Exclusive insights into the history and horology of our watch and clock makers.
5. Duckworth Prestex – founded in 1920, revived in 2021
Duckworth Prestex is a brand with a 100-year heritage that was rejuvenated in 2021. There’s a fascinating story behind it that’s synonymous with its founder, Neil Duckworth, who made history by bringing TAG Heuer to the UK in the 1980s and is now building an exciting future for his own brand.
Neil Duckworth’s family firm, Prestons, was originally founded in 1869 in Bolton, and would go on to have its own long history as an iconic jewellery retailer.
By the 1920s Prestons was making its own timepieces under the ‘Prestex’ name. Over the next few decades, Prestex produced a variety of watches including chronographs, pocket watches and dress watches, which gained global acclaim for their style and elegance.
When Neil’s father, Gordon Duckworth, took over the business in 1948 it grew and diversified, selling watches by Omega, Rolex and Heuer: brands that were at the forefront of Switzerland’s ascendency. The home-grown Prestex range – where it all started – was quietly discontinued.
The Prestons business continued to thrive under the leadership of Neil’s older brother, Andrew, and, in 1982, Neil decided to follow a new path into the world of the super-brands. He was responsible for bringing TAG Heuer to the UK in 1982, where he remained as UK managing director until 2001.
But during that time, there was one ambition that obsessed Neil: some unfinished business. His lifelong dream was to resurrect the original family watch brand that had been lost (alongside most of Britain’s watchmaking sector) back in the 1960s.
It took until 2021 to relaunch and refresh the brand as Duckworth Prestex. The ethos of the original business remains: to make practical, affordable, yet innovative and exciting watches that can live on the wrist for a lifetime and suit every occasion.
Today there’s a full range of watches, all designed in England and inspired by the original models of Prestex watches that came before them. Such as the Verimatic: inspired by the iconic Prestex Art Deco dress watch, using the same distinctive numerals and rail-tracks around the dial.
The six latest watches comprising the new ‘Bolton’ collection evoke the same design language as the original 1924 pocket watch, while the Duckworth Prestex Chronograph offers a contemporary interpretation of another original Prestex classic.
We’re excited to see how far Duckworth Prestex can take its British family watchmaking heritage into the future.
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