Munro history made to be worn

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BURT Munro has inspired artisan jewellers Mike Walsh and Simon Bath, of B & W Manufacturing Ltd, to custom-make a Burt Munro-themed ring.

Some of the 184 rings from this year’s edition had already sold, with one auctioned to raise money for the Riverton Coastguard, Mr Walsh said.

“It was Simon’s idea,” he said, describing the hand-finished ring as “a heavy gent’s biker ring made in sterling silver”.

As a motorcyclist and a regular at the Burt Munro Challenge, Simon wanted to get more involved with the Burt Munro culture.

“We had kicked the idea around for the past 10 years, before finally designing it,” which took a couple of months, with a several designs drafted.

But before the idea could be created, the duo first wanted to ensure the family of Burt Munro were on-board, so they approached Burt’s son, John Munro.

Burt Munro rings, designed and made by B & W Manufacturing (jewellers) of Invercargill. The left one is the 2019 ring, and the right ring may be the 2020 edition.

“We pitched the idea to John, and he became the driving force behind it.

“We were using his family name, so we wanted to make sure he was happy with what we were doing.”

Although the duo suggested a couple of ideas for the design, the final decision was up to John, Mr Walsh said.

He choose a streamliner theme.

Around the edge of the ring was Munro’s land-speed record and date of the record.

The tribute to Burt came in a ring box, with Munro’s racing number – 35, on the lid.

So, why would anyone create 184 items in a limited edition. The clue was in Munro’s record, the speed (184.087mph) he attained the record in August 26, 1967, at Bonneville Salt Flats, in the United States of America.

Burt Munro ring, designed and made by B & W Manufacturing (jewellers) of Invercargill.

However as there would only be 184 limited edition rings, the jewellers already had another design for next year… maybe, Mr Walsh said.

Each year John liked to host a fundraising auction, so the duo donated one of the rings, with the result of $1400 being donated to the Riverton Coastguard.

Another connection to the Munro family was that Mr Walsh had gone to high school with Burt Munro’s great nephew Lee Munro, who was also making a name for himself on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Both jewellers had trained and worked for various jewellers before working together at the former Invercargill Paul’s Jewellery for a number of years. Having established a good working team, they decided to establish their own manufacturing jewellery business about 12 years ago which includes repairs, stone setting, stone replacements, ring sizings, engagement and wedding rings, and gents rings and cufflinks. However, it was custom-making jewellery which was their major enjoyment.

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