The Brits Are Coming

Is the British watchmaking industry about to return from it’s slumber? Prior to the rise of Quartz and the Swiss, British watchmaking was among the best and most innovative in the world.

There seems to be an emergence of more and more British watch brands in recent years. Granted, a lot of them rely on non-British components but every revolution has to start somewhere. If manufacturing can match the upward trend in design then we could all see another alternative to the likes of Switzerland, Japan, Germany and China.

On wrist is the Christopher Ward Sealander GMT.

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I say bring it. Some of the vintage Brit watches are amazing. Early Bensons had Longines movements! I welcome a resurgence. 

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santiago

I say bring it. Some of the vintage Brit watches are amazing. Early Bensons had Longines movements! I welcome a resurgence. 

@santiago We can all win if we have more choice, right?

Yes definitely lots of famous British brands that fell by the wayside (some were ressurected)…Smiths, Garrard, CWC…Rolex 😉

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@Chunghauphoto  Are Smiths and Garrard making watches again? I'd love to get my hands on a really good Smiths or Garrard. And yes, the more choices, the better. 

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@santiago I’m not sure about Garrard - maybe someone with more knowledge can answer that? The Smiths name has been resurrected by Timefactors in Sheffield and they are selling watches under that name. Nice watches (IMO), if a little eccentric with their sales model….

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Chunghauphoto

@santiago I’m not sure about Garrard - maybe someone with more knowledge can answer that? The Smiths name has been resurrected by Timefactors in Sheffield and they are selling watches under that name. Nice watches (IMO), if a little eccentric with their sales model….

@Chunghauphoto hmm...Now off to look at the new Smiths offerings. Thanks!

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I think the English market is coming back much like the French market. Some old brands being resurrected, many microbrands popping up and some "new" smaller brands (like Bremont in the UK and Yema in France). Really interesting to see where this will lead!

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@unseenhero Yes definitely! The re-emergence of the French is just as exciting. Yema just continue to grow from strength to strength. I know they’ve had a few mis-steps with QC but they seem committed to getting better. And is there a better microbrand success story than Baltic, right now? 

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imho I think it is a very subjective perspective. I think it is more, that thanks to the microbrand boom everywhere local brands are popping up. These brands are still so small that they only known in their local markets. Even a bigger market like the German has so much more brands that were founded in the last years and not known out of German-speaking countries. I don't think that Britain is unique here. In France are also many micros coming up, even in smaller countries like the Netherlands. Here in Central-Europe the British brands are very unknown. I only know about Christopher Ward from British Youtubers. Never seen that in wild live. 

I find this is a very good trend that leads hopefully in a few years/decades to a strong diverse market like we had before quartz crisis!

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Pascal

imho I think it is a very subjective perspective. I think it is more, that thanks to the microbrand boom everywhere local brands are popping up. These brands are still so small that they only known in their local markets. Even a bigger market like the German has so much more brands that were founded in the last years and not known out of German-speaking countries. I don't think that Britain is unique here. In France are also many micros coming up, even in smaller countries like the Netherlands. Here in Central-Europe the British brands are very unknown. I only know about Christopher Ward from British Youtubers. Never seen that in wild live. 

I find this is a very good trend that leads hopefully in a few years/decades to a strong diverse market like we had before quartz crisis!

Yes that a good point. Getting the awareness out into the world is a major factor in the perceived growth of a national watch industry. Being based in the UK has definitely influenced by own opinions.

There just seems to be a very wide gamut of watchmakers here: microbrands like CW, Farer to craft ateliers like anOrdain, to independents like Roger W. Smith and even customisers like Bamford

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I love the look of Christopher ward watches and their build quality appears to be impressive…. Just wish they’d stop changing their logo!

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Have a look at Elliot Brown. They make some incredibly tough and very beautiful watches. The Canford is pretty much the favourite watch in my collection. 

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Munky1

Have a look at Elliot Brown. They make some incredibly tough and very beautiful watches. The Canford is pretty much the favourite watch in my collection. 

@Munky1  Thank You for the recommendation

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Look up Fears watches. This one is on my shortlist for my next piece:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWsHkIRTaBE

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Richierich

Look up Fears watches. This one is on my shortlist for my next piece:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWsHkIRTaBE

Great recommendation! Another resurrected brand  I was lucky enough to try on one their rectangular pieces a few months back - lovely proportions

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Don’t forget Marloe Watch Company! They make some great looking pieces

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Bladerunnerii