A Bentley Mulsanne Speed1, exquisite watches and the art of finding the perfect combination of tradition,
modernity and luxury: on a drive with entrepreneur George Bamford through the Midlands of England.
A winding country lane in the Cotswolds in Central England, a captivating, undulating landscape not far from Oxford. A sonorous purr marks the passage of a deep black Bentley Mulsanne Speed as it glides past head-high hedges and walls. Gnarled trees and stone farmhouses salute from the wayside. A pub appears at the side of the road, next to it a red phone box – this is picture book England. What better way to travel in style through this region known as the heart of England. George Bamford smiles softly, but cannot be drawn into responding. Maybe the way he drives is answer enough. Cool, calm and collected, he is in complete control despite – or maybe even because of – the Bentley’s huge reserves of power.
George Bamford is a car enthusiast and entrepreneur. The 36-year-old founded the “Bamford Watch Department” headquartered in London 13 years ago. The business customizes luxury watches to meet the wishes of their wealthy owners. Bamford’s father, Lord Anthony Bamford, is the chairman of a leading construction equipment manufacturer founded by Bamford’s grandfather.
Bamford brings the Bentley to a halt in the courtyard of an expansive country house. The beige gravel crunches quietly under the tires. This is where Bamford spends weekends with his wife and three children. His collection of exclusive cars is housed in several garages, tended daily by a member of his staff, and shrouded in delicate covers resplendent with the “B” emblem.
Bentley and Bamford: that has become a tradition. “Our family owns a few Bentleys”, Bamford says as the kettle boils for tea. It would be no exaggeration to talk of an almost timeless love affair which began with his grandfather. “Bentley is a brand with a unique blend of style, perfection and engineering prowess”, he adds. Bamford’s black Mulsanne Speed is a one-off model, designed in close collaboration with Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house bespoke personalization division.
“Bentley is a brand with a unique blend of style, perfection and engineering prowess.”
“For me, my Bentley Mulsanne Speed is the embodiment of what true luxury products must deliver in the 21st century to keep their clientele satisfied and turn them into loyal customers.” Bamford believes the critical factor is to create a unique, almost symbiotic relationship between the product and the owner through personalization. And that is exactly what Bamford Watch Department does. Some 50 designers, technicians, watchmakers and marketing experts in and around London craft and market luxury watches. These sophisticated timepieces are one of a kind: a watch face was designed for a horse owner in a shade of brown to match the pants worn by her jockey when he won a prestigious race. Another customer commissioned an intricate mechanism that conjured up a tiny heart on the watch face to celebrate her wedding anniversary each year. The exquisite chronometers are available from 48 branches all over the world.
The Bentley Mulsanne Speed has a special place inBamford’s world. “The car is a particularly noble ‘workhorse’ in our company.” It collects customers from the airport and chauffeurs them through London. The comfort, the black-in-black interior and other color highlights help to build a relationship with the Bamford Watch Department brand. During the journey, customers can take a closer look at the watches displayed in a futuristic carbon box located in the back of the car.
Having a motorcar that he can use for business because his discerning guests feel completely at ease in its luxury – so much so that some even might lose track of time. That is definitely beneficial for Bamford’s business. The design of the Mulsanne Speed may be timeless – but a chronometer is still extremely useful for everything else.
1 Bentley Mulsanne Speed fuel consumption in l/100 km combined 15.0;
CO2 emissions in g/km combined 342. Efficiency class G.