Hands across the universe: Limited edition watch honours Stephen Hawking
He was celebrated for his iconic work A Brief History of Time – now the late Cambridge academic Professor Stephen Hawking has had a limited edition watch named in his honour.
Luxury watchmaker Bremont has worked closely with the Hawking family to create something completely unique and very special to commemorate the life of the remarkable theoretical physicist and cosmologist.
This is one watch that is most definitely not on tick! The women’s version – the first ladies’ watch Bremont has produced in any of its 10 limited editions to date – retails at £7,995. Men’s watches in the edition are priced from that figure up to £18,995.
Prof Hawking’s study of time enhanced our understanding of our universe and beyond.
Bremont co-founder Nick English says: “Professor Hawking was arguably one of the most pre-eminent scientists of the last hundred years. We wanted to celebrate this incredible man's life and his fascinating relationship with time.”
When Stephen Hawking was 12 years old, his schoolmates wagered a bag of sweets that he would either “amount to nothing” or “turn out to be unusually capable.”
Time proved the latter correct as their friend became a celebrated theoretical physicist who made his discoveries accessible to a global audience.
Nick English says: “Hawking's pioneering approach to popular science, alongside his tremendous curiosity and courage, make him a fondly remembered British icon.”
The classically styled Bremont Hawking Limited Edition, featuring a retrograde seconds hand and grand date, contains 4 wooden discs inlaid into the back of the watch taken from the desk at which Hawking contemplated the mysteries of the universe – one of his most treasured possessions.
The chronometer also contains some meteorite to symbolise the cosmos which can be seen at the centre of the hand-finished closed case back, as well as an etching of stars from the night sky in Oxford, on January 8th 1942 – the date that Hawking was born.
The watch's serial number is printed on paper from original copies of a 1979 seminal research paper commonly referred to as The 'nuts' and 'bolts' of gravity, co-written with one of Hawking's longest serving collaborators, Professor Gary Gibbons, that sought to understand the thermal properties of black holes.
His son Tim Hawking comments: “The wood sample in the timepiece originates from an oak, William & Mary slope-front bureau desk drawer thought to date back to the early 18th century. My father's paternal grandmother received it as a gift upon her retirement as headmistress from a school she had founded for girls in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire.
“It was given to my father in 1975 upon his return to the UK after his year's visiting fellowship to Caltech, Pasadena, and would remain with him until his death in 2018.
“My father's work was primarily theoretical. Nevertheless, he was a person who placed great value on precision craftsmanship and the interplay of design and technology.
“This antique desk was a most treasured possession, representing both his grandmother's pioneering commitment to education, and a portal back to happy childhood memories. The Hawking family are delighted that its legacy may live on further now in the Hawking Bremont timepieces.”
Bremont co-founder Giles English adds: “The Hawking Collection is a slight divergence from some of the historic limited editions we've become known for at Bremont.
“Other than celebrating a true British legend, the story has added personal significance for myself and Nick with our father having been very aware of Stephen Hawking after they'd been to St Albans School together, a couple of years apart, and followed the same path to Cambridge University.
“As with each of Bremont's historic limited editions there is also a philanthropic dimension. It's been a real honour working closely with the Hawking family on this project who founded the 'Stephen Hawking Foundation' which facilitates cosmological research as well as support for those who live with Motor Neurone Disease; part of the proceeds from these watches will be going directly to the charity.”