Gordon Bryan is the full-time aftersales service manager for Breitling. Creditable enough in itself, but in his spare time he has set up and runs the British School of Watchmaking.
In the nine years since it opened, the school has passed out 46 students, every single one of whom has gone straight into watchmaking employment, and stayed there. “That’s the best bit – 100% of our students are still employed in the industry at brands from Patek Philippe and Rolex to Breitling,” he says.
This year the school upped its intake from six students to eight. Each will experience, endure and enjoy the full 3,200 hour WOSTEP course founded by a raft of major Swiss manufacturers.
According to Gordon that was what was lacking when he inaugurated the school and launched the course. “We needed to establish a better quality of watchmaker in the UK at a level the Swiss watchmakers could be proud of. One way to do that, and I feel the best way, was to set up the school.”
And so he did. But so few words barely tell the tale. Time of course has always been a challenge, but Gordon says he is grateful for his employer’s flexibility, and the support of other brands and retailers. It has helped him to create a pure Swiss watchmaking course at a high level in this country. Even now there is no other pure watch school in the country.
Gordon describes the school as his second job, but it makes him no money. Indeed all the school’s directors are volunteers. He says he started it up to give something back to the industry that has employed him for 38 fantastic years, something that proves it has been a labour of love and of virtue.
Gordon says he remains committed, and adds that he cannot imagine a time when he is not involved with the school.
British School of Watchmaking founder Gordon Bryan was an Innovator 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.