The Firefighter - by Ian Elliot
In 2014 we agreed to support firefighter Billy Taylor in a race to row across the Pacific. As a founder of the Spotlight YOPD charity for young onset Parkinson’s Disease, Billy managed to raise huge awareness during the arduous race. Astonishingly, his team secured not one but two world records and his Elliot Brown watch didn’t miss a beat despite incredible punishment over the duration of the race.
A little while later Billy’s friend and fellow firefighter Scott Butler was about to set off and break records of his own rowing the black sea then climbing Mount Elbris. Almost literally on the start line Scott realised he didn’t have a watch. Without hesitation, Billy gave him his, and it survived another fantastic journey, keeping perfect time throughout.
As a result of these amazing charity projects, Billy had the idea of creating a watch specifically for firefighters, and given the active lifestyles lead by many, we knew our watches would fit perfectly both in the way they look and the unique way they are built.
Billy approached the FBU (Fire Brigades Union) for their blessing then asked us if we would develop a special edition firefighters watch that would raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity and nominated charities of the FBU. The project was given the thumbs up by all parties and we got to work on the detailed design and development.
The watch had to be good looking, functional and a keepsake to anyone in the fire service no matter what their age or rank.
12 months later, and the Elliot Brown Canford Firefighter was the result: a subtle “if you know, you know” kind of watch based on our best-selling 'supercompressor' Swiss quartz Canford model complete with internal rotating timing bezel. Four variants, each with a subtly coloured tip on the second hand signify red, green, blue or white watch shift patterns. (For 2018 there's also a new smaller 38mm version of the watch called Kimmeridge)
The project required a new steel die press tool to give the deep detailing on the case back with a cap badge background overlaid with crossed axes. The case back production includes pressing, multi stage vapour blasting, radial brushing, etching, and polishing to create something very special.
We left space for engraved messages on the case back too and because it’s a pre-order production run, we’ve been able to include individual engraving on every watch if required.
The project supports charities nominated by the FBU including the Fire Fighters Charity and also provides a ‘pot’ that will be given directly to firefighters as seed funding for their own charity fundraising projects (as an acknowledgement to Billy and Scott who started this with their own amazing projects). The first batch of watches raised an incredible £11,000 for the three nominated charities: The Fire Fighters Charity, MIND and the Firefighters 100 Lottery Fund. We hope to smash that figure with the second run of watches in 2018.
In 2017 we were able introduce our partners at the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to the FBU and ran a competition to win a place on the race including a full week's RYA training. The winner was Nottinghamshire firefighter Bex Sims who went on to complete a further 3 weeks RYA training before her leg of the race from China to Seattle across the mighty Pacific Ocean.
We donate £35 from every watch purchased in the hope that over time, the project will make a real difference to people supported by the various charities. The watches are only available to firefighters past and present, friends and family associated support services within the fire service. We wanted to keep them special so they are not advertised outside the FF community.
A bit about Elliot Brown
It took us over 20 years working in the extreme sports watch industry to develop our specialist knowledge which enabled us to start with a blank sheet, producing uniquely durable watches built up to a standard that we'd be prepared to rely on ourselves when the ging gets tough. Deciding this course of action when we founded Elliot Brown Watches was the best decision we’ve ever made – a founding principal if you will.
Elliot Brown is in its 6th year now we feel like we’re really hitting our stride.
Over that time, we’ve been approached by highly regarded organisations including the special forces who have requested unique watches for their members and from the sales success of these projects we have donated large sums to nominated charities. The feedback we’re continually receiving from partner organisations, customers and charities means everything to us and we can honestly say it’s the best feeling the world.