Sir Frederick Henry Royce, Co-Founder of Rolls Royce, once said that you should "Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it". These words uttered at the beginning of the last century influenced Mr. Luke Waite at the beginning of this one when he founded Titan Black in 2007. As no major brand offered customization options and as Mr Waite says that it is "the client who ultimately controls the luxury market", he decided to empower those clients whose ideas had been abandoned. When it does not exist, design it.
Titan Black allows clients to either select from pre-designed customizations or to design a piece from the ground-up using their online tool. I first became aware of Titan Black a few years ago whilst reading the popular watch & whiskey blog Bexsonn when they interviewed Mr. Waite and showcased the customized Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Metal Gear Solid. Like Chris at Bexsonn, I'm also a big fan of the MGS series so when I saw the watch it played me like a fiddle, perhaps the only video game inspired watch to do so. However to my disappointment, there is only one in the world and it belongs to a Kazakhstani lawyer who is believed to be among the top MGS players in the world. Better luck next time.
The Titan Black Oscar Collaboration is a limited run of twenty five customized Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400 watches, each finished in black diamond like coating (DLC) with the Chelsea team colors coating the hands and hour markers. DLC is incredibly tough and is eight times more resistant to scratches than standard untreated steel. Designed in collaboration with the Chelsea midfielder Oscar, the watch features at six o'clock the midfielders O8 branding which also appears on the limited edition wallet and box.
This is not the first pairing between Chelsea FC and Titan Black. In 2012 Titan Black were commissioned to make a series of customized Rolex Daytonas for the players to celebrate their victory in the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately for Oscar, he joined the team a few months after their victory so missed out on getting a watch of his own. Now four years later he was able to design one to his exact specifications so perhaps it was worth the wait after all.
I'll be frank and say that I'm not a sports guy and that football (Both American and actual football) has never interested me in the slightest. I will admit to having to google Oscar to find out who he was and what team he plays for. Whilst the connection to Football is lost on me, I am really interested in the partnership between Titan Black, Oscar and the Great Ormond Street Hospital. For every Oscar Milgauss sold, a £1000 (Approximately $1440 USD) will be donated to the amazing charity. The world renowned children's hospital is one of the most worthy causes that money could be raised for, having been dedicated to providing the best quality care and treatment to children for 164 years.
Whilst I am sure that there are other watch brands involved in charity work, the only one that comes to mind immediately is Omega with their De Ville Hour Vision for Orbis and the Planet Ocean Goodplanet GMT for the Good Planet Foundation. Orbis is dedicated to transforming lives of those in developing nations who lack basic eye care ; they provide training to local professionals and have a flying eye hospital to deliver care directly to those in need. The Goodplanet Foundation is a non-governmental organisation that supports ecology and sustainable development through education and raising awareness. A few years ago of behalf of a client, I enquired to Omega and was told that they donated a lump sum when the watches were announced rather than a proportion of the price with each sale. There is as well the yearly Only Watch auction which raises the money from special one-of-a-kind lots to support research for Muscular Dystrophy.
There needs to be more done by the watch industry to support charities as there are many clients willing to pay a premium for unique, rare or customized watches like the Oscar Milgauss. Once all twenty five Oscar Collaboration watches have been sold, £25,000 ($36,000) will have been donated to a Children's Hospital. We in the watch industry sometimes throw figures like that around for rare watches and can lose sight of what that means in the real world where that money can mean the difference between tears of laughter or sadness, of life and death.
I'm not the target market for the Oscar Milgauss but given the worldwide popularity of football, there are at least twenty five people will jump at the chance for this piece. Whilst researching Oscar, I found out that there have been rumors that a Chinese team reportedly offered Chelsea £75,000,000 ($108,460,000) for the 24 year old. An offer which the Club rejected. Perhaps if they had thrown in a Titan Black Oscar it might have sweetened the deal?
To enquire about the Titan Black Oscar Milgauss, visit www.titanblack.co.uk. For more information on the charities mentioned, visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Orbis, Goodplanet Foundation and Only Watch.
Newport-Foster, B. (February 10, 2016). Introducing the Titan Black Oscar Milgauss Collaboration [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.timepiecechronicle.com/features/2016/2/9/introducing-the-titan-black-oscar-milgauss-collaboration