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Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

When the Bamford Mayfair was announced in the fall of 2017, its founder George Bamford knew exactly how to the market the new $550 watch line. In about every news piece on the watch, George Bamford was quoted discussing how his clients – who were waiting on the servicing of a customized Bamford watch – loved the courtesy “loaner” piece they got so much that he decided to sell them. There is such a cheeky brazenness to the notion that a Bamford customer only has the one watch and needs, let alone loves, a “loaner” piece. So for just over $500, you’re just another guy waiting for his $15,000+ customized watch to get back from the shop.

It’s the kind of aspirational marketing that would make Jean-Claude Biver proud, and now that Bamford is the exclusive customizer for LVMH, the younger Mayfair buyer knows exactly what to aim for when their paycheck matches their watch-lust. But, let’s get to looking at the watch in hand, the Bamford Mayfair. As most of you know, Bamford used to be a huge Rolex customizer until the luxury conglomerate made their services exclusive.

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

A 40mm steel dive watch that runs on a Miyota 2035 quartz movement, the Mayfair comes in a huge variety of dial colors but you can also customize your own. Before I go any further, I want to address something. Is $560 too much for a Miyota quartz watch? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Sure, if you’re making the argument in court that this watch is overpriced by taking a hypothetical brand X with specs and price identical to those of the Mayfair, you could make a decent argument. But the fact of the matter is that anyone interested in this watch is going to put a premium on the Bamford name above all else.

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Bamford is understandably divisive in the watch enthusiast community for a variety of reasons, but the fact remains that it is the most prominent luxury watch customizer in the world. Some of the Bamford aesthetic signatures of blacked out dials/cases, bright colors in specific hues, and of course, the ability to customize, are all front-and-center not just in the Mayfair watch itself, but the experience of buying it (should you choose to customize). There are a lot of young guys out there that understand that when someone asks you about your watch, you’re not going to lead with the Miyota movement, you’re going to tell the Bamford story. Plus, it’s a beater that you won’t feel bad about knocking around until you have enough money to get a Bamford Zenith or TAG Heuer.

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Is all this Bamford love driving some of you crazy by now? Ok, there are clearly drawbacks to the Bamford Mayfair other than value. A lot of people have noted the asymmetrical case design is near-identical to the old Benrus Type I and that’s absolutely true. The case looks great though, and I much prefer a derivative success over an original mess. Fortunately, even the clumsiest customization doesn’t mess with the looks of the case much, since Bamford offers only either a matte black or matte grey case. As for bezels, you’ve got the choice of matte ceramic or anodized aluminum, both of which are unidirectional rotating. Though, you’re not going to get a lot of tactile enjoyment from turning the bezel as it has a lot of “wobble” when set.

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Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On  

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

The made in UK Bamford Mayfair has a sapphire crystal through which lies the time-only display (fortunately no date window, which would have absolutely ruined it) marked with lumed hands. Text on the dial is kept to a minimum, as well, another good design move for the more style-oriented potential buyer seeking a permission structure for what they may see as overpaying for a quartz Miyota watch.

Again, the case size is 40mm wide and 15mm thick with a 20mm lug width. The case is water-resistant to 100m, making it suitable for reasonable water exposure. The strap on the model I wore is in black leather with orange stitching, but there are also NATO and rubber strap options. Oh, and one more thing that’s customizable is the option to have up to 20 characters engraved on the caseback. I imagine many a gift-stumped parent or partner is going to land on the Bamford Mayfair as a birthday, graduation, new job, etc. gift. Frankly, it’s not a bad call.

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Customizable Bamford Mayfair Watch Hands-On

The Bamford Mayfair comes in a very on-brand black wooden box with the Bamford Watch Department logo. It all adds up to a package that is all about the style and design, with little to no regard given to the movement. And really, why should it? Nothing Bamford does has anything to do with what lies beneath the skin, and the Mayfair goes all out love-it-or-hate-it. The Bamford Mayfair watch is priced at $560 and is available from Bamford and Mr. Porter. bamfordwatchdepartment.com

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  • “put a premium on the Bamford name above all else” – that started me laughing out loud. Yeah, nothing gets respect from the WIS crowd like the Bamford name.

    Otherwise, I like the look of the watch but the price for a Miyota based quartz watch ruined it for me. For about the same money, I’d rather keep my Victorinox Inox (a great beater from a brand I personally have more faith in). But good on Bamford for making a decent looking watch.

    • Gokart Mozart

      We only have Bamford due to Roels like it or lump it attitude to its customers.

      Kudos for them to exploiting the market to make an average borderline good looking watch, both uglier and slightly better looking at an eye watering price for an already overpriced watch.

      • Yeah – Rolex’s intransigence was Bamford’s opportunity. Too bad that most of what they produced was ugly and/or had dreadful quality. Hopefully better quality now that LVMH is a willing partner.

  • anonymous

    I hate “bead blasted” finish. It makes metal look like cheap plastic fake-metal.

  • SuperStrapper

    This honestly reads like an April 1st article.

    I wouldn’t buy this for $1.

  • BNABOD

    “Is $560 too much for a Miyota quartz watch? Honestly, it doesn’t matter.“
    Actually that is the only thing that matters. No one knows Bamford no one except the enthusiast that has been eagerly laughing at their overpriced monstrosities of Rolex. 560 bucks for a no name brand w a cheap quartz but yeah you can customize the hands and leather strap gimme a break. Calll it like it is , a rip off, in the same way their customized Tag, Zenith are also a rip off and dare I say…yes UGLY. I have zero respect for a company like that and not shocking the Bive lined up w them …

  • Jon Heinz

    Quartz? If it had even as much as a base Sellita auto, I’d have been in before even typing this. Black PVD with light blue accents and black lume on mine, please… But, it was not to be.

  • BobHoover Tiangco

    With that outragoeus backstory about clients needing this loaner, I would categorize this under the same umbrella as Daniel Wellington. These Bamfords make DW look like great a great buy.

  • “Is $560 too much for a Miyota quartz watch?”

    Not at all. But it’s $560 more than I’d ever give a spoiled child to fund his watch-desecration empire.

    • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

      Excellent comment.

  • egznyc

    No lume shot? I’m not even clear about what is lumed but it seems on this version that it’s black in daylight, ? in the dark. So it probably doesn’t glow so well.

    Way too much for what it is, and 15mm thick for a three-handed quartz watch?!?

  • Jon Heinz

    Just took another look and being too tempted…LOL. Funny that if the Bamford name wasn’t on there it would be a different story, but isn’t that the case with anything that sports a recognized brand name… I mean, the options are limited—you can’t choose options right down to the print on the dial and the color of each hand, for instance—but there’s a fair dinkum selection of pre-configured options that check most everyone’s boxes. It’s just a cheap (comparatively), fun piece that is always there to remind you you’re saving up for one of their customized Zeniths or what have you. I might have to bite, I don’t know. Quartz. Ugh.

    It also kinda resembles the case profile of the pilot’s version of the cheap little Marathon issues. You know, the ones with the plastic case.

  • Jon Heinz

    It’s on par with say, the Tag Carrera Cal 5 which is a USD 2k watch until Bamford, and it goes up to around 6500.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Anything tainted by Bamturd becomes garbage.

  • Jon Heinz

    What I’m talkin’ about… One of the few trends I’ve taken a shine to is the light blue thing. Don’t know why, I just do.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/102290a191279d1e6c3f0cec292ec64c4dabf067026cf410e5c32c1334ff60dc.jpg

  • Marceau Ratard

    I’m not really interested in the watch, but would a bezel with 0-60 make more sense? Given the gradations on the fist 15 minutes it seems like it is trying to be a dive bezel.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Looking at the pictures, please tell me Bilal that you did not fly all the way to Manchester just to look at a cheap Bamford.

    Bit of a wasted trip if it was.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I like the strap, which is nice, but the bezel looks silly. It is ok until you tAke the price and movement into account.

  • John Effing Zoidberg

    Bam bam babam, babam bam babam, I wanna be sedated

  • Spangles

    “But the fact of the matter is that anyone interested in this watch is going to put a premium on the Bamford name above all else.”

    This may be the worst thing anyone has written on ABtW. And you are competing with Ariel.

  • Marius

    Awful and too expensive, so fits with the brand values. Still, it will match your Bamford tractor…

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