Matthew Hilton makes time


The UK’s most celebrated and modern carpenter has turned his hand to heavy metal. All hail the Matthew Hilton watch – destined to become a design classic of the 21st Century

Matthew Hilton watch

The Matthew Hilton watch

We love just about everything that Matthew Hilton has ever designed. We work on Hilton-designed Ercol-manufactured Treviso desks in the Civilian office, and we covet his Hepburn sofa more than any other piece of furniture designed in the last ten years.

Hilton set up his design company in 1984, launched his first work at the Salone del Mobile in Milan two years later and then created the now classic Balzac armchair in 1991.

His woodwork with production partners De La Espada represents some of the most modern and luxurious carpentry in the world. He is the master of the splayed leg and the tapered edge – refreshing elements of the modernism of the 1950s with a restrained, sculptural, elegant flair.

There’s nothing nostalgic or retro about his work, as the Matthew Hilton watch – launching at Margaret Howell’s London store on Wigmore Street during the London Design Festival in September 2013 – demonstrates.

Hilton has created a timepiece that is absolutely modern. “I wanted to use the high quality engineering and craftsmanship we have in the UK,” he says. “This expertise comes from fields as diverse as the medical industry, Aerospace and Formula One, but I wanted simplicity and reduction to shine through. [It has a] basic but luxurious design through the use of best materials and removal of superflous detail.”

Matthew Hilton worked with a team of engineers at Ilford Engineering to create a bead-blasted stainless steel casing – it has a dramatic, machine-crafted, bold heft.

The casing and face of the Matthew Hilton watch are combined in a single component, attached to a Bill Amberg leather strap that uses a single piece of high-grade Italian aniline calf leather, laser cut and simply finished with wax. The strap is stitched to a machined stainless steel buckle, passed through the body of the watch and held in place by the steel back cover plate. Packaging has been designed by Spin, the award winning designers of Hilton’s own website.

The Matthew Hilton watch is a reassuringly heavy piece of design, milled from 316 marine grade stainless steel, with a mineral crystal cover, with a water resistant rating of 3ATM. A battery-powered Swiss-made quartz movement is embedded within a small hollow chamber inside the stainless steel body, secured by a steel back cover plate and gaskets.

The Matthew Hilton watch is strong, simple and destined to become a true design classic. C