British watchmaker Robert Loomes has handed over a batch of his watches to a team of mountaineers from the Royal Gurhka Regiment that aim to reach the summit of Everest.
The expedition in May is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Gurhkas joining the British Army and would represent the first time a British watch has been used to tackle Everest since Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzig Norgay reached the summit in 1953 wearing watches from Smiths.
The expedition will also raise funds for The Mountain Trust and the Gurhka Welfare Trust, for which two of the watches will be auctioned off on their return.
HM Lord Lieutennant of Lincolnshire,Toby Dennis, and the acting Nepalese Ambassador, Mr Taj Bahindra Chettry, were at Stamford Town Hall to witness the presentation, made by Loomes managing director Robina Loomes, where letters of support from Prince Charles, a patron of both the Royal Ghurka Regiment and the expedition, and Prime Minister David Cameron were read out.
Robert Loomes said: “It’s so easy to get childishly excited by this kind of stuff. But mechanical watches have the edge over quartz at very low temperatures. Quartz batteries can “freeze up” in the cold. And working at altitude is dangerously disorientating. Robina and I first met at altitude, in Bolivia, where we reached about 5000m (16,000 ft). Up there, any attempt to run or climb is utterly exhausting and your perception of time lapsed shifts alarmingly. You need a proper wristwatch; your life genuinely depends on it. I have no idea how tough it must be to get to 8848m (29,029ft).”
The movements of these Everest watches have been adjusted for running precisely at minus twenty and minus forty degrees.