The UK watchmaking firm Bremont has just announced it'll be making a limited edition wristwatch that includes small pieces of the desk of pioneering theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
The Bremont Hawking incorporates a sample of wood taken from a vintage desk drawer that Hawking inherited from his grandmother. It had been gifted to her as a retirement present, marking her role in founding Yorkshire's Boroughbridge girl's school. It became the desk that Hawking would sit at to recall fond childhood memories and to compose some of his theories on.
While the wood samples may be the most dramatic Hawking artifacts on display, they are far from the only ones. A meteorite sample at the center of the design reinforces Hawking's connection to outer space, and the serial number at 6 o'clock is printed on paper from original copies of Hawking's massively influential 1979 research paper "The 'nuts' and 'bolts' of gravity." Completing the scene is a complex etching of the stars visible over Oxford, UK on the night of Hawking's birth along with one of his equations, flanked by the title of his seminal book "A Brief History of Time." Despite the classical appearance, the case still manages a respectable 100 meters of water resistance.
And at first I wondered whether this whole concept had some ghoulish backstory — how in god's name did these watchmakers get their hands on Hawking's desk?
But as UK GQ notes, apparently the Bremont brothers have been working closely with the Hawking family on it; they're going to donate some part of sales to Hawking's foundation:
Bremont worked with the Hawking family on the watch and has pledged to donate a percentage of the proceeds from sales of the collection to the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which supports cosmological research and people with motor neurone disease, the debilitating condition Hawking lived with for almost his entire adult life