We had a love for watches, clocks and all things mechanical from an early age as our father, Dr Euan English, was an engineer and ex-RAF pilot.
Sadly our father died during a flying accident in 1995 in a plane crash that he had with Nick who was seriously hurt, breaking more than 30 bones. After the accident, which was our tipping point, we were spurred into decided to follow our passion for watches.
We began the groundwork for Bremont in 2002 and whilst we are very much a British company our first atelier was set up in Bien in Switzerland – the watches themselves had to be supremely accurate mechanical timepieces – we wanted to create a very British styled watch that could be worn in the office or out in the field.
At present we design, finish and assemble our watches in the UK with much of our prototype work, packaging and special editions being produced here too. Our B-1 Marine Clock for instance is entirely built by hand in the UK and contains an in-house English Escapement movement. We’re due to move into a new production facility by the end of 2012, close to Bremont’s headquarters in Henley, Oxfordshire which will mean that we can carry out even more elements of production, here in the UK.
We have always pitched that we would do as much of our watchmaking in the UK as possible and have a long-term commitment to do so.
Given the incredible history of British watchmaking this is a move we are very proud of, we continue to promote ourselves as a British watch brand as it is our heritage. We are thrilled to be a part of the revival of British watchmaking, which goes back centuries, and it is rather special to have an enviable list of past pioneering horologists including the like of Harrison, Graham, Arnold and, of course, the late George Daniels.
Bremont’s technical director Peter Roberts has been a continual source of advice and expertise during the creation of Bremont watches, he was the first student from the UK to attend the original WOSTEP course in Neuchatel and we’re proud to have him as part of the team behind Bremont.
With the move looming to bring more production back to the UK we’re finally getting one step closer to our ethos to do as much in the UK as possible, but the UK is still very different to Switzerland. There, you can just walk round the corner and get something done. That’s not the case here.
We’re finally making enough watches to justify the move and the North American market is proving to be very successful for Bremont – we’ve opened more than 40 doors in the past 18 months and this year we have won awards in the US. We believe this is huge testament to the quality of our watches, but also to our British roots and the enormous efforts we have made.
Bremont was officially launched just five years ago, but we have seen an incredible growth so far, not an easy feat in todays market. In the future we will be able to offer our customers wishing to find out more about our technical processes and manufacturing a behind-the-scenes tour of our new facility.
One of our biggest challenges has been sourcing watchmakers to embark on this new and thrilling journey but luckily for us the watchmakers that we have employed we have found through associates and friends in the industry, like us, they too are very excited to be a part of the future of British watch making.
There is demand for good quality watchmakers in the UK but it’s not always easy to find them, especially for a smaller business.
We’ve just opened our first standalone flagship boutique in Mayfair and that has been a big investment for the brand and one that we hope will expose our British-led collections to both home and abroad, we felt we needed a showcase to promote ourselves to visitors from all around the world and where better to do this than in the heart of London’d luxury quarter.
This column was taken from the September 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine. If you work in the watch industry and would like to write a guest column for WatchPro email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.