Why Jeremy Clarkson’s tractor-proof daily beater in Clarkson’s Farm is in a field of its own Why Jeremy Clarkson’s tractor-proof daily beater in Clarkson’s Farm is in a field of its own

Why Jeremy Clarkson’s tractor-proof daily beater in Clarkson’s Farm is in a field of its own

Luke Benedictus

Jeremy Clarkson is a figure who can politely be described as “divisive”. While deified by many rev-heads on the back of his Top Gear exploits, to others he’s a professional curmudgeon who’s built a career as a reactionary buffoon. But wherever you stand on the man, his latest TV series, Clarkson’s Farm is an unexpected triumph.

The British presenter bought the 1000-acre Chipping Norton farm, which he calls Diddly Squat, in 2008. Until 2019, Clarkson employed a farmer to run it while he continued gallivanting about the planet saying provocative things about “the nanny state” in fancy cars. But when the farmer retired, Clarkson decided to try and manage the vast job himself with a TV crew in tow to film his attempts.

This, of course, quickly turns into a total disaster. Clarkson flails about chasing wayward sheep, raging against the weather gods and struggling to control the preposterous Lamborghini tractor he insists on buying. So far, so predictable. But what’s less expected, is the show is not only very funny but also has a genuine soul. At times, Clarkson displays uncharacteristic humility. Aware he is totally out of his depth, he’s willing to learn from his land agent and the resourceful farm-hand who rescues him from numerous scrapes. In the process, Clarkson reflects on what a daunting challenge modern farming has become for all but the savviest operators. Amid his various pratfalls, he exposes the problems that farmers now face from chemical topsoil erosion to the financial cost of Brexit. And he does all this wearing a surprisingly nice watch.

Like many motoring fanatics, Clarkson has always been a watch guy. In fact, helpfully, there’s an entire Instagram page, @grandtourwatches dedicated to his wristwear and that of his Top Gear / Grand Tour co-hosts. A quick perusal shows that Clarkson has worn many brands over the years. There have been a couple of Bremont pilot’s watches.

 

 

An IWC Schaffhausen Pilot‘s Chronograph Top Gun with a large 46mm dial and a fly-back function to measure laps on the track.

He’s worn the odd Breitling, in fact, at the premier event for Clarkson’s Farm, he wore a Breitlight Avenger Hurricane with a canary yellow dial.

 

 

But the brand that Clarkson chooses to wear the most on his meaty wrists – he’s a big guy who’s 6’4½ in his gum-boots – is Omega.

 

 

This brand loyalty is also displayed in Clarkson’s Farm. The series is no place for a slimline dress watch with the presenter routinely mired in mud and physical labour. Whether he’s chasing sheep over dry-stone walls, hammering in fence-posts or getting bamboozled by seed drills and cultivators, Clarkson invariably finds himself in mucky situations. But the watch that he wears throughout these trials is his trusty Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.

It’s a decent shout, too, even if many people would be cautious of subjecting a luxury watch to all that fertiliser and heavy machinery. Housed in its stainless-steel case, the Planet Ocean is a sturdy customer that’s water-resistant to 600m and presumably the odd splash of sheep dip too. While designed for diving, its robust build makes it deceptively practical for farm life. With its scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel and screw-in caseback, it’s a watch that can laugh off a bit of flak.

Truth be told, I began watching Clarkson’s Farm under duress but soon found it to be highly entertaining lockdown viewing. What it also provided was an unlikely endorsement of the Planet Ocean that seems just as happy in a boggy field as when it’s deep beneath the waves.