When most people think of Bamford, they probably think of the customization side of the business, but in addition to creating customized renditions of other famous brands’ designs, Bamford has grown into its own watch company that even teams up with other famous brands in adjacent industries to produce various thematic limited edition pieces. Among its more recent releases launched near the end of 2022 is the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001, which is a collaboration between Bamford and the famous British automotive manufacturer that is inspired by the famous Land Rover Defender. Rather than taking a very on-the-nose approach to fusing the two worlds of watches and cars (such as grill inspired dials and tire-print straps), it is simply the overall design of the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 and the principles behind it that ultimately connect this collaboration watch to the famous cult-favorite vehicle that serves as its inspiration.
Similar to the modern Land Rover Defender automobile, which is essentially a contemporary and civilian-oriented take on what was originally a function/forward military design, the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 watch offers a similar approach to the classic mil-spec field watch. Crafted from titanium with curved sandblasted surfaces, the case of the LR001 measures 40mm in diameter by 13.25mm thick, with a winding crown at the 3 o’clock location that is signed with the Land Rover logo. Fitted to the top of the watch is a simple flat sapphire crystal, while the reverse side is closed up by a solid screw-down titanium caseback with a “Land Rover x Bamford” engraving that helps create 100 meters of water resistance.
Just like a traditional military spec field watch, the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 features lugs with fixed bars between them, meaning that pass-through style straps will be your only option. However, the possibility of losing your watch due to spring bar failure is truly non-existent since there are simply no spring bars at all connecting the case to the strap. Compared to the relatively chunky 40mm case of the watch, the 18mm lug width seems slightly thin by comparison, although this “undersized” appearance is quite common on vintage military watches, due to the fact that they were intended to be worn on standard-issue straps. That said, there is zero curve to the lugs at all — in fact, they almost have a reverse curve to them due to the rounded back and the flat front profile of the watch — and once you factor in the additional bulk of the strap material sitting under the case, plus the way that the caseback protrudes from the middle case itself, the LR001 ultimately stands rather tall and has the potential to wear slightly awkwardly on the wrist, despite having fairly reasonable on-paper dimensions.
For individuals with larger wrists, the case geometry of the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 won’t be an issue at all, and the added bulk may actually be a welcome presence for those who normally feel that 40mm is a bit too small for their wrists. In these images, the watch is pictured on Ariel’s wrist (as he was the one who took the photos), and from most angles, it doesn’t really look all that awkwardly proportioned at all. However, Ariel’s wrists are a bit larger than mine, and when I had the opportunity to try the watch on my wrist (which is closer to about 6.5 to 6.75 inches), the lack of curve to the lugs ultimately made the LR001 wear quite a bit bigger than its official on-paper dimensions, and I found it to be too bulky around the lugs for my personal preferences. This slab style of case is fairly common on military style field watches, but due to its already sizable 40mm case diameter, the LR001 ultimately ends up feeling rather big and chunky once you get it strapped down to your wrist.
As far as the strap itself, the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 is available with four different options, although all of them follow the same 18mm NATO design and are fitted with matching sandblasted titanium hardware and a chunky signed pin buckle. The available colors for the strap include black, light brown, dark brown, and navy blue, and while the black and two brown options are made from a corn-derived synthetic leather, the navy blue strap is made from a woven recycled nylon material know as Cordoba. While I only had an opportunity to see the black version of the strap in person, the material itself was decently flexible and comfortable, despite the inherent bulk that accompanies its NATO design. Even still, due to having fairly small wrists, I would probably swap it out for something like a Perlon strap or some other single piece pass-through style that would allow the case to sit a bit lower against the wrist.
The modern, almost sci-fi vibes of the case are carried over into the dial, which features a “sandwich” style construction with a matte gray surface. The minute track and Bamford logo are printed in black, while the LR001 name and depth rating appear in Bamford’s signature hue of aqua blue for a subtle pop of color that still largely adheres to the fairly monochromatic overall appearance of the watch. The hour markers are geometric shapes cut into the upper layer of the dial in order to reveal the luminous green-glowing surface below, and rather than having baton-shaped markers at the poles like many watches that feature a similar overall layout, the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock markers all appear as short arcs that naturally curve with the positioning of their adjacent circular hour markers. An inverted triangle sits at the 12 o’clock location to help offer a clear orientation in low light settings, while the time itself is displayed by a simple set of centrally mounted baton hands with a matte gray finish and luminous inlays. While the core layout of the dial is quite familiar, the arc shaped markers at the poles combined with the rounded lines of the cut-outs themselves ultimately give the LR001 a thoroughly modern and almost space-age appearance.
Powering the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 is a Top Grade version of the popular Sellita SW200-1b automatic movement, which runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 41 hours. Additionally, since the version fitted to the Bamford LR001 is of the Top Grade variety, it also benefits from having blued screws, a Glucydur balance, Incabloc shock protection, and superior regulation/adjustment compared to the standard version of this highly popular movement. The underlying architecture of the SW200 is the single most commonly used Swiss mechanical movement design in the industry today, and while it is very much a known quantity at this point and offers fairly middle-of-the-road performance specs, it is also an incredibly practical and proven design that is both reliable and easily serviced. Given that the LR001 is a design-focused watch with a simple time-only display and no complications whatsoever, a premium version of a common drama-free movement like the Sellita SW200 ultimately makes a lot of sense, especially when it will ultimately be hidden behind a solid caseback anyway.
From a pure functionality standpoint, there are far less expensive ways to get your hands on a time-only titanium field watch, although, given the reputations of the two brands involved in this particular collaboration, the actual retail price of the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 seems fairly reasonable. Bamford is a brand that first made a name for itself by making custom blacked-out versions of Rolex watches, and despite Land Rover’s original utilitarian roots, the brand’s vehicles are far from being the most affordable options within their respective categories. With an official retail price of £1,125 (or £1,350 including VAT), which works out to about $1,400 USD at the time of writing, the LR001 is hardly the most expensive watch that Bamford has put forward, although all 100 examples of the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 Limited Edition were quickly claimed following its launch last year in mid-November, so this is now a model that exclusively exists on the secondary market. While the LR001 is entirely sold-out, it seems highly likely that there will be other collaboration watches released in the future as part of this partnership, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other types of models, such as a GMT or possibly even a chronograph. While the proportions of the LR001 don’t quite work on my small wrist, I personally enjoy the design of the watch quite a bit, and it will be interesting to see how this partnership between Land Rover and Bamford develops and what other watches might result from it. For more information on the Land Rover x Bamford London LR001 Limited Edition, please visit the brand’s website.