British watch design needs to stay innovative


By Kevin Lambert

“We are still a new, emerging watch company. The first offering from OceanArc is the Series One, a watch I believe stands out from the crowd. I want the brand to be unique and unusual and show that British design can challenge the norm.

“I was bored with the same old designs or slight variations on a theme that all the watch manufacturers were churning out. I saw the potential of a British designed timepiece and new British watch companies can demonstrate that they can be at the forefront of design.

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“We do push the Britishness of our watches; the company has been advertised as a new British watch company, and this I believe it is a marketing plus in the luxury watch market. The unusual design is something that can be associated with British design, be it Jon Ive at Apple or James Dyson.

If brands can show that their design and quality can surpass other watchmakers I think Britain can win back a slice of the Swiss watch market.

“Producing timepieces that mimic existing large brands will not distinguish the British brands. There are so many watches that look similar; I believe that Britain can push its market to enthusiasts looking for a distinctive timepiece.

“As more British watch companies emerge, the moniker of Made in Britain will gain traction. We need to stay unusual and distinctive, innovate and shout out that our design and quality are market leaders. 

“I was encouraged to see the Birmingham School of Jewellery starting to offer a course in watchmaking; this is what the industry needs. I think it would be a great idea for there to be a British-made standard for watches, but for this to happen the industry would have to grow significantly within this country. There are a lot of support industries that are required.

“I look to Bremont and am encouraged that they are moving to the UK. This is an approach I would love to take in the future. To source component parts from within this country would be great, but for the low- to mid-market players this would not be achievable at this moment. If you want to develop a quality watch brand then at present you have to go to Europe.

“I have big plans for OceanArc. There are three other designs in development, and my ideas book is overflowing with future designs. I want to keep the brand exclusive so all designs will be offered in limited editions. If you flood the market with unusual designs they are not unusual anymore. I would hope that within a decade OceanArc will be a recognisable, British brand that will continue to shock and excite.”

This column was taken from the September 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine. If you work in the watch industry and would like to write a guest column for WatchPro email the editor at



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