Timepiece art just got even more exciting. I'm thrilled to have helped as Uchi Clothing launched its Uchi Horology Series of unique watch-related art prints and timepiece t-shirts. First off the line, faster than Jo Siffert’s Number 20 Gulf Porsche 917k at the start of 1970's Le Mans 24 hours, is a stunning print and t-shirt combo inspired by the Cal. 11 Heuer Monaco – the Steve McQueen Le Mans racing chronograph...
Over the years, I've helped Bristol-based Uchi with various editing and writing assignments. And offered advice and encouragement to the super-creative 'Mr Uchi' himself. That’s Michael Langley, Uchi's founder and creative driving force.
Michael, as you will appreciate if you already know the Uchi Clothing brand, is a very accomplished (and far too modest) graphic designer, typographer and printer. Over 20 years, the Uchi clothing and art works brand has quietly built a loyal following among people who appreciate Michael's deep understanding of Hip Hop culture, mathematics and science. All three have underpinned his creations to date...
Now, the Uchi Horology Series takes the brand into timepiece art prints and watch-related clothing. With my involvement in the watch industry, it was logical for me to get involved. Initially, this was through an introduction to Geckota Ltd that resulted in Michael becoming one of Geckota's (unpaid) brand ambassadors. He's in good company, alongside the likes of Norwegian undersea engineering and watch industry consultant Morten Paulson and up-and-coming British racing driver Scott Mckenna.
That introduction was a couple of years ago and the relationship blossomed. Most importantly, driven by Michael's desire to do more 'time-related' art works, and his creativity, it’s inspired the Uchi Horology Series.
I've known Michael and Uchi since we both worked for Bristol technical publications agency Piper Group (long since absorbed into BAE SYSTEMS) in the 1990s. That was where I cut my teeth as a technical writer and copywriter on assignments for the likes of AIRBUS, Rolls-Royce, Hyder and JCB. I even made a modest contribution to the Airbus A380 Tooling & Equipment Manual (TEM) before moving to a technical PR agency and then setting up as a self-employed copywriter...
Little did I know then, as I watched Michael nurture his new-born Uchi Clothing brand, how it would develop around Michael's passions of Hip Hop culture, science and mathematics. And how, when Michael moved to Gemini Translation, our paths would converge and ultimately come together in his latest project – the Uchi Horology Series.
The launch products for the Uchi Horological Series, supported by my copy, include A3 and A2 art prints and digitally printed t-shirts. The first product was a tribute to the classic 1969 Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 racing chronograph. More on that later...
As ever with Uchi products (I've bought several with my own money), the quality of the printing matches the thoughtfulness of Michael's unique designs and the skilful integration of multiple design components. The resulting artworks triumph at several different levels. You can appreciate them as stunning graphics. Or as multi-layered explorations of the interwoven horological, design, socio-cultural or motor sporting themes associated with watches. You may think you 'get' the concept and its design elements – then, months later, be delighted to discover a subtle detail that you hadn't seen before. That's Uchi for you.
As a writer, it was my challenge to highlight this. Therein lies much of the appeal of writing about these timepiece artworks. And my excitement about where the Uchi Horology Series will go in future. As it happens, I know. But if I told you, I'd have to...well, you know how it goes… My advice to you, if you love the launch products, is to treat yourself, then watch the Uchi Clothing website closely and come back often over the months ahead...
The work I've done for Geckota and its WatchGecko website since 2015 has been important for what I have now written for the Uchi Horology Series. Since starting to write for Geckota, I’ve shared, and contributed to, the journey of one of the UK's most exciting new micro brands – usually while wearing many of their impressive watches, leather watch straps and stainless steel watch bracelets.
Geckota isn't a fashion brand like Daniel Wellington or Police. Because of this, its watches and straps draw heavily on watchmaking history and heritage for their inspiration. One of the greatest rewards from working with Geckota has been researching and writing about this long and varied history and culture. My work has taken me into the undersea world of Robert Maloubier, Blancpain and divers' watches, and into the skies with Breitling's classic 1950s pilot watches. It’s immersed me in military chronographs from all eras. And racing chronographs from what many regard as a golden age of motor sport – the 1960s and 1970s. I've explored the complexities of tourbillons and tachymeters too. And dived deep into the complexities of the ‘Swiss Made' watch concept as well. The range of my writing encompasses everything from product descriptions and product guides to blog posts and in-depth online articles. In doing so, I've drawn on a lifetime of research and article-writing skills. And the knowledge about watches gained on a very steep personal learning curve since 2015.
These skills and my new knowledge were perfect when Michael needed engaging copy for the launch of his Uchi Horology Series. I was delighted to oblige, not least because the launch products touched on several of my special interests: Swiss designer and typographer Max Bill; German design; the mighty Porsche 917, the Le Mans 24 hour race; and the iconic Heuer Monaco that found its way onto Steve McQueen's wrist – – during the making of Le Mans.
That in itself is a great story celebrated by references to the Cal.11 Monaco in the art works. It's the story of how actor Steve McQueen, through a chain of serendipitous events, came to wear what is now known as 'the Steve McQueen watch' or the 'Le Mans Monaco', while making the movie in 1970. It's particularly interesting because 'the king of cool', like fellow actor-racer Paul Newman, was actually a Rolex fan!
My task, for the new Uchi Horology Series, was to write category, blog and product pages about horological art – and Uchi ’Horology Series in particular. In particular, I love how these Uchi art works aren't just photo-realistic renditions of watches, or abstracts of the Daliesque 'melting watches' variety. Visually and intellectually, there is so much more to them.
Instead, with similar authenticity to Geckota's respectful tributes to fliegeruhren or the 1970s’ Heuer Monza racing watch, Uchi art works capture the spirit of iconic watches and their context. In particular, while writing about these watch art prints, screen prints and digitally-printed t-shirts, I could draw on my knowledge and interest in motor-racing, cinema, the Le Mans 24 Hours (I've attended the race several times) and luxury watches. It was, and is, exciting stuff. For an automotive, travel and watch industry copywriter with a special interest in website and SEO copywriting.
As well as crafting engaging SEO page copy (good for search engines as well as humans), my words had to capture the philosophy behind Uchi's move into timepiece art. And the excitement and passion that Michael radiates when embarking on new projects. I hope I've done Michael and his creations justice.
For years he'd been trying to figure out how to develop his mathematical ('pi') and scientific ('Periodic Table of the Elements') interests into horology. Introducing him to Geckota, and the resulting chemistry, was just the catalyst that Michael's talent needed...
As well as these SEO pages for Uchi (based on research by Graham Baylis of Serendipity Online Marketing near Hereford), I also wrote brand ambassador pages for Uchi Clothing that appear on his website and the Geckota Watchgecko site.
So that’s my collaboration with Uchi Clothing and the Uchi Horology Series in a nutshell. From where I stand at my Assmann Canvaro sit-stand desk, the launch copy is written, the websites are live and the Uchi Horological Series is in the wild. As F1 commentator Murray Walker said at the start of another F1 race, ‘It’s Go! Go! Go!’
As a copywriter, it’s exciting to be in at the start of something genuinely new, creative and impressive. That’s what we've got with the Uchi Horology series of watch art prints and timepiece t-shirts. As far as I can see, there’s nothing else like it.
Do watches, cars, design, cinema and other related topics excite you as much as they do me? If so, check out the Uchi Horology Series, buy some of Michael’s stunning timepiece art and immerse yourself in the world of the world’s most amazing watches.
If you do business in the watch industry, maybe a skilled, professional copywriter could help you too. We live in a digital world of soundbite images and short attention spans. Nevertheless, established luxury watch brands and small vintage watch dealers both need engaging copy for websites, brochures, case studies and PR.
Whatever your interest in watches and horology, that website or brochure copy won’t write itself! As a freelance copywriter since 2006, I’ve helped large and small organisations, and their creative agencies, with their copywriting.
I can do the same for you too, by getting vital copywriting off your to-do list while you get on with running and building your watch business.
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Watch Industry Copywriter for the Uchi Horology Series of timepiece art prints and clothing
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