“It had to be in Camden. We live in Camden, work in Camden, it’s a love/hate kind of place, but I think that even the people who hate it kind of love it. It’s just got that energy,” say Anneke Short and Jerome Robert, co-founders of The Camden Watch Company and AMS Design Studio, when asked how they chose the location of their photo shoot.
The railway bridge is a metaphor for how Camden and The Camden Watch Company have one foot in the industrial Victorian past and one in the modern world. “Camden is a place where the past is mixed with the present, it represents our brand perfectly. A Victorian edge with a vibrant present,” they explain.
The Camden Watch Company is just one year old, but its founders trace their horological history a little further back. Anneke is a British watch designer trained in Switzerland, and Jerome is a Swiss native, born and raised in the heart of the watch valley of Neuchâtel, before moving to Camden Town in 2010. For the first 10 years, the business partners focused purely on design work for other watch brands, before taking the plunge with their own label last year.
“I’ve seen people wear products that we’ve designed before but this was different, it really had our stamp on it and it was such a great feeling,” Anneke explains.
Shifting gears from design to creating a commercial business has been an education, and the focus has been on learning from customers, rather than imposing a vision on them. “We’ve had a very clear image of where we wanted the brand to go from Day One, but the great thing about designing and developing in-house is that we can constantly evolve and learn about our customers, what they like, what they don’t like, which details they pick up on, that kind of thing,” they say.
Cracking retail has also been essential. The brand currently sells from its own website, via WatchShop, through a small network of independent shops in the UK and (intriguingly) in Japan. Following on from a couple of pop up shops, the brand is now ready to open its flagship store in Camden.
“This year has been all about laying the foundations and getting the name out, and now that we’re more established we can really start having fun. We’ve got some very exciting special editions and some exciting partnerships coming soon,” they tease.