The new Aston Martin badge represents the synthesis of tradition and modernity. It’s not just about the form, it’s also about how it is made. Aston Martin has partnered with Vaughtons in Birmingham since 2012, although the historic firm has supplied heritage badges to the company for nearly 50 years. Vaughtons was established by Philip Vaughton in 1819 on Little Hampton Street in the city’s famous Jewellery Quarter. By the turn of the century, when Vaughton Brothers moved into new purpose-built facilities on Livery Street, the company was listed as a “Buttonmaker, Medalist and Mint”.
Today the company still occupies this grand listed structure, with its striking Vaughton Gothic Works lettering on the red-brick façade. Inside, the processes involved have changed little over the decades, with a high degree of hand-finishing required in the creation of every single badge.
“Since 2012, we have produced tens of thousands of badges for Aston Martin Lagonda,” says Nick Hobbis, Vaughtons’ Managing Director. “These range from standard production parts in base metal to solid gold limited-editions. But regardless of the material, all badges are given the same treatment.” That means a painstaking journey through 38 different processes for every badge.
“To put that into perspective, if we had just one wings badge to produce, it would take us the best part of two days and would pass through 12 different pairs of hands,” Hobbis says. “Quality control is absolutely key within our factory; a badge will not leave our premises if it isn’t deemed perfect.” This also means that every badge has to conform to stringent exterior automotive standards, for example having to pass over 1,000 hours of salt-spray testing.
Aston Martin’s newest badge is an update of the classic wings that had their origins on Sammy Davis’s LM1 car in 1932 (see page 74). The first change since 2003, the new design was shaped by Aston Martin’s design team in close collaboration with acclaimed British art director and graphic designer Peter Saville. The famous wings have been sharpened up for the modern era, with a simpler, cleaner graphic form that is still instantly recognisable.
The new badges — and any special-order variants — will continue to be made at Vaughtons, ensuring this long tradition of partnership between two iconic British brands.