Anneke Short and Jerome Robert are in a category all of their own in this list. Like no other entrant into WatchPro’s debut Hot 100, they are guns for hire – horology’s very own A-Team – and between Anneke’s creativity and Jerome’s business nous it seems they can solve pretty much anything.
Jerome says: “Basically we do everything from consultancy on existing products – as in assisting people to buy products, tweaking designs, structuring collections – to designing the product from scratch, and even actually producing the product.”
So if you have a problem, if no-one else can help and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the AMS team.
Actually, finding them shouldn’t be too tricky. The pair split their time between London and La Chaux de Fonds, which happily mirrors their own style. For Anneke, London is a bustling hub, just one part of the creative mix that provides her with daily inspiration, and for Jerome it’s the perfect vantage point to cultivate his love of the British watch industry.
And La Chaux de Fonds, in Switzerland’s watch valley is, frankly, in their blood. Jerome was born and bred there and says he couldn’t help but develop an innate passion for watches. In fact, the two main roads in La Chaux-de-Fonds are named after ancestors of his: Fritz Courvoisier and Leopold Robert. Anneke meanwhile – who was actually born in Gibraltar – lived there for 10 years.
Take it from us, this duo has had a successful year. Anneke can’t say just how successful though. “One of the things about the watch world is that it’s very secretive,” she explains. “As a design studio, we very rarely get to talk about projects we work on. What we can say is that we recently designed a limited-edition watch that was featured in the How to Spend It section of the Financial Times and was a big hit with the press, with one magazine saying it was ‘inspired by perfection’. It cost over the £50,000 mark and they sold out quickly. We have also had pieces listed in Harrods. We are very happy to be in such an iconic British shop.”
Meanwhile they have also been working with London Business School MBA alumni, helping start-up brands. Jerome says two of those are already well on their way and “it is a very satisfying feeling”.
Looking ahead, it will simply be more of the same. Robert says they are working on a lot of exciting projects and working hard to strengthen the British watch industry. “It’s grown significantly in the past decade and we want to ensure that we keep up that momentum. Our dream would be to see factories linked to the watch industry come back to the UK, as it was in the past.”
Packed with passion creativity and a measured intelligence, this duo will continue to impact on the watch trade, even if they have to do it secret. Like we say, if you can find them…
AMS Design Studio founders Anneke Short and Jerome Robert were Entrepreneurs in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.