closing tag is in template navbar
timefactors watches



TZ-UK Fundraiser
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 60

Thread: A new "Made In England" watch - how hard?

  1. #1

    A new "Made In England" watch - how hard?

    Hi All

    Been thinking about some of the "British" watches.

    All of them have foreign (usually Swiss) movements (e.g. Rodgers London, Christopher Pinchbeck of Lincoln, Simon Benney, Meridian Watches*)

    Many, many more British brands design here and manufacture abroad (although many or most do the final assembly and other handfinishing here in the UK. Examples include: Dent, IWI, Schofield, Christopher Ward, Time Factors, RLT, Offshore, etc*)

    *N.b. here an acknowledgement is due to Robert Loomes, whom I am loosely quoting from this post he wrote at pistonheads here: http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/t...ish+watches%3F

    I suspect that both Pinion & Peter Roberts could also be added to the first list but I am not 100% sure. And, of course, Robert Loomes himself uses NOS Smiths 1215 movements, made in Cheltenham in the 1950's.

    Anyway, I also recall Eddie saying that Petra and Konrad Damasko actually bought a machine to make their own movements. A quick look online seems to suggest that Damasko is now 20 years old and have been producing and using their own in-house ebauches since 2010 - making them a "manufactory" like Nomos.

    How hard (i.e. expensive!) would it be to do something similar in England? Especially now with ETAs becoming harder to get.

    And with the likes of Seiko churning out millions of very very well made movements at very very low prices would it even be worth it?

    I was just wondering about the possibility some all-English movements for all those brands listed above. It always seems a shame that the single biggest and most important part of a "British" watch is made is Swiss (or even Chinese).

    If Damasko can start doing from scratch it in Germany why can't we do it here?

    What would it cost to do this? And how viable would it be as an enterprise?

    Who'd be interested in looking at this with me and getting some investment to re-start the British watch-making (NOT just movement re-housing) industry? It would be nice to turn the current situation on its head and buy-in cases to house British movements.

    Edit: sorry, not ALL have foreign movements: Roger Smith makes his own of course! Good info here: http://great-british-watch.co.uk/british-watchmaking/
    Last edited by Rev-O; 11th July 2014 at 06:30.

  2. #2
    Craftsman jchlu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    516
    I'm not sure if your omission is subliminal or deliberate, but one of the front-runners in the desire to make this a reality is Bremont. They have invested heavily in moving as much production as possible back to these shores and as far as I know (I have no particular affiliation with them) they are constantly investigating ways to "complete the circle" and create everything here.
    I know they get bombarded with requests for "in-house movements" but as I recall the infrastructure costs if the tooling machines etc is enormous - but it's something they'd like to do I believe, although whether a single brand could achieve it, who knows.
    Maybe a co-operative or collaboration would be possible?

  3. #3
    Journeyman kildareman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    119
    Bremont are introducing their own movement this year.

  4. #4
    Was reading similar discussion last night in the recently published second edition of Revolution UK - Ken Kessler talking to Peter Roberts. Roberts' watches are Anglo-Swiss (NOS Swiss movements, with as much of the remaining parts being made either in the UK, where possible). Struthers may also be a name to add to your list, as well as Hotblack / Hoptroff, Elliott Brown and another London-based brand, Mr Jones.

    Worth digging out the YouTube of Roger Smith's views on the subject from Salon QP 2013.
    Last edited by Broussard; 11th July 2014 at 13:34.

  5. #5
    Master Artistmike's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Devon, U.K.
    Posts
    1,623
    That's a great video and one I hadn't seen before, thanks.

  6. #6
    Someone here said following:

    To get into manufacturing you either make a few, very expensive pieces by hand or tool-up for the mass-market. Strangely enough, the low-risk and low-cost option is to make very expensive watches.
    I don't think that we will see mass produced made in UK movement anytime soon.

  7. #7
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Lincs. The bit with hills.
    Posts
    4,991
    I seem to remember Eddie saying he looked into tooling up to produce his own movements. The cost ran into the millions before the first movement was even produced. Sorry - can't find the post.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Normunds View Post
    Someone here said following:



    I don't think that we will see mass produced made in UK movement anytime soon.
    I agree, the Swiss and German manufactures have just got such a dominant advantage that it'll be extremly difficult to break into. When you've got the likes of Rolex producing a million watches a year but still selling them for top whack, how would a new manufacture compete with that, I would think it would be a similar level of investment required to start a new car brand and try to compete with the likes of BMW and Audi. Roger Smith is leading the way for excellent British hand made watches, and hopefully as time goes by we'll see more people like him crafting special British pieces.

  9. #9
    Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Cambridge/Monaco
    Posts
    1,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Artistmike View Post
    That's a great video and one I hadn't seen before, thanks.
    I hadn't seen that either, and it certainly makes for interesting viewing. I think most of us on here would agree with Roger's central points - the Brits will never compete with the Swiss in terms of mass production and there needs to be British movements for there to be a genuine revival of the industry - but I'm a little disappointed that Roger doesn't offer any solutions to this. Surely he's superbly placed to round up the various disparate associations and guilds in the UK (of which there seem to be a few) and put together a plan to tackle this. He may not want that kind of job or may simply be too busy to attack it but surely someone with his passion for the subject matter could make this happen? We only really have a handful of brands in the UK trying to compete on the world stage so doesn't it make sense to pull resources here?

    SGR
    Last edited by StuartGR; 11th July 2014 at 10:35.

  10. #10
    I wonder if some sort of crowd funding would kickstart this?

    If two thousand people gave Bremont some money (£2k each?) to pay for the tooling / machinery and in return got a "free" watch.

    (2, 000 x £2k - £4 million quid. Would that be enough? Factor in two thousand watches at cost, too. A thousand investors would also then get one of the first all-English watches since Smiths stopped in 1970.)

    Anyway, you get the idea. I'd do it. Anyone else in?

    Eddie? ;-)

  11. #11
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Milford Haven - West Wales
    Posts
    283
    I've wondered for a while if 3D printing movement parts is possible.

    Thinking about it again now, I suspect it may well be a solution though it would need a step-change in attitudes. High quality ceramic components are 3D printed for many high stress roles , so surely a move away from fine metal finishing, which is hugely expensive to tool, and into ready to use ceramics could be a mould breaker to restart interest in a dying industry? The problem would be one of customer attitude, not one of quality. Having said that, Glock and Airbus (etc) don't seem to have to many problems there, so education would be as important as manufacturing.

    After all, in dentistry, a patients teeth can be 3D scanned and dental prosthesis made in-house within a matter of hours. The only reason this is not more common is that a bridge (for example) is a "medical device" (according to legislation) and most dentists don't have the required licenses to produce them themselves, so they get farmed out to dental labs.

    There would be no such issues with watch making, so the jump from drawing board (CAD machine) to manufacture (3D printer) would be a much shorter, faster and cheaper one than has ever been an issue before.

    If I had a spare £2k to risk, I'd be in for that suggestion. In fact, if it were to get off the ground, I'm sure I could persuade my wife to join up.

  12. #12
    Re techniques, see also LIGA.

    Take a gander at the new UN-Sigatec anchor escapement. That's pretty much the cutting edge of sillicon-based watch component design right there:



    (C) Ulysse Nardin 2014

  13. #13
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Milford Haven - West Wales
    Posts
    283
    That's a work of art all on it's own!

  14. #14
    Craftsman Aquavit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Here & there, mostly there
    Posts
    785
    Bremont are the most likely contenders as far as "mass market" goes and, yes, I'd be up for a £2k investment in such a project.

  15. #15
    Unfortunately to the general population I think a "British watch" would be about as enticing as "British wine".

  16. #16
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    22,245
    Blog Entries
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by bitfield View Post
    Unfortunately to the general population I think a "British watch" would be about as enticing as "British wine".
    I see that as encouraging! British wine is increasingly well thought of. If a British movement could have the same gradual success then all well and good. ;-)

  17. #17
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    22,245
    Blog Entries
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquavit View Post
    Bremont are the most likely contenders as far as "mass market" goes and, yes, I'd be up for a £2k investment in such a project.
    I am not sure of Bremont would be ideal partners, unless they were willing to do it at arm's length. The reason I say this is that a new movement manufacturer ideally needs to be free to sell to anyone and being tied (even if only in market-perception terms) to a well known watch maker could make that difficult. It hasn't harmed ETA of course but that's a different dynamic.

    It's also really important to identify how/where one is going to target the new business. There is mass market and mass market. Operating on the scale of say, ETA or Miyota or SII or Seagull is clearly impossible to begin with, so at what volume/quality level and to which customers in which countries will the business be targeting? Making movements in the UK is never going to be as cost effective as moving production to the far east so quality is always going to have to be a key selling point (but if the Swiss can do it in volume then so can we, eventually). Getting that pitch right, the right initial customers at the right volume, high quality but not too expensive, is the most difficult stage. Trust and education (especially if the technically risky and innovative high quality 3D printing route is pursued, which seems potentially plausible as both a USP and practical way forward) are likely to be major issues. It would be good in that respect to have some industry-respected brand champions[1] on board and/or a well-respected trial/example customer ready to go. A trial/example customer would have to an independent of the right size and not involved in equity ownership of the new business to be genuine and there is no reason why they would have to be British. An OEM or white labeller currently dependent on other companies' movements might be ideal: Fricker, Kemmner? People like these would in effect double as both brand champions and ideal trial/example customers.

    Just a few thoughts. I've wondered about this for some time and I think there is a viable opportunity here. The technical issues need to be resolved and ideally it needs a brand/marketing manager who has good experience of the industry.

    And, last but certainly not least, it needs some designs. Ah yes, designs. Where would it get those from? What viable designs have lapsed IP rights that could be replicated free of charge? There must be quite a few. If Sellita copies the 2824, could the new company do the same?





    Footnote:-

    1: Not film/sports stars! ;-)

  18. #18
    I'd be in for something like the Bremont scheme. A 100% British made watch would move Bremont from my 'couple of nice models but will never buy' to my 'must have' list, assuming the watch wasn't too ugly/gimicky.

  19. #19
    Master aldfort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Cardiff
    Posts
    8,859
    It's all going to be about the marketing in the end. There are people in the UK quite capable of making and assembling a movement from scratch. They operate in the top end of the market and you might wait years for your watch. The moment you move down the scale you run into the brand houses with their massive marketing budgets. You have to be able to fight against that. So while it's nice to dream that crowd funding of a Bremont type outfit to produce their own movement would be do-able you've then got to be able to sell those watches in quantity to make the business viable.
    To be honest building the brand first and then edging towards more and more British content is probably more sensible.

  20. #20
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    22,245
    Blog Entries
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by aldfort View Post
    It's all going to be about the marketing in the end. There are people in the UK quite capable of making and assembling a movement from scratch. They operate in the top end of the market and you might wait years for your watch. The moment you move down the scale you run into the brand houses with their massive marketing budgets. You have to be able to fight against that. So while it's nice to dream that crowd funding of a Bremont type outfit to produce their own movement would be do-able you've then got to be able to sell those watches in quantity to make the business viable.
    As per my comments above, I think it could be done by using what I called brand champions to initially exploit a semi-mass market niche. It's not what you'd call easy though and it depends on being able to recruit the brand champions in the first place.

    I also think the design of the movement(s) themselves is a potentially difficult (and expensive) challenge. They don't grow on trees.

  21. #21
    Administrator swanbourne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Sheffield, England
    Posts
    46,518
    In 2004 I mentioned to Felix Huber of Zeno that I was interested in making my own movement: he laughed. He never bothered making his own movement because he said the cost would be CHF1 million just to get a working prototype. Then you would have to tool-up to make it. That was 10 years ago.

    Eddie
    Whole chunks of my life come under the heading "it seemed like a good idea at the time".

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by swanbourne View Post
    In 2004 I mentioned to Felix Huber of Zeno that I was interested in making my own movement: he laughed. He never bothered making his own movement because he said the cost would be CHF1 million just to get a working prototype. Then you would have to tool-up to make it. That was 10 years ago.

    Eddie
    But it may be cheaper now? (See some of the comments above about 3D printing and new technologies / materials)

    I'm intrigued that Damasko have done it, so it must be possible.

    I'd love to see a British movement. Come on Eddie, get to it!

  23. #23

  24. #24
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, UK. Odiáxere or somewhere in-between
    Posts
    7,942
    Blog Entries
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by kildareman View Post
    Bremont are introducing their own movement this year.
    I just noticed this was posted in . . . . . 2014!!

  25. #25
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    140
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    But it may be cheaper now? (See some of the comments above about 3D printing and new technologies / materials)

    I'm intrigued that Damasko have done it, so it must be possible.

    I'd love to see a British movement. Come on Eddie, get to it!
    It is very significantly cheaper now. Design is CAD based and with the right designer you have a good idea that the movement works before you make a physical prototype. The first prototype can be made by a skilled watchmaker using traditional lathes, milling machines etc (this is the hardest bit) then when you have the prototype working you can contract milling of the plates, bridges, cases etc to engineering firms that have CNC machines and will do small volumes. Make most of the other bits yourself, buy in balance springs, jewels and crystals. A vast simplification, I know, but it can be done and for a fraction of the amount quoted 16 years ago. Now, if you want to tool up with CNC equipment and operators of your own, for large volumes, the costs will be much higher but that isn’t necessary to get up and running.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    I just noticed this was posted in . . . . . 2014!!
    Lol. I didn’t notice until you called it out.

  26. #26
    Master sweets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bristol - UK
    Posts
    3,995
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    But it may be cheaper now? (See some of the comments above about 3D printing and new technologies / materials)

    I'm intrigued that Damasko have done it, so it must be possible.

    I'd love to see a British movement. Come on Eddie, get to it!
    But the point is that Damasko has not made an in-house caliber.
    It started by making individual components for the 2824 and 7750 ETA calibers that it used, in order to improve their function. Silicon this, cermaic that, but all little bits to replace ETA-supplied components.
    Luckily they started early, before the movements were restricted.
    Then as restriction started to bite, they copied the orignal movements themselves, which are out of patent and effectively free to reverse engineer.
    And they have continued to innovate new parts for them, but they are customised ETA movemetns, made in Germany. Even they state that 90% of parts are German now (as of last year, the W&W videos), as well as being perfectly clear that, for instance, the new DC80 movement is an in-house complication of a 7750 movement, but one (movement and complication) they make themselves.

    This is very different from developing your own caliber, and should not be confused with doing so. They have copied a very well proven set of designs, and done some (very significant) innovation with parts and complications.

    I do not want to belittle their considerable achievement, but we need to be clear as to the scale of what was achieved, compared to what we might consider to be an "in-house" movement.

    Of course it would be perfectly proper and reasonable to reverse engineer some SMiths movements, if they can be considered suitable inspecification for a modern watch, that way the new movement could be designed as well as made in England.

    Dave

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by sweets View Post
    But the point is that Damasko has not made an in-house caliber.
    It started by making individual components for the 2824 and 7750 ETA calibers that it used, in order to improve their function. Silicon this, cermaic that, but all little bits to replace ETA-supplied components.
    Luckily they started early, before the movements were restricted.
    Then as restriction started to bite, they copied the orignal movements themselves, which are out of patent and effectively free to reverse engineer.
    And they have continued to innovate new parts for them, but they are customised ETA movemetns, made in Germany. Even they state that 90% of parts are German now (as of last year, the W&W videos), as well as being perfectly clear that, for instance, the new DC80 movement is an in-house complication of a 7750 movement, but one (movement and complication) they make themselves.

    This is very different from developing your own caliber, and should not be confused with doing so. They have copied a very well proven set of designs, and done some (very significant) innovation with parts and complications.

    I do not want to belittle their considerable achievement, but we need to be clear as to the scale of what was achieved, compared to what we might consider to be an "in-house" movement.

    Of course it would be perfectly proper and reasonable to reverse engineer some SMiths movements, if they can be considered suitable inspecification for a modern watch, that way the new movement could be designed as well as made in England.

    Dave
    Thats very interesting, I have been looking at Damasko as my next purchase and was wondering if it was worth the considerable price increase between the ETA movement Damasko watches and the in house ones. From what you are saying there doesnt seem to be much point paying two if not three times the price.

    One thing though, what about the Damasko DK10 watches that use a handwind movement?

  28. #28
    Craftsman earlofsodbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    The Flat Stuff, Lincs.
    Posts
    393
    I hate to pass-water on anyone's parade, not least because I love the idea of getting some precision engineering going in the UK, but I just don't know who you'd sell to?

    British people seem to love hoisting Union Jacks and leaving critical trading-partnerships, but they effing HATE anything that is actually made in this country! Observe any thread on any forum discussing anything from watches and cars via homegrown food to hifi, and aside from a certain inversely-snobbish nostalgia for garbage junk foods of yesteryonk, we set unattainably-high expectations for anything produced here. In paradoxical contrast, we are also a nation of uncultured skinflints who value nothing that is merely good, we need to be intensely marketed-to and, if Wilsdorf & co are to be taken as a role model - openly abused, to actually cherish something.

    Selling to the rest of the world is a challenge - Asia does pretty much everything better than we do, and certainly vastly more cheaply, and they already own most of the prestige marques not otherwise sold by us elsewhere. Europe knows and thus despises us, and we've been insulting the yanks for generations by selling them expensive cars that break if you look at them wrong and then rust away overnight leaving a stain and some tyres...

    I appreciate that these somewhat tongue-in-cheek generalisations will be littered with exceptions on such a forum as this, but this is of course a tiny echo-chamber peopled by a dwindling minority who appreciate quality, good engineering, technology, refinement etc...

  29. #29
    That is a fantastic post below by the Earl.

  30. #30
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    684
    I found the machining fascinating having worked in engineering for 45 years up till xmas.
    Everything was the same as I'd done my myself on conventional m/cs, only smaller, including the indexing head for gear cutting.

  31. #31
    Well. Funnily enough I was talking to Eddie about this last week.

    With CNC and 3D printing the costs must be coming down all the time. Starting from scratch in terms of r&d would be hard but copying an existing movement with modern technology would be much cheaper. A reverse-engineered copy of a Smiths 27CS behind a (Time Factors) Smiths dial would be very very cool.

    The movement has maybe 50, 60 parts? Assembly would be harder than manufacture. I think you'd have to buy-in jewels but I know that the old Smiths hair- and main-spring plant is still operating in Nottingham, here: http://www.britishprecisionsprings.co.uk

    From that, making the rest (dial, hands, case) would be easy. Not necessarily cheap but easy. But I wouldn’t really mind if they were done in China for peanuts.

    Here's what said to Eddie:

    "I reckon you could do it for £4k per piece. retail at £5k. A fraction of what Frodsham (whom I respect) or Loomes (who I don't) charge. David Boettcher could make the straps (although I think Darlena still have a factory in Dorset?). You could do a truly all-English Smiths, have great margins and good residuals.

    Crowd fund it at, say, £2,500 per person, all of whom will get a watch. 100 backers = £250,000. Aim for a limited run of 250 numbered pieces, 100 for the backers and 150 to sell at, say, £3,000 each. That way the backers will have got a good deal. Might also get govt grant funding for business / enterprise. Be worth asking Bremont, Frodsham and even Struthers how easy / hard they have found and where they source parts. If people are already tooled-up or have learned lessons then it's got to be worth collaborating."

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Crowd fund it at, say, £2,500 per person, all of whom will get a watch. 100 backers = £250,000. Aim for a limited run of 250 numbered pieces, 100 for the backers and 150 to sell at, say, £3,000 each. That way the backers will have got a good deal. Might also get govt grant funding for business / enterprise. Be worth asking Bremont, Frodsham and even Struthers how easy / hard they have found and where they source parts. If people are already tooled-up or have learned lessons then it's got to be worth collaborating."
    Sounds easy doesn't it?

    Well if you’re going for it be sure to factor in the following;

    - Kickstarter don't do stuff for free, so 5% of your profit will go to them. Then there's the card processing fee lets say 3%. Meaning a total of 8% off your margin.

    - VAT ( for UK / EU ) so if your watch will be 5k retail if incl. Vat then £800+ to HMRC per watch.

    Taking your early bird example, £2500:

    £400 to hmrc ( if UK / EU customer )
    £125 to KIckstarter
    £75 to PayPal / payment provider

    Meaning you’ll get £1,900 from each sale Before you factor in the rest;

    - Prototyping and Machining costs for your watch, which will be a lump sum that’ll go against your margins.

    - As it's a ’new’ movement, a warranty provision put aside for any work ( again taken from your margins ) you’ll need to undertake - even using ETA and selling 250 watches there will be some issues that will eat into those margins. Realistically a new movement needs a few years on test before it goes to market. Doing a handful it can be fixed, doing 250-500 then you have a major problem on your hands if there's a high fail rate.

    - A bit of advice, spend as much money as you can on dial and hands as these are what people focus on. Good parts aren't cheap.

    - i’m sure you’ll need to actually place your watch in something ( box or wallet ) after all it will retail for 5k, so allow at the very very least £25 for each watch.

    - and unless you are an expert photographer and web designer ( as well as watch designer ) you might need to hire Professional services to make your 5k product stand out or to actually visualise it in the first place.

    - finally, 20% corp tax on profits!

    Best of luck! It's always easy to make a watch on your keyboard, but doing it in practice and properly is anything but easy!!

  33. #33
    Piers makes some good points. As did a friend of mine I asked about this. He said:

    "I think you’re underestimating the precision to which watch parts are manufactured. 3D printing doesn’t have anything like the requisite resolution and CNC milling would be fine for the plates, but the pinions and (probably) the wheels would need to be made on a gear hobber.

    Not to say it wouldn’t be possible - there’s an Australian called Nicolas Hacko who is working on producing his own Australian-made movement and is documenting the process in considerable detail:
    https://nicholashacko.com.au/manufacturing

    As you observe even having the pieces in front of you, assembly will be another level of time and effort….

    I’m interested as well to see Christian / WatchGuy has started fabricating parts as and when he needs them using a very inexpensive CNC setup:
    https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/cnc

    I’m not sure how close it is though - there’s a reason after all that Bremont / Chris Ward et al haven’t started making their own movements despite having plenty of cash to throw at the problem…"

    Maybe not so easy after all . . . ..

  34. #34
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Burscough, UK
    Posts
    6,873
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Piers makes some good points. As did a friend of mine I asked about this. He said:

    "I think you’re underestimating the precision to which watch parts are manufactured. 3D printing doesn’t have anything like the requisite resolution and CNC milling would be fine for the plates, but the pinions and (probably) the wheels would need to be made on a gear hobber.

    Not to say it wouldn’t be possible - there’s an Australian called Nicolas Hacko who is working on producing his own Australian-made movement and is documenting the process in considerable detail:
    https://nicholashacko.com.au/manufacturing

    As you observe even having the pieces in front of you, assembly will be another level of time and effort….

    I’m interested as well to see Christian / WatchGuy has started fabricating parts as and when he needs them using a very inexpensive CNC setup:
    https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/cnc

    I’m not sure how close it is though - there’s a reason after all that Bremont / Chris Ward et al haven’t started making their own movements despite having plenty of cash to throw at the problem…"

    Maybe not so easy after all . . . ..
    Pretty sure that Bremont have an in-house movement planned for this year?

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Alansmithee View Post
    Pretty sure that Bremont have an in-house movement planned for this year?
    Ha ha very good!

    (For those who don't know, they've had one planned for "this year" since about 2014. See post #3 and #24)

  36. #36
    Master sweets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bristol - UK
    Posts
    3,995
    I really do think that a reverse engineered Smiths movement is a possibility. I have no doubt it would be very challenging, but as a UK-designed, UK-re-made movement, it has a very strong USP, so should be worth it.

    D

  37. #37
    Craftsman earlofsodbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    The Flat Stuff, Lincs.
    Posts
    393
    Quote Originally Posted by PIERS (UK) View Post
    Sounds easy doesn't it?
    Lots of good points, to which I'd say -

    Many ways besides Kickstarter to fund projects, shame we're leaving the EU really - lot's of business startup grants, but there are still UK sourced ones as well. There are also dozens of companies doing what Kickstarter does, assume the less-well-known will charge less, but then a more normal business loan may well be cheaper still, just lacking the promotional structure.

    Early doors, before you start having a significant turnover, there's no need to register for taxation, even if you register as a limited company - you can wait until you hit the appropriate thresholds for VAT, capital gains, business rates, PAYE etc.

    VAT threshold is £85K sales turnover annually - going to take a while to hit that, and all of your expenditure VAT is refundable.

    Capital gains - again, offset against capex + stock and machinery write-downs etc. You also have personal Annual Exempt Amount, plus Entrepreneur's Exemption available.

    Lots of guidance available online, just takes time to wade through it - and it would make huge sense to talk to a financial startup consultant with a known track record.

    In reality, you're probably looking at 5 years graft before it's more than a hobby. Considering it, I'm not sure that Britain has the image or reputation for precision engineering to compel much of an international audience to purchase. Going to need a uniquely strong USP.

  38. #38
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    61
    We sgtruggle with same stuff in Poland, but ppl expect also inhouse movement. Crazy, yea?

  39. #39
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    22,245
    Blog Entries
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Many ways besides Kickstarter to fund projects, shame we're leaving the EU really - lot's of business startup grants, but there are still UK sourced ones as well. There are also dozens of companies doing what Kickstarter does, assume the less-well-known will charge less
    Indeed, personally I wouldn't touch Kickstarter or the likes of it for a project like this. I'd prefer to find and deal directly with backers. 100, as a hypothetical number, is not too many to deal with in this way

    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    but then a more normal business loan may well be cheaper still, just lacking the promotional structure.
    Loans, so last century ;-) More seriously, imo&e a loan for this sort of thing would probably be super hard to get, would require collateral, has to be paid back, increases project risk, and increases personal risk for the debtors/project principals tremendously. It seems to me that a project like this must be based upon non-loan capital and/or OPM: E.g. Personal funding by the principal(s), numbers of relatively small private backers, larger scale VC funding. (No, no one should go on Dragon's Den).

    I am not opposed to loans being used for specific sub-projects down the line where return can be gauged through experience but they seem unhelpful to fund the whole new business.

    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Considering it, I'm not sure that Britain has the image or reputation for precision engineering to compel much of an international audience to purchase. Going to need a uniquely strong USP.
    Whilst you and I do agree over several of Britain's failings, I don't agree that this is one of them. The UK is actually famous for very high value precision engineering in a number of fields. A precision engineered British watch (which can play on Britain's reputation for very high value niche engineering in automotive, aerospace, military, and other fields) is surely a USP in and of itself.

    When it comes to selling abroad: "Yes, the guidance and fusing system in that American missile that just (very accurately!) blew up your neighbour's house was designed and made in Great Britain. Wouldn't you like a watch from the same place?" I jest, of course... well... mostly. The point is that the UK genuinely does do very high value precision engineering, both design and make.

  40. #40
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, UK. Odiáxere or somewhere in-between
    Posts
    7,942
    Blog Entries
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Ha ha very good!

    (For those who don't know, they've had one planned for "this year" since about 2014. See post #3 and #24)
    why the typical British firm bashing? The 2014 is a well know error and can be read about via google. This time is a new movement developed by Bremont.

    It is expected the first prototypes will be produced this year, as well as a site move for Bremont. No small project as I have been involved in 3 moves with my last company and it takes much planning and rehearsal to get it right.

    https://www.watchpro.com/exclusive-b...ement-in-2020/

  41. #41
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    London
    Posts
    32,042
    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    why the typical British firm bashing? The 2014 is a well know error and can be read about via google. This time is a new movement developed by Bremont.

    .......
    Because of past 'errors', this time they have to be so transparent as to be practically invisible. 'Developed' by Bremont doesn't actually mean anything.
    Last edited by abraxas; 19th January 2020 at 10:20.

  42. #42
    Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    location, location
    Posts
    2,165
    Blog Entries
    1
    Because people don’t want to pay premium money for a non heritage brand, nor the extra expense of low volume British production.

  43. #43
    The machines which Bremont have bought in to make their cases for example were about 1 million dollars each... Like any small business/startup the outlay for desiging and building your own movement would be astronomical.

    Hence why all the micro brands start with solid reliable buyable movements to get their brands off the ground.

    cheers

    matt

  44. #44
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, UK. Odiáxere or somewhere in-between
    Posts
    7,942
    Blog Entries
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    Because of past 'errors', this time they have to be so transparent as to be practically invisible. 'Developed' by Bremont doesn't actually mean anything.
    I quoted wrongly - sorry “my bad” - the article states: “ movement designed and manufactured in the UK ”.

    seems like the sale prices will be comparable to other in house movements based watches.

    it’s also good to see they are investing in training for new apprenticeships in the UK. Something I applaud.

    cheers

    Martyn.
    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 19th January 2020 at 11:21.

  45. #45
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    London
    Posts
    32,042
    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    I quoted wrongly - sorry “my bad” - the article states: “ movement designed and manufactured in the UK ”.
    .....
    Very few manufacturers can make everything. When Bremont tells us which parts they don't make, then we will know what they do make.

    I am afraid that plain old in-house is not sufficient any more. Please not just another old, another old. I would like to see something interesting. I don't know what, but I will know when I see it.

  46. #46
    Im curious, how do so many German brands manage to get off the ground? Is there a lot of government support over there? Granted many of them start off using stock movements such as Nomos but they seem to quickly develop into their own movements. Nomos, Tutima, hentschel, Dornbluth etc..... Only British brand I think of that have an in house movement right now is Garrick.

  47. #47
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    140
    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Im curious, how do so many German brands manage to get off the ground? Is there a lot of government support over there? Granted many of them start off using stock movements such as Nomos but they seem to quickly develop into their own movements. Nomos, Tutima, hentschel, Dornbluth etc..... Only British brand I think of that have an in house movement right now is Garrick.
    Good point. I think it because there is a good infrastructure / ecosystem around watchmaking in Germany. Witness how many brands in the vicinity of Glashutte for example. One can much more easily find watchmakers, forge collaborations, find suppliers of cases / dials / hands etc when there is local industrial tradition.

    Garrick, whom you mention, have been quite resourceful in this case. The local firms who provide rough cut cases and movement plates, for example, have the necessary CNC engineering capability but they are not specialists in the watch industry so some creativity is needed.

    England does make for a harder base though obviously not impossible. As mentioned by earlier posters, volume is always going to be an issue and will drive price upwards. Again to use Garrick as an example; they make tiny volumes of their in-house movement pieces but even those are mostly shipped to China and USA. Nearly nothing to the UK consumer.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Only British brand I think of that have an in house movement right now is Garrick.
    Garrick? Not quite: "The UT-G01 calibre was designed in partnership with eminent watchmaker, Andreas Strehler and his company Uhr Teil AG and parts are made in both the UK and Switzerland."

    But Frodsham? Yes.

  49. #49
    Craftsman earlofsodbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    The Flat Stuff, Lincs.
    Posts
    393
    How pedantic is it worth being about sourcing? Mainsprings, jewels etc? You'd have to be mildly demented to try and source some of those in the UK. Any movement design will - at the very least - be derived from a pre-existing one, otherwise R&D will consume an 8-figure sum, and you'd be almost literally re-inventing the wheel otherwise.

    Pursuing this notion is both noble and attractive, but what's the endgame beyond an ego-trip for all involved? It's going to consume a hefty chunk of capital, and - lottery-winners aside - it is an abiding characteristic of the wealthy that they got that way by being cautious with their investments, so a viable longer-term business model will be required.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    How pedantic is it worth being about sourcing?
    It's not about being pedantic, it's about the vague, ambiguous language. "parts are made in both the UK and Switzerland"

    Let's say there's 100 "parts" with varying degrees of complexity, size etc. Bremont tried to pass off a Swiss movement as "in-house" because they'd made the bridge. I don't mean to sound pedantic, but that is one and only part -- and fairly big / simple part at that. I reckon I could bodge a plate or bridge as a one-off and some watchmakers will consider making a part if it's obsolete (eg there's a chap called Antoine who makes locking crowns for Weems as they are often missing).

    But I accept that jewels, screws, oils etc will have too be bought in. Heck, it's only relatively recently that Rolex (@ just under a million watches a year) went all in-house (and, er, raised their prices as a result!)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Do Not Sell My Personal Information