layout was to be referenced by a bespoke rotor that could be viewed by the owner via a sapphire glass exhibition back.

With such intricate and beautiful features, the watch build would require the highest levels of craftsmanship, expertise, quality and experience for manufacture. Brooklands Watch Company has a dedicated team based at Roventa-Henex, Tavannes, Switzerland, who hand build each watch.

Napier Railton racing at Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit

One-Of-A-Kind Watch Face

One of the things that made Brooklands Race Track so special was the banking of the track at either end. It was this masterful engineering that allowed the race cars to maintain such high speeds during races and world-record speed attempts.

It was important to Sir Terence and Simon that the banked track was referenced by the watch somehow. Sir Terence’s genius struck again as he incorporated it into the watch face, designing a one-of-a-kind face with the outer edge banked at the same angle as the track banking.

The banking created a unique watch face, as it meant that the whole watch face was one piece, something seen on very few watches because it requires incredible skill to print the face markings.

watch hands

A Watch From Historic Timekeeping

Timekeeping played a pivotal role at Brooklands, with numerous timekeeping systems in place to track lap times, endurance records and speed records.

With this in mind, it was important to both Sir Terrance and Simon that these were reflected in the watch.

The layout of the watch face with sub-dials top and bottom, references the Swiss chronograph pocket watches that were used at Brooklands by the amateur timekeepers. These watches were used in pairs and housed in a special operating box, with the timekeepers monitoring the times of up to eight cars at a time during a race.

Finally, Brooklands had a large trackside clock mounted on the Chronograph Villa, which showed the drivers the elapsed race time as they completed each lap. The hands of this clock had a distinctive circular counterweight and this feature was included on the chronograph hands of the watch design.

Timekeeping at Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit

Final Touches

During his tour of the Campbell Shed at Brooklands, Sir Terence noted the block tread pattern on the racing tyres of the period. Tyre technology was in its infancy, they were expensive and had a very limited life on racing cars.

The leather strap is unique as instead of being a smooth standard leather strap, it is 20mm wide Conran Blue, calf skin, with a pattern that emulates the early tread patterns of racing tyres.

Purchase one of our limited edition racing chronograph watches online today.

Swiss luxury watches. Triple-Four by Brooklands Watch Company. Racing chronograph watch.