In 20 years time, when we look back, 2013 may well be recalled as the year that a renaissance of British watchmaking took root.
It is striking, as you read through the pages of this year’s WatchPro Hot 100 book, just how many of the great individuals and teams we have identified are part of British organisations.
Many at the moment are licensing international brands, or using Swiss movements, or acting as agents for imported brands, but a surprising number are British through and through.
It would be folly to pretend that the likes of Swatch Group, Richemont, Rolex, Patek Philippe, LVMH and Fossil Group won’t tower over the market for decades to come, but there is a growing customer base that is looking for something new, different and – more often than the Swiss would have you believe – British.
Every person within the WatchPro Hot 100 book plies their trade right here in UK, and we actively sought out success stories from home grown companies. But we also included dozens of great people that are growing extraordinary businesses by offering impeccable sales and service for international brands. They are all hugely valuable participants in the increasingly diverse British watch market.
Many of the people featured in the WatchPro Hot 100 book have been at pains to point out that they are merely one person benefiting from being part of a great team. We wholeheartedly agree and would, in fact, go further. The Hot 100 are all representatives of amazing teams. Those teams are usually part of incredible companies. Those companies operate in an ecosystem of suppliers, customers, service providers and financiers. It is this entire ecosystem that the Hot 100 represents, and why we go to great lengths to assert that this is not a list of winners who have beaten thousands of losers to claim their spots.
The Hot 100 are this year’s representatives for the increasingly vibrant British watch market, and I hope you will join me in congratulating them, just as they will be the first to congratulate the legions of colleagues and customers that helped to propel them upwards.
This column originally appeared in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013. To view a digital version of the book click here.