He owns 11 guitars, writes kid’s poems that are “too scary”, gets on with everyone, represented Great Britain at fishing. He’s also Daphne Du Maurier’s dashingly handsome grandson and in January 2013 he launched a watch brand based on her books. What’s not to like about Ned Du Maurier Browning?
In an interview that fizzed with his particular brand of good humoured creativity, he told us that he feels “absolutely brilliant and very flattered” to be featured in the WatchPro Hot 100 so soon after the brand’s launch and that the response to the first collection was so positive that he is taking the brand to retail “much sooner than planned”.
But then the breakthroughs have come thick and fast for Ned, whose first career was in music and on stage. He says: “The proudest and most exciting moment we’ve had so far was when we launched the Maxim [based on the male hero of Rebecca], sitting on my computer early one Monday morning tracking the web stats and suddenly seeing five real time sales coming in within 20 minutes.”
And then there was the Vogue review that came soon after launch. “It was a pretty big thing for us, not a huge sales generator, but when you are included in a piece nestled in amongst Patek Philippe and Chopard it feels very good indeed.”
It has certainly been a positive start and it all stems, Ned says, from his love of watches. “They are a major passion of mine and always have been, so to be designing my own watches feels fantastic.”
Those watches – each created in limited-edition runs of 300 pieces each – are Swiss-made quartz, something he eagerly champions. “There is a bias against [them] which I find frustrating. Mechanical watches mean a significantly higher cost of goods and therefore a higher retail price point. This puts smaller, new brands into direct competition with every high-end Swiss made brand. Our view is that not every watch fan can afford to spend £2,000 and upwards on a Swiss-made watch and we are out there to champion affordable luxury.”
That said, he confesses that he will add mechanical movements to the range in the near future – but not to the exclusion of quartz movements. “Crucially, we are striving to make prestige, Swiss-made watches affordable and if we are able to offer consumers the chance to own a beautiful, Swiss-made, limited-edition watch with a quartz movement for a very reasonable price then why not?” Why not indeed.
Du Maurier founder Ned Du Maurier Browning 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.