A Rare Rolex – The Submariner 6536

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Anyone who knows me will attest three things: I adore Rolex Submariners, I am truly fascinated by the processes of design and I am generally astonished by the extent that some people go to both understand their subject and display their knowledge.

The first is proven by the extent to which I have sung the praises of the iconic Rolex Submariner on many occasions in the pages of Aestheticons – see here a couple of our earlier pieces – Rolex Submariner and The Submariner

The second is fundamentally the reason that Aestheticons exists and I hope is amply demonstrated by our success amongst the likeminded.

Finally, and I cannot claim the credit here, which must go to Paul Altieri and the nice people at Bob’s Watches and Monochrome Watches – both who have links at the end of this piece. Their devotion to the study of the Rolex Submariner and are an illustration of why these fabulous watches have become virtually an “investment class” as would be understood by financial professionals.

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When we walk into a Rolex dealer or look at the array of excellent pre-owned models on-line we tend to be looking at the most readily and commercially available. There are few of us who will get the opportunity of seeing yet alone owning one of the often early and ultra rare version of Rolex’s iconic diver’s watch, the Submariner.

The Submariner with case number 6536 is a case in point. Given the time it now takes to bring a new version to market the early days of the Submariner were marked by an ability to introduce and retire models frequently. The 6536 is such a model. It was released in 1955 and made for just one year and I understand that only around 100 pieces were ever made.

So how can you identify a 6536? It features an unprotected 6mm crown – giving a 100m depth rating – with no side guards built into the case. Early – very rare versions – had the depth written in red ink on its face. Some ultra rare versions came with the Explorer dial but the majority featured a mix of round indexes and stick batons with the inverted triangle at 12 – as used in the modern Submariner. There are one or two specimens with the Arabic 3-6-9 markings of the Explorer.

The Explorer came with the same Mercedes-style hands that first joined the Submariner range from 1954. The very earliest models retained the longer types, with a minutes hand that overlapped the dial’s outer chapter ring, before being shortened at some point during the production cycle.

The 6536 was powered by the Cal. 1030, a 25-jewel automatic caliber first introduced in 1950 – you won’t find any with the ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ text on the dial – it became a long terms Rolex favorite.

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Link to Paul Altieri’s of Bob’s Watches excellent piece here Rare Rolex Submariner

Ok so let’s understand what we mean by valuable – here’s the full link to Monochrome Watches detailed piece Valuing Rare Rolexes

 

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Running left to right in the above photo –

The 1955 Rolex SUBMARINER Ref. 6536 with Red Depth rating –
Rolex Submariner Ref. 6536 100m Red Depth Rating 5 digits serial number is for sale for €80.000

The 1955 Roles SUBMARINER Ref. 6536 with Ultra-Tropical “Explorer” dial
Rolex Submariner Ref. 6536 explorer dial ultra tropical and 5 digits serial number is for sale at €280.000.

The 1956 Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 with “Big Crown” and Red Depth Rating – Legend has it that this is the one worn by Sean Connery in the James Bond 007 movie “Dr. No”is for sale at €175.000.

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Images courtesy of Bob’s Watches and Monochrone Watches.

AesthetIcons – Happy New Year

Targa 2018

For this, my 250th AesthetIcons’ post and first of the New Year, I am going to be a little self indulgent, introspective and, perhaps, somewhat overly analytical. Many of you will have read my praises of the “aesthetic” and the “iconic” – often both – but I want to regroup in order to further develop Aestheticons.com.

What may be aesthetic and/or iconic, is probably in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, it’s primarily subjective. Indeed, I am happy that not all of us with love the same designs. Conversely, it is entirely possible to appreciate something that we don’t particularly like. The Toyota Prius, whilst I recognise it may be iconic – in a curiously evolutionary way – it’s just not particularly aesthetic!

Not all will appreciate my almost clinical devotion to the products produced for over seventy years by the Stuttgart based Porsche AG, from the earliest incarnations of the 1950’s with 356 to the most recent iterations of the Porsche Targa. To me, Porsche cars are the very definition of what is both Aesthetic and Iconic.

Porsche 356

The use over many hundreds of years of Icons by the Russian Orthodox religion gives us much of the substance to our present day usage of the expression – although the etymological root of the word itself comes from the Greek “eikōn” meaning “image”. Whether worship of icons is entirely sound is a matter of personal faith but they do present a focus for devotion.

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The word “iconic” is often used in the media as short-hand for “famous”. Is David Beckham an “icon” – possibly – he was certainly was an amazing footballer who is now using his brand equity for commercial and philanthropic purposes. Coco Chanel, the originator of the Little Black Dress and the wonderful No. 5 perfume, is often described as an icon and her creations are equally titled. She also very ably ticks the box that spells ”Aesthetic”.

Kim Kardashian is described as having her own “Aesthetic” aside from her charms I struggle to see this as being more than “style”. This may result from the relationship between the host of a Twitter or Instagram account and their legion of followers, who, sadly, are unlikely to ever see yet alone meet their icon! For me Aesthetic is adjacent to “Art”. Essentially, the viewer’s reaction that confirming the objects status – again entirely subjective.

It seems that an adopted definition of an “Icon” is that the subject acquires its title through familiarity, use and enjoyment, especially, over a number of years.

Whilst New York’s Chrysler Building – see our previous post here Chrysler Building, New York City– or the Guggenheim Museum – see our previous post here Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and London’s Battersea Power Station – see our previous post here Battersea Power Station are undisputed icons of world architecture and they enjoy substantial praise for their aesthetic values. Is it time alone that has cemented these giants into the public’s consciousness, appreciation and nostalgia? Can London’s The Shard by Renzo Piano, The Gherkin by Foster and Shuttleworth or Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao see our previous post here Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with these masterpieces? Obviously yes, but it is much more than a question of  merely adding time.

It seems that there are certain icons that are loved and cherished that fail, taking their brand equity with them. Some of the familiar brands that have disappeared recently include: The US airline, once the emblem of the “Jet Set” international travel, Pan Am collapsed into bankruptcy in 1994. Hummer, once the Schwarzenegger of SUVs, in 2008 General Motors sensing the end of the road for conspicuous consumption tried to sell the brand but due to a lack of commercial interest in 2010 the doors were shut. Woolworths, the Home of Pic’N’Mix, largely due to the 2007 Credit Crunch, filed for Administration in November 2008, closing all stores within a couple of months. Athenasee our previous post here – Tennis Girl and Friends – founded in 1964, the home of student poster decoration, entered administration in 1995.

Some truly iconic brands have been saved and thrive, evolving into new markets whilst ensuring the continued affection of fans. These include: Falcon Enamel Wear see our previous post here – Falcon Enamelware Bugatti was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, following years at the leading edge of motor racing the factory was bombed in WWII and with Bugatti’s death the business was eventually acquired by Volkswagen in 1990s today producing £2.0m supercars. Moleskinesee our previous post here – Moleskine Notebook the original manufacturer, a France-based family, ceased production in 1986 following the death of its principal. The brand was very successfully revived eleven years later by Italian publisher Modo & Modo.

I am particularly determined to revive – see our previous post here – Woods & Sons “Beryl Ware” crockery – quite simply the most familiar crockery that you have known for years, as used in all manner of cafes and, I suspect, you’d love to own. Do you remember the Husky Quilted Jackets? Loved by English Princesses and Milanese businessmen – with the corduroy collar and cuffs that came in fire-engine red, marine blue and Hunter welly’s green – see our previous post here – Hunter Green Wellington Boots My research has shown the brand was acquired in a corporate buy-out but I challenge you to find a new Husky jacket.

My interests in the Aesthetic and Iconic are unlimited by genre, item or product type. There are the new and old, the familiar and less familiar. As we evolve, our core philosophy remains constant – to celebrate beautiful things. We will continue to curate and to introduce our audience to iconic designs. I relish the journey!

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Image Credits with thanks: Porsche AG, Volkswagen, Falcon Enamel Wear, Hunter Wellingtons, Moleskine, Tudor Watches, Chanel.

Aestheticons’ Men’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Ladies

Xmas ladies

Guys, it’s that time of year when we know you may struggle to make the right gift choices for your ladies. At AEstheticons, we’ve done most of the hard work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts – as you’d expect they are all beautiful, iconic and design classics.

We believe your choices will be a perfect way to show your ladies just how thoughtful and full of the holiday spirit you are……I acknowledge receiving some help from Mrs W – but then again she has such good taste! Please enjoy!

PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Ladies buying for themselves or other Ladies!

After each image of the product is an Aestheticons post – if there is one – followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase. 

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Chanel – the Home of the Little Black Dress – founded in 1909 by Pierre Wertheimer and Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, also known as “Coco Chanel”. Their fragrances include the fabulous:

Chanel-Allure

Chanel AllureSo that’s what “Allure” means Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum – 50 ml

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Chanel No 5 – the iconic perfumeChanel No. 5 FOR WOMEN by Chanel – 50 ml EDP Spray

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Clarins tinted moisturizer – six colours to chose from depending on complexion. Mrs W is blond so No 4 (Blond) is her selection.

Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser SPF15, 50 ml – 04 Blond

carmex

Carmex: Taste those lips – Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex Original Tube & Pot duo pack

Tiger Balm 1

Tiger Balm: Go on just relax Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm Red, 3 pack

Clothes

CK ladies

Calvin Klein Underwear: Chic comfort

Calvin Klein Bustier. 3 Pack Womens Cotton Bralette (Black / Grey / White, S)
Calvin Klein Women’s Underwear Cotton Thong, Grey (Grey Heather 020), 8 (Manufacturer Size: S)
Calvin Klein .. Women’s Cotton Bralette and Thong Underwear Set (Black, M)

FOTL Grey T

Fruit of the Loom T Shirts: Simple and beautiful Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Lady-Fit Valueweight V-Neck T-Shirt SS047 (S, Heather Grey)

Wolford

Wolford tights: Sheer elegance

Wolford Hosiery Opaque 70 Matt Tights Small Black

Levi 711

Levi Jeans 711 – for size selection check her wardrobe for similar fitting trousers!

Jeans Levis 711 City Blues 2932 Blue

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Burberry Coat: Stylish, iconic and elegant  Burberry Trench Coat

BURBERRY Women’s Wkensington Long Coat, Beige (Honey 70500), Medium

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Gloverall duffle: Traditional warm  Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Women’s Mid Duffle Coat, Grey (Silver), 14

Rab parka

Rab Parka: The best down by far… Rab Down Jackets

Rab Women’s Microlight Parka – Indigo, 16

Boots and Shoes

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Hunter’s Wellington: They don’t need to be Green! Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Original Tall, Women’s Wellington Boots, Red (Military Red), 6 UK (39 EU)

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Ugg Boots: Warm feet…warm heart

Ugg Australia Classic Short II, Women’s Boots, Light Brown, 5.5 UK (38 EU)

Ugg Slip

Ugg Slippers: So that’s Winter sorted!

Ugg Australia Dakota, Women’s Casual, Chestnut, 6.5 UK (39 EU)

Bass Weje Lady

Bass Weejuns: Very stylish – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Womens G.H Bass Weejuns Esther Kiltie Slip On Smart Work Loafers Shoes – Black – 6

DM for Lady

Dr Martens: Yes, these look great on ladies too – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s Original 1460 Patent, Women’s Boots, Black, 6 UK(39 EU)

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Converse: Cool with jeans –  Converse – Chuck Taylor All Stars

Converse Allstar All Star Core Ox Canvas Navy M9697 5 UK

Birkys 3

Birkenstocks  – Heading for the beach? Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Gizeh, Womens-Adults’ Sandals, Blue, EU 37

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Skechers – she will love you for this, I challenge you to find a more comfortable shoe 

Skechers Women’s Go Walk 4-Pursuit Trainers, Black (Black), 7 UK 40 EU

Jewellery

Cartier tank

Cartier Women’s Tank Francais Stainless Steel – Because she really is worth it!

Cartier Women’s W51008Q3 Tank Francaise Stainless Steel Watch 

Swatch Rab

Swatch – an everyday watch to face most things! – Swatch

Swatch Women’s Watch YLS453

Sabo 1

Thomas Sabo Bracelet: A bracelet for memories

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Bracelet Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver Length 17 cm X0031-001-12-M

Sabo 2

Thomas Sabo Charms: A snowflake for Christmas

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Pendant Snowflake Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver 0281-001-12

Desk

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Cross Sterling Silver pen: For fine writing  – Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

Smythsons Notebook

Smythsons Notebook: Poems and Prose

Live Love Laugh Panama Wallet Note Book Smythson red red One Size

Moleskine 18 red

Molskine Diary: Keep a track on your appointments

2018 Moleskine Scarlet Red Large Weekly Notebook Diary 12 Months Soft

Accessories

Dents gloves
Suede glove by Dents

Dents Ladies Short Classic Plain Soft Suede Gloves (Black, Medium)

Longchamp

Longchamp Le Pliage Bag

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Large Tote Bag bag

Longchamp 2
Longchamp Le Pliage Rucksack

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Backpack Backpack

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Rayban Wayfarers: Always and icon  Rayban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses 52mm, Black (901)

Graham Cash socks

Pure cashmere socks: Not just bed socks!

Graham Cashmere – Womens Cashmere Rib Socks – Made in Scotland – Gift Boxed – Mirage Blue

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Pure Cashmere Tartan Blankets: wrap up! 

Pure Cashmere Tartan Blanket, Royal Stewart

Sweet tooth

Bendicks
Bendicks bittermint: a mint hamper 

Bendicks Standard Hamper

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Charbonnel and Walker sea salt caramel truffles

Charbonnel et Walker Double Layer Sea Salt Milk Caramel Truffles 245 g

Stuff

Fit bit 2

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness – Pulse racing? 

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Wristband – Fuchsia, Small (5.5-6.7 in)

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Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – More Advanced Technology From Dyson

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – Fuchsia

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Amazon Kindle Fire: A quite read Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1” 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black – with Special Offers

Ipod
Apple iPod Touch – load a playlist featuring some of her favourites. 

Apple 32 GB iPod Touch – Blue

Bose 35 c

BOSE Bose QuiteComfort 35

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

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Roberts Radio Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Vogue UK Kindle Edition Vogue UK – Sorry UK Only!

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Images courtesy of the Manufacturers

The Country Is Calling – Be Prepared!

Le Chameau

As we run headlong towards the wetter autumn/winter seasons, the prospect of walking the dogs across common land to the local pub for a roast lunch with pints of foaming craft brew then to adjourn beside a roaring log fire is either a dream Sunday for many of us or a Christmas Card image.

Regardless, I buy into a Swedish expression – and they know a thing or two about wet, dark and cold weather – its not how bad the weather is but how good your clothes are. I have a fairly standard weekend wet weather uniform that runs from a simple yet iconic Barbour Waxed jacket, there are many fabulous styles to chose from, but I have always really enjoyed wearing the “Beaufort” model with zipped in lining – see our previous post on this iconic jacket here Barbour Jacket

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Buy your own Barbour Wax Jacket from Amazon by clicking the following link BARBOUR CPS0819 MWX Jacket Men XL

If a longer coat is required with some essential layering – as mine doesn’t have a lining – an iconic Australian, Driza-Bone stockman coat, designed for horse riding in torrential rain – cannot be beaten – please see our previous post here – Driza-Bone coat

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Buy your own waxed stockman’s coat from Amazon by clicking the following link FULL LENGTH WAX STOCKMANS COAT FINE QUALITY DOUBLE FOLD ENGLISH WAXED COTTON (XL 50-52″ 22-24 Unisex, Chocolate Brown)

Under a water-proof jacket a shirt is sensible and the wonderful Woolrich range takes a lot of beating. See our previous post here – Woolrich shirt

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Why not buy a Woolrich shirt – the Black Watch is fab – by clicking this AMAZON link Woolrich Men’s Trout Run Flannel Button Down Shirt, New Royal Blue, Large

Having successfully kept the body warm and dry the next real challenge for anyone considering a “yomp” – and we haven’t herd that word since the Falkland War – in the countryside is the feet. If your preference is for English products then there is a simple answer to this is. Combine long thick wool socks with the definitive English Wellington boot – the Hunter. See here our previous post on these excellent English rubber boots – Hunter Green Wellington Boots

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Buy your own pair of Hunter Wellington Boots by clicking the following Amazon link Hunter Unisex-Adult Original Tall Wellington Boots, Green, 8 UK

Now this is a delicate subject, and I suspect something many will share as a concern, I blame years of cycling, rugby and generally holding me up and propelling me forwards but I have developed calf muscles that would look good on a bullock! They are strong, certainly, but pose somewhat of a challenge when seeking to access a wellington boot that are designed for really hefty calves. My solution has been found by those nice French folk at Le Chameau.

Le Chameau

Le Chameau, are fabulous French-made rubber boots that are given a uniqueness by being handmade by a single boot-maker – who have a year long apprenticeship – in a tradition that has lasted for ninety years. This year sees the celebration of this iconic brand’s 90th anniversary of its founding by Claude Chamot in Cherbourg (Normandy, Northern France). In 1949 M. Chamot established a factory in Casablanca in Morocco and was thus enabled to rename his business “Le Chameau” – French for a Camel – by way of a small “blague” play on his name and the location of his new production facility!

The Le Chameau leather-lined and vulcanised rubber “Chasseur Heritage” is simply the best pair of boots that I have found particularly as I am able to give them my correct measurements. Please remember never put your Le Chameau boots by the fire or against a direct source of heat.

Why not get your own Chasseur Heritage boots by clicking the following AMAZON link Le Chameau Chasseur Heritage Kevlar Mens Wellington Boots Green – 42 EU

Photo credits Barbour, Driza-Bone, Woolrich, Hunter and Le Chameau

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The Hovercraft

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Seldom do we seen such a dramatic shift away from one established technology with the arrival of a competing and, often, better new technology or solution – this is described by the cruelly true word of “obsolesce”.

A classic example is the Kodiak 35mm film or the Polaroid camera – see our earlier piece here on the Polaroid Camera – when confronted with the dawn of mass digital photography and the ever increasing pixels of the cameras incorporated into mobile phones demand for these former market leaders collapsed.

The powered or manual ribbon typewriter was rendered redundant by the arrival its victor, the word processor/computer.

An equally dramatic commercial market shift can be seen in the impact that the opening of the Channel Tunnel, in May 1994 and the commencing of its passenger services in November 1994, had on the transport links typified by ferry boats and today’s iconic design, The Hovercraft.

On many occasions from the mid 1970’s to late 1980’s I used the Hovercraft services that ploughed between the Kent coasts and Northern France. Akin to flying, rising up then skuttling across the waves on its air inflated “skirt”, the ride was fabulous – if a little noisy – for the sea-sick prone, like me, who could resemble an emerald before a traditional ferry boat had left the harbour!

Not entirely without predecessors, the Hovercraft is regarded as a British invention of  the late 1950’s when mechanical engineer Christopher Cockerell’s and his colleagues developed an annular ring of air for maintaining the cushion and providing lift under the vehicle, combined with a successful “skirt”, resulted in the first practical vehicular use of the concept.

Initially, until no military use was shown, Cockerell’s work and design were Classified. However, it was later Declassified and in 1958 Cockerell obtained funding for a full scale model. Launching in June 1959, it crossed the English Channel on 25 July 1959.

By 1968 a car and passenger cross-channel ferry service was offered by Hoverlloyd from the Kent coast to Calais and Boulogne (France) and, later, by Seaspeed – a joint venture with British Rail and the French equivalent SNCF. In 1981 the two businesses merged to become “Hoverspeed” – whose majestic craft is our featured image.

Hoverspeed Brochure

The Hoverspeed services ceased in 2000 and were replaced by Seacat catamarans until 2005. The reason, often cited for their closure was the impact of the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

I’d also suggest the routes suffered from a decline in so-called “Booze Cruises”, when us Brits, would fill up our cars with lowly taxed beers, wines and spirits in Northern France.

Hoverspeed Booze

Although the Hovercraft continues to enjoy a role, both in the military and civilian services around the world, and production still taking place on the Isle of White – the  home of its design and testing – perhaps like Concorde – see our earlier post here – Concorde by Dominic Baker in years to come and market forces identify demand there will be a revival in the fortunes of the Cross Channel Hovercraft services, I would be a keen supporter.

Hover 2

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Photo credits – Hover Speed And MarkusHerzig.com

 

 

 

 

Hackett’s moleskin trousers

Hackett was founded in 1979 by Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings; first as a stall in the Portobello Road and then a first shop at ” the wrong end” of the King’s Road (London)  selling second-hand clothes.

The late 70’s early 1980’s was a time before vintage clothes were called “vintage clothes”. Further up the King’s Road 21st Century Box and Flip (also in Covent Garden) had turned some English but also American bought used-clothes – a particularly baseball college jackets with plush numbers/letters – into London’s youngsters must haves. The era of Punk leather jackets and tartan trousers were all very hot.

In the early 1980’s the more English – and perhaps more discerning South West London consumer – was starting to look to a career in the City so needed a first suit. Why not buy a classic bespoke-made suit – that was made for somebody about your size – at a fraction of the price of the original article?

I did and know loads of others who’d scour the original Hackett’s store in Parsons Green – with its circular front window – for great buys. There were plenty of tailors who make nips and tucks to turn a second hand suit into your own bespoke!

Hackett gradually expanded to several branches and started to move into designing and selling its own designs. One of its signature products that I really liked were the button-fly moleskin trousers in green, blue or vibrant red. I had a pair of all three and loved them.They were lined in a cream poplin-like fabric an became very much your shape. Being tight at the calf meant they’d fit perfectly into a pair Hunter’s green wellington (see The Gallery). Our photo shows the re-imagine classic Hackett’s moleskin trousers.

In 1987, following an appeal for sponsorship the Hackett Polo Team was formed and played out of Guards Polo Club. Always a hit with European consumers shops in Madrid and Paris in 1990.

In 1992 the Hackett business was purchased by Alfred Dunhill – which permitted the opening of the Sloan Street flagship store – and eventually becoming part of the Richemont Group which in turn sold, in June 2005, Hackett Limited to the Spanish investment company Torreal S.C.R., S.A. This enabled a heavy programme of brand investment which included the collaboration with Aston Martin. Many more tennis, rowing, football and horse racing “ambassador” tie-ups and sponsorships continue to this day.

In February 2015, Hackett London (part of the Pepe Jeans Group) was been bought by Lebanese M1 Group and by LVMH subsidiary : L Capital Asia.

Photo from Hackett

 

Hunter Green Wellington Boots

hunters-boots

Launched: Green Wellington 1955

History: Hunter Boot Ltd. is the maker of fine rubber wellington boots.

Established in January 1856 as Norris & Co. (later to become the North British Rubber Company Ltd in September 1857) by Henry Lee Norris (from New Jersey) and Spener Thomas Parmelee (of New Haven) who arrived in Glasgow to work on a Charles Goodyear patent to manufacture rubber overshoes and boots. The company is now headquartered in Edinburgh

A true British heritage brand, Hunter is a Royal Warrant holder “as suppliers of waterproof footwear” to both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

Norris succeeded at the company by William Erskine Bartlett who sold his “Bartlett” patent to British Dunlop for just under $1m to acquire the rights to manufacture and distribute rubber tyres that were substantially similar to those used today.

 World War I saw a dramatic boost in wellington boot production as a result of an order from the War Office to construct a sturdy boot suitable for the conditions in flooded trenches, over 1.1m pairs were made. Likewise, in World War II 80% of production was for war materials, with the boots becoming a firm favourite with the services and civilians alike.

After WWII, boot making moved to a larger factory in Heathhall, Dumfries and in the winter of 1955 the famous Original Tall Green wellington was launched., was made over 50 years ago in the winter of 1955.

In 1966, North British Rubber was bought by car tyre manufacturer, Uniroyal who in turn sold to Gate Rubber Company in 1986 which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tomkins Plc in 1996 who sold on their interest in 1999 to Interfloor – an underlay manufacturer. In 2004, a management-led investor group acquired the Hunter Boots business of Interfloor Group Ltd for £1.98m becoming the independent Hunter Rubber Company. There followed announcements that to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Green Wellington seven different coloured boots would be launched.

In 2006, the Hunter Rubber Company was placed into administration being purchased by a private consortium funded by the Pentland Group Ltd re-launching as Hunter Boot Ltd with a substantial re-structuring of the business saw itself re-established as a major player in the traditional country and leisure footwear markets with summer 2007 seeing an 85% sales increase against the same period in 2006.

High manufacturing and fuel costs caused the business to move production overseas to China and Indonesia – some feel that this had an impact on quality. The likes of Gwyneth Paltrow style guide site www.goop.com doesn’t agree calling Hunter’s and associated rainwear “impeccable, long-lasting quality that result in the kinds of enduring must-haves that become hand-me-downs”.

My Green Hunter Wellingtons: As a kid I remember the chunkiness and smell of our wellingtons they were always a little too tall scratching the backs of our knees but no Sunday ramble, Bonfire Night or Autumn garden clear-up was complete without our trust Wellys.

As an adult, my pair of Hunters bought in the mid 1980’s were a constant site at the banks of a fishing river, a Point to Point and on country walks. That pair unfortunately rotted in an outside shed some years ago – the peril of mistreating real rubber – but as the impact of years of cycling took hold of my calves I was delighted to try on, at Hunter’s Regent Street showroom, a pair with a very comfortable and expandable calf section!

Your Hunter Wellingtons?: Sharing your experiences of this wonderful British brand couldn’t be easier either complete the “Leave a Reply” section below or Reblog this post but we’d really like to hear your tales of the joys of owning a pair of classic Hunter Wellington Boots.

 

Image by Hunter