Just down the road from the Locke & King headquarters in Hamilton is the city of Toronto. That’s where you will find the storied Ossington Avenue, after which the brand’s second timepiece has been named. This past summer Ossington was named one the coolest streets in the world by the UK-based media company, Time Out.
Tucked in between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West, the 560m Ossington Strip—as it is also known—dates back to 1816 when it was built to join two stretches of longer military roads. Throughout its history the street has seen its fortunes rise and fall. In 1968, James Earl Ray hid out there after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. In the latter half of the century, it became a largely industrial street of garages and car part manufacturers and eventually it descended into crime as haven of gang activity.
Its renaissance over the last two decades—built from the allure of rock-bottom rents—has turned it into one of the trendiest spots in Toronto. Now a pedestrian paradise of funky garment shops, art galleries, culturally diverse eateries, live music, and micro-breweries, Ossington has reinvented itself as a dynamic destination and neighbourhood hangout.
Capturing that sense of rough and tumble history, alongside its current resurgence, is not an easy task. To achieve this vibrant mix, Locke & King looked to the avenue’s mid-century architecture for inspiration. The resulting design is minimalist with hints of Bauhaus, which explains the simple geometry of the watch—the chunky, chrome appearance of its polished steel case. And yet there is a nod to modern complexity in the guilloche dial, as well. The markers draw upon the public art installation by Scott Eunson (Ossington Particles), which can be found throughout Ossington metro station. The red-tipped seconds hand is also reference to its Canadian roots, pointing north like the needle from a pocket-compass.
The Ossington is nicely sized at 40mm in diameter and 11.4mm thick, with the sapphire dome. Like The James before it, the watch is constructed in two sections which are joined by four screws. The fluted bezel of its older brother is gone here, giving the watch a more everyday appearance. Its large, screwed down crown helps offer up a decent 100m of water resistance, and its caseback (also attached by screws) is embossed with the brand’s telltale logo.
The watch is powered by the Miyota 9015, which is a 4Hz, high-beat movement, oscillating at 28 800bph. It provides 42 hours of power reserve and a date complication, which has been seamlessly integrated in a circular window at six.
Locke & King have opted, once again, for a vintage-styled leather strap on the Ossington. It has stainless steel hardware and the buckle is signed.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
20mm Lug Width
Screwed Caseback & Screw-down Crown
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed Sapphire Crystal|
Custom Hand Set
Date at 6 o’clock
42-Hour Power Reserve
/w Stainless Steel Hardware
The Ossington by Locke & King
At first blush, there are a lot of similarities between the brand’s first watch, The James, and this more recent offering. Overall case construction comes to mind. The mid-century styling and the round, wire-like lugs are also familiar. The real differences come in the dial and again in the bezel. Where The James has a classic, printed index, the Ossington has much starker applied markers. Upon closer inspection, they almost seem to float above the dial. The custom handset also has a much more modern appeal. While it cannot hold any lume, the loupe-styled hour hand is quite unique. As for the bezel, its smooth contrast to the fluted James suggests a more straightforward design that is unpretentious despite its polish—at once utilitarian and refined, like the chrome piping on a café racer.
Leather is certainly the right choice for the Ossington; however, it would be nice to see a few more choices, such as a distressed leather, or even a canvas option.
Like the street it’s meant to represent, the Ossington is an interesting blend. In its case construction, it harkens back to the inter-war years of the last century—vaguely reminiscent of watches like the Rolex Oyster Extra or a Zenith officer’s watch. Yet its dial is much more contemporary–despite its Bauhaus elements–like a play on that same era, presented in a way that is decidedly modern (the floating numerals above the guilloche dial, for example). One might best call it neo-Bauhaus. The collision of these eras and design elements, rather than appear jarring, is actually quite harmonious—like coming across the latest hip restaurant in a century-old building. Something I dare say happens frequently on Ossington Avenue. Hmm. Imagine that.
The Ossington retails for $699CAD (approx. $515USD). For more information, please contact the brand website.
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