From Morgan to Watches. Matthew Humphries Design

Morgan’s previous chief designer – Matthew Humphries – swapped wooden chassis for stainless steel casings with his new venture, watches. The $355 MHD SQ1 is the latest of the line

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For a man barely in his 30s, Matt Humphries has an impressive CV. While still a student at Coventry University in the UK, he designed a concept car for Morgan – the Aeromax – which so impressed the firm that it went into production and Matt became the firm’s chief designer: in his 20s, Matt was responsible for designing vehicles including the Morgan Eva GT and the Morgan 3 Wheeler. And then he decided to try something else. Matt left Morgan four years ago to set up his own design business. One part of it functions as a consultancy firm, working with various automotive businesses on projects that he’s not allowed to discuss.

But the other side of Matthew Humphries Design works on a passion of his – watches. Matthew Humphries Design Watches was founded in 2014, and initially produced customised Seiko watches in a choice of designs and finishes. But now the firm has released its first in-house watch – the 4 – which stands for Stainless (steel) Quartz. Limited to 300 units, it’s an unashamedly retro design, with a stainless steel case housing a Miyota quartz movement and a dial influenced by the black and red VDO dials of classic Porsche 911s. The rally-style strap mirrors the dial, and is made of black leather with red stitching. It retails for just £250 ($355).

“I love ‘60s and ‘70s Omegas, Heuers, all of the motoring watches from the period, and was keen to do what I call a daily driver watch, which isn’t that expensive but has some character, some automotive influence, has a good quality feel to it and is limited in edition,” Matt says. “It’s always got a slightly special feel compared to buying a Swatch, or something.”

He intends it to be the first in as range of watches that follow a similar ethos and price point. “This first quartz watch is to demonstrate a style and a theme that we’re going to follow. It’s not a Rolex or a Hublot, but it’s a reliable, limited edition product with an automotive theme.

“We’re quite keen to establish ourselves at this kind of price range. If we do a chronograph it’ll probably be slightly more expensive, but I’m keen to keep all of our watches at a reasonable price point. “

Car design goes hand-in-hand with watches and horology, Matt believes. “It’s all part of the same pot.,” he says. “Car designers are all obsessed with detail, mechanical integrity and intrigue. And that’s what I love about watches; the mechanical fascination.”

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