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Watchmaker George Bamford Tells Us Why (the MW08's) Ceramic is Such a Hot Material

To celebrate the launch of our MW08 True Wireless Earphones and to further understand ceramic as a material that is both innovative and luxurious, we spoke with watch expert and collector George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department. Bamford’s experience designing and collecting watches with ceramic helps him provide insight on the choice of ceramic for our latest and most technically sophisticated wireless earphones yet. Read on to learn more about Bamford, including the origins of his collection, creative process and what makes him tick. 

Tell us about your watch collection and what inspired you to begin collecting.

I started collecting watches but didn’t necessarily realize I was collecting them, back with things like Swatches and Flik Flak’s. I’ve always been a collector of something that makes you tick, eventually progressing to Formula 1 Tag Heuers. My obsession with the movement of watches started in 1995 with a Breitling Navitimer that I took to pieces and reassembled between Christmas and New Year’s. During the first lockdown in the UK I taught my son how to take a watch apart and we practiced using that exact Breitling.

What makes ceramic a popular material choice used in watchmaking and can you describe some of the material’s greatest benefits? 

In talking about watch materials I’m always drawn to new and innovative techniques. I think ceramic is amazing and I specifically wanted to incorporate it into the Laureato Ghost I collaborated with Girard Perregaux on. It’s also interesting to contextualize ceramic within luxury, knowing it’s such an old technology yet recently has become such a high impact and coveted material – which is a great thing. I think brands are consistently drawn to ceramic because it allows them to achieve beautiful colors and wearability with no fade or scratching. Undoubtedly the Chanel J12 made ceramic cool.

Do you have a specific favorite timepiece crafted from ceramic in your collection?

In terms of a favorite ceramic piece, I’d have to say the Girard Perregaux Laureato Ghost, of which 45 exist to celebrate the brand’s 45th anniversary. There are some other amazing watches that incorporate ceramic like the Zenith Defy and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Tell us a little bit more about your design process. What goes into designing a custom or special edition timepiece?

I always love looking to the past for inspiration to create a new product. I go with my gut and what I want, hoping that other people will want what I covet too. I have a saying, “gotta want to steal it.” And by that I mean not literally steal, but definitely Google immediately. 

You also collect cars. Are there any common themes between your car and watch collection?

They both have a heart, that is an engine. That’s what I love about cars – even in lockdown I was taking the radiator off a car. I realized there’s something therapeutic about fixing cars. I love vintage cars – the noise and the burbles. 

What are you most excited about regarding the future of watchmaking, design and innovations?

This year and next year will be exciting. We’ve already seen some great launches already and I know we’re going to see others. I feel like last year a lot of brands were asleep, apart from Tag Heuer who blew it out of the park with their new Carrera which was second to none. This year, it seems the nineties trends are back, and we’re starting to see really crazy watch designs starting to happen. I’m already seeing watch designs come out and going, “Hell yes, now what’s going to be next?” Brands are doing things differently, on top of connecting and listening to their customers better. 

What’s next for you?

We have some interesting things happening this year. We’re launching quite a few watches, and we’ve got two or three designs we’ve completed. When I look at what’s coming up, I’m just excited. I’m excited about where we’re going, and I think that this year you’ll see a lot of fun stuff from not just us, but everyone.

The Laureato Ghost watch, a limited-edition collaboration between Girard Perregaux and Bamford Watch Department
The Laureato Ghost watch, a limited-edition collaboration between Girard Perregaux and Bamford Watch Department
Only 45 pieces were made, each housed in white ceramic
Only 45 pieces were made, each housed in white ceramic
George Bamford collects cars and watches
George Bamford collects cars and watches
Bamford’s Breitling Navitimer
Bamford’s Breitling Navitimer
George Bamford at his desk
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