Bringing old watch brands back from the dead is quite the thing at the moment. It’s actually surprisingly simple to do. There’s no shortage of company names sitting on dusty shelves. And there’s a ready(ish) supply of cheap far eastern movements and cases just waiting to be turned into the newest incarnation of Miggins et Cie, founded 1856 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, brought back like Lazarus in 2021 on an industrial estate just outside Bradford. This makes it all the more refreshing to talk to Don Cochrane, the founder and owner of Vertex.
If you know your military watches you’ll be familiar with Vertex. Before WW2, under their original name of ‘The Dreadnought Watch Company’, founded by Claude Lyons, the firm had shipped watches to the Western Front in WW1, including some beautiful artillery timers. They were one of the suppliers in WW2 that made the so-called ‘Dirty Dozen’. These were all military watches built to a tight specification from the War Department that set out criteria for legibility, accuracy and sturdiness. As today, all watches were not equal, so to meet the spec. you needed to be a proper watchmaker. Vertex was in fine company with makers like IWC, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC and Omega.