This might seem a daft reply to my own question but hopefully the answer is ‘not a lot really'! Let me explain by telling you a little bit about … my car history. Let’s imagine I'm sitting on that green bench car seat on Top Gear waiting to find out how well I did in the ‘Star in the Ordinary Car’ slot, with Clarkson going through his programme notes hoping to reveal some embarrassing car horrors.
My first cars were very much in the ‘ordinary’ category, all of them company funded too. A Ford Escort 1.3 in Polar White and then Burnt Orange - funny how colours are always ‘a something colour’ - Vauxhall Cavalier 1.3 and 1.3L both in China Blue –– and you’ve just got to understand how important that ‘L’ was back then – moving up to a rather more exciting Vauxhall Cavalier SRi (with white wheel trims when they were actually quite cool) – onto to two Vauxhall Carltons (Something Silver and Wine Red?) and then the car that really stepped me out of ‘ordinary’ into ‘extraordinary’ – a Volvo T5 Estate in a rather fetching ‘something purple’. Yep a Volvo and an estate at that, 225 bhp delivered very scarily to two front wheels resulting in worn tyres every eleven thousand miles. It was the proverbial ‘off the shovel’ experience. I loved that car, it was so understated but everyone ‘in the know’ knew that it would become an icon. Ford, Vauxhall, Volvo – when it came to car choices I drifted around a bit.
Then in 2000 I watched with some emotion as the car transporter drove off with the Volvo having already deposited a very shiny new BMW 5 Series in a hotel car park. I planned to be as far away from home as I was able to arrange so that I could ‘test drive’ the new motor on the trip back home. One car, one journey, one life changing moment – BMWs were for me. When you drive any BMW they kind of all look the same and any changes seem to melt from one model to the next. You sort of know the quality to expect, how they will perform and the service you will receive. Yes they’ve modernised and updated but they have a BMW heart, soul and that iconic look. I’m sure there’ll be quite few petrol heads out there who will be able to point out every inaccuracy in my sweeping statements but I’m proud to say I’ve bought into BMW as ‘the ultimate driving machine’ . I’ve had an X5 and now drive a 5GT – a bit of a marmite choice in the current BMW range - alongside a 15 year old 3 Series convertible. I’m very happy gazing at the blue and white propeller badge on the steering wheel – all of the steering wheels. I somehow managed to acquire a Porsche Boxster S (because you can get a golf carry bag in the boot) and a Jaguar XFS (nice car, not so nice infotainment interface) to run alongside the Beemers at various times on my BMW journey but for me the king of the road was born in Bavaria.
So back to watches!
Rotary, a whole host of Swatch, a Gucci dress watch and a Tag Heuer Chronometer together with quite a few other impulse purchases have all resided on the Butler wrist but I never really settled on one brand or look. My watch collection looked like a real mish mash of, I’m proud to admit, ‘affordable gear’.
When I decided to bring the golfer's watch to life and to design my first ETIQUS, as it would become known, I knew that those very accomplished watch brands based in Geneva and the Jura mountains of Switzerland would approach any NPD (New Product Development) with the utmost professionalism. No doubt in-depth market analysis and market testing would be carried out in order to move any new watch through concept to prototype to final production quality product.
Now that’s not exactly how I approached it. Having shed my corporate robe I decided that my watch would truly be my watch and the design principal was really simple – design a watch ...for my wrist…that I liked …at the best quality I could produce … that could sell for around the price of a new driver – between £200 and £300. And it had to have a 'look' that could be replicated across the range in true BMW fashion. And so from that very simple brief over a period of 2 years the SPORT PRO was born in July 2014.
But watches are a personal choice and whilst my SPORT PRO in various guises now adorns the wrist of many golfers there always had to be other models in the range if I were to succeed in establishing ETIQUS as the golfer’s choice. My brother – a non-golfer – likes his watches and he was particular attracted to the Black Ionic Plated ones on the market and hence the SPORT PRO IONIC emerged. My father in law who didn’t take up golf until he retired quite liked the look of my ETIQUS but didn’t fancy a big sports watch and so I simply took the main design features and applied them to a classic dress style watch resulting in the CLASSIC TOUR. And last but by no means least, my wife is a golfer and she wanted a watch too. So rather than buying her a very expensive one from a top brand I decided to make her a range of watches too, the SPORT LADY – buying her the expensive one would have cost far less! Actually there is some method in this madness – we’re all different ages with different tastes and so you can cover a few bases in building a range based on family and friends preferences and yes we all wanted watches with a contemporary look.
But for the men there was an obvious gap between the bigger sporty Pro model and the smaller Classic Tour collection with many of my friends asking for the look of the Sport watch (with the bezel ) but more of the feel of the lighter, sleeker Classic Tour models …and hence the SPORT TOUR was born.
Same technical specification – solid stainless steel cases and solid bracelets (with the same mix of brushed and polished steel), sapphire crystal and Swiss movements as standard – but about 25% lighter with the same diameter as the Classic (42mm) - a true mid-size between the Pro and the Classic. I’ve made a couple of minor physical tweaks - a crown similar to the Classic and a new sleeker big date window with a chamfered edge.
The Sport Tour design carries the same details that feature across the range – subtle 3D golf ball effect dial, the now apparently ‘iconic’ bezel with familiar markings and details - red flag second hand but with minute and hour hands that sit very nicely in size and shape between those on the Pro and the Classic. The minute track moves from a separate chapter ring on the Pro down onto the dial like on the Classic but with baton markers at the quarter hour points.
I have also added some new colours to this range which I plan to percolate across the entire men’s range as demand indicates. The core choices of a Summer White or Night Black dial are there together with an Auld Grey version which has proved so popular on the Classic Tour. Three new colours, all inspired by my own golfing experiences - Iberian Orange, European Blue and Georgia Green – bring a vibrancy to this collection and I’m sure, given the initial feedback already received, they’ll prove very popular. (Note - I only have very limited stock available at launch so if you really want one of these before Xmas then best to get in early.)
So all in all when you look at the SPORT TOUR you just know it’s an ETIQUS – yes a new collection, at a new size, in some new colours but very much the same look, with the same quality, at the same incredible value, backed by the same personal service commitment – designed exclusively for golfers … because I am one.
I hope you like it – please let me know.
A challenge now is that every morning I have to choose which of 23 ETIQUS watches I will wear that day rather than just the 17. Mrs B has a much more manageable choice of 7 – one for every day of the week - I sense she might like a new collection too – watch this space.
So as we move towards the festive period enjoy the last days of the golfing season …if you do want to ‘take care of the course’ try using a mat … but if you want to take care of shopping for that Christmas gift for your golfing loved one, try an ETIQUS!
PS If you’re wondering about the design link to the ‘size of the golf ball’ – on the Pro it’s the case back that is the same size as a golf ball whilst on the Sport Tour it’s the diameter of the bezel. :)