Alfred Dunhill Bobby Finder SP25 Limited Edition Chronograph
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Alfred Dunhill Bobby Finder SP25 Limited Edition Chronograph

In 1893, Alfred Dunhill transformed his father’s saddlery into a luxury empire with the needs of sporting gentlemen at its heart. But rather than horses and carriages, it was automobiles—and their drivers—that Dunhill was outfitting. Horns and clocks for the cars (particularly for Rolls-Royce), and overcoats, goggles, and watches for the drivers—“Dunhill’s Motorities” sold it all, from two boutiques in Mayfair (one for men, the other for ladies) or from Dunhill’s catalog.

Over 1300 items were listed in the catalog, giving rise to the tagline: “Everything for the car but the motor.”

In 1903, after receiving a ticket from an enterprising officer of London’s Metropolitan Police, Dunhill developed driving goggles that concealed binoculars. These he dubbed “Bobby Finders” and sold in his catalog (bobby of course being the nickname Londoners gave to members of the Metropolitan Police, after its founder, Sir Robert Peel). Advertisements touted their ability to “spot a policeman at half a mile even if [he’s] disguised as a respectable man.”

Dunhill’s empire expanded along with the British Empire, seeing outposts (referred to by the company as “homes”) springing up in all corners of the globe.

Their range of products grew to encompass a full line of men’s ready-to-wear clothing, though never straying far from the core products that Alfred Dunhill offered in his catalog in the 1890s—watches among them.

But by the dawn of this century, sales of Dunhill’s watch collection flagged a bit.

Enter designer and watch dealer Tom Bolt, alias Watch Guru.

Bolt is a man after our own hearts. A lifelong watch collector and enthusiast, Bolt combines his love of vintage watches with a love for vintage motorcycles. His daily driver is a Triumph Daytona which he rides to his work in central London from his home in the suburbs—50 miles each way, twice a day.

In 2005, Dunhill’s then-CEO, Simon Critchell, had initially contacted Bolt to consider whether it would be possible to sell vintage watches alongside Dunhill’s own watches. But Bolt, scanning the watches on offer, didn’t like what he saw—and told Critchell as much. Unperturbed, Critchell invited Bolt to look through the brand’s archives and create something that would revitalize the faltering watch line.

And so Bolt did, taking inspiration not just from watches, but from cars and motorcycles as well.

This watch, the Bobby Finder, of course takes inspiration from the goggles that Alfred Dunhill created, but with a twist that’s all Bolt.

This Bobby Finder, a SP25, is part of a limited run of only 500 pieces.

In NOS condition, practically unworn, the watch is as interesting as it is rare. The black dial shows subsidiary seconds and a 31-day calendar, an unusual feature in and of itself. Along with box and instruction booklet, the watch (which has an animated Bobby on the back of the case) comes with two bezels—one engine-turned with SuperLuminova hour indices, the other polished with Arabic markers—as well as a bezel-changing tool.

For lovers of cars, watches, and bespoke British tailoring, this watch ticks all the marks. As classic car guys ourselves, we love how the watch is automotive-inspired without being too obvious. We can clearly see it strapped to the wrist of a nattily-dressed man about town, cruising in a vintage Aston Martin—but beware Bobbies when you hit the road!

Details

SKU: AS02267

Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown). Reference DCZ511AL. Self-winding movement.

Overall Condition: Watch is in excellent, as-new condition overall.

Includes one 20mm signed, unworn black leather strap with signed deployant clasp.

Also includes outer box, inner piston tube packaging, instruction booklet, extra bezel, bezel-changing tool.

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