Guild conference

Guild opens fund to pay for intel gathering survey

Following on from a groundbreaking conference of watchmakers back in March, organisers the British Watch and Clock Maker’s Guild has set up an Industry Action Fund to pay for data-gathering research.

The Guild is seeking to raise an initial £70,000 to gather vital industry intelligence via a survey and implement action plans, with conference organiser Steven Domb tasked with leading this next stage.

He told “The Conference unsurprisingly showed a wide range of opinions on the topics discussed, however, a common stumbling block to progress on all the issues was a lack of basic data on the economic value of the industry to the UK economy, the number of people employed, their requirements, and their opinions on the key issues. Without this fundamental information, it is impossible to obtain support from central government and many other organisations on issues such as restrictive and anti-competitive practices, and training and apprenticeships.”

The conference was deemed ‘an excellent starting point’, resulting in increasing discussions between various industry bodies and a willingness for a ‘co-ordinated approach’.

Domb added: “A credible set of data along with a competent analysis is the key starting point for any strategic plan, so the first project for the Industry Action Fund will be to build a database of all individuals and organisations involved in the industry, and to conduct an active survey of their needs and views. The next stage will be to take the results to the relevant authorities as part of an overall plan to maintain consumer choice, raise the profile of the trade, and obtain a proper share of the support resources available.”

The first surprising result of the research was the finding that the watch and clock industry in the UK may be two and half times larger than first thought. The Guild had predicted that around 4,000 people made at least part of their income from watch and clock making in the UK. Initial investigations into potential data sources for the survey suggests that the actual number might be as high as 10,000.

The Guild has stated that all monies given to the fund will be kept apart from the Guild’s regular income, will be accounted for separately, and will only be used for actions in line with the aims of the fund. All contributions will be receipted. The Guild is asking all individuals and organisations to support ‘to whatever level they can’.

Those wishing to contribute to the Industry Action Fund are requested to send an email with contact details and the amount offered to The Guild will respond with instructions on how money can be paid in.

James Buttery

Editor of WatchPro, the WatchPro Hot 100 and The Luxury Report.

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