5 watches to revisit the era of the flying scotsman

First published: 22-04-2016

Gentleman's Suit

It's the roaring 20s and a train with an indistinguishable name - LNER Class A3 4472 - is rolling off the factory floor for the very first time. Better known as the Flying Scotsman, and as the first steam engine to reach the dazzling speed of 100 miles per hour, it's hailed today as one of the biggest feats of British engineering.

To celebrate its restoration and display at the British Railway Museum throughout the month of April, we've put together some suggestions for you to channel your inner 20s, not in transport, but in time-honoured fashion.

The skeleton look

Showcasing the intricate workings of a timepiece is just as popular today as it was almost 100 years ago. There's something about the turning of the cogs and the ticking of the mechanisms that continues to mesmerise every generation that claps eyes on it.

With the workings taking pride of place at the heart of this Rotary Vintage automatic watch, wearing a skeleton timepiece on your wrist is one of the best ways to celebrate the fashions of the decade that brought us such works as The Great Gatsby, as well as the flourishing of the Art Deco movement.

Rotary Men's  Vintage Automatic Watch

Showing the parts that make it tick is just one of the vintage elements of this piece, with its beautiful brown leather strap and Roman Numerals all working together to transport you back to the inter-war period.

Beautifully oval

While 20s fashion may be remembered best for its bold, straight lines, watches also frequently came in circular and oval shapes. Harking back to the previous era, the flowing lines of an oval watch find their roots in the Art Nouveau movement of the 1890s, which was still as popular as ever in the roaring 20s.

The free-flowing nature of this Art Deco watch from Frederique Constant is evident from top to bottom. The face is rounded to perfection, working in tandem with the oversized Roman Numerals that are every bit as bold as you'd expect from a piece that represents the style of the era.

Frederique Constant Ladies' Art Deco Watch

It's a slim piece, too, that is traditionally feminine, while it fastens with a metallic strap that's every bit as beautiful as the face itself. Every single link is curved and rounded to match the face, with each part of the watch complementing the rest.

Geometric design

Indicative of 20s fashion are the bold lines that the Art Deco era has since become renowned for. Naturally, a timepiece with a square or tonneau face harks back to this era, and arguably represents the decade as a whole better than anything else.

This 1925 Esprit Art Deco watch from Michel Herbelin does exactly what it says on the tin - it's thoroughly inspired by the namesake era. The face is beautifully and boldly rectangular, framed by a shiny silver case.

Michel Herbelin Men's 1925 Esprit Art Deco Watch

With the white face and the black strap, there's a real contrast between the colours on the piece, allowing it to stand out against any backdrop you choose to pair it up with. Roman Numerals have been chosen over batons or numbers, giving an added nod towards 20s fashion.

An artistic touch

As the Art Deco movement was such a popular one, designers only became more inspired by the trend, with jewellery and watches alike becoming pieces of art themselves in design.

While certain watches may nod towards the era for inspiration, other modern timepieces could be mistaken for actual antiques, thoroughly synonymous with the era in design.

This Sekonda Ladies' Watch is a prime example. The case is tonneau-shaped and is complemented by a very minimalist watch face. With slender hands matched with slender batons, the focal point of the piece is actually its unique and stunning strap.

Sekonda Ladies' Watch

The strap is as bold as they come: lines of sparkly stones leading onto a shiny silver band. And while the shape may be bold, it also has slender, feminine qualities that are indicative of 1920s ladies' watch styles - it's a real head-turner.

For the true 20s fan

What could be a better representation of the age of train travel and steam power than a pocket watch? Nothing, that's what.

Sparking images of early 20th century gents with suave suits and the accessories to match, a pocket watch can still be the crowning jewel of an outfit in the 2010s.

This pocket watch is made by renowned watchmakers Royal London, and features a host of 20s-inspired elements. Take the bold numbers on its face for example, which are even more Art Deco than the tried and tested Roman Numerals.

Royal London Open Face Pocket Skeleton Mechanical Watch

It's also a skeleton watch, showing its workings for all to see. And with such slender hands on its face, you can see its mechanisms as clear as day. Pair it up with a gold chain to match its equally as golden face, and you'll look right at home on the Flying Scotsman itself.

With the fashions and triumphs of the 20s on the agenda more than ever before, thanks to the Scotsman's restoration and display at the National Railway Museum, what better time is there to celebrate all the best things about the era? Go forth and inspire your style with the very best designs from the inter-war period.


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