|27 Nov 2020
Du Maurier Watches are a family business first established with two watch designs; the Maxim and the Rebecca. As the grandson of Daphne Du Maurier, OB Ned Browning (G 84-88) shares his inspiration for the Commodore watch below, another of his exclusive and popular watch designs.
All the designs can be viewed on the Du Maurier website and Ned is pleased to offer a 20% discount this Christmas to members of the Bradfield community using the discount code "BRADFIELD".
To choose your new watch or a gift, please see the full website here: http://www.dumaurierwatches.com/gallery/
THE COMMODORE STORY
I wasn’t overly familiar with the full story of the man my family refer to as ‘Uncle Monty’ until I embarked on the design for our Commodore diving watch. I knew of him, of course, but had no idea how interesting he was until I investigated his story.
He is my great, great uncle, Admiral Sir Montague Browning, who enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy, despite losing a hand and gaining a mechanical hook after an accident on board the ‘Inflexible’. However, more of that in a moment. After commanding cruiser & battle squadrons during the Great War, ‘Hooky’, as he became known, cut a formidable figure. Having also held the rank of Commodore earlier on in his career, he and his hook continued to defy the odds by later heading up the Allied Naval Armistice Commission and becoming Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom in 1939, before retiring in 1945.
I was curious as to how he lost his hand and various family stories gradually emerged. In my favourite version, he was showing the King around the ‘Inflexible’ and, showing off a tad, spun the wheel, accidentally catching his hand in it. He adopted the British stiff upper lip and staggered through the rest of the tour pretending nothing untoward had happened. It had, of course, and he lost the hand and gained his hook.
The other character inspiring the design of the Commodore watch is my grandfather, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick “Boy” Browning. In addition to having a distinguished military career, he was also an avid sailor and it was, when sailing his boat in the Fowey estuary, that he first spotted his future wife, Daphne du Maurier.
He later became Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club and, on stepping down in 1962, was given the honour of becoming its first Admiral. His love of sailing was shared by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh for whom he served as Comptroller and Treasurer to the Household of Princess Elizabeth from 1947.
To both of these great men, I dedicate the Du Maurier Commodore.