British independent watchmaker Roger W Smith has given his verdict on the state of the home-grown British watchmaking industry and he thinks that the UK has a long way to go before it can speak of a genuine revival.
Writing in The Times, Smith said, "I do think that we could revive the British watchmaking industry, but the big problem is that we have lost the core knowledge and it would take years to get it back."
Smith also flagged up the huge financial implications of restoring the British watch industry to its former glory. "It would be possible, but it would need huge amounts of money and time to replace the skills we have lost," he concludes.
As one of the leading proponents of traditional watchmaking in the world, let alone in the UK, Smith is well qualified to judge the current state of watchmaking on our shores and, although he also says that he hopes "we are keeping the craft alive and proving watches can be made in the UK again," he has highlighted some major barriers that will need to overcome before this happens.
Smith’s comments came on the back of being approached by the prime minister’s office last year to see if he would contribute a watch to the ‘Great’ campaign, which was aimed at promoting Great Britain around the world.
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