Think of Graeme Obree, and one of the first things that springs to mind is The Flying Scotsman’s two successful attempts at the Hour record in 1993 and 1994, setting distances of, respectively, 51.596km and 52.713km as the mid-1990s saw an epic contest unfold involving Francesco Moser, Miguel Indurain, Tony Rominger and of course Chris Boardman.
Now, those exploits have been captured on a watch designed with the help of Obree himself, which is launched today in a limited edition of 100, each individually numbered on the back, at a price of £145.
Instead of denoting the hours by numerals, the design instead depicts the passing of time through the use of words, as Obree explains: “I wanted to use words that would instill a sense of value that an hour is a unit of time to be or do or think or act in some way that makes us realise its passing. In a subtle way to instill a sense of mortality that is tempered by an idea of how to occupy this hour that will pass but once.”
The watch is made by Mr Jones Watches, a London-based watchmaker run by Crispin Jones, which says: “With the design of this watch Obree reveals a reflective, poetic sensibility: each hour is marked with a different word that holds a special meaning in relation to the passing time - a reminder to us to make the most of each hour that passes.”
The company adds: “The design of the watch makes reference discreetly to the bicycle- the aperture through which the words are read is based on the drivetrain of a fixed wheel track bicycle.”
The company also filmed an interview with Obree dicussing the watch and the Hour record, which you can watch here.
The watch, which can be ordered here also comes with a card signed by Obree and Jones, and can be ordered here, but be warned - if the reception the timepiece got in the road.cc office is anything to go by, they’ll sell out quickly.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.