About, Production Process

Making Memories Out Of Icons

How We Manufacture Our Products

At Icarus Originals we want to give our customers the chance to own a small piece of history. Whether it’s the fastest-ever Concorde, the classic E-Type coupé or the celebrated Japanese Bullet Train, these iconic legends of engineering, spark a feeling of excitement and progress.

We love to bring these small snapshots of history and technical achievement to life. But how do we research, design, develop and manufacture our products? It’s an intricate process that combines cutting-edge technology with traditional craftsmanship.  It’s this complete commitment to perfection that makes our pieces so distinctive and desirable.

Our signature product

In this blog, we’ll look exclusively at our signature product – our cufflinks. To illustrate our process, we’ll consider Concorde 101 (G-AXDN). There are six stages to take a project from an idea to something you can buy from our website:

1. Project research

2. Material acquisition

3. CAD/3D design & development

4. 3D printing & master production

5. Lost wax investment casting

6. Finishing

Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium

Project research

Understandably, we were very keen to offer our customers a piece of Concorde. Not just any Concorde, but the particular aircraft that set the speed record for the type at 1,450 miles per hour. We knew Concorde would be challenging to reproduce at a small scale but, given its iconic nature, it was a challenge we were up for.

Material acquisition

With so few Concordes produced, material is scarce and hard to come by. The majority of the surviving airframes reside in museums around the globe. We needed to find a surviving Concorde owed by a preservation group that was working on its restoration, and would be willing to collaborate with us on our project. This is how we usually come by our precious aircraft material, and in this instance we were lucky enough to be introduced to Duxford Aviation Society (DAS). DAS owns Concorde 101 G-AXDN and had a small amount of hiduminium aluminium alloy from the engine air intake assembly left over from its restoration efforts. This would be our ‘raw material’. Most importantly, we could complement the material with the guarantee of authenticity that comes from working with an aircraft’s owners. That guarantee is a critical element of our product offer. Where possible, we always look to collaborate with a museum or special interest group as this gives us a means of contributing back financially to supporting our beloved icons for future generations.

CAD/3D design & development

To ensure maximum accuracy of profile, we typically use a combination of 3D scanning and computer aided design (CAD).  For Concorde, this entailed taking a 3D scan of a scale model and then manually adapting the design in a CAD software package to make sure we faithfully replicate the most iconic features which is more of a challenge than it may sound given that the typical length of a cufflink is 26mm and the original aircraft is 62000mm!  This process is always difficult, since we need to thicken up certain surfaces and round off particular details to attain a delicate balance of accuracy, practicability (they will be worn, after all) and viability of manufacture.

CAD images of Concorde during the design stage.

3D printing & master production

With a finalised design, we can progress to 3D printing to allow us to cast a master component. Here, we use a high-resolution 3D printer to print, layer by layer, an exact rendering of our design. Once complete, we end up with a replica of our Concorde cufflink made of a special resin that melts away at 400 degrees centigrade This can now be used to make a master using the magic of lost wax investment casting..

This delicate rendering of Concorde will now be cast in silver using the lost wax process detailed below. Once in this precious metal, expert jewellers ensure the master is perfect and free of defects. Once we are happy, we can create the mould that lets us produce the miniature wax models we cast in aluminium reclaimed from Concorde.

Lost Wax Investment Casting

The lost wax method allows jewellery artists to copy the finest detail.  It’s as old as human history and the only major changes since its inception has been the addition of technology to allow casters to repeatedly cast without generating a high number of failed items.  Lost wax casting is no more complicated than filling a high-definition impression left within a cylinder of modelling plaster.  To do this, we take a number of the miniature wax models created in the mould and attach them via sprues (think tiny bits of wax spaghetti!), to a central wax stem.  This assembly, called a tree, is placed carefully inside a metal flask about the same size as a large thermos flask and liquid modelling plaster is poured around it so that only a tiny bit of the stem is visible above the plaster.  The flask is then vibrated rapidly for an hour to make sure any air bubbles are worked out and that every one of the wax models is completely covered by the plaster.  Once this sets, the flask is heated on a vacuum pump.  The idea here is to completely vaporise all of the wax and expel it completely from the flask, leaving with you with a perfect impression of each of the wax models and a clear route to the atmosphere via the sprues and the central stem.  Once you have reached this point, the final step is to heat up your crucible containing the aluminium alloy removed from an aircraft and very carefully pour it into the hole left by the central stem protruding through the plaster.  If you’ve heated the metal to exactly the right temperature (655 degrees centigrade for aluminium), it will pour like a viscous liquid and fill all the voids evenly meaning that the void created by what was once a wax model is filled with aluminium.  Once it’s all cooled down, the plaster is cracked off and if you’ve got everything just right, all that’s left is a central aluminium stem with lots of perfect aluminium Concordes attached to it via now little aluminium pieces of spaghetti.    

A Jeweller assembles a tree ready for lost wax casting. In this case they are making rings rather than cufflinks but the process is the same.
Industrial lost wax casting. The process of pouring for filling out plaster shells with molten aluminium from ladle.
A master jeweller hand-finishes one of our cufflinks

Finishing

The final step in the process is the finishing (or polishing). Each cast that is cut directly from the tree will appear relatively rough, and a dull metallic hue. Each casting needs to have the remaining sprue removed and then the whole piece can be polished against a special abrasive polishing wheel. The hand finishing takes a tremendous amount of skill to ensure the correct pressure is applied to every angle and surface.  The individuals who polish the Concordes have often been apprenticed since a very young age and are rightly recognised as master craftspeople within their area of expertise.  Given the nature of the process involved in creating them, each Concorde can have slight differences meaning that they are matched into perfectly complementary pairs.  The final result will be a beautifully hand polished rendering of Concorde 101, perfectly unique to the wearer.  Throughout every step of this whole process, quality control and removal of defective casts means that from start to finish perhaps as many as 35 per cent of all items will be rejected.  The whole process can be time-consuming and reliant on manual skills built up over many years. 

As you can see, there’s a lot more to turning a part of an icon into something you can wear than you might think.  Although it will hopefully become a treasured item that will be handed down to future generations, every single item we produce captures a little bit of the soul of an icon and allows you to carry on the journey of something that has affected the lives of millions of people globally.  With the extra knowledge that the item you have has helped sustain restoration activity and supported the livelihood of a wide network of artisans, there’s a lot more to our products than their superficial beauty and timeless designs.

Shop our Concorde range now to find a collectible or gift that will last a lifetime.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
New Products, Uncategorized

New Year, New Jewellery Collection

Our aim at Icarus Originals is to always create bespoke products that are innovative, beautiful and extremely sentimental. 

Since inception we have celebrated the iconic craft that have defined transportation in the last 100 years, by blending the very latest technical innovations with the highest quality British craftsmanship in order to create a  selection of unique, premium products.

With this being said, we’re looking forward to some amazing projects ahead of 2021…

Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a pretty terrible year as a whole. So to give us something to look forward to, we are expanding our collection with new models, bracelets, tag range as well as our signatures cufflinks, too. 

Exciting projects include: 

  • A collaboration with Duxford Aviation society using material from their Comet 4B – the first ever jet airliner to cross the Atlantic.
  • English Electric canberra
  • Aston Martin DB5
  • Original Ford Mustang
  • An intercity 125 train model
  • AW Merlin helicopter
  • A World War 2 USAF C47 that took part in D Day

With many more exciting projects in the pipeline! 

We’ve also entered several of our products into Gift of the Year 2021 (see www.giftoftheyear.co.uk ) – so stay tuned as we eagerly await the results! 

All with original, authenticated material and all lovingly designed and made here in the UK. Our jewellerys create everything handmade with meticulous attention to detail to provide you with a beautiful and unique product that you will cherish for a lifetime. 

Here at Icarus, we are Wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2021.

About

How Icarus Originals Took Flight…

Get to know our owners…

Icarus Originals came to inception in 2018, after both Alan and John realised they were working on a similar design to commemorate the soon-to-be withdrawn Panavia Tornado. 

John is a serving RAF Engineer who has lived and breathed fast Jets since he joined the RAF aged 18. Alan originally started his career in the RAF, until becoming a Royal Navy Engineer. However, after losing much of his eyesight during his service, Alan retired and has been registered blind for the last 15 years. This, However, has not deterred him from striving for greatness, creating a bespoke jewellery brand and even holding 2 world records for being the first blind person to row across the Atlantic Ocean and to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole!!!!!

So why did Icarus Originals start? 

With fashion and accessories a heavily saturated market – and one particularly difficult to break into – a product that is both bespoke and unique in design is integral for any successful business model…

Mixing fun and functionality together, John and Alan decided to create a product that could be worn by the everyday man, while embracing a topic that is close to both of their hearts. 

The idea behind Icarus was to allow people to own a small piece of history, and experience the emotional attachment that comes with that. This originally started with an aircraft, but now covers classic cars, trains and (hopefully soon) space! 

What was once just concorde cufflinks, has now expanded beyond their wildest dreams, with tornado pendants, HS2 cufflinks and the latest addition to their bespoke jewellery collection, the DeLorean “back to the future” bracelets. While Icaurs originals are continually expanding their unique jewellery collection, the quality and sentiment remains the exact same. Their products focus entirely on engineering excellence and achievement, honouring models that were trailblazers and innovations of their eras. Whether it’s the fastest ever Concorde model embodied in a cufflink design, or the iconic DeLorean automobile, globalised through the 80s classic “back to the future” franchises, each product holds that special piece of history with them. 

As well as producing unique gifts that capture a small piece of history, the company also seeks to give back with tie ups to support good causes and preservation activities such as the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panavia Tornado Preservation Group. These charities provide a range of support aimed at serving and former RAF personnel and their dependents. This includes welfare breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty and getting about inside and outside the home, specialist advice on benefits and support with care needs, as well as support for young people.

Icarus Originals understand the importance of giving back, as they themselves have received support as a company from X – Forces and Entrepreneurs, 2 organisations that help Veterans start a business. 

It’s a bit ironic really, that much of our Jewellery profits go back to helping veterans get access to adequate care after life in the forces, while honouring machinery that have had such profound effects on the industry they worked in and adore; the tornado and F35A to name a few… 

Indeed, the core foundation of this business was to provide that piece of sentimental history in the form of something attractive, fashionable and functional for everyday use, which Icarus believe that have achieved pretty successfully (and so do our amazing customer base)…

“It’s more than just another cufflink or a shiny pendant, our jewellery is uniquely crafted and contoured (here in the UK) with assistance from heroes, to be worn by ‘legends’…”

Check out our online shop today to browse our new and exclusive products just in time for christmas! 

Interest

Three Interesting Facts about Planes

3 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Planes 

Planes have evolved a lot since their first inception. The vast technological advancements have created some of the best engineering designs that have defied air travel as we know it. 

Whether it’s through the creation of the Concorde airliner, which at its fastest speed – 1,354 mph – was twice faster than the speed of light. Or even the introduction of jet fighters such as the F-35 aircraft, whose major advances in aircraft design, avionics, and weapon systems have sky-rocketed the aircraft industry into a new generational shift of fighter aircraft and innovations never seen before… 

However, all of this aside, there are still a number of things you probably don’t know about this magnificent man-made machinery. Don’t believe us? Well, I can guarantee we’ll prove you wrong…

1) Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes 

For safety reasons, planes hit by lightning mid-flight undergo inspection after landing, but in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.

The last commercial plane airliner that was struck by lightning, according to Scientific American, was in 1967. As a consequence of the strike, the plane’s fuel tank exploded. Since then, technological advancements have been developed to reduce this risk factor. 

Indeed, airplanes are highly intricate machines. As a result of technical wiring now implemented into planes, if a lightning strike does occur, it will typically strike a sharp edge of the plane – such as a wingtip or nose. This means that electrical charges from the lightning bolt will only ever prevail around the outside of the vessel, with the electrical wiring blocking the electromagnetic fields and protecting the interior from any voltage. 

Airline giants such as Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are amongst the few within the industry to introduce composite materials to reduce the overall electrical conductivity of the fuselage and wings to fully withstand any lightning strikes, should they occur. 

So for anyone traveling during a storm, there’s really no need to worry, right? 

2) You don’t need both engines to fly 

Ok, some of you may all be familiar with this one. 

As aforementioned, technological advancements have continued to increase the safety of airliners. They have been thoroughly manufactured and tested to withstand a range of external and internal elements that could affect the plane during flight. As such, engineers have to meticulously create a ‘back-up’ plan should fail occur. 

As such, airplanes can function with only one of their engines properly working. Whilst two-engines allow pilots to reach higher altitudes, save fuel, and reach high speeds due to a reduction in friction if one engine fails then the plane can still continue to fly to safety! An engine failure does mean that the plane is going to have less power and will be forced to fly at a lower altitude – warranting an emergency landing. 

The same can be said for those larger commercial liners such as the Boeing 747 – equipped with 4 engines. From a safety perspective, it is not that dangerous if one engine completely fails. Pilots have reported flying a 747 with one engine malfunctioning and continuing to the destination. Both he and his 416 passengers lived to tell the tale. 

3) There is not really the safest seat on the plane 

As a general rule of thumb, there is no safe seat on a plane. 

While plane crashes on jetliners are rare, researchers have conducted tests to analyse where is the safest location on a plane itself. In 2012, researchers decided to take an uncrewed Boeing 727, fill it with crash test dummies and cameras, and fly it into the Mexican Desert.  

As expected, the results indicated that there was no safe seat on the airliner. However, passengers at the back were recorded to have less severe injuries to those located at the front of the airliner or in the cockpit. These findings align with a TIME study of plane accidents which concluded that the middle seats in the back of the plane had the lowest fatality rate in a crash. Their research indicated that the back of the aircraft had a 32% fatality rate, compared with 39% in the middle and 38% in the front third. Although, with so many variables at play, it’s difficult to draw a definitive conclusion. 

But don’t worry, crashes are incredibly rare. So on that note, enjoy your next flight!! 

Icarus Originals

For those plane-enthusiasts amongst us, At Icarus Originals, we have a range of bespoke and handmade plane cufflinks and mini models – the perfect bespoke gift or collectible item for those with a genuine passion for aviation. 

Taken from some of the most iconic aircraft that defined their generation and changed the landscape of aircraft technology as we know it, At Icarus Originals, we have afforded you the opportunity to own a slice of aviation history…

Whether you are seeking some speed and searching for a Concorde cufflink taken from the genuine aluminum of the fastest model of its kind, or from the fastest jet fighter of its generation – the F-35A, At Icarus, we have the perfect bespoke gift for your loved ones.  All our plane cufflinks and mini models blend high tech design with the best of traditional British craftsmanship.

Shop our range now to find a collectible or gift that will last a lifetime.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Special Occasions

The Benefits of Buying Bespoke Aviation Jewellery

Why Should I Buy Bespoke Aviation Jewellery?

Bespoke Plane jewellery is the perfect amalgamation of masterful dexterity, unique design and individual expression. ‘Bespoke’ enables buyers to convey deep personal messages through a singular piece of jewellery, a factor that cannot be matched by mass-produced adornments. Our clients that purchase our products hold jewellery close to their hearts. Whether they are influenced by the quality, sentimentality or value for money – Bespoke triumphs fast-fashion for their accessories. Our cufflinks meet their wants and style while still providing the satisfaction that spans a lifetime. So to help you get the best from your future jewellery purchases, below are 4 benefits of purchasing custom-made bespoke cufflinks.

Sentimental Aviation Jewellery

Jewellery is often an extremely sentimental possession. And when it comes to customised jewellery, the sentimental and emotional value is what entices people to purchase products.

Our pieces are genuinely unique and allow our customers to own a small piece of a much larger story. Whether the metal has originated from one of the first Concorde airliners, an iconic classic car or a bullet train from Japan, our products are inherently timeless classics. Knowing that you are walking around with a carefully and painstakingly crafted piece of a Tornado GR4, designed in conjunction with the crew that flew the aircraft enables you to connect with the maker and learn their story on a much deeper level. A piece of history that you can forever treasure.

Quality & Craftsmanship

Unlike mass-produced jewellery which is created in bulk and often by automated machinery, Bespoke products are carefully crafted by a designer, with meticulous attention to detail that can only be achieved by a human touch.

With the very best of British craftsmanship, all of our jewellery is handmade utilising painstaking, traditional jewellery manufacturing processes to create some of the finest bespoke Jewellery money can buy.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Special Occasions

Things to Consider When Buying Cufflinks

Cufflink do’s and don’t’s.

Do: Go for bespoke cufflinks. If you have a selection of non standout and sentimental pieces, you’ll end up with an extensive range of simple cufflinks that cannot be differentiated amongst themselves. Clean and basic is fine for casual attire, but statement pieces that are long-lasted can give any outfit a refined look and truly reflect your personality. 

Don’t: Purchase ‘standard’ cufflinks. Whilst keeping it simple is desirable with many accessories, purchasing basic cufflinks can be counterintuitive as you’ll often forget about their existence and leave them in their box overtime. Instead, a dazzling and bespoke cufflink can transform an outfit, whilst still being simple enough to wear with a range of outfits! You’ll find that something custom made and truly unique to yourself will have more use and purpose than a basic cufflink. 

Do: Gift cufflinks to your loved ones. A well-designed, good quality pair of cufflinks make a unique and precious gift to someone close to you.

Don’t: Wear odd cufflinks, unless you’re trying to portray the image that you got ready in the dark. Given that cufflinks are usually synonymous with more sophisticated events, the mismatch is most probably a look you would want to avoid!

Do: Who said men can’t accessorize? Now more than ever men are incorporating a range of accessories to their wardrobe – often perceived as the ultimate ‘street style look’. Pair your cufflinks with accessories that will tone well together to complete an outfit. Matching materials or designs is always favourable, such as a pendant or a bracelet. 

Don’t: Own one pair of cufflinks! Cufflinks are a statement piece. Owning just one pair can feel repetitive. A selection of cufflinks will give your wardrobe the diversity that you need when going to a variety of events. Consider what you will need your cufflinks for, is it a corporate job interview or alternatively a wedding. Contrary to previous misconceptions, these social events require versatility in your selection of cufflinks! 

Protip: Simple and sophisticated is admirable for a job interview – a silver stud is a reliable accessory. Pair this with a black suit and you will certainly look the part. 

Do: Consider the colours and materials of your outfit to match your cufflinks to. Too many times we see individuals select some fanciful cufflinks with an array of colours or materials that clash with their outfits. In our opinion, for the material, less is more.

At Icarus Originals, we have an extensive range of custom-made cufflinks that are the perfect ‘one of a kind gift’. Each piece is made, handcrafted and finished here in the UK made using aluminium reclaimed from the fuselage of some of the worlds most iconic aviation, locomotive and automotive designs. 

Take our 1961 Jaguar E-Type Cufflinks for example. These jaguar cufflinks have been cast from Britain’s most celebrated cars; the E-Type, creating a sentimental gift that carries with it immense history.  Or alternatively, our range of aviation cufflinks, such as the 747-400 B-Hop cufflinks, cast from the metal of the fastest commercial airliner to grace the skies. These sentimental and bespoke pieces intertwine intricate detail and simplistic material to create a truly unique and bespoke gift that will last a lifetime. Browse our online shop today to see our range of aviation, locomotive and automotive cufflinks and mini models…

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Production Process

Production Process for the Vulcan XH558

Vulcan XH558

The Vulcan XH558, an iconic example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best and a design that made British aviation technology the envy of the world. Indeed, the Vulcan bomber was one of the most innovative British aircraft of the Cold War period, armed with nuclear weapons and capable of conventional bombing. The Avro Vulcan XH558 was the very last of the 136 Vulcans built to take air, operated by the Vulcan of the Sky trust and flown by a decade long-quest of a dedicated team of volunteers and RAF-trained engineers. Returning one of these four-engined bombers to the skies was one of the most complex aircraft preservation projects undertaken anywhere in the world, involving years of fundraising, logistical nightmares and many thousands of man hours of meticulous work.

XH558 now resides in Doncaster, where the public are able to visit and be inspired by the aircraft that was at the very edge of aviation technology of the time. With rolls-royce olympus turbojet engines – the forefathers of the giant turbines that powered the concorde – this British aviation has been the basis of every modern turbojet engine since!

But, you can now own your own slice of aviation history…

Aviation Cufflink Production Process and Design of the Vulcan XH558

Thanks to our partnership with the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we were able to produce beautiful aviation cufflinks cast from melted down parts reclaimed from this historic aircraft. By combining our skill in the field of design and production, together with the unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we were able to create a finely-crafted 3D rendering of Vulcan XH558.

After initial design work and the creation of a high-resolution mould, we then melt down suitable components reclaimed from the aircraft and re-cast them into single-piece cufflinks. With the material authenticated and isolated at each stage of manufacture, the provenance of the metal is maintained throughout.
With the products cast using the lost wax investment method, the items could then be hand-finished by our master craftsmen. Finally, our Avro Vulcan cufflinks were packaged in a deluxe gift set that included added extras particular to this aircraft. For example, each Vulcan cufflink came wrapped in part of the brake parachute from Vulcan XH558 and was supplied with a certificate of authenticity, data book and even a hand-sewn ‘panther head’ storage bag made from official NOMEXTM flying suit material.

With no financial investment, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust was able to monetise surplus components and in doing so has helped create a beautiful and inherently premium aviation cufflink product that will both delight customers and generate royalties and awareness to support preservation work into the future.


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Interviews

Concorde Interview

Concorde Flying

Last week we were fortunate enough to catch up with Doug Newton, a flight test engineer on the Concorde development programme. Graciously, he allowed us to delve into the mindset of what it was like to live, work and experience the magnificence of flying on the fastest aircraft to grace the skies. From inception to decommission, the Concorde was truly a homage to what was then perceived as the future of flight and we wanted to ask Doug the good, the bad and the not so elegant experiences he encountered working on this supersonic aircraft. Here’s what he had to say…

What was your role/responsibility on the Concorde Airline? How long did you do this for?

I left the RAF in 1968 and John Cockon – a DP chief test pilot on Concorde at the time – was looking for an armament tradesman. John and I had met during our time within the Forces, so I went for an interview and got accepted to work on the Concorde development programme.

I was first employed in the safety equipment section, which involved dealing with parachutes and aircraft clothing. Shortly afterwards, I began working with mainly flight recorders on the Concorde 001 prototype and the Concorde 002. I also fitted lateral thrust units to both the 002 and 101 – later the AXDN – which were fired off into the air to disturb control services and cause flutter. 

I was also responsible for manning Concorde 101’s emergency repel unit at the time, which contained monomethyl hydrazine – a rocket fuel. I have a profound memory of myself and my colleagues having to fire off the unit in mid air at one stage because the engine control tables went through a bulkhead. To get it off we had to strip off the earthing wire so that the voltage was so high it passed through the same wiring loom. 

**Side note: to put this into perspective for those non-engineers out there, a drop of hydrazine can burn a hole through your hand, so this was a fairly complex procedure to do whilst mid flight!

What’s your most memorable experience on the Concorde? (Good & Bad)

Flying from Singapore back to Bahrain was a particularly memorable experience on the Concorde; not necessarily for the best of reasons. During runway response checks on the GBBD 202, the runway was in such dire condition that when I sat down on the back of the aircraft, I just remember the fly deck rotating round and round like a wagging finger. In fact, the bumps on the runway were so bad, that shortly after we left, the government resurfaced the runway which is now why the main civil airway is in Changi airport. 

I distinctly remember on the final take off – which was a record breaking flight by the way – I was asked to sit on the flight deck and all I could hear was a bang. “Keep going, keep going” shouted Peter Baker, the captain at the time, as my headset fell off due to the rotation of the airplane caused by a tail well strike. What had happened was the tail had hit the runway and the flight ended up rotating too far, subsequently damaging the exhaust engine! That was definitely a memorable experience. Nonetheless, the flight was a success! 

What was it like to fly on the Concorde? 

Looking back now, you don’t realise how much of a pioneering aircraft the Concorde truly was. This even extends beyond the engineering of the airliner itself, but also the family dynamic and bond those of us working on the Concorde maintained throughout our careers. We were all extremely close and had immense satisfaction in what we were doing. My team in particular were extremely proud of our achievements.

 A particular highlight of mine and my team’s career was during a flight from Bahrain to Singapore, where we took off an hour after the 747, yet got back to Singapore 2 hours before it did. The 747 captain asked if we were the same Concorde plane. My response, “You don’t need a wrist watch you need a calendar”. 

The Concorde has had such a profound effect on my life that I even have memorabilia all over the house. I am also a Coordinator of the Concorde Flight Test Association which has now sadly gone quiet. It was such a special aircraft that everyone who has flown on it can appreciate its magnificence. 

Did you ever see the curvature of the earth on the Concorde?

Yes! Of course.

Where did you go on the Concorde? How long did it take you? 

I have flown to an extensive list of places on the Concorde. For example, places like Johannesburg, which took on average 9 hours to get to.  I have also flown all around the Middle East – which took about 3 and half hours. This really puts into perspective how fast the airliner was when your standard commercial flight now takes around 16h and 20m (including stops) from London to Johannesburg. 

What do you think led to the demise of the Concorde?

The crash in Paris didn’t help – but should never have happened. The French decided they didn’t want to carry on because of an engine problem back from the States but they forgot to turn off the fuel bell and realised they had to go down somewhere quickly. I believe this was a real catalyst for the decommissioning of the aircraft. 

Also, after 28 years of service, the Concorde contained what we now deem as old technology. This meant the Concorde was due inspections, which was a large expense that the government did not want to pay.

Were there any challenges as a result of developing the aircraft in conjunction with the French (i.e., language barriers?)

There were generally no complications. Although we measured in inches they measured in metrics there were no particular challenges, as aforementioned, we were one big family!

Why was Concorde G-AXDN (101) such a special aircraft?

The Concorde G-AXDN was a piece of art, a “mechanical swan” is probably the best way to describe it. 

On a more technical level, the concorde G-AXDN was a complex engineering system that was ahead of its time. Indeed, the engine did most of the air intake work. A Rolls Royce engine can only take air into itself at 500 mph, whereas the Concorde flies at 1400 mile an hour, so you have to slow the air down. This was done in about 12 ft difference, utilising the intake doors, rams and ramps to balance the shock waves to 500mph. Each engine had to be catered for, which was a highly complicated system. If it all went wrong, the intake system failed which caused surges – spitting air back out again, which wasn’t particularly nice. To rectify this, it was a case of getting on computers and experts doing their work on it. 

So as you can imagine, it was a multiplex system that required careful and meticulous engineering! 

Have you got any stories about the remarkable people who made the Concorde story one of a kind?

Claim to fame: I have flown in formation with Douglas Bader and Raymon Baxter – a fairfoot to casablanca. My main task was to look after Douglous Bader who said to me, “if I fall base over apex, bloody well leave me alone”. After the flight, I shook him by the hand and he thanked me for my work. I have also had the privilege of flying with Princess Margaret and various kings and queens.

When I was in the Middle East, the Concorde flew various sheikhs as well. A noticeable thing happened during one of my flights. Firstly, the aircraft steps were too short so I created a wooden extension so that the Sheikhs could seamlessly dismount the plane. However, when I opened the aircraft door, I knocked the extension off. For our flight homebound, I also  tripped over one of the sheikhs attire and caught him, next minute his security had a knife against my throat – a very memorable experience to say the least! 

On a lighter note, during one of my many times flying on the Concorde, one of the pilot’s stressed to us all that we would by flying Princess Anne. He stipulated that we must address her as her majesty, proceeded with ‘mam’. The captain then proceeds to go up to Princess Anne and greet her with a very formal ‘Hello your majesty’, she responds, “hey up Dock how’s it hanging today?”. 

CONCORDE G-AXDN CUFFLINKS

Have your own piece of aviation history…

With an absence from the skies forever, you can now own an iconic piece of aviation memorabilia which represents the heyday of supersonic flying.

We have developed and produced in collaboration with the Duxford Aviation Society (DAS), limited edition cufflinks, which have been cast from the air intake assembly of Concorde 101 (G AXDN) – the fastest ever example of this majestic aircraft type. T.

Limited to a worldwide production of 4,500 cufflink sets, they have been individually laser etched with the Concordes registration number and the highest ever recorded Concorde speed of 1450 mph, achieved by the aircraft these cufflinks are cast from.

Whether you are part of the Concorde G AXDN’s history, or just an admirer of the fastest commercial flight to grace the skies, our Concorde G-AXDN cufflinks are the perfect sentimental gift that will last a lifetime.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
New Products

The English Electric Lightning: Cufflink Edition

Introducing “The English Electric Lightning”, which carries the distinction of being the only all British supersonic fighter to have served with the Royal Air Force. Primarily designed as a rapid interceptor against the threat of enemy bombers during the Cold War, powered by twin Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engines, this aircraft still holds one of the fastest climb to altitude rates of any military aircraft – with an initial climb rate of 50,000 ft per minute. This type first flew on 4th August 1954 and went into service with the RAF in 1959.

While it may no longer be an object of the skies, at Icarus Originals, we pride ourselves on blending the very latest technical innovations with the highest quality British craftsmanship in order to create a superb selection of unique, bespoke, premium products. Hence our need to recreate this magnificent aircraft into a beautifully and carefully designed pair of cufflinks! The sheer time and integrity it takes to produce these items is a drawn out process, but we believe it is worth every second, as the final product holds extreme sentimental and historic value. Not only do you get to own a piece of aviation history, but you also get to honour the engineering prowess that revolutionised the British aviation world as we know it – setting a precedent for new models in production to this day!

How do we make the English Electric Lightning into a sentimental piece of Jewellery?

We wanted to highlight just how challenging the design and manufacturing process can be for something seemingly so small and simple. Take 1 project we have in the pipeline – the English Electric Lightning XR740. This is a famous aircraft of its type as it intercepted an American U2 spy plane.
First we need to find the material and ensure authenticity. In this case we work with our friends at Jet Art Aviation, based in Selby, who own the original tail fin
This material needs to be cut, stripped and processed into small chunks of aluminium that can be melted in a crucible to form ingots of XR749 aluminium – our “raw material”. Concurrently, we need to do a huge amount of design work which entails a combination of high resolution 3D scanning of models, and countless iterations of adapting the scan to a viable CAD design.This design then needs to be printed in resin, before an initial casting is taken. Usually this is cast in silver and then manually worked on by a jeweller to achieve a precision finish. We can then move to a test production run in normal aluminium. Once cast, and then hand finished/polished we can test the item.
With the lightning, the thin wings and narrow fuselage made it incredibly difficult to gauge the correct wing thickness. Too thin, the wings break, too thick it just looks wrong and too chunky. However, once finalised, we can go into production and cast cufflinks in genuine aluminium from this iconic aircraft. This process can literally take months as we need to fit into the schedule of the craftsmen we work with. But the end result should be something very special!

Sign Up To Our Newsletter for 20% off Your First Order*

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
New Products

Back to The Future: DeLorean Cufflinks

DeLorean Cufflinks and Gifts

Delorean Car: The Tesla of its day? 

The DMC DeLorean, commonly referred to as the “DeLorean”, is an iconic sports car specifically engineered by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) between 1981-198; the first and last car of its kind. 

The inception of this unique and innovative automotive design stemmed from DeLorean’s passion to create an “ethical” sports car: safe, fuel-efficient and long-lasting. It was the Tesla of its day, according to Stephen Wynne, who acquired the DeLorean inventory in 1997 and is CEO of the now-resurrected DeLorean Motor Company.

“DeLorean was a maverick who wanted to break away from the industry and do things his own way,” Wynne said in a phone interview. “At that time, the auto industry was in a slump. There was nothing exciting going on. So John DeLorean had the pick of the litter, as far as who he wanted to work for him — and he had the best of the best.”

The distinctive features of this automobile are what truly makes it stand out in an overcrowded and highly competitive marketplace. Carefully crafted by an Italian engineer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, who had previously worked on various Alfa Romeo and Maserati automobile designs, the Delorean’s notable and iconic features can be expressed through its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless-steel outer body panels. 

However, the DeLorean’s journey has not always been the smoothest of rides. After financial difficulties and bankruptcy by the DMC, paired with some legal debacles with the FBI, John’s innovative auto design slowly started to decline in the early 1980s. Until it expectantly rose again…

BACK TO THE FUTURE

The DeLorean truly fermented its way into the memories and hearts of consumers, with its iconic and memorable appearances as the time machine in the Back to the Future’s media franchise. 

In 1981, filmmakers Robert Emeckis and Bob Gale were writing a script which followed a teenagers time-travelling journey using a time-travelling machine made from a refrigerator – the refrigerator being the DeLorean, Throughout production, the car kept its basic styling, although minor revisions were made to the hood and wheels. 

40 years later and the DeLorean continues to have a cult following driven in part by the popularity of the Back to the Future movies. An estimated 6,500 DeLoreans are still on the road. Three cars were built for filming, and the “hero,” or lead vehicle, is today on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Own Your Piece of Automotive History…

Widely considered to be the gold standard of family adventure movies, Back to the Future is one of those rare gems that is loved by all. Whether you’re into science fiction or not, there’s something extremely likable about Marty McFly and it’s hard not to rate the onscreen dynamic between him and Doc.

For young fans, the movie provides a heartwarming insight into what life was like in the 80s. For those who grew up when the film was released, it supplies a little bit of nostalgia to reminiscence about the ‘good old times’ and what was considered modern back then (something we probably need desperately now more than ever). While the inception of hoverboards has not yet come to fruition, the film surprisingly provides a few accurate predictions of the future. Whether it be the introduction of fingerprint recognition, personal drones, OH, and Marty’s advice to not go back to 2020 – don’t you wish we would’ve listened!!!!

With the number of Delorean models limited on the marketplace, chances of owning a DeLorean may feel that bit more difficult to come by, particularly when their market value is anything between £36-37,000. 

But all is not lost…

You can now own your own piece of automotive and blockbuster history. With the help of our incredible jewellers here in the UK, we have a selection of 1,500 special commemorative models made from the aluminium of a genuine DeLorean car. 

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.