Future generations of horologists will be key to the blossoming Britsh watchmaking industry. Jeremy Hobbins, horology course leader at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, is keen for brands and other industry insiders to help support British watchmakers and grow the credentials and reputation of the UK as a watchmaking powerhouse.
WatchPro: Do you think it is important for the people behind British brands and British watchmaking to talk and help grow the significance of British watches?
Jeremy Hobbins: As discussed at the seminar on day one of the London Watch Show, it is clear that there is a strong will among the brands to support and encourage UK industry to produce the quality they need for their components. The question I asked as to whether the panel members would be equally happy to support making British watchmakers was met with a resounding yes, and I found that incredibly encouraging. I am sure further conversations with the panel members will follow as to how we can work together to make this happen.
WP: How important is the watchmaking element of watches in the justification of calling a watch British made?
JH: One only has to look back at our horological heritage to realise that it was exactly because of the highly skilled watchmakers in Britain that the kudos associated with having British Made on a watch has always been a big attraction to watch owners both past and present. The term was synonymous with quality, innovation and design. The more recent work of George Daniels, Roger Smith and others is based on exactly those tenets, and they deservedly have a world class reputation that both plays upon and enhances the Britishness of their product and of watchmaking in the UK at the same time. The recent interest in Robert Loomes’ watches, and in the work being undertaken by Frodshams, shows that this demand for a genuinely British quality product is alive and well. By supporting up and coming watchmakers in Britain to develop their skills within the UK watch industry, the brands can proudly say with genuine integrity that their products mean what they say when they wear the British made title, and integrity sells.
This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of WatchPro.
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