HOT 100 2013: Kevin Lambert, OceanArc

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Set against decidedly choppy economic waters, the past 12 months have hardly been the easiest in which to conceive, design and establish a new brand.

But with a fantastic name, instantly recognisable aesthetic and a great story behind it, you just knew that OceanArc would make some waves in the watch trade nonetheless.

Based in the centuries-old international port of Bristol, it is the brainchild of Kevin Lambert, an offshore engineer who has always worked in sight of water (be it loch, fjord or ocean), who simply felt impelled to turn his passion for watches – and his maritime lifestyle – into a business.

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With tridents, spears and a cresting wave sweeping around the Series One diver’s watch, his is a paean to mythology and nautical endeavour – but one that is strikingly modern in execution.

His odyssey has not been easy. Of course securing finance was the biggest hurdle, but even the design process threw up challenges. He explains: “I went through numerous suppliers for the stingray hide watch strap. I never quite got what I wanted and almost gave up on the idea.” Perhaps both Kronos and Poseidon were on his side, for he was contacted, out of the blue, by a supplier in Thailand who delivered just the fantastic straps he was seeking. The lesson? “Never give up and never compromise.”

And he hasn’t. With with a lifetime of travel behind him (Scotland, Norway and Australia for starters), his extremely patient wife Helen and five children to inspire him, Kevin is not resting on his laurels.

With the next two designs in the pipeline and a creative file full of new ideas he says the next step is to “fulfil my love of design and skills as an engineer to create more and more unique and unusual watches”. And with a stated ambition to make OceanArc a leading force in the British watch industry over the coming years, we expect Kevin to continue cresting the same sort of wave that his now distinctive second hand resembles.

OceanArc founder Kevin Lambert was a Bering One to Watch in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.

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