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British Watchmaker Vertex's First Ad Campaign in 50 Years Taps into Their Military Heritage

Creative 284 Add to collection

Poster campaign created by Grey London in partnership with printmaker Jonas Ranson of Blacklist Editions

British Watchmaker Vertex's First Ad Campaign in 50 Years Taps into Their Military Heritage
British watchmaker Vertex evokes the story of its legendary Caliber 59 military issue watch to promote the limited edition M100, in a new campaign created by Grey London - the brand’s first advertising in 50 years.

Established in 1917, Vertex was one of the so-called ‘Dirty Dozen’ – 12 companies that built and supplied watches to the specifications of the UK Ministry of Defence. Its Caliber 59 was officially issued to British special units during the Second World War. 

Though Vertex ceased production in 1972, it was re-launched by Don Cochrane, great grandson of the company’s original founder, with the launch of the new M100 - a tribute to the Calibre 59 – earlier this year.


As with Vertex advertising of the 1950’s, Grey’s campaign leverages the brand’s credentials as a watch supplier to the British military. 

A series of posters and print ads running in premium and specialist magazines draw heavily on the M100’s design aesthetic and the brand’s history. 

Deconstructed images of both watches spliced together dramatise how faithful the M100 is to the Caliber 59. Incorporated into the creative work are design details such as the watches’ distinctive broad arrow symbol, seconds indices and distinctive double red spots. 

The use of both contemporary and 1940s typefaces further emphasise a combined sense of tradition and modernity.

The creative team worked with the Royal College of Art-trained printmaker Jonas Ranson, of Blacklist Editions, to create a vintage silk screen finish. 

Vertex’s retail strategy for the M100 also has echoes of the Caliber 59. The new model is only available on an invitation and referral basis. Its predecessor was never intended for civilian use. 

Don Cochrane, Chairman at Vertex, said: “The M100 was created to re-establish the Vertex brand and provide a platform to tell the story of Vertex and its place in horological history. Outside of the vintage watch collecting community, the Vertex name was all but forgotten. This campaign is really a way for us to share with the current generation of mechanical watch lovers the story of the Caliber 59 and the important role it played in British military history.”

Andy Lockley, Creative Director at Grey London, said: “Watches are like little portals through which you can peer into the past and learn about historical context. Vertex made Britain’s first ‘military issue’ watch and played a small but vital part in the allied war effort. Our brief was to tell the story of this, one of the most important military watches of the last century. Provenance is everything in horology and with this campaign we really wanted to pay tribute to the Caliber 59 and the men who wore it. You need only to look at the success of the movie, ‘Dunkirk’, to see how this period of history still captivates people.” 

The campaign was developed at Grey London’s Hatton Garden office which is opposite Diamond House - the site that Vertex’s original factory occupied from 1917 to 1972.
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Vertex - M100 Behind the Scenes
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Genres: People

Categories: Retail Stores, Retail and Restaurants

Grey, Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:55:05 GMT