Watchfinder has had an extraordinary year behind the scenes, with its service centre adding to an unrivalled list of brand certifications and allowing it to carry out work on Omega, IWC, Panerai, Cartier and Audemars Piguet watches.
Director Matt Bowling believes it is these votes of confidence from the Swiss brands that sets Watchfinder ahead of its competition in the bustling pre-owned luxury watch sector.
But Watchfinder is not just taking care of its own business, it is at the centre of a reinvigorated British watchmaking establishment and has been leading the charge for watchmaker training as its business relies on these skills.
“In 2015 I became the recognised representative for the prospective government-funded watchmaking apprenticeship programme,” explains Matt. “I have been working with the leading governing bodies to establish a syllabus, once approved and finalised we will select a learning provider. We aim to re-introduce the passion and pride in British watchmaking and position watchmaking on the agenda for school leavers as a trade, alongside other mainstream crafts such as carpentry and metal work.”
Watchfinder’s head watchmaker Tony Williams has been at the centre of developing the team at the business’ Kent service centre. Watchfinder has doubled the size of its team of watchmakers in the past 12 months, now employing 50, but has upped efficiency even further by increasing the number of watches serviced each month from 550 to 1,700.
“Watching my apprentice watchmakers grow and develop is something I take particular pride in,” adds Tony. “The recent success and development of Sarah-Jane King, a junior watchmaker who has done all of her watchmaker training under my guidance at Watchfinder, watching her pass her latest Omega accreditation and finish her Watchfinder apprenticeship is something I regard as one of my greatest personal achievements.”
According to Matt, Watchfinder is scaling up to meet the ever-growing demands of the business, saying: “there seems to be no end to the number of pre-owned mechanical watches in the market. As the brands continue to sell hundreds of thousands a year, Watchfinder rotation aims to keep pace.”