Saturday, November 4, 2017

Loomes & Co. Unique Piece for the Mountain Trust

British watch atelier Loomes & Co. announces the charity auction of a unique timepiece worn by a member of the Royal Gurkha Regiment Mount Everest expedition team which touched the peaks of the world’s highest peak this year.

In 2017, the watches made by Loomes & Co. summited Everest with the Royal Gurkha Regiment. They carried them specifically to raise money for the very poorest, mountain regions of Nepal. The Mountain Trust, a small charity based in Cambridge, specifically works in mountain districts of Nepal.

Loomes & Co. built a unique manual winding wristwatch for them. The case and dial were specially manufactures for the Mountain Trust and the movement is a highly adapted English (new old stock) movement built by Smiths. Watchmakers at Loomes & Co. has re-built it to run at extremes of temperature (the climbing team dealt with temperatures between -40 degrees and + 35 degrees centigrade) and the watch went out on both the aborted 2015 expedition and the hugely successful 2017 expedition.
The skill and expertise of the climbers was beyond question. The RGR team were the first people, climbing alongside Sherpas, to summit this year. Nine serving soldiers, all climbing instructors, and three British officers summited. The army described it as the most successful Everest expedition the British army had ever undertaken.

The all-British-made 18000vph Cal01 NOS Smiths nineteen jewel manual winding movement was designed in the 1950s and the equal or better of many Swiss made alternatives. The movement was stripped and fitted with a new mainspring and re-lubricated to run at both -40 centigrade and +60.

Fitted with a Loomes-made unique dial, printed for the Mountain Trust, and housed in a Loomes stainless hand-polished case, the watch also has one of Loomes' newest handmade straps. Frustrated with "too homespun" British strap makers, Loomes approached a British haute-couture leather firm, where Northampton ladies cut edge and stitch real leather and calf linings. The watch was worn by Sgt Milan Rai, who summited on the 16th May 2017 with extreme hardship.

This incredible watch has been to Everest twice (and survived). To raise funds for a charity that supports the people of Nepal, Bonhams is running an online auction till 7th November at 3pm.

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