FEATURED STORY

Featured stories and updates from our team and trade members

OCTOBER 2021

The Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers celebrates a successful first year

“It’s been a year of hugely gratifying surprises” 

Roger W. Smith OBE, Chairman

The trade body for the British watch and clock making, established by renowned British watchmaker Roger W. Smith OBE, and Christopher Ward founder Mike France, has celebrated its first year of operation.

Founded in collaboration with GREAT Britain campaign ambassador Alistair Audsley, the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers has four main aims:

  • To promote British watch and clock making around the world
  • To provide a powerful voice for the sector
  • To champion British provenance
  • To encourage British supply-chain, jobs and technology

Alongside Roger W. Smith and Christopher Ward, founding members included Fears, Mr Jones and Sinclair Harding.

Alliance Chairman, Roger Smith OBE said: “It’s been a year of hugely gratifying surprises. Above all, support from the trade has been overwhelming. If you had told me a year ago that we would have 64 companies on board by now I would have been incredulous. That’s far more companies than we even knew existed a year ago.”

The first undertaking of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers was the commissioning of the first Bellwether report for the British watch and clock making industry. The report, compiled by global accountancy and advisory firm KPMG, was published in July and revealed the true extent of the resurgence of the watch and clock making sector in Britain.

Mike France: Our first objective was to prove to the world that, after decades of virtual disappearance, there is a British sector today that is not only alive, but kicking! We’ve discovered over 100 businesses amounting to at least £125m in revenue per year. I believe, that with the right support, the sector is poised to grow considerably.”

After consultation with the UK Government, the Alliance was invited onto the Economic Sector Panel of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Alistair Audsley, CEO: “Being invited to join Britain’s other trade bodies was a real milestone and it’s been helpful to learn how other consumer goods sectors are navigating many of the same challenges we face, most notably the loss of indigenous manufacturing expertise. Nevertheless, as our Bellwether showed, in terms of market growth and export, we are doing exceptionally well. There is genuine excitement about the future.”

Further recognition came from a partnership with the prestigious Horological Society of New York. Other initiatives launched by the Alliance have been a series of popular ‘Open Dial’ virtual events to showcase watch and clock companies who are bringing the ‘making’ back to Britain. These in-depth behind-the-scenes events have been hosted by well known podcasters and writers, such as Rikki Daman, Adrian Barker and Michael Clerizo and have so far featured Roger Smith, luxury clockmakers Sinclair Harding and Glasgow’s anOrdain watchmakers. The fourth event planned in January will feature Bamford Watch Department.

Roger W. Smith: When we set out, my hope was that the makers would work together and that has already started to pay dividends with some fascinating collaborations starting to emerge. The best way to accelerate growth is for British companies to work together with a common goal. We have a diversity of members, from iconic brands such as Accurist and Sekonda, to new start-ups and heritage companies such as Vertex; niche craft companies such as Wessex Watches to exciting brands like Zero West, Votch and Pinion. All are radically different, but all understand that we really are stronger if we can align under a common purpose.”

While Trade membership is free to companies, via its ‘Club’ the Alliance also offers enthusiasts, technicians, suppliers and collectors of watches their own certified membership with exclusive access to magazine subscriptions and events. The Club, which costs £55 per year already has members from 24 countries and continues to grow weekly. Students on accredited horology courses at the following educational establishments can join the Club FREE of charge.

Mike France: “Watch brands are different – and have their differences. That’s to be expected in any sector. What’s been so unexpected in the Alliance is the extent to which our members have pulled together to recognise that what’s good for British horology, is good for each of our businesses. It says a lot about the companies with the foresight to join and that gives us all hope for the future.”

Thank you for supporting the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers. We are a not-for-profit organisation registered in the UK as a company limited by guarantee with No: 12463247.

Your membership dues support our aims to promote and support British Watch and Clock Making.