The Royal Marines training centre at Lympstone is the inspiration for a new watch that brings together elite horology with unbeatable functionality.

When it comes to courage, dedication and selflessness, few fighting forces can compete with the Royal Marines.

Its training base – the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) at Lympstone in Devon – trains all Royal Marines officers, recruits (including the Royal Marines Band Service) and reserves.

Now, building on the success of 2019’s Military Collection and our bespoke services, Christopher Ward has worked with the Royal Marines to produce an elite ‘tool’ watch to honour CTCRM Lympstone.

The training site at Lympstone is the beating heart of the Royal Marines. Each year, 1,200 recruits and 60 officers undertake initial training there. In addition, the centre delivers All Arms Commando Training to other UK armed forces so they too can gain the ‘green beret’ (unique to the Royal Marines) as well as Command And Specialist Training to trained ranks.

“Lympstone is special for all Royal Marines regardless of rank, age and where you end up,” says Lieutenant Colonel Michael Scanlon, Commanding Officer of Commando Training Wing. “There’s a concentration of energy that comes from that: it’s full-on. The ‘commando mindset’ is underpinned by the commando spirit: determination, courage, humour in adversity and selflessness. Added to that, our ‘commando values’ of excellence, discipline, integrity and humility are at the centre of what it is to be a Royal Marines Commando.”

Lympstone is special for all Royal Marines regardless of rank, age and where you end up
Lympstone is special for all Royal Marines regardless of rank, age and where you end up

A watch fit
for heroes

The new C60 Lympstone, like its best-selling predecessors in the Military Collection, is a rugged and handsome beast, but it differs in one crucial way. “The C65s are retro-looking, vintage-inspired watches,” says CEO and co-founder, Mike France. “But the C60 Lympstone is a contemporary design based on the new ‘Trident 3’ C60 case.”

“We wanted to make a modern tool watch, fit for a modern force,” says Adrian Buchmann, head of product design at Christopher Ward. “The C60 Trident steel case has a gunmetal and black ‘stealth’ feel. We’ve taken materials inspiration from the tools the Royal Marines employ; forged carbon is a material used in weapons – we’ve made a dial from it. Cordura®, the advanced fabric we’ve used for the strap, is supplied to the military, so it’s incredibly tough.”

Excellence, discipline, integrity and humility are at the centre of what it is to be a Royal Marines Commando
Excellence, discipline, integrity and humility are at the centre of what it is to be a Royal Marines Commando

There’s also an utterly new-to-CW tool – a solar compass on a rotating inner bezel. “For obvious reasons, we couldn’t have used a magnetic compass on a mechanical watch,” says Adrian. “This uses the sun and the hour hand to help you orientate yourself when you’re out in the field.” It’s certainly a watch made for adventure in challenging environments: as well as being waterproof to 600m, there are bigger, protective guards around the two screw-down crowns at 2- and 4 o’clock.

This detailed approach to design planning mirrors the intensity of the training at CTCRM Lympstone. Currently 32 weeks – the Royal Marines are trialling a four-week recruit orientation phase – the training programme is legendary.

“We start by militarising civilians with progressive physical training and individual soldiering skills, moving onto advanced group tactics to create a cohesive fighting unit,” says Lt. Col. Scanlon.

“We have first-class instructors and facilities; there’s so much science, technology and subject matter expertise behind the training programme. Fundamental, basic soldiering is the key to advanced soldiering, but nowadays, we deploy recruits with equipment like heart rate monitors to track fitness and Tesware to measure shooting accuracy.”

The compass uses the sun and the hour hand to help you orientate yourself when you’re out in the field
Locked on. Royal Marine Commandos pictured during a Green Ops exercise

Advanced engineering

Never far from CW’s mind, accuracy was also critical to the development of the C60 Lympstone and the rest of the Military Collection. Each is a COSC-certified chronometer, with a tolerance of just -4/+6 seconds per day.

“Synchronising watches for military exercises dates back almost as far as the history of the chronometer,” says Mike France. “That these watches needed to be pinpoint-accurate was always a must.”

Of course, timing is as vital to training exercises as it is to active service. “The last and hardest challenge of our recruits’ training is commando test week,” explains Lt. Col. Scanlon. “‘Test week’ ends with a 30-mile yomp [hike], carrying full battle order, across Dartmoor: they’re set off marching in syndicates, with 10 minutes between waves. Despite the challenge, there’s a light atmosphere – you’re forced to eat the obligatory Cornish pasty and military-issue lime cordial at each stop. But the clock keeps ticking.

“At the finish, you shake yourself off and then join a hollow square for the presentation of the green berets from the Commanding Officer. It’s simple and poignant – a real hairs-on-the back-of-your-neck emotional moment.”

It’s easy to be awed by the achievements of these commandos. “We’re a close tribe, with ethos and heritage,” says Lt. Col. Scanlon. “We’re not superhuman; it’s all achievable with the right mindset, concentrating on commando spirit, values and a dose of humility.”

It’s said each Marine takes a piece of Lympstone back out into the force with them, so central is the place to the commando spirit. A spirit that each of us can carry with us on the wrist, wearing the C60 Lympstone.

The C60 Lymptone is available now, priced from £940

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