Just outside the top 10 are a number of businesses that deserve a special mention because they will be challenging for a place on the list when we compile it again in 12 months’ time.
Berens & Co Ltd, the trading name of Leeds powerhouse Berry’s and Owen & Robinson, was knocking on the door of the top 10 in 2016 with sales of £38.8 million. We already know that its 2017 turnover increased to £51.5 million in 2017, which will place it at number 10 next year. Berry’s has six stores out of nine selling Patek Philippe in the UK. Only Aurum Holdings has more with eight.
Chisholm Hunter has been on a dramatic upward trajectory, almost doubling its turnover from £19 million to £36 million since 2012-13. The company’s latest store, which opened in Edinburgh in 2017, is also its biggest and likely to add several million pounds to turnover next year. Remarkably, this growth story has been achieved without either Rolex or Patek Philippe in the group’s portfolio of Swiss watch brands.
George Pragnell is also on the march, and its new store, a sumptuous luxury boutique in London’s Mayfair that opened at the end of 2017, has not contributed a full year of sales to its next financial year. Despite this, its 2016-17 turnover of £37 million is nipping at the heels of both Chisholm Hunter and W R Ferris.
A special mention should also go to Harrods. The Knightsbridge department store’s Fine Watch Room is one of the world’s most important destination for top-end timepieces, and almost certainly sells more six-figure watches than any other shop in the UK. On a pounds per square foot calculation, it is probably the most valuable watch retailer in the country, but does not publish any breakdown by department of its £2.1 billion retail sales in the UK in 2016-17.
One other company to note is Links of London, which does sell its own watch collections, but the jewellery is so dominant that we felt it was not suitable for the list. Had we included the company, it would have come in at number 10 with sales of £49 million.