British Watch Brands in 2023

Watchmaking is a British trade. This is evidenced by the fact that every major escapement design, and around three-quarters of the remaining innovations came from the UK. As a result there are now a number of emerging British watch companies and brands looking to revitalise that legacy.

Below is a list of British watch brands. Some of these UK watch companies sell what can be considered some of the best luxury watches in the world, handmade by the top British watchmakers such as R W Smith. Others design their watches in the UK, but use quality Swiss made-movements and German-made cases; such as Schofield.

It’s not only big watch brands that are building their own watches; you can read about how I hand-made my own British watch here. I am also in the process of building a watch using parts from the iconic Spitfire.

Brief History of British Watchmaking

British watchmaking can be said to have started with Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), often referred to as the father of English clockmaking. A student of Tompion, George Graham(1673-1751), made further innovations before passing the baton to one of his own students, Thomas Mudge (1715-1794), who invented the lever escapement; which is still the most widely used escapement in today’s watches.

John Harrison (1693-1776) solved the problem of finding your longitude at sea which was considered one of the greatest feats of the age. Enabling British ships to travel accurately and more safely around the globe was one of the major contributing factors to the growth of the British Empire. Following in their footsteps came other great watchmakers such as John Arnold and Thomas Earnshaw.


The Decline of British Watch Manufacturing

In 1800 Britain made around half of the world’s watches; around 200,000 pieces a year. By 1900 the quantity produced in Britain had declined by half, despite the worldwide market for watches having risen into the millions.

The problem lay in the hand-made nature of English watches and the heavy reliance on skilled workers who were reluctant to adapt to the changes in technology. The Swiss and the Americans were much quicker and more successful in adopting mass production techniques. Mass manufactured watches were soon able to compete directly with hand-made ones, and eventually surpass them in performance despite only costing a fraction of the price. As a result the watchmaking industry in Britain collapsed.

There was a brief resurgence in post war Britain, however the remaining businesses were not robust enough to survive the biggest crisis in watchmaking – the emergence of the quartz watch.

The Rebirth of the British Watch Industry

Recently there has been much talk of a revitalization of the British watchmaking industry, and while it is true that the situation is more hopeful than 10 years previously, there still remains a lack of a British watch company mass-producing any watches that are 100% made in Britain. For the most part the British brands that currently exist are small-scale and often overpriced when compared to more established Swiss brands.

Recently Robert Loomes has started to create watches made with older English Smiths movements (which were 100% made in Britain during the 1950s-1970s), and has demonstrated that there are facilities and talent still remaining in Britain to make all the parts of a watch here.

The Future of British Watch Brands

All we need now is the will and, more importantly, the investment to make British watchmaking for the mass market a reality. Only then can we see “Made in Great Britain” reclaim its rightful crown as the mark of excellence in horology.


List of British Watch Brands – 2023

Roger W Smith

Since the passing of George Daniels in 2011, Roger Smith has taken over the helm as Britain’s foremost watchmaker. In his small workshop on the Isle of Man he, and his team of around 6 people, produce hand-made pieces in the traditional English style.

RW Smith
  • Price point: c. £120,000 – £250,000 (each piece is bespoke)
  • Quantity produced: 10-12 per year
  • Percentage British: 100%
  • Location: Isle of Man


Great British Watch

Proudly promoting the UK as the world’s historic centre of watchmaking, and working towards seeing “Made in Great Britain” reclaim its crown as a mark of excellence in horology.

Following the successful completion of his own watch, handcrafted over 7 years, Colin has recently started creating watches for the public. Since completing his classical watchmaker training at both the BHI and WOSTEP, Colin has gone on to win 5 awards, created the largest watchmaker apprenticeship in the UK and been made a Fellow of the BHI (British Horological Institute).

After having made a number of bespoke watches for customers who appreciate traditional British craftsmanship, he is currently working on creating an historic collection of watches built from a WW2 Spitfire.

GBW Watch
  • Price point: £3,500 – £19,950
  • Quantity produced: 10 per year
  • Percentage British: 100%
  • Location: Cheshire


Robert Loomes

At this British watch company, Robert Loomes is an experienced repairer and restorer of clocks and watches who makes his own watches and is very passionate about having them be 100% British using locally sourced materials. Most of the work on each watch is undertaken in their workshop in Stamford, including dial and case manufacture, with any outside help coming from local craftsmen. At least 35 British workers are involved in the production of each watch.

  • Price point: £8,850 – £68,500
  • Quantity produced: 20 per year
  • Percentage British: 100%
  • UK Staff: 12
  • Location: Lincolnshire


anOrdain, named after a small loch near Inverness, are a rapidly growing Scottish watch brand that have built their success around their handmade enamelled dials. Their two models of watch have a range of choices of brightly coloured dials; each having been handmade and fired in their own process they have developed over 5 years.

  • Price point: £1,140 – £1,800
  • Quantity produced: 300 per year
  • Percentage British: 40%
  • UK Staff: 10
  • Location: Glasgow



Timor are most famous for being one of the original 12 Swiss companies that produced watches for the British military at the end of WW2, now known as the “Dirty Dozen”. Following on from that legacy, the now British owned brand continues to produce a range of vintage inspired timepieces made in Switzerland to the original 1940s design.

  • Price point: £950
  • Quantity produced: less than 300 per year
  • Percentage British: 5%
  • UK Staff: 1
  • Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne



Schofield produce a selection of thoughtfully designed watches. They aim to create as much of the watch as possible within the UK, or else use high quality imports.

  • Price point: £3,180 – £3,840
  • Quantity produced: less than 100 per year
  • Percentage British: 30%
  • UK Staff: 4
  • Location: East Sussex



The two brothers, Nick and Giles English, are the founders of this company named after a French farmer they befriended. After releasing their first watch in 2007, the company has grown to be the largest watch company in the UK. Most Bremont watches are assembled in the UK with parts made overseas, with some of their high-end pieces including British-made parts.

  • Price point: £2,695 – £30,950
  • Quantity produced: 8,000 per year
  • Percentage British: 10%
  • UK Staff: 30
  • Location: Oxfordshire



Garrick are growing Norfolk based UK watch brand employing some really talented British watchmakers. Their watches are currently available in over 6 models, including some with their own in-house movement.

  • Price point: £2,995 – £50,000
  • Quantity produced:  80 per year
  • Percentage British: 70%
  • UK Staff: 9
  • Location: Norfolk



CWC (Cabot Watch Company) are suppliers of watches to the British Armed Forces, and so are sometimes called the British Army Watch. Because of this they all have military straps, robust cases and easy to read dials. A lot of their quartz watches also have a battery hatch to allow soldiers to change the batteries themselves. Their entire range is Swiss made and assembled with ETA movements and very reasonably priced.

  • Price point: £249 – £4,995
  • Quantity produced:  unknown
  • Percentage British: 10%



Re-founded in 1996 by the great-great-great Grandson of the original Fears Watches founder, this company makes a range of classically designed watches. Their current models are assembled in the UK with parts made overseas, with the exception of their top model which is made by Garrick in Norwich.

  • Price point: £2,950 – £19,500
  • Quantity produced per year: 250
  • Percentage British: 5%
  • Location: London



Formed in 2013, PINION makes a small range of automatic and hand-wound watches, plus specialises in the use of rare new-old-stock vintage movements in its limited edition pieces. All parts are built overseas and assembled in the UK.

  • Price point: £2,050 – £2,350
  • Quantity produced: Less than 200 a year
  • Percentage British: 10%
  • UK Staff: 1
  • Location: Oxfordshire


Harold Pinchbeck

Harold Pinchbeck currently have a range of 8 styles of watch for sale, since their company launch in 2008. All their watches are assembled in England and come with tastefully designed accessories made in the UK.  Their watches all use Swiss ETA movements, with their most expensive range having dials made in the UK.

harold pinchbeck
  • Price point: £899 – £5,995+
  • Quantity produced: Less than 300 a year
  • Percentage British: 20%
  • UK Staff: 3
  • Location: Lincolnshire


Other British Watch Companies



Each of these British brands produce very low cost watches, mostly made in China, for the mass market.


British Watchmaking Abroad

Stephen Forsey of Gruebel Forsey –

Peter Speake Marin of Speake Marin –

Both are originally from Britain, but now work and live in Western Switzerland.


Non-British Watch Companies

There are a number of companies that make claims to a British foundation and heritage. However none of these company are directly connected with Britain or with the famous watchmakers or their original businesses which they are named after.

Graham 1695 – Founded in 1995, this independent Swiss company produces high end watches with a racing or aviation theme. Although there are no direct links, they are named after the famous English clock and watchmaker George Graham (1673 – 1751). The 1695 date is in reference to the first signed piece by George Graham

Arnold & Sons – As with Graham, they were founded in 1995, not in 1764 as is claimed. As a result they have no heritage or connection with John Arnold (1736-99) the famous English chronometer maker or his sons who they are named after. It is now owned by Citizen.

Thomas Earnshaw – a Hong Kong/Chinese brand that is often sold on shopping channels. The quality of their watches is reflected in the price.


  1. Paul Collins


    I’ve been trying to find affordable British made watches. Very interesting to note your point above regarding Graham London. I’ve been to the following website: It suggests that Nite, Precista and ChristopherWard are British watches (or at least part British).

    Are these also imposters or can they be trusted?


    1. Colin

      Thanks for your message Paul.

      From what I understand Christopher Ward and Nite are British companies, but their watches are completely manufactured abroad using foreign components. Precista is a Swiss company, that has made Swiss watches for the British Armed Forces in the past. I may be wrong, and would be happy to be corrected.

      It would not be fair to call these companies “imposters”, as they are not pretending to be anything other than they are. They are all very transparent about where their watches are made, and what movement is inside them.

      The difference between these companies and ones such as Graham London, is that Graham London make strong and direct claims to be connected with George Graham, which is completely false. It’s frustrating because if the Chinese started making Breguet branded watches claiming they were Swiss the Swiss themselves would be up in arms, and so I find it disapointing when the Swiss do the same to English watchmakers.

      The main issue really is that English horology is not strong enough to fight back. Hopefully that may change in the future.

      If you want to get close to an English watch brand then I wouldn’t be disappointed with either Nite or Christopher Ward, as at least you are supporting the fledgling industry (who may well be looking to manufacture in the UK in the future). Both these brands are superb value for money.

      For an really affordable English manufactured watch, then I would suggest getting a Smiths from Ebay. I wear a Smiths Imperial most days which is from the 1950s, and find that it only needs to be adjusted by a minute a week.

      1. Jim

        Your comments on people using old British names is interesting and a bit underhand. Is there anyway the old names could be protected?

        1. Colin

          Thanks for your comment Jim. I think there is not much that could be done unfortunately.

          The best way to protect a name would be for the company to have either survived intact or already been revived in this country.

          Heritage is a difficult subject, but one which is vastly important to the perceived legitimacy of a watch company.

          As an example, Patek Philippe claim to be the only independent family owned watch manufacture left. This is correct, but the family concerned is neither the Patek nor Philippe one, but rather the Stern family who bought the struggling company in 1932. Are they right to make their claims of unbroken heritage? It’s difficult to say.

          As I mentioned above, the only real way to protect a company name is to buy and produce watches under its banner ourselves. Could you argue though that a British person has more right to an old British name than someone from Switzerland, even although both are as unconnected to the original name as each another?

          From my personal point of view I don’t really mind.

          What is a concern is when someone takes an old company name; and then pretends that it is that old company, even although the watches they are producing are completely unsympathetic to the heritage they are laying claim to.

      2. Paul Collins

        Colin – all very interesting.

        It seems that if you are on a budget then getting a purely British made watch is going to be difficult.

        If I had a budget of around £500 and I really wanted to support the British watch making industry (even in part) at which makers would you suggest I look?


        1. Colin


          If you are looking for a Sports/adventure type watch, then I’d suggest a CWC.

          For a more elegant dress watch then J & T Windmills would be a fine choice.

          Both can be found for around £500, and represent excellent value for money. The links to their websites are all above.

          I hope that helps.

      3. craig

        I am not sure if this message is going to get through…i have a Colard watch…a search suggests the origin is British. It has 17 rubies, 14 K gold housing, and a miniature ‘dial” below the main face clock…the total size of the watch face is about the size of my finger nail. I am quite certain that the watch is at least 100 years old. Any help would be appreciated. thank you

        1. Colin

          Hi Craig,

          Thanks for your message.

          Wrist watches were first introduced during the First World War, with them not becoming popular until the later 1920s and 1930s. Because of the size of the watch is it likely much more recent than that, perhaps even from the 1960s when small watches were very fasionable.

          I am not familiar with the brand, it may actually just be the name of the model of the watch written on the dial. The small sub dial will likely be the seconds dial as you mentioned. 14k gold is a North American standard, and so the case at least is from closer to home to you. European watches will be either 9k or 18k.

          If you are able to send a photograph I may be able to help further.


      4. Ian Hazeldine

        I worked at fehr and cie who made watch faces in La Chaux De Fonds Switzerland and worked on indexes too, checking dimensions, finish and machining outsides and faces and holes etc for certina, rado, panerai, cartier, longines and other makes. The precision and quality of finish was to 10 micron tolerance normally. Many movements are made by swatch and are quartz and battery which are far cheaper, more precise and reliable than the old movements. Rolex, JLC , AP all make their movements in house as do some other high end watch manufacturers. Bremont seem to be a good british make but many british names only design their watches, bracelets, Its difficult for a british maker to achieve economies of scale and they often only make the box and not the movements, glass, cadran or hands or indexes and buy them from suppliers who specialise in just certain components.

        1. Colin

          Hi Ian,

          Yes, that’s right. The economies of scale problem is a big one for British watch companies; it’s kind of a chicken and egg issue, as you need the market to be big enough to have a high demand, but without a high demand you can’t produce competitively priced items to create the market.


  2. Marianne Forrest

    Hello Colin,
    Happy New Year!
    Just thought you should know there are a few watch people around in the UK you may not know yet…
    Trained as a Silversmith I came to make watches (cases not movements) almost by accident a rather long time ago (shan’t admit how long as it just makes me feel old!). I have hand-made cases for all of that time and made a few big things too….see my website for those. I am about to launch my very first selling website, I will let you know as it launches.
    Mostly I have been working in a rather different field to most watch folk as I am most definitely in the ‘art’ groove. There is an extensive Case study of my work in the just published 3D Printing for Artists, Designers and Makers By Prof Stephen Hoskins so I am no slouch. I work by hand and by New Technology and both at the same time too. My most challenging project took six months from start to finish and resulted in the very first Selective Laser Sintered watch in Metal. It’s on my website, do have a look.
    I have done a few lectures at Birmingham over the years but none recently, think they have forgotten about me!
    Very busy all the time but really glad you are doing this site as it is REALLY interesting!
    Keep going and hope we can now be in touch.
    Best, Marianne

    1. Colin

      Hi Marianne, many thanks for your message, and Happy New Year to you too!

      Your work looks really very excellent! I will extend this list in the future to include Jewellers in the watch industry, as I think that this is something that Britain has a particular strength in. It also helps highlight the enormous talent pool we have, and that aspiring British watch companies don’t have to look abroad to find the skills they need. I will be in touch soon. Regards

  3. Timothy

    Very interesting website and thanks for all the information. I came across Harold Pinchbeck watches which appear to be English: would you include these under the heading of a British watchmaking company? many thanks

    1. Colin

      Hi Timothy, thanks for your comment. I have heard of Harold Pinchbeck watches before, and had actually researched them a little when writing this article. I would be happy to be corrected, however from what I can see they are mostly assemblers of aftermarket parts and are, in my opinion, far too generous with awarding themselves the “made in England” tag. Some of their more expensive watches have their cases made in the UK which is good to see. I will increase the scope of this list in the future, and small companies such as Harold Pinchbeck would fit in there. I hope that helps.

      Update: Harold Pinchbeck have made a comment regarding their set-up below

      1. Timothy

        Thank you so much Colin, that’s very helpful because I am committed to getting a British watch. The trouble is the price tag with these watches. After reviewing all the makers and models I have come down to Robert Loomes but I don’t know how I’ll swing it past my wife. Until I convinced myself that I wanted to buy British I was going to get an Omega De Ville from eBay for less. Having just checked on eBay, I can in fact get a DE VILLE OMEGA CO-AXIAL ANNUAL CALENDAR 41 MM for £5200 from the USA. Is it possible to compare these two watches in terms of the bang you get for your buck? I appreciate this is a difficult question but for me it goes to the heart of question about buying British.

        1. Colin

          A mechanical watch, where-ever it comes from will not be a perfect timekeeper. If you want to tell the time exactly then your mobile smartphone, which connects to the internet and adjusts itself hundreds of times a day, is the best choice. An Omega De Ville is a great watch, using Co-Axial technology which was invented by Englishman George Daniels. You cannot compare the two as when you start to get into the realm of watches that cost £1000s then you are investing in more than just a functioning timepiece, you are buying an emotion.

          An emotion you get each time you look at it, an emotion every time you see someone notice you are wearing it, or an emotion for any number of other reasons. Omega are part of the largest watch group in the world, Swatch. The watch will have come through the factory having touched as few human hands as possible, it has to be that way because it is mass-produced. Robert Loomes’ watches are created with the opposite intention, with as many hands as possible working on the watch. Some people like the clean precision offered by a state of the art production line, other people prefer a timepiece that has been worked on directly by a watchmaker employing their own emotions in its creation.

          The typical mark-up for a mid to high-end Swiss watch is 70-80%, meaning that a £5000 watch could have cost the company just £1000 to make. The rest is profit which is shared amongst the manufacturer, distributor and retailers. I wouldn’t like to guess what the margins are for Robert Loomes, but considering that he is both the manufacturer and retailer himself, then it will likely be considerably less.

          An Omega is an immediately more recognisable brand, and will ultimately have a larger audience to appreciate the watch. You will have to ask yourself as to whether that is important to you.

          For a real comparison you need to try each of them on and see how they make you feel. An Omega can be found at most high street jewellers, for Robert Loomes I would recommend a trip to Lincolnshire to see the watch in person. I have spoken to Robert just few days ago and he confirmed that he has almost sold out of the gent’s watches. You might not like it, in which case it makes the decision easy.

          Before I got into watchmaking I used to have my own business selling paintings. I found that if someone didn’t like a painting they might think it was worth £100, if they absolutely loved it they would happily pay £1,000, and believe that they actually got more “bang for their buck”. Why? Because of how it made them feel.

          I hope that helps.

          1. Simon L Cullen

            That’s a great answer & has helped me decide to start collecting british made watches rather than the normal Swiss made watches I have, Being a fan of the U.K’s “Brexit” I recently had a spat with another twitter user over my importation of Swiss manufactured watches from the U.S that cost me hundreds and in a couple of cases a thousand plus less than sourcing them in the E.U or U.K (even with 33% duties).
            He asked if I was a Brexiteer why I didn’t buy british made watches? I had replied that there are very few british makers which I believed was true, your site has opened my eyes & made me realise this isn’t quite true, so I intend to sell the bulk of my less valuable Swiss made watches to finance a few 60-100% british watches, I’ve come to realise that it’s not always about the name, but as you say about how you feel when you look at the watch on your wrist. Thank you for a very informative site.

          2. Colin

            Thank you for your comment Simon. There are indeed some great British brands that deserve more attention. The trouble is the Swiss are so good at what they do that there is little financial incentive for brands to start manufacturing movements in the UK outside of small batches. It will be slow progress, but hopefully things will improve, as Britain in home to a great amount of talent.


  4. Edward Gills

    i found this very interesting and also very helpful. I am an aspiring watchmaker myself who is just getting to grips with the world of horology, my aims are to successfully create a fully British watchmaking company that creates detailed handmade watches. I intend to use exotic (yet relatively inexpensive) crystals for the dial, what are your thoughts on this? would it be too brittle over time for example. What you said about the emotion a watch gives you is very eye opening and that’s why i chose to use the natural beauty of crystals. I also wanted to ask advice on the most effective method of producing the intricate pieces needed (such as lever arm) without very expensive equipment. Im sure you will be hearing from me again with more thoughts and questions.

    1. Colin

      Thanks for your comment Edward. I’m not a gemmologist and so I don’t know a great deal about the properties of different crystals. What you will find with something like watchmaking is that in general;

      1) if it’s possible someone has already tried it

      2) if people aren’t doing it, then there’s often a good reason why

      Dials need to be incredibly flat and also very thin. This can be very hard to achieve with natural materials. You will also probably need to back it with a copper dial that has the dial feet, so you won’t be able to get a translucent look easily. That being said, some firms are using sapphire for their dials. This is basically aluminium oxide, and by adding different minerals you can change the colour to pretty much anything in the spectrum. You can grow sapphire artificially, but making dials from that would, I presume, be very difficult and expensive.

      Don’t be off-put, the reason people aren’t doing it is maybe they think it’s too difficult, which could make it your USP. Maybe you can find a firm that makes coloured crystals for a completely different purpose, and coincidentally their product would make a perfect dial.

      Everything in horology can be made with inexpensive tools. The caveat is that you need a lifetime of experience to become skilled enough to do that. Back when everything was hand-made, the job used to be split into dozens of different skills with each person spending their entire working lives doing just one of them.
      I’m not sure what you mean by the lever arm. If you mean the escapement lever, then in all practicality there is no way to make one without expensive equipment. A CNC machine that is accurate enough would cost millions.

      This is why most companies choose to use off the shelf movements.

      Keep persevering!

      If you find it hard going my advice would be start small, get “something” finished, and then you can set your sights on achieving your final goal

  5. John Bosartis

    Interesting information re’ British watchmakers and Brands. I have a J&T Windmills and whilst it’s very pleasing and evocative of it’s origins perhaps, I have to confess to a preference in owning and wearing my 1950’s Smiths Astral (centre seconds).
    Made in Cheltenham I understand, with a 17 jewel hacking shockproof lever movement and one of the most elegant watches I own.
    When not worn for a week or two, just touching the watch it immediately sweeps into action and as for timekeeping, I would be hard pressed to beat it with any other watch I own!

    Many thanks for your excellent information on British and let’s hope more take up “made in Britain” – it’s about time!

    1. Colin

      Thanks a lot John! J&T are lovely watches and, as you say, have made a real conscious effort to design them in a sympathetic style.

      I too wear a Smiths on occasion. Their top end watches are absolutely fantastic, and represent really understated value for money. Smiths did also make some of the worst watches produced, but thankfully they have mostly all died now and so we’re just left with the crème

  6. British (made) Watches – do they exist? | Watch space

    […] about watches and watchmaking.  If you want to know more about him and British Watchmakers, then HERE is where you can find this excellent site and some great […]

  7. Greg Newman

    Hey thanks for the blog, i am another person looking for an English watch!
    I found these ones as well (through reading about Bremonts), which have just come on the market:
    I think they are suitably British – and the bronze one is stunning!
    Thanks again,

    1. Colin

      Thanks Greg.

      Pinion watches… I must admit I was left feeling a bit disappointed. On the one hand it’s great to see another British company get into the industry; and the design is nice, but on the other hand they’re not actually contributing to British watchmaking.

      Their logo design includes non-horological wheels, and their description of a pinion – what their own company is named after – is wrong. That tells me immediately that this isn’t a watchmaking company; which is what Britain needs more of.

      To be fair, anyone can print their own dials and stick it on a Swiss movement. Hundreds of amateurs do this already.

      They say their watchmakers are BHI qualified, and if so, then they are skilled enough to make parts. Why not make some of the bridges? It’s not that difficult and you can completely change the appearance of the movement.

      Sorry to sound cynical but when you see what German companies like Nomos, Meistersinger and Habring are doing; efforts like Pinion really don’t get me excited.

      But hey, if you like the design and want to support a company that may have grander ideas in the future, then why not give Pinion a go. Their price, at around £2000, though isn’t that cheap but neither is it outrageously expensive.

  8. Lee Bowtell

    Hi Colin,

    This is a great page, I’ve learnt things just reading the Q & As you have, its amazing to see what english watchmakers have contributed to horology, yet the swiss have been championed for most of it.

    I didn’t realise smiths was a gloucestershire based company, my home is gloucester.

    its also disapointing to see great british names being used by companies to sell watches such as Graham, the watches they make are on the most part horrific! its a shame nothing can be done to stop it!

    I have actually got my interview at the BHI tomorrow to do a BA hons Horology degree which would start in september 2014 so I’m spending today finishing reading up and researching everything I can for tomorrow which is how i came across your page, I look forward to seeing more on it in the future.



    1. Colin

      Hi Lee,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Good luck at BCU (Birmingham City University). They will want to see passion and enthusiasm, plus some evidence that you are pratically minded won’t hurt.

      The problem that watchmaking in the UK faces is education. Educating new watchmakers and also educating the public.

      You can either sit at home and shake your fist, or you can go and make a difference. As an aspiring watchmaker, you can be part of the vanguard of the revival in British watchmaking!

      1. Marianne Forrest

        Does anyone know of a watch glass cutter still working in the UK? I need some tiny watch glasses cut and can’t find anyone to do these at the moment. Only need a few!
        Quality must be the best, of course.
        Thank you in advance, Marianne

        1. Rebecca Struthers

          Hi Marianne and all!

          Marianne I have actually been meaning to get in touch regarding an exhibition on British watchmaking I’m curating at BCU and I’d love your involvement, seeing your comment earlier we’ve definitely not forgotten about you but there has been a big change around in teaching staff over recent years.

          Also RE glass cutting we highly recommend Hatton’s Edge on Hatton Garden ( We’ve had a nightmare getting crystals cut in the past but these guys are great, especially with unusual and fancy shapes.

          Hope that helps!

          1. Marianne Forrest

            Hi Rebecca,

            Thank you for the contact details, I will look them up….actually its perfect timing as I have some new watches to cut glass for!

            I would love to be involved in the exhibition in some way. Do you want to ring me to discuss? My number is 07867 553 887. I may not be able to pick up straight away as I am so busy and often in meetings (with my CASS hat on) but will return your call as soon as I am able.
            So glad you haven’t forgotten me.

            Best wishes

  9. Stuart Eggleton

    Are there any very small workshops that can make one of movement? In same way there are jewellery makers?

    1. Stuart Eggleton

      off not of

    2. Marianne Forrest

      Hi Stuart,
      Not sure if anyone has replied yet but there is a movement maker who does all sorts of projects. Hope she does the kind of movements you are looking for; Rebecca Webster
      Good Luck,

      1. Stuart Eggleton

        Thank you I will try to contact Marianne and see if she can help.

        Many thanks

        1. marianne forrest

          Hi Stuart,
          I tried to add her e-mail to the message but clearly it is blocked for understandable reasons.
          Can I get her to contact you instead?
          Best wishes, Marianne

          1. Stuart Eggleton

            Thank you Mine is stuart at Stuarteggleton dot Com

  10. designmonkey

    Id also like to know of anyone that can cut glass to make a watch lens. I know Robert Looms gets his from a satellite lens manufacturer based in this country (or at least that what an forum based article told me)

  11. Jason Edwards

    Good afternoon

    Firstly may I comment on what a useful and constructive site this appears to be.

    If i can introduce myself; my name is Jason, I am a designer/engineer with Harold Pinchbeck watches. I have read the above thread with interest and would like to correct the post/comment on our company if I may.

    We are a company based in Lincoln and are still co-owned by a member of the Pinchbeck family. The Pinchbeck family watchmaking history has gone through a few changes and breaks over its long history, but it is a genuine one, and the company as it trades now is named after Paul Pinchbeck’s grandfather, Harold Pinchbeck, who was a watch and clock maker/repairer in the midlands of England.

    We do make our watches in England and the majority of our components are also made here. We do use Swiss movements, however as many of our watches are custom built, the movements can be re-worked if the customer requires this. We do have the ability to produce one-off English movements, the cost and time involved in this would be very prohibitive for many however so we do not tend to market this upfront in our web presence.

    We make cases, dials and other parts here in Lincoln, many of the components are hand finished and hand painted here in our Lincoln workshop in a medieval building, because of the restrictions of our building we work very closely with several specialist engineers in lincoln and the east of England to produce some of these parts. Lincoln has a very rich engineering history and I served my time with a very old engineering firm here, a firm where there was not a CNC machine to be seen! Much of the work was done by hand.

    Some of the less obvious, but no less important parts, such as the straps are also made in England, we have our straps produced by a third generation leather worker in Devon, England. We are also working closely with a highly skilled Lincoln cabinet maker, who works with the Lincoln Cathedral, to produce some fine Oak wood boxes.

    Co-Director Paul Pinchbeck spent much of his time as a young boy dismantling and tinkering with watches and clocks in his family business, as it existed then, we have carried this enthusiasm into the company as it is today. We are progressive but also believe in keeping old values and traditions alive as much as possible, we are also keen on training and bringing fresh minds and ideas into our company.

    I do not intend this to be a plug for our watches but thought it may help to clear up the grey area there seemed to be on our company in the above posting. We are very open and transparent so any questions are most welcome.

    Thank you for your time

    1. Colin

      Many thanks for your message Jason.

      I am very happy to be corrected and would be more than pleased to add to to the above list; I have contacted you directly for the details.


      1. Rod Farnworth


        I have been looking at Harold Pinchback amongst others to potentially produce a bespoke timepiece for a small niche part of the military. Can you confirm if the company would be listed above? I am looking for a British maker which can deliver a bespoke design but keep the price achievable for all ranks, which rules out other foreign manufacturers which have all been done before.

        1. Colin

          Hi Rob,

          Thanks for your message. Harold Pinchbeck have been in touch with me previously, and we came to an agreement that they could classify their watches as “60%” made in Britain. It could be worthwhile giving them a call.

          The other brand that immediately springs to mind is Bremont, who already make bespoke watches for niche parts of the military.

          If you’re wanting to keep it much cheaper, around the £1000 mark, get in touch with CWC. It would be fairly straightforward for them, or any other manufacturer, to make a bespoke dial for you.

          I hope that helps.


          1. Rod Farnworth


            Thanks for the guidance relating to this subject. Bremont have recently completed a commision for collegues recently but as you identified it might be out of financial reach for some. I will contact cwc & hp to get an idea of options.
            Great website. Very informative enabling me to keep it british (or at least a large %)





  12. Paul Flannery

    Hi there.

    Great reading above, very interesting plus comments.

    I am looking for a list of companies in the UK who are making watch parts wholesale, cases in particular.

    Can anybody help?


  13. Paul

    RTL look like a British watch company for a reasonable price. Do they still actually manufacture in the UK or is this too good to be true.

    1. Phil Huke

      I have an RTL number 30 of 50. Swiss movement but timed to perfection, within 1 sec per day. Big and chunky. I think assembled from other manufactures parts. Similar to an Oris Big Crown 40mm fluted bezel and oversized crown onion winder automatic.

  14. Viktoras

    I truly enjoyed reading through this article and even the comments. This is the best summary on British made watches I have ever came across. Thanks Colin!

  15. Nigel

    Thanks. A very informative site. I have in fact purchased two of Robert Loomes watches. A Robin & ladies Robina as a matching pair for myself and my wife. This 18 months or so back following a newspaper article. We enjoy them and are very pleased we bought them. They are not in daily use, but perform perfectly when worn.

    I am a firm believer that if you value British products, you have to buy them, or they wont be there. Its hard to do, but possible in many areas. We may not have a British owned car maker now, unless Morgan is still British, but we do have a very stron British made car industry. I have a Land Rover product! Also, Triumph is now a great success after significant investment by the British house builder John Bloor bought the brands back in the eary 80’s. I bought mine in 2001. You can extend this right throught to everyday food products. You just have to look.
    The most important countries get there through making things. Financial services etc are great revenue earners, but China, Germany and the others all enjoy their economic success on the back of manufacturing. As Britain once did.
    Go buy. I think Robert Loomes would love to be able to invest, possible with other like minded folk, into movement manufacturing. He and others will only be able to do it if he generates the income.

  16. Timbo

    The only all-british made watches which are in the realms of most people’s budget are Smiths/ Smiths-Astral. This was the company that made speedometers for BMC/ BL/ Rover cars and now I think specialise in aviation electronics and airport security scanners.

    They stopped making watches in the 70s but up until then were entirely made near Cheltenham and a site in Wales (exceptsome of the later models where they sold out to Swiss automatic movements). They are always available on internet websites and are lovely watches, I have two! They’re all manual wind-up movements apart from the later Swiss made movements.

    They range between about £50 (for the 5-jewel ‘Empire’ models) to anything upto £750 – £100 for the 15-21 jewlel ‘MOD Military Issue, ‘Everest’, and ‘Imperial’ models. My watch of choice is a 7-jewel Empire, is keeps perfect time with one wind a day and cost me £40!

  17. Stephanie Acheampong

    Hi all,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the threads on this page and its amazing to know so much thought and effort go into making British watches. I would like to start my own watch line but I am completely clueless on what to do with my idea. Could anyone please point me in the right direction in terms of where to get materials from or good manufacturers. I would greatly appreciate all contributions. Thank you.

  18. Robert H

    Although I am not even a watch wearer these days (thank the phones for that), I have been tempted by a watch making seminar in Switzerland where you can make your own watch. The company is called Cimier.

    I was wondering if you had any knowledge of this company and it’s courses. More importantly does anyone in the UK do a similar thing?

    I realise it is assembly of the watch, but having something you have built yourself sounds too good an opportunity to miss.


  19. James Atkins

    Hi everyone

    I love the page, it is informative and useful. I wonder could anyone help me to understand how photography in the world of timepieces works. i do a lot of commercial work for architects, builders and I have worked with classic cars, motorcycles and even WW2 aircraft but I do have a passion for watches and watch photography.

    In your experience, should I approach companies with a portfolio of work or aim to be discovered. I’m sorry if this is not the correct place to submit this enquiry but i would love to break into this field and I feel as though I have the potential to do so. Thanks Everyone


    1. Colin

      Hi James,

      As with most things, fortune favours the brave and so you’ll have to do the agressive leg work to strt with. Once you’re established you’ll be in a position to pick and choose your work, but that may be some time coming. If you’re interested in watches from a purely photographic point of view then I’d recommend taking a look at the coffe table book called Movement by Guido Mocafico. Fantasic collection of photographs of some of the best watch movements

  20. Paul Sunderland

    I have got a Smith’s watch at home and it is quartz movement never seen another and seems to be from the 80s is this worth hanging on to or selling on…as all the other Smith’s are mainly my astral etc..

    1. Colin

      From what I’m aware, Smiths made a few variations of the electronic watch starting from the 1960s through to their closure. In this sense they were pioneers in field of quartz watches, however the cost of development of such watches is one of the attributing factors in the company haemorrhaging money, as the Japanese were soon able to produce technically similar timepieces but at a fraction of the cost. Worth hanging onto if you want to collect Smiths watches, as they are relatively rare. The chance of getting one repaired if it needs a serious service though are very slim, as there will be a severe lack of parts available.

  21. Zul

    Hi Colin, great write up on British watchmakers. I saw you’ve got Bremont in your article sans mentioning Elliot Brown. They’re Poole-based if I’m not mistaken. How do you rate them?

    1. Colin

      Hi Zul, I’d not heard of Elliot Brown before, but a quick look on their website tells me what I need to know; they produce decent looking watches that are reasonably priced, that use budget Swiss movements and other 3rd party parts, and mostly seem to have a nautical theme.

  22. David

    Anyone know where I can get my own design watches made in the UK. I have been looking everywhere but even Google is failing me. Can anyone help ?

    1. Colin

      Hi David,

      So far, I have not come across any UK based company that offer to make watches for other people. In fact globally such companies are mostly restricted to China.

      The reason being that if you can make watches for other people, then you can also make them for yourself; and it’s generally going to be a lot more profitable to sell your own product direct to market rather than small (relatively) quantaties of wholesale priced items to someone else.

      There are quite a few people that have asked this question mind, and so there may well be a market for such a company to operate.

  23. Roger


    Just wanted to say Thanks for a very useful resource. I was looking for something a little different, rugged enough for use as a vet. The CWC looks perfect – I would never have found it without your help!

    1. Colin

      Hi Roger, I’m glad you found it useful!

  24. pietro

    (editor’s note: Pietro works for Graham watches)
    I would like to point out that Graham is 50% Britishly owned, with a subsidiary (Graham 1695 UK ltd) based London, of which I am personally responsible for.
    Like most other British or half-British brands, the production is Swiss.

    For your records, “The British Masters” is an entity that does not exist since 2010, date that marks the separation between Arnold&Son and Graham.
    Since 2010 Arnold&Son belongs to La-Joux-Perret (famously known for manufacturing Corum, Baume&Mercier, Hublot, Bremont movements).
    In 2013 La-Joux-Perret, and therefore A&S, was sold to Citizen.

    As for Graham, the brand is still co-owned by Eric Loth and a very respected British gentleman, who has always wished to remain silent (obviously everybody in the watch industry knows who the gentleman is, I could give you the name in private if you wish).
    The brand Graham has nothing to do with Citizen.

    The date 1695 makes reference to the fact that on the market one can find “Graham” signed pieces as far back as 1695.
    However, Graham humbly points out in all press releases that the modern day’s Graham has been re-started in 1995, and there is no continuous history since 1695.
    Graham is an active member of the BHI and wishes to disclose some of the fascinating history of English watchmaking.

    I hope you will find this helpful to refine your story above.
    Feel free to contact me in case you need more precise and exact information?

  25. Paul Sweetenham

    Hi Colin,

    We are starting our second watch company working with a maker in Switzerland utilising Ronda and ETA movements. We have designed an interesting initial seven watches with Universal Geneve as our horological inspiration amongst other references . This is a humble beginning but ultimately we want to make a British movement. However our strategy as with our other companies is to make great quality product but at an affordable price. As I aged I have bought many well timepieces from many of the usual quality contenders, IWC, Panerai etc but latterly started buying late sixties Omega / Universal etc, from a halcyon period of Swiss watchmaking. But for a 25-35 year old many of these vintage watches are out of reach at £1-£5k….. Our brand seeks to correct this by being a watch constructed from all new designed elements , hands, dial, crown etc with the detail and uniqueness of the coloured dial / hands period of late sixties/early seventies Omega, Universal, Heuer, Breitling etc….

    So long winded explanation but our real passion will be to deliver a mechanical chronograph watch for under £2000 having a movement made in the UK . Surely the only way back for British manufacturing and the craft of watchmaking is to deliver an affordable product that has the potential to be made in mid sized volume.

    Any help or insight that could be given on my/our quest is very welcome.

    Farer launches 1st November.


    Paul Sweetenham

    1. Colin

      hi Paul,

      That’s exactly what needs to happen. Long term, mass market manufacture of watch components needs to happen in Britain for there to be any hope of a significant industry in the future.

      The problem is that it’s very expensive, with a fairly slow recovery of investment. Bremont looked into this before and came back with a figure of £20 million to set up production in the UK. That seems a bit steep, but you’re certainly going to be looking at an investment of at least £5 million if you are wanting to produce movements in the quantities of 1000’s.

      The issue with overcoming this is:
      1) There’s no central hub for UK watch companies to pool their limited resources (mainly because the industry is so small)
      2) There is zero goverment help. This is one of the main reason the Swiss and German watchmaking industries are doing so well, and the historical lack of support is one of the main reasons why Smith Watches (the last large scale British made brand) closed down.

      I personally love the 60’s design of watches and so am very interested in what you are able to offer.

      Best of luck!

  26. David

    Hi Colin,
    I thought Christopher Ward was an English watch maker but you seem to make no mention of them. May I ask why that is?

    1. Colin

      Hi David, Christopher Ward is a British company, but they do not manufacture any of the parts themselves, instead using 3rd parties to produce the case, movement, dial etc. which is then assembled in Switzerland.

  27. Dennis


    I am running a watch design studio in England. At the moment we are crowdfunding in Kickstarter as you can check the link:

    Our website is

    We are looking for some British Watch Factory to produce our next season collection. If you know good watch factory, kindly send me an email

    Many Thanks,

  28. William Evans

    Dear Sir, I love this page and the information contained in it. I do not wish to be a bore , however, there are one or two thing I would like to point out. In 1753, John Jeffreys made what is considered to be the first true precision watch to a Harrison design. John Hadley and Thomas Godfrey simultaneously and independently invented instruments for the lunar distance method. Thomas Godfrey was from Pennsylvania, however, he was still British at the time, at least until 1776! Any Americans reading this can dispute all they want:} Finally, H-4, which ultimately won the Longitude prize should not be forgotten. John Harrison was a genius without whom the Marine Chronometer as we know it today would not be around, some of the things he developed are still used, bi-metallic strips for example and the escapement of which Mr Mudge developed further. Yes, I am a nerd, but at least I am a British nerd. I like the page and it does a great job, I do apologize if I seem to be critical, I am not, I would just like to see it perfect, like Mr Harrison and his sea clocks. Thanks

    1. Colin

      Hi William, John Harrison was not a watchmaker by trade, rather a furniture maker and so many of his earlier clocks were made with wooden wheels as this was the material he was the most familar with. It seems natural that when he needed a watch made that he would employ someone else to do it, in this case John Jefferys.

      The Jefferys watch was good but not good enough to make an attempt at the longitude prize and should rather be considered a prototype.

      Thomas Godfrey died in 1749, and was from British America. He would have considered himself American.

      The H4’s escapement was frictional rest, more akin to the verge escapement, and very inefficient by later designs. Mudge’s developments were in a completely different direction and so they were not developements of Harrison’s escapement, which should be considered a dead-end design. Bi-metallic strips are no longer in use, as modern materials can naturally overcome temperature differences.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “just like to see it perfect”. There’s only so much I can write in an introduction, and you’ve not added anything that contradicts what I have written.

  29. Steven Basford

    Wouldn’t Timefactors count as a British company as Eddie makes the watches himself? Least that’s the belief.

    1. Steven Basford

      Please note he has several brands under that e.g. Smiths

    2. Colin

      Hi Steven,

      I don’t know too much about Timefactors so I may be mistaken. From what I can gather they are a British business that uses resources that are all sourced from overseas.

      I don’t see evidence that they assemble the watches themselves, or that they are even designed in Britain.

      The use of the Smiths logo too is a bit dubious, as although they state they’re not connected, Smiths Group Plc is still very much an alive and kicking company and so copying their logo and using old advertisements sounds like it would be breaking copyright.

      But never the less, they are very well priced watches that are quite attractive.

      1. Steven Basford

        Well that’s interesting as I wasn’t aware Smiths were still going especially since Eddie Platts at Timefactors has the license to make and sell their brand watches. Agreed sourcing parts all over, but just about everyone does. Smiths Group watch making definitely stopped making watches in 1979. You couldn’t just use their logo without trade mark infringement. Some of them are very stylish and reasonable for what you get.

  30. Graham

    Hi Colin,
    I happened across your site as I am trying to date a watch i have been left by a deceased relative who collected Omega’s. It appears to be a steel case, polished back and cap, the face is a light gold colour with a small sweeping second hand in a separate dial at 6 O’clock. It says Hermes on the face with a small made in England at 6 O’clock. The movement is 15 jewel, also says made in England and there is a serial number starting with a ‘C’.
    Photo’s are available if you need them, hoping you can help. It’s also manual wind and working!


    1. Colin

      Hi Graham,

      It sounds like a Marine Standard watch that Omega helped make for Hermes in the 1930s. I have sent you an email so you can forward some photos

  31. Michael

    Hi Colin,

    Just so you and your readers are aware, as with all things in the Dreyfuss group ie Rotary, J&T Windmills and Dreyfuss watches, the majority of the models carry Chinese movements and as of roughly early 2015 Dreyfuss was sold to the Chinese.
    That’s for the benefit of those that want a “British” watch.

  32. Patrick Hurd

    Hi Colin,

    Thank you for the nice read, very interesting and informative.

    Question and your opinion: why would a Swiss company want to hi-jack a British Watch Maker’s name when Swiss watches are considered the best and most widely known internationally; while British makes old and new, are hardly discernible globally other then to aficionados?

    1. Colin

      Hi Partick, that’s a fair point.

      My opinion is that is that there were two main reasons:
      1) No-one else had used the name
      2) All the major Swiss watchmakers are already accounted for

      People like George Graham, Tompion and Earnshaw are really powerhouses in the history of watch and clock making. They literally have changed the world through their ideas.

      Heritage or perceived heritage has a great deal of weight in the world of watchmaking. Watch houses with a long history dominate the market, even although they bear almost no resemblence and mostly have no connection to their original forms.

      My view is that if someone hasn’t made a watch for 200 years, and the company is dead, then it’s fair to let it stay that way. That’s part of the tapestry of history. Move on and do something new.

      To ressurect something and then claim credit for someone else’s achievements is incredibly disingenuous in my opinion. Sadly a lot of people don’t share that view, and as most customers are ignorant of the true history; they will continue to believe what the marketing hype tells them to.


      1. Patrick Hurd

        Thank you Colin for your reply, greatly appreciated.

        Your explanation makes complete sense.

        Best regards


  33. Mick Burton

    Hello Colin. What a eye opener your site is. I have a question. I have a watch that is battery operated. Can I get a watch maker to install a automatic movement at a reasonable price. Thanks Mick

    1. Colin

      Hi Mick,

      Thanks for your message. You can change a quartz watch to a mechanical one or and vice versa. To be honest I’m not sure you’d want to though. The battery powered watch is in almost all practical measurements better than the mechanical one; it is easier to maintain, cheaper to repair, considerably more accurate, has better durability etc. The only thing it lacks is the emotional and tactile connection that a mechanical watch can provide.

      Also, your watch’s case, crown, dial and hands will all have been designed with the movement that is currently fitted in mind. You’d likely have to do some irreversable adjustments to these to get another movement to fit properly. In any case, it would not be a “reasonably priced” change to your watch. You can buy a reliable quartz watch movement for £2, whereas you’re looking at closer to £200 for a reliable mechanical watch movement.

      If you like the idea of a mechanical watch, then you can buy a nice 2nd hand one from eBay for £50.


  34. steven hodson

    Just wondering if you can help me,I have a fob watch handed down to me with the name t j Hopkins in its display case, have you heard of the company,they were based in hull and the only record I can find is from 1892

  35. Pietro Tomajer

    (editor’s note: Pietro works for Graham watches)
    Hi Colin
    I just wish to re-iterate that without those Swiss business men who decided to take risks and resurrect some of the old names of watchmaking (not only the British, but even French like Breguet or Italian like Panerai), the vast majority of the connoisseurs would not even have heard of the legend and the stories behind this great pioneers of the art we love.
    For sure, marketing exploitation can’t be trusted in a lot of cases, but when brands openly state what is their relation (or non relation) to the origins of the name that they bare well, there should not be a massive problem I believe.
    Graham openly states that the brand has been launched in 1995, and takes INSPIRATION from th unbelievable achievements of George Graham as a watchmaker. This is a fact.

    Leaving alone the fact that, as you surely know, the majority of the independent watchmakers don’t actually make any money, and the capitals invested are always far superior to the dividends generated.
    So, yes, business is business but there is a part of credit to be given to some of these visionary investors who have been contributed to the collectors awareness of stories than had been forgotten.
    Just my opinion, of course.

    1. Pietro Tomajer

      (editor’s note: Pietro works for Graham watches)
      Thanks for publishing. I also would like to point out that Graham is actually 50% British owned, as most don’t know.
      Thanks again.

  36. David

    Hi I love some of the watches mentioned, I’ve been looking at NITE watches, how do you rate them? I thought they were a British company? thanks 🙂

    1. Colin

      Hi David, yes Nite are a British company that uses foreign made parts. I’ve never handled one of their watches, but certainly they are attractive and distinctive enough to be worth a serious consideration

  37. steven

    could you tell me if you have heard of a company call T J Hoskins in Hull around 1880

    1. Colin

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your message.

      I haven’t heard of them; as there were hundreds of small watch companies in Britain at that time. The only thing I can find is that the TJ stands for Thomas John. The best place ot look would be a census of around that time, if you can find out the address then the Post Office records will also give you some more details. A quick search shows that there are a number of Thomas Hoskin in Hull or around Yorkshire at that time, but not Hoskins – with an “s” at the end.

      I hope that’s of help.


  38. Mike

    Interesting site.

    By virtue of name I’m interested in Earnshaw watches, and appreciate they are a marketing ploy, for a generic movement piece.

    Which movement?

    Also, when you mentioned that expectations should be low and they require a service after a year, can you elaborate on what “service” entails. I’m unsure if there would be any craftsmen in my area, plenty of “jewelers” but horologists … ???

    1. Colin

      Hi Mike,

      The movements in Earnshaw watches are all made in China. The quality is not great at all and is quite comparable to the replica/fake watches you can buy from a dodgy market. They can look nice, but they have a lot of inherent problems. For a watch of this value, the movements are usually not repaired, as it is not economical to do so.

      So if you do buy one and it stops working – your best bet will be to buy a direct replacement. If you’re buying it just for the name and want a watch that is attractive, and you’ll only wear it on occasions – you might get lucky.

      I hope that helps.


  39. Michelle

    Hi Colin

    Just discovered this yesterday & what a useful blog this is! I am currently considering buying myself a British-made watch. Having now seen the average price for a 100% one though, I think I am going to need to review my options! That being said, I’ve taken your advice & had a look at Harold Pinchbeck, which is more in line with my budget.

    However, can I just make one small observation/plea? Women like wearing watches too, yet all the designs are very masculine. Don’t get me wrong – this is exactly the design I want for my everyday watch, something I can wear to work that will look really smart, which is why I want to invest in a good English watch. But it seems a shame that the designs are all the same. Lots of women look at watches not just as utility items, but as items of jewellery as well. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that there were more feminine designs availble for proper English watches. Some jewellery companies have really lovely designs. Their watches aren’t in the same league as Roger Smith et al, but their designs are gorgeous.

    It won’t stop me from getting my proper English watch of course! Just hoping that one day, one of these watchmakers will combine their fantastic mechanical skill with some jewellery-like design.

    Thanks again for the blog, it’s great.

    1. Marianne Forrest

      Hi Michelle,
      I quite agree and as a watch case maker I would love to team up with a watchmaker to make a watch that is both beautiful…. not just covered in expensive rocks…….. and has a hand made movement. One day!

      1. Michelle

        Thanks Marianne, good to hear there’s hope yet!

    2. Colin

      Hi Michelle,

      Many thanks for your message, and your kind comments!

      Ladies watches are increasinlgy becoming a smaller section of the luxury watch market, as a lot of women are choosing to wear men’s sized watches, or the mid-sized boy’s range. Most Gents and Boys watches are now seen as unisex.

      Currently Robert Loomes sells the Robina, which is a ladies sized watch.

      But you are right, and most of the brands listed sell watches designed by and for men. Once we see a British brand take a bigger slice of the luxury watch market, then they will in a position to create a wider variety of watches – currently they are mostly aiming towards releasing models that will sell the easiest.

      I agree though and a wider choice of feminine watches would be no bad thing, there certainly could be a niche big enough to form a lucrative market for anyone brave enough to take that leap.


      1. Abi

        Hi Colin,
        Msny thanks for this educational blog, I stumbled across it this morning whilst researching for British made watches. I’m a lady who loves watches but the industry (excluding fashion labels) seems to ignore 50% of the population, though I also acknowledge that watches are the main jewellery piece for men. I enjoy looking at all watches and appreciate the ingenuity that goes into making them. I would love to support the British watch industry by owning a British made watch and I have been searching for a while for a 34/36mm case, trying to find one to suit my taste / budget and that will fit my small 140mm wrist. I’ll keep searching and hopefully us ladies will be catered for in the future, we live in hope…
        I appreciate your website Colin, thank you

        1. Colin

          Hi Abi,

          Thanks for your comment. You have hit on a very interesting topic. One of the key reasons that smaller watches aren’t as readily available is that I can say with confidence that small ladies sized watches do not sell as well as the gents size. This is partially due to almost no men buying ladies sized watches, and a fair number of women buying larger gents sized.

          Launching a watch is a very expensive exercise, and launching a smaller 34/36mm case would mean a brand new case would need to be designed and manufactured, plus a new movement may also be required.

          So you will find most watch brands will stick with 40/42mm cases, which is where the largest market share is. Outside of the fashion brand market; Longines, Rado, Omega, Cartier and Tag Heuer are the most popular brands for smaller sized watches.

          I may be producing a smaller watch myself this year based on an older style – when 36/38mm were more fashionable.



  40. David Buckden

    Dear Colin – excellent website and I’m glad you’ve highlighted the current use of some famous names of old as ‘brands’. I can understand the temptation to do this, but the sort of products involved would draw fruity comment from such as the likes of Earnshaw! Regards. David

    1. Colin

      Hi David, thanks a lot!

      Yes, it seems a lazy form of marketing to ride of the coat-tails of the efforts of others. I think there is no real harm in using an old name; but at least make some effort to be sympathetic to the original designs, and avoid being disingenuous by being clear about the lack of a true link.


  41. hamish

    Precista actually owned by Eddie Platts in Sheffield he owns the rights to the names of Smiths, Sewills, Armstrong Siddeley, Dreadnought, and Speedbird. he has watches designed using cues from classic watches. He then sources the movements (much of the time they are good quality ETA) and has them assembled. The prices for the watches are more than reasonable for the quality one is buying. I would estimate a £400-£500 watch from him would be the equivalent of a hight street priced branded watch of £1600-£2200. many are limited runs and are excellent. I have several of his watches. His PRS 9 is a reworking of the Longines made for the Czech air force pilots in WW2 and is superior in my opinion to one that Longines have recently produced, interestingly he produced his version before Longines did theirs. His Speedbird has echoes of the old IWC pilots watches, his original Dreadnought is now so collectable it changes hands for possibly 5x the original price if you can find anyone willing to sell. he is definitely a person who one should keep one’s eye on if one is looking for good well priced well made timepieces. I will buy off him again if another of his pieces catch my eye. Lastly Nite watches are definitely worth the money, decent well made quartz watch of a active, military bent.

  42. hamish

    Just for the record, Eddie Platts is a very honourable chap and does indeed own the rights to produce watches with the names he has he infringes no copyright as an ex British Military man he conducts his business very well. It would be well worth initiating contact to clarify ones understanding of what he does. And very well worth handling one of his watches.

    1. Colin

      Hi Hamish,

      Thanks for your comment and updating me. I’ll get in touch with Eddie as you mentioned to get some more information,


      1. hamish

        You are very welcome Colin. I am sure you will have a fruitful conversation about what he tries to do and has accomplished so far.

  43. Efan

    Any history of watchmaking in Wales Colin?


    1. Colin

      Hi Efan, historically Wrexham was one of the Uk’s watchmkaing centres, and Smiths watches were made in Ystradgynlais after the war. Sadly none of the industry has survived. I always liked the idea of using Welsh gold when I, eventually, make my own watch.


  44. Efan


    Which brands were the top sellers in the golden era of UK Watch making and what made them so desirable? Were they the time pieces of choice for the elite/Royalty for instance?


    1. Colin


      It’s difficult to say exactly which were the best selling watches during the 19th Century. A lot of the British watches were put together by groups of individual craftsmen each doing one task; the watch would then be named as the retailer that then sold the complete watch.

      Familiar names that laid claim to be watchmakers to the Queen (Victoria) are EJ Dent, JW Benson and T Russell & Son. British watches were always seen as high quality; and there are examples of Swiss made watches putting “made in England” of their dials to claim excellence (the opposite of what happens today). Rolex was founded in London due to the British watchmaking reputation of that time.


  45. craig chisholm

    Have they stopped making Dent watches pls as i can not longer find their website

    Many Thanks

    1. Colin

      Hi Craig,

      Looks like you’re right, I’ve removed the link. I can confirm that the website was still active a month ago.

      Dent was an unusual addition on the list anyway. They’re named after the chap who helped build the clock in the Elizabeth Tower (what Big Ben is attached to), although not connected to the original business. They were most famous for recently adding the clock to the St Pancras station remodelling, although on the watches side – I don’t know anyone who had ever seen one of their time-pieces, even although they have advertsied them for sale for years. They never responded to any messages I sent them.

      They were listed as expensive, £25,000, and claimed to be fitted with with UK made movements. Any company that was capable of making a 100% UK made movement would be incredibly well known, which Dent weren’t, so it seems most probable that they weren’t actually making or selling watches (in any quantity anyway).

  46. Mike Jeacock

    I have a silver pocket watch with Jos with small ‘h’ above ie either Joseph Joshua etc with surname Millis then London date 1844.

    I cannot find a pocket watch maker with that name anywhere, can you assist please?

  47. Kathleen-Ann Armstrong

    Hi Colin, great site and hopefully one that’ll prove helpful in my own research.

    As opposed to many previous posters, I’m not a watch maker but I have recently been developing some luxury, handcrafted, Harris Tweed watch straps and I’m trying to find a British (ideally Scottish but not essential) watch maker who would be interested in a possible collaboration but I have no idea where to start.

    My work seems to be generating a lot of interest on social media, specifically Instagram and I’d love to see my work affiliated with a quality British watch maker.

    I’m hoping someone can point me towards some relevant leads.

    Kind regards

    1. Colin

      Hi Kathleen,

      That sounds exactly like the kind of thing that Schofield would be interested in. I’d give Giles Ellis a call and see what he thinks.

      Other than that you may as well contact every company on this list. You don’t have anything to lose from getting in touch with as many people as you can.

      Best of luck and I hope you find some interest!


  48. Mike P

    Hi Colin

    Great info. Thanks for sharing.
    Can you clarify the 5% British score for Bremont? As I understand it they manufacture cases and movement parts at a site near Silverstone. Movement is ETA, but you have other watch brands using ETAs and scoring 60%.



    1. Colin

      Hi Mike,

      Bremont are sadly a company that is prone to hyperbole and lies. Which is very disapointing as they are easily the largest British watch company.

      I have personal experience of them being incredibly and willingly dishonest, and quite often will tell the public something as fact when it is completely untrue. The 5% score represents the fact that the company is British; but their watches are made abroad.

      For some of their range they could have a higher percentage of the watch made in Britain, but I have asked Bremont on many occasions to provide evidence of their British assembly or production and they’ve always refused; and sadly like the boy who cried wolf, when the company has been proven dishonest so many times in the past, when they make claims about British assembly ect and provide no evidence then I’m not going to believe them without evidence.

      Most watch media sources will never say anything negative about a watch company even if they have evidence to do so, as their income comes from that same watch company. Bremont have a lot of financial backing from the USA (a certain Science based religion), and so most publications; online or otherwise, are in their pocket.

      I hope that helps.


  49. Maria

    The listed timepieces where really admirable. No wonder that watches has been an essential to any fashion style. More so watches in the UK are a must have from Steve McQueen watch to James Bond watches there really is a lot to choose from.

  50. B B M

    This is a very interesting forum. Thanks! Any thoughts on Kennett watches?

  51. Gao Yang

    I am a Chinese,I want to buy a complete British watch,my budget is 800-1900 pounds.Can you recommend a brand for me?Thanks

    with regards

    1. Mark and sharon Edwards

      Hello Mr Yang

      Being Chinese why would you buy a British watch given your budget i would assume you would have plenty of choice in China .
      The post didnt say if you actually live in China or not?

      Regards Mark

      1. Gao Yang

        I live in China not Britain.The reason of I want to buy a British watch,there are so many Chinese people use Swiss watch,Japanese or German watch,I want to choose a minority brand to be individuality.And the quality of Chinese watches is terrible.Britain is also a great country.That’s why I want to buy a British watch.
        Do you have some good idea?

        with regards

        1. Colin

          Hi Gao,

          You’re not going to get a completely 100% made in Britain watch for your budget I’m afraid. If you’re interested in a British brand that few other people will own, then try Christopher Ward ( or for something even more special try the newly established Fears Watch Company (


        2. Mark and sharon Edwards

          I see Gao , now i understand your reasons which are valid, have you found anything you actually like yet.
          They will cost a lot but as you say you will stand out , good luck .


  52. Mark and sharon Edwards


    This is a direct question to Colin , is there a company or individual in the UK where it is possible to have watch faces/cases made, it seems to me that the best a small watch brand could do is to have movements imported (any recommendations of what movements to use would be a help) and then try and do the rest here.I would appreciate the contacts, design and branding is so important in the process and that should be something we can at least do here.
    Your thoughts please , my email is for anyone else that has info or indeed is trying to put a brand together.
    Together people get things done quicker so lets connect,


    1. Colin

      Hi Mark & Sharon,

      Thanks for your question. That’s the million dollar question, and one that would need you to undertake a fair bit of research to find the most suitable company.

      Mostly it depends of scale and financial input. Money will make most people available to help, if you’re small scale looking to spend just a few hundred or thousand pounds, then that will limit your choices.

      For dials (watches don’t have faces) you can find a few companies that will be willing to do small runs for you using the tampon printing method. The dials will usually cost a few hundred pounds each, and you’ll probably need to get at least 20 or so made to make it worthwhile – as the biggest cost is getting the printing plate made. Just Google search for some options.

      Cases can be made with anyone with a CNC machine and some CAD experience. You can even get them 3D printed.

      Movements-wise; ETA are the most obvious choice, but there’s also SOPROD, Selita, Ronda, even Miyota depending on what you want. Most movements are all fairly reliable with the exception of Chinese made mechanical movements.

      I hope that helps


      1. Mark and sharon Edwards

        Hello Colin

        All the info is useful , in terms of cash yes there is enough for me to have a go, i wanted to find out more because i have created some branding that i think works across a few categories which include watches, clothing, aftershave and other things. The brand started as an idea for the motorbike/scooter scene which is why i can see it being reused in the other cat’s .
        If i was to do watches alone i would be tempted to go for mechanical movements however if the watches run along side the clothing they may only need to be quartz , either way trusted connections in the UK or outside of the UK are the key to start with.
        3D printing could be an option if its cost effective IDK .
        Of course another option is to fine a business partner , most of the people i know are in regular jobs and not entrepreneurial as such.
        Trying to find genuine people is tricky and i haven’t found a genuine place to connect with a serious person as yet.
        You mentioned dials not faces , i was a wee bit confused when you said at least 20 and a few hundred pounds each, not sure what that means , obviously there is always a set up cost for the first dial design.
        As i said any info is good , i am trying to take things in as i go, i have a logo that needs to be tweaked and then i will trade mark it for what its worth.
        I will also look into the movements you mentioned , quartz is always a cheap option depending on what happens in the future. I have seen them at fashion trade shows either on their own or as an accessory to the clothing brand.
        Your time is appreciated and thanks for your reply , please keep me in mind with other contacts etc.

        Regards Mark


        1. Colin


          Finding reliable people you can trust will always be difficult.

          My experience has been that people that do have already done i.e. entrepreneurs will almost always have examples of what they’ve done, whereas talkers will only have grand ideas that have never progressed.

          For the dials, I mean that if you have 20 dials made they will cost a few hundred each. There are cheaper options; some dials are made out of paper/card.

          You’re at an early stage and I would suggest doing one thing and getting it finished rather than juggling 5 projects which only get half done. There’s a lot to think about with making watches and it can be a money sink for the unwary.

          All the best in your endeavours!


          1. Mark and sharon Edwards

            Me again Colin

            I know your probably not a fan of quartz but most fashion brand are , so on that subject where would one start in terms of a good quality manufacturer for a branded watch. Are there any examples of British made quartz watches and if not what about oversea’s.
            I have come across a few like 121time any advice on the subject?

            Regards Mark

          2. Colin

            Mark, quartz watches are great. They’re not as interesting to service as a mechanical watch, and they don’t hold the same aesthetic value, but the technology behind them is fantastic. No British company currently makes quartz watches, and that’s not likely to change in the future. Stick with Miyota, Ronda or ETA for quartz movements; in that order of price/quality.


          3. Mark Edwards

            Hi Colin
            Thanks for the recommendation.
            I take your point about aesthetics
            So I’m not sure about the reasons behind British companies not having quartz models but I can think of a few. Anyway I find them acceptable on price and looks for most people’s needs and price points.
            I’m still looking into production here so if there are any people reading this and care to share info , I’m all ears.
            I will likely reread our conversations and see if I have missed anything.
            Many thanks Colin , I will keep my eyes and ears open and if anything new pop’s up I would appreciate the share
            Cheers Mark

          4. Mark and sharon Edwards

            Hello Colin

            if i was to do a quartz watch i would like your opinion on using JK Henderson with prices points for ordinary people . I dont think i have asked you this yet apologies if i am repeating myself.

            Regards Mark

          5. Colin

            Hi Mark, I don’t know J & K Henderson. They appear to be distributors rather than manufacturers and so I can’t really comment on them I’m afraid. Colin

          6. Mark and sharon Edwards

            thanks Colin i know they are distributors they also have the ability to brand and mix styles etc , this was an idea to go along with clothing im planning so wanted a cheaper alternative that would enable me to put a bulk order in. Anyway thanks for the reply, always good to get replies.
            Regards Mark

      2. Mark and sharon Edwards

        thanks for the advice again Colin

  53. Geoff Goodwin

    I have an old pocket watch that was my grandfather’s. The name on the face is Curr & Sons Lonther.
    There is also an Id on the inside, Garna 24006.
    Any ideas on possible age etc, I can’t seem to find anything myself.

  54. Tim

    There is a bit of a hack to procuring a 100% “Made in England” timepiece.

    I contacted a couple of students at the Manchester School of Horology, one of whom responded and subsequently put together his own creation which was based around a remodeled Smiths movement. Everything was designed and manufactured in England by an Englishman…. except for the strap, which was Italian – so I contacted for a replacement.

    Cost about £2000 total (just short of half the price of Robert Loomes for essentially the same concept) and I couldn’t be happier.

    1. Colin

      Hi Tim,

      Wow that sounds interesting! The British School of Watchmaking in Manchester has some of the best students and really fantastic equipment.

      My spidey-sense is tingling however, as £2000 is really cheap for a hand-made watch; about 5-20% of what it should cost. So you have either got a huge bargain, or the student used off-the-shelf parts to put the watch together – none of which would have been made in the UK.

      Having been at the BSoW myself I know how busy the students are, and they barely have time to finish their own school watch let alone finish one for resale. I may be wrong, but I would suspect that the case, dial, hands and crown would all be aftermarket, or modified aftermarket parts – which would have come from Germany, Switzerland or China.


      1. Tim

        My mistake, he went to Birmingham not Manchester (I did this back in 2012).

        He was going to launch his own brand, but by the looks of things it has since died and he now does watch repairs.

        This was the first thing I found when googling him:

        There were regular video updates on twitter showing us him machining things, so I’m confident I got what he said he was giving me.

        1. Colin

          Hi Tim,

          Thanks for clarifying. Ok, that makes a lot more sense if he was at Birmingham, as the students there have a lot more time and creative freedom. I’d never heard of his watches, and having watched his kickstarter video it does look like he did everything himself so that’s a huge achievement.

          Judging from his low number of backers – and the lack of response from to his backer’s chase-ups, it looks as though if you got a finished watch you were one of the lucky ones. A shame, as to make you own batch of watches as a student is really fantastic. You certainly got a lot of work for your money – which is probably why his venture was not successful. The use of silver and the abrasives used on the bridges does make me think the student had a background in jewellery making (the horology course is run at the School of Jewellery).

          The crown and hands are aftermarket, but still to make the dial and case himself is really impressive, and unfortunately financially unsustainable to sell them at his price point.

          Thanks for introducing me to his work.


          1. Tim

            It is a bit curious.

            I didn’t actually go through kickstarter, I went directly to him through his own website (now defunct) after seeing a few threads and responses from happy customers in a couple of watch forums that I used to lurk in.

            We exchanged a lot of emails – numbering in the hundreds – as he kept me involved in the design process, and I did get what I asked for. It took him about 18 months to put mine together, and if I remember correctly, he said that the cost of the materials was around £900, and that by simply doubling that figure he was still giving his labour away for next to nothing.

            It’s a shame it didn’t take off. His watch is my “everyday watch” and I’ve never had an issue with it.

            Anyway, from what you’re saying, my experience isn’t really one that can be replicated by other people, which is a shame because that price point is definitely manageable for a lot of people. I wouldn’t be happy spending £4,6, or 8,000 on a watch (but I am a teacher, so…)

  55. Adrienne McClymont

    I am trying to trace one John Bell, a watchmaker working in York in the 1850s and 60s who was the ‘maker’ of a gold pocket watch with chain which I have inherited through my family. It is engraved with his name and watch number, has hallmarks and a citation, dated ‘Sept. 1865’.
    ANY help at all would be great,
    Sydney, Australia

    1. Colin

      Hi Adrienne,

      Thanks for your message. I haven’t heard of John Bell, although a search of the British Museum shows that someone of that name was working in Fife, Scotland during that period.

      His son was also called John, so may have been based in York, but other than that I’m afraid I don’t have any information.


  56. Andrii Kolomiiets

    Good afternoon, Colin.
    Please do not consider my question stupid, but I know that watches of the English brand Royal London have been sold in the UK and internationally for over 20 years. Among their products are wrist and pocket quartz and mechanical watches.
    Yes, their watches are always assembled mainly in Hong Kong (China), but in 2010 there was also the swiss collection Royal London Elite that was 100% meeting the requirements of Swiss Made. In addition, in 2018, they began to release new collections of watches assembled from imported components in London – “Made in London”.
    Could you add Royal London to your list of British watches companies, or do you categorically deny their value as a British watches brand? 😉

    1. Colin

      Hi Andrii,

      Thanks for your message. I am assuming from your comment that you are connected to the brand in some way.

      The idea of my list is to be brief and useful, not comprehensive. There are dozens of British brands that sell Chinese made watches. None of them are included.

      I don’t feel brands such as Royal London add anything positive to the watchmaking industry in Britain. These watches say “Made in London”, but clearly aren’t made in London. They only have that mark as a marketing exercise, in an attempt to mislead the public, rather than be a statement of fact.

      If the company intends to manufacture and assemble their watches in London, as “Made in London” implies, then it might be worth another look in the future.


      1. Andrii Kolomiiets

        Thanks for the quick and comprehensive answer, Colin.
        I can only follow Royal London further and hope that in time they will be able to deploy their watch production directly in London.
        Have a nice evening. 😉

  57. Yang Gao

    Hello,I need a watch to explore and do sport in gym.Can you recommmand me a British brand watch?Thanks

  58. Emma

    Hi Colin
    Thanks for this wonderful resource. Could I ask if you’ve written about getting into the school of watchmaking in the UK? Would be very interested to know what they look for / what the course is like.

  59. Dave Chapman

    Hi Colin,
    Any thoughts on Duckworth Prestex which was resurrected from a long dead family business a couple of years back. Their marketing is full of the Anglo/Swiss heritage of their past watches with no detail of the manufacture and assembly of their current watch ranges. The only information they provide is the use of Miyota movements but I suspect the watch manufacture and assembly is in China despite “England” on the dial. These watches are now being distributed through major channels like Watches of Switzerland and Jura using this back story at prices that seem excessive. This seems typical of the misleading marketing you so rightly condemn.
    Your views would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Colin

      Hi Dave

      Thanks for your comment.

      I don’t know too much about the brand, as it’s fairly new and I haven’t stumbled across them yet.

      I worked at LVMH for a short while myself in Bolton, where Duckworth started, and his reputation was great – and people often looked back at the time he was in charge with fond memories. I also knew of the Prestons jewellers in the town centre, which has now closed.

      The “England” on the dial has no prerequisites and so has no inherent meaning. There are no “made in Britain” police, who will come and test a watch to make sure it is what it says it is, and ever in Switzerland where “Swiss Made” is more regulated, as I talked about in this article ( it can be circumvented fairly easily.

      My own experience of manufacturing has found that the cost of machining in China is 3-10 times cheaper than in Europe. As a result, a sub £1,000 watch is almost impossible to achieve in Europe unless you sell the watches in large numbers. So, for the most part any watches for sale under £1,000 are made in China, with even those brands that have employed a Swiss manufacturer to make their watches, finding that the Swiss are simply acting as the middlemen and the bulk of the work is still completed within China.

      After a brief look, I didn’t see in any of their material that they’re directly claiming to be made in England/Britain, although you could argue that they are inferring that – certainly with putting “England” on the dial. They’re definitely a British brand though, and the business is also based in and around Bolton.

      I can’t see that they’re doing anything innovative or to stand out from a very busy marketplace, and so time will tell whether their designs alone will be strong enough to create an enduring market for their watches.


      1. Edward Dawbarn

        I see used mens 9ct gold watches with bracelets being sold regulary on E bay under the name Sovereign or Geneve. They are quartz movements and other than the name appear in every respect to be identical. There is no indication of where they were manufactured .
        Do you have any information about their origins and quality. In excellent condition the seem to sell about £800.

        1. Colin

          Hi Edward, the few Sovereign watches I’ve seen looked to be Swiss made with ETA 955 movements fitted. The value of the watch is mostly in their gold case and bracelet. Gold is not an ideal material for a watch case, as it’s very soft and 9ct gold tends to be very thin, but the ETA movement is good and still serviceable.

  60. Kemal Toksöz

    Dear Sir,
    I have a gold chain watch that my grandfather inherited me. I see f.f.f.& Co. on the back cover of the watch. I couldn’t find anything in my internet searches. can you help me with this.

    1. Colin

      Hi Kemal

      Unfortunately there were 1000s of watch brands that made pocket watches, and it can be a real struggle to find a specific brand unless they’re already well known. Many watches were sold by jewellers who would add their own branding on the watch, even although they didn’t make it themselves. It is not really my area of expertise, but if you were able to take some good photos of the watch then I’d recommend looking for a good forum where you can ask some experts in this field for their advice.

  61. leon yang

    Hello Colin
    I would like to know which manufacturers are there in the UK that provide various parts of watches such as dials, cases, hands, etc.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Colin

      Hi Leon, that’s a fairly easy answer unfortunately, in that there are currently none. Some watch brands will produce their owns dials or hands, or make other customisations, however they don’t offer these services out.

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