Winchester Watch Company

Unfortunately not all the young British brands are successful.

An attempt to raise £10,000 for a new British watch brand via crowd funding has been aborted just one day after it began. Winchester Watch Company, founded by Steven Batchelor, was aiming to raise the seed capital via Kickstarter to finance the creation of a British-made quartz watch collection.

The funding effort started on August 6, but was cancelled a day later without explanation on the Kickstarter website.

It had raised £1825 from 11 backers, each of which had pledged £160 in return for the promise to be given one of the Meridian watches that the company intended to develop. The watches were to be delivered by October this year. Just 250 Meridian watches were due to be produced in their first manufacturing run, according to pre-publicity from the company. In his introduction to the company, Mr. Batchelor suggested he wanted to create a brand rooted in British tradition. “England has a rich heritage of watchmaking. 

An earlier adjustment to the Winchester Watch Company plan was a move away from creating a British movement for its watches. “The Winchester Watch Company initially wanted to create a watch that was not only British-made, but also comprised solely of British parts. Unfortunately, the decline of the watchmaking industry in Britain has been so dramatic, quartz movements can’t yet be manufactured here. The team at Winchester will be using a Swiss-made quartz movement by RONDA – but the Meridian will be designed, crafted and assembled by a 100% British team, here on UK soil, with a home-grown company at its helm,” the company admitted.

The Winchester Watch Company website is not working today. It’s Facebook page appears to have been removed. 

Chr. Ward offer

cw offer

Summer is coming to an end here but we’re making the jump into Autumn with FREE Delivery on all orders during September. With recent new releases like the C8 FLYER COLLECTION or C60 TRIDENT PRO VINTAGE EDITIONS, or the special ‘NEARLY NEW’ and ‘ARCHIVE EVENT’ watches, we’re welcoming in the new season – and until midnight on 30th September you can still use the £50 voucher with this offer.

Peter Roberts – Mythique

After seeing some intriguing pictures on Twitter I have managed to get hold of a press release from Peter Roberts explaining his latest creation, the Mythique.

Towards the end of the first Peter Roberts Watches project – the “Concentrique” – we were asked if it was possible for us to make and design a unique chronograph, built in a new way with a new artistic look, but encompassing a skeletonized movement.
My initial thought was that there were already enough skeletonized watches around for everyone’s taste. Nevertheless, I continued to think about the idea of a new watch based on this theme which lead me to the concept of ‘The Mythique’.
Firstly – To make a single watch would be prohibitively expensive, therefore I decided to make a small series.
Secondly – Could I get the right movement?
Through my many friends in Switzerland I was steered towards some fantastic artisans in the Vallee de Joux. I now had the possibility of using the technically brilliant Valjoux calibre 23. This movement in conjunction with a team of very skilled Jura craftsmen, working by hand, could be skeletonized, engraved and finished to the highest standard.
For me, the prime requisite on my watch designs is clarity of the dial – this is not usually achieved on a skeletonized watch. Also I wished to convey a sense of mysticism and even mythology to the watch.
I hope that I have achieved these ideals using my “Floating Cloud Concept”.
In the “Mythique” this “Floating Cloud Concept” allows the wearer to enjoy multiple visual experi- ences depending on lighting, angle, direction of view etc. Whilst enjoying these effects, the time and chronograph indications can be clearly read.
Although photographs can give some idea of these effects, the “Mythique” needs to be seen and handled to experience the full three dimensional, holographic video like scenes that are to be ob- served.
Each of the 10 “Mythiques” will be built to order.
I will build up to 5 Stainless Steel cased “Silver Sunrise” watches – in these the movement is White Gold finished and represents a cool regeneration of the day.
I will build up to 5 Stainless Steel cased “Golden Dawn” watches – in these the movement is Rose Gold finished and symbolises the warmth of a new morning.
The Mythique “Silver Sunrise” and “Golden Dawn” will be priced at £20,000 + VAT.

Visit Peter’s website Mythique

FT Article – Watch industry calls time on shortage of apprentices – Robin Swithinbank


The FT article

The British watch industry’s chronic shortage of watchmakers has been described as one of the greatest threats to its long-term future. However, a programme being developed under the UK government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme may provide a solution.
Announced in 2013, Trailblazer encourages employers to create apprenticeship standards that meet their needs. Previously, training providers had set the criteria. In response, leading figures from the British watch industry have joined forces to define a watchmaking apprenticeship standard and to try to stem the decline in the country’s number of watchmakers.

The group is being led by Matt Bowling, servicing director of pre-owned, premium watch retailer WatchFinder & Co, a business that relies heavily on watchmakers to sustain its £60m annual turnover.
“The shortage of watchmakers in the industry is glaring,” says Mr Bowling, who employs eight full-time watchmakers. “People who are serious about being in the watch industry over the next 20 years have no choice but to do something about it.”
In June, Mr Bowling chaired a meeting of 16 leading figures from the British watch industry and representatives from several brands, retailers and administrative bodies. The group is working on a watchmaking apprenticeship specification which it hopes will be included in the Trailblazer scheme’s “craftsperson” apprenticeship standard. Approval is expected before the end of the year.
According to GfK POS Tracking, UK sales of mechanical watches rose from 168,000 in 2010 to 235,000 in 2014, an increase of 40 per cent. In time, those watches will need servicing, placing a burden on the watchmaking industry it is not expected to be able to meet. There are no official figures for the number of UK watchmakers, but they are believed to be in the low to mid-hundreds.
Birmingham University offers 14 undergraduate places a year and the British School of Watchmaking (BSoW) in Manchester a further eight to trainee watchmakers. While a valuable contribution, it only scratches the surface of the problem.
The British Horological Institute had been trying unsuccessfully to generate support for a government-funded apprenticeship scheme for eight years before the Trailblazer plan was announced.
Dudley Giles, chief executive of the BHI, says: “Until the government turned the system on its head, it had been hard for the watch industry to get funding for a watchmaking apprenticeship scheme.”
Mr Giles, who will become a training provider when the apprenticeship standard is put in place, sees great potential in the government’s revised strategy. “The training providers will be the servants of the employers,” he says.
If the apprenticeship standard and assessment plan devised by Mr Bowling’s group are adopted and become part of the Trailblazer scheme, British watch companies could be taking on apprentices as early as next year.
Employers would receive funding from the government for each apprentice taken on. How much funding has yet to be determined, but the industry is pushing for the upper band, given the high costs involved in training a watchmaker.
However, Mr Bowling thinks more should be done. “I would like to think that people in the industry realise that to preserve British watchmaking they need to invest in it,” he says.
“I’ve never been able to reconcile that you have these enormous brands that have so much money, and yet it still costs £16,000 to do the course in Manchester. If you’re committed to getting people into watchmaking, then let’s see it,” he adds.
Mark Hearn, managing director of Patek Philippe in the UK and a former director of the BSoW, agrees. “Other organisations need to be encouraged and developed. There’s an increasing demand for young watchmakers.”
Historically, one of the stumbling-blocks has been the notorious inability of the various factions within the British watchmaking industry to collaborate.
“I’d like to see the British watchmaking industry work closer together,” says Nick English, founder of Bremont, a British watch brand represented at June’s meeting. “For this industry to grow, we need a proper apprenticeship scheme.”
Another hurdle is the reputation of watchmaking as a dusty and outmoded profession — aspiring technicians are more likely to enter IT or engineering. And, even if the watchmaking apprenticeship standard is adopted, there is no guarantee it will lead to successful recruitment. That will depend on the industry’s ability to advertise itself to potential watchmakers.
“I’d like to go into schools and sit one of our 25-year-old watchmakers earning £40,000 a year, in front of 16-year-old kids and tell them about being a watchmaker,” says Mr Bowling.
“I want them to consider watchmaking, because, if you can do the job, you’re going to be employed for ever.”