A. Dunhill Ltd. of London has been producing car accessory and motor car inspired timepieces since the company was founded in 1893. In fact, the first timepiece Alfred Dunhill ever produced was an automobile dashboard clock in 1903. While A. Dunhill produces a variety of luxury products, such as fine butane lighters, and exceptional luggage, they have steadfastly remained faithful to producing watches which have always offered a unique expression of taste and individuality. In recent years, the Dunhill watch collections have been brimming with nostalgia, and more than a bit of British humour – jolly good show.
One of the Dunhill collections’ newest models (making it debut at the 2006 SIHH) is the Parody Stone, which is a tribute to one of England’s most enduring traditions – Arthurian folk lore. The dial is constructed from translucent obsidian, featuring three lions, in the background, giving the appearance of a knightly coat of arms. The minute hand is also shaped like the traditional weapon of the Knights of the Round Table – a broad sword. Twelve applied hour markers encircle the dial (evoking images of the twelve Knights seated at the legendary Round Table), with a shield symbol appearing just below 12 o’clock containing a big date complication, done in Gothic font. The shield also bears the red cross of St. George – it seems every opportunity for Arthurian symbolism was taken in the design of this watch.
The 40mm case of the Dunhill Parody Stone is constructed from 18 carat white gold, with a mix of polished and satin finishes and features one of the most unique and obviously Arthurian-inspired components. Protecting the dial is a hinged grill that closely resembles the visor piece of a knight’s helmet armour. When closed, the time is somewhat obscured, but there is a cut out section in the grill in the shape of the shield on the dial – this allows for easy reading of the date complication. Contained between the lugs of the Dunhill Parody Stone is a luxurious grey alligator leather strap that’s 20mm at the lugs, and tapers down to 16mm at the case-matching 18 carat white gold buckle. Protruding from the side of the case is a satin finished and knurled 18 carat white gold ‘onion’-shaped crown.
Looking beneath the dial and case we find the Parody Stone is powered by the DD14081 – a Dubois-Depraz movement. It is a slightly modified version of the DD14080 (which is based on the ETA 2892-A2). Due to the thickness of the stone dials the pinions in the DD14080 had to be lengthened, thus making the DD14081. The 22 jewel, self-winding DD14081 has a vibration rate of 28,800 beats per hour (BPH) and a power reserve of 40 hours.
The Dunhill Parody Stone is a watch that will be considered by some to be a whimsical piece of horological art from the mind of Dunhill’s Tom Bolt. Others, especially those of English heritage, will make a stronger connection to national identity represented by this piece, and will remember the values which inspired the Knights of the Round Table – truth, honour, and bravery. In a watch world increasingly dominated by ‘me too’ sport watches and oversized monstrosities, it is refreshing to find a design that was not inspired by looking left and right, but rather by looking backward in history and legend. The Dunhill Parody Stone (Ref. DCB880GLL) retails for $14,400, and is limited to a production run of 250 pieces. Considering the materials used for the construction of the piece, as well as the limited production run of the piece, I find the price quite reasonable.
For more information, please contact Dunhill at 800-541-0738 or www.dunhill.com.
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