The world sets its time by Greenwich, England, not by
Geneva, Switzerland, and for good reason.
The British have contributed critical developments to the field of Haute Horlogerie as we know it today. In 1800, around half the world’s watches came from Britain’s shores. By the 20th century, it had boasted undeniable horological dominance for around 200 years. It was a period that yielded an illustrious list of inventions, including every major escapement design and around three-quarters of all other watchmaking innovations.
Nowadays, British watchmaking is a shadow of its former glory. However, an upswing in its fortunes is emerging because of a new official trade body: the Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers. The Alliance formally represents watch and clock making brands trading in the United Kingdom, and also the Republic of Ireland. The mission is led by lauded watchmaker Dr Roger Smith OBE and Mike France, co-founder of Christopher Ward. Chief Executive, Alistair Audsley, who co-founded the Alliance with Smith and France in November 2020, says, “We have some real icons of time. I always say we only have one tradition in British watchmaking, and that is innovation.”