There are many ways that a watchnerd may come to know about the UK-based watch strap brand GasGasBones. Founded on the goal of reproducing NASA's design for a velcro strap to suit the Omega Speedmaster, GasGasBones have been making custom nylon and velcro straps for many years. If you didn't come to know about GGB after hunting for a perfect Apollo-style strap for your Speedmaster, then perhaps you bought an early Bremont MBII, which included a GasGasBones handmade strap as its secondary mounting option until late 2011.
More recently, GasGasBones has been supplying the straps (and watch roll) included with the current range of Meridian watches, also a small UK watch brand. As a one man operation, GasGasBones is the product of Carl Evans' passion for bespoke straps, military watches and doing things his own way.
GasGasBones is Evans' full time gig and he produces each strap and a variety of watch-related accessories by hand from his workshop in Surrey, England. Amazingly, and more to the point of this article, Evans' has found the time to launch another brand, focusing on the obvious missing link in his watch strap and accessories world, a watch design to call his own.
The new brand is 6B Watches and he is launching the brand with a limited edition pilot's chronograph called the 6645 MK1, or more simply, the MK1. Having served well over 20 years in the Royal Air Force, Evans is reflecting that experience in this new watch design, just as he has done with his straps. The name 6B is derived from a common prefix for the Air Ministry and "6645" is the NATO code for a military wristwatch.
The MK1 is a 44 mm wide pilot's chronograph that is powered by an ETA/Valjoux 7750 Swiss movement. Measuring in at 13 mm thick, the MK1 is certainly a masculine watch but should be quite wearable and perfectly practical given its sporting/military intentions. The case is stainless steel with mixed finishing, screwed lugs and a flat sapphire crystal. The dial design is all business and has been tuned to be as legible as possible, including a flat black base, Superluminova luminous treatment, and the deletion of the day/date function that is normally available in the Valjoux 7750.
As I would rather have no date than a date that clutters a dial, I think this is a fantastic decision and the dial of the MK1 looks great, with a tri-compax layout and a tachymeter scale on the chapter ring. The German-made case is fitted with a solid, military-style steel case back and the crown screws down to provide 100 meters of water resistance.
Limited to just 20 pieces, the 6B MK1 comes individually numbered on its case back and is delivered in a handmade and numbered watch wallet and tray. Also included are three straps, two GasGasBones leather straps and a grey Phoenix Nato G10 strap as issued to the UK Forces. These straps will feature carbon fibre tubes that are designed to perfectly fit the MK1's lug bars, removing any wiggle or shift from the connection between the strap and the head of the watch. The wallet, tray and GGB straps are handmade by Evans and the wallet is made from British leather and is meant to be used to store other items (money, phone, documents) and not to collect dust in a closet like most watch boxes.
The 6B 6645 MK1 is available for direct order from 6B for £1,595.00 or about $2,550 USD at the current exchange. For an ultra-limited Swiss chronograph from a sibling brand to GasGasBones, we think the asking price is more than fair. 6B will announce more models in the future but for now it's just the MK1 and as you're reading this, all I can guarantee is that there are less than 20 still available. Check out the gallery below for more photos. gasgasbones.com