“There has been a steady emergence of British brands across a range of products. It’s no surprise that brands like Uniform Wares emerged during the UK recession. We launched in 2009, a time when many people became disenfranchised with their working life and looked to indulge their passions.
“In the watch industry there has been inspiration found in brands like Maurice De Mauriac in Zurich that shows you can be independent, small and successful. Also we can’t talk about the rise of independents without mentioning the monopolisation of the Swiss watch industry and how frustrating this can be to those who would rather support companies that can offer a more hands-on experience.
“The idea of Britishness is very important to us. We describe our collection as British-designed contemporary timepieces. Part of our story is our watches are influenced by British design, fashion and culture. We are fairly unique as we have designed every part of the watch, apart from the movement, in our London office. We don’t use any stock parts and each part is rigorously developed and prototyped in the same way we would have designed any larger products. There is something about the British aesthetic that we think is a hallmark of our watches. There is a very British obsession with the hidden details in design, allowing customers to express themselves without being considered flashy.
“There is no reason why Britain shouldn’t be able to win market share from Switzerland, but it seems for now that we still need to look to Switzerland for the best movements. There’s not much of an industry here in terms of production, so to go up against the Swiss we would need to re-establish a British manufacturing base. Right now we can’t produce our cases and dials in the UK because the production and expertise isn’t here. It would take considerable time and investment to create a manufacturing base that can produce at the rate of Switzerland or Asia and compete economically.
“If a brand were to say their watches were British made, then there should be measures in place to ensure that the watch is 100% British made. This seems fair.
“We are developing watches that hope to use some UK-made parts. We also prototype all our watches with UK manufacturers but for full production we need to look elsewhere. We have talked to many in the UK watch industry who would love to set up production here, including ourselves. This is not an impossibility and is something we are ultimately interested in.
“Where do we see ourselves in the next decade? We want to be the best quartz watch brand in the world.”
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 email@example.com.