HOT 100 BRAND CHAMPIONS: Mark Willingham, business development sales manager, Grand Seiko

Mark Willingham is relaxed in the knowledge that Seiko is going from strength to strength. “The brand’s growth in the UK is organic – we’re not in a hurry. We’re experiencing fantastic results and growth will continue, both internationally and in the UK, through like-minded retailers with the understanding and enthusiasm to tell the brand’s stories,” he says.

And the performance figures only go to prove his point. During Willingham’s tenure as UK Business Development Sales Manager, with responsibility for independent channel sales of both in-house and licensed brands, Seiko has achieved five consecutive years of sales growth.

“During this same period I have also nurtured Seiko’s more premium and luxury watch collections, such as Seiko Spring Drive, the Seiko Ananta collection and the Seiko Astron GPS Solar collection,” he adds.

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Willingham enjoys the variety of challenges and rewards that come with his role, as well as the opportunity to introduce consumers and retailers to the Seiko collections he is so passionate about. “There is nothing more rewarding than being able to open people’s eyes to areas of watch making expertise and excellence that they didn’t previously understand, expect or appreciate.”

Next on this list of challenges is the launch of the first UK Seiko boutique in London later this year, with a long-term aim to build a network of outlets across the UK. “Seiko produces so many iconic products that UK consumers have not previously been able to source domestically. Thanks to the new boutique, fans of the brand will be able to see the full scope of Seiko’s amazing product line-up,” he explains.

But with all this hard work on the horizon, Willingham feels lucky to have rural Wales on his doorstep. “Living just a couple of hundred yards from a castle, country park and open countryside means I have plenty of opportunities to wind down and relax.”




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