My Three Watch Wardrobe: Mr Guy Berryman
When he’s not touring as part of one of the world’s most successful bands, Coldplay bassist Mr Guy Berryman has plenty to keep him busy, be it designing clothing for his newly launched line Applied Art Forms, publishing cult motoring magazine The Road Rat or restoring and rallying classic cars. A passion for design underpins his every project, which dates back to studying mechanical engineering and architecture at university, and extends to a fascination with the history and functionality of watches.
“I really gravitate towards watches that have some kind of heritage and a sense of gravitas,” says the MR PORTER’s Style Council Member. “I like to put on a watch and think just for a second, ‘OK, I’m a submariner or a spaceman or a pilot.’ It’s that sense of occasion that a certain watch can make you feel.”
For Berryman, the exercise of choosing three watches for a fantasy collection proved to be a test of resistance to temptation. “I’ve basically blown all of my income on cars, and with watches I’m very cautious. I’ve got quite a small collection because I know that if I let myself go, I could have a lot,” he admits. “With cars, you’re very limited by space, but with watches you can get an awful lot in a cupboard…”
IWC Big Pilot’s Automatic
“I love IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN because of its links to aviation and pilots. This is a watch that stems back to the 1940s, when you would have been flying in a cold, dark cockpit and you really would have needed to see that dial very clearly. And when you design things to work functionally, you always end up with something very beautiful. Actually, before I started restoring cars, it was my ambition to restore a Spitfire and learn to fly it. But, I soon realised it was a pretty complex task; they’re quite dangerous and quite involved to fly. I did start taking flying lessons though, then I bought a Tiger Moth and started restoring that. And then I realised I didn’t have the skills to restore that either! I gave it to an expert, and by the time he’d restored it I’d got bored of the idea of flying. So I sold it and moved into restoring classic cars and that was a much more comfortable situation for me.”
Panerai Luminor 1950
“Like the IWC, what I like about this is the origin story, that history of use by Italian submariners. I look at the original iteration of a watch, and if I was choosing a new one, I would want it to reflect that. I think when somebody designs something, it’s that first iteration that’s always the strongest vision, the purest and most beautiful. So the watch I’ve chosen represents something that is closest to the original Panerai watches issued to those Italian servicemen. It’s not necessarily an everyday watch, but it’s just something to give me something different to wear every now and again in rotation.
“I often find that when I’m buying cars I like the original versions best; the Lamborghini Countach, for instance. The very first car was relatively understated and very beautiful, but by the time they finished production, it was covered in wings and wheel arches and air intakes.”
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Automatic
“I have to say, I’m utterly in love with this. I read that it’s derived from a watch called the 222, which I’ve now fallen in love with as well. It’s just a well-balanced watch, isn’t it? The purity and simplicity of that dial, the way the bracelet flows into the case. Even just from pictures you can see the fine detailing on this bracelet, and the way that that Maltese cross joins the clasp is beautiful.
“I think it’s a very, very decent piece of design, and functional in the sense that it’s reflecting light and giving a sense of its craftsmanship. I am completely in love with this watch, and that is dangerous. I know it’s a lot less than a car but don’t try and talk me into it – I probably don’t need much persuasion. This would have to be an everyday watch for me, for sure, because I’d never take it off.”