The Connolly Guest Newsletter Series
With George Bamford
Entrepreneur, founder of Bamford Watch Department and classic car enthusiast.
1. What's new?
The new thing in my life right now is our latest watch, which is called the Bamford Mayfair. It was inspired by the inexpensive service watches we provide to customers when their own watches are in for repair. So many people told us they liked them and wanted to keep them that we decided to design the Mayfair, which is a simple, £435 watch that can be worn anywhere, every day. I wear mine a lot and currently chop and change between it, a Zenith and a TAG Heuer.
2. What's your favourite way to waste time?
It's hard to imagine a favourite way of doing something that I absolutely hate. Instagram wastes my time, which annoys me very much - but one means of wasting time that I very much enjoy involves hanging out with my children, reading to them and playing games together. But is that a waste of time? Not really....
3. What do you tune in to on a car journey?
This could be regarded as my new guilty secret - but I have recently discovered the delight of tuning-in to documentary programmes on You Tube. I think we're going through revolutionary times in terms of our ability to discover people informing us about everything from new technology to the history of World War Two. The quantity of material available in both audio and audio-visual formats is incredible.
4. What's your favourite road movie?
Although it is a racing car movie rather than a road movie, my instinct is to say Le Mans starring Steve McQueen. But that's probably rather boring and obvious, so I'm going to say Road Trip. It is undeniably silly, but it makes me giggle from beginning to end every time I watch it. And now I'm going to watch it tonight.
5. Who is your ideal travelling companion?
Well, when I'm on a long car journey I love to be with someone I can chat to and learn something from - and who could be a more interesting companion than Winston Churchill. I imagine it would be a crazy journey carried out in a haze of cigar smoke, but it would be utterly memorable and one would discover so much.
6. What is your favourite view?
My favourite view is not a conventional vista, but the view from inside London's Brompton Oratory. I go there almost every day and never cease to be amazed by the beauty of the place. It is simply stunning.
7. What is the fastest speed at which you have travelled on land?
It happened on a race track - of course! - and was around 170mph. I was around 19 years old at the time, and my father had given me sufficient money to buy a Mini - but a friend who worked for BMW told me that, for less than the cost of a new Mini, I could buy a BMW 8-Series Alpina with a 5.7 litre engine. It had been built for the Sultan of Brunei. I have always regretted selling it.
8. If you could invent a motoring accessory, what would it be?
My ultimate motoring invention would be a car that could transform into a motorbike to get through city traffic. But, in terms of accessories, I think I'd like to invent a really attractive keypad ignition system that would do away with the need to fit ugly steering locks. Such a system already exists - but I'd love to make it better looking.
9. When in London....
When in London, I always travel by black cab. They are the best form of transport in the city, both because they are symbolic of London and because I love waxing lyrical with the drivers. I often get into such long conversations that I don't notice when we've arrived until I see that the meter is still ticking.
10. Do you have a Connolly favourite?
I walk past the Connolly store on a regular basis and always see things that I like. I've always been especially fond of the tool kit - but only this morning I saw a leather hamper in the window. That's my new favourite piece of Connolly kit.