- The fair review of new (current) watches and occasionally older models too. Hands-on if possible. Extra nuggets of information are mined for.
- Ratings? Occasionally, as some measure of overall assessment is needed. This will range from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).
- Periodic comment on luxury items. This is relevant as for many watch collectors there is some cross-over.
- All the above will mainly comprise of items that interest The Writer. There is simply no merit in reviewing things that have no great personal appeal, as the outcome will inevitably be somewhat negative and therefore unfair. Praise will be given where due, however where appropriate, constructive and gentle criticism too. After all, behind every design there is a soul who is proud of their work!
- Succinct where possible, but sometimes The Writer likes to show a journey too. It is rare that a watch is purchased on impulse, but more usually as a result of some mental convoluted twisting and turning involving enthusiasm and doubt!
- Comprehensible, light-hearted, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek. A passion to avoid hyperbole, arcane language, and absurd descriptive adjectives. These are not required to impart intelligent comment.
- Bias – yes sometimes! Watches are works of art in miniature and as such their attributes – both visually and mechanically, will in part influence any reporting. Reviews of any real use have to comprise of, and highlight, both factual and subjective elements. A reader will then accept or not. All that said, The Writer is quite capable of appreciating aspects of a watch whilst not necessarily wishing to own it!
Karl Dennis (The Writer) comes from an old London family. His great-grandfather, Walter Dennis had his own engineering firm as well as being an Alderman in the City of London. But for poor health, he would have been the next Lord Mayor. The Writer has a beautifully engraved silver cigar case presented to Walter in 1913 by the Lord Mayor (Sir Thomas Vansittart Bowater BT) upon his enforced retirement.
Captain Hubert Dennis, Walter’s son, fought with heroism in the Great War and was wounded having been “gassed”. He received the Military Cross, the Belgium Croix de Guerre, and was Mentioned in Dispatches for well-documented actions. The Writer has much memorabilia from Hubert and this includes the “Dispatch” award from Field Marshal Douglas Haig and signed by Churchill.
Like his father, Hubert worked in the City and was also involved in civic life – such as being a member of various Livery Companies. As such he met Churchill occasionally and much admired him. The Writer has a unique, and believed unpublished photograph of Churchill at a mid-fifties Mansion House event. Hubert was sitting opposite him and asked an official photographer to take an informal snap which he later acquired. On another occasion, at The Guildhall, The Writer’s Aunt Audrey got Viscount Montgomery of Alamein to sign her menu – much to Hubert’s horror! Forwardness clearly runs in the family.
After the Great War Hubert set up his own engineering company, H W Dennis & Co Ltd. The factory was in Nottingham and a sales office in London at St Martins Lane off Cannon Street . They specialised in valves and pressure gauges for the oil industry and during WW2 manufacturing was turned over to military work. After the War, the business expanded and was very successful, particularly in the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. In 1962 the firm merged with another large engineering firm Smith Bros, to become Smith Dennis Ltd. The Writer likes the design of the gauges and would love to design a watch in homage to his Grandfather! Hubert retired at 80!
Turning to The Writer, he was packed off to a boarding school In Surrey at a young age. Having survived this he then spent his early working life in the Royal Navy and then ship-broking in the City. After these he embarked on a long career in financial services, where he still works – albeit part-time now. Writing investment reviews and analysis has been and remains a major aspect of his work.
The Writer loves classic cars. Marques including Rover, Jensen and Bristol were owned for many years, with much renovation work being undertaken personally. An interest in baroque music, art, antiques, cigars, quality shoes and other sartorial items also prevails. Tradition, understatement, politeness, and general decency are all important to him.
The accumulation and appreciation of watches has and remains a serious interest. The weird and gimmicky are not particularly favoured, so the collection is a little conservative, but widely spread and contains some nice specimens from the usual haute horlogerie maisons. Of particular interest are complicated watches – including a penchant for chronographs. Chronometer quality is of additional interest. The Writer is no snob though, and has a fair number of modest pieces that he is quite happy with!
No major claims are made for literary genius or even supreme horological knowledge – there are others out there who are undoubtedly better! However, as a keen receptor of numerous watch mediums, and along with some modest writing skill, it is hoped that something of passing interest will result. Also, hopefully literary activity will help maintain and nourish the grey cells!
The Tedious Aspects
- Offers of free trips/events etc may be accepted – probably with both hands! Any reviews that result in remuneration will be noted so.
- To my knowledge, no third party personal information is or will be stored on this website.
- No guarantees or warranties – expressed or implied, are given. All views are personal.
- Any factual inaccuracies are purely unintentional. If brought to The Writer’s attention rectification will duly occur.
The Writer – wearing IWC Pilot – chronograph reference IW371704