In what Bremont believes to be the next big leap for British watchmaking, the Henley-on-Thames brand opens up its first Manufacturing and Technology Centre named “the Wing”. The state of the art facility will become the main base for manufacturing Bremont’s mechanical watches with extra emphasis on creating in-house British components.
When other luxury watch brands describe their home country of Switzerland as “the watchmaking capital of the world”, they aren’t lying. Since the 16th century, Switzerland has been documented as the birthplace for the entire industry and the watchmakers in Geneva are still highly regarded as some of the best. That doesn’t mean, however, that other countries aren’t giving Switzerland a run for their money when it comes to quality manufacture. Take the town of Glashutte as an example where the likes of NOMOS Glashutte, Muhle Glashutte and A. Lange & Söhne engineer their own luxury German watches and movements.
It is Bremont’s similar passion for their own home country and their British heritage that has made them so popular, not only with people in the UK but with many other nations around the world. The opening of the Wing further solidifies this and Bremont co-founders Nick and Giles English believe that their new facility may even “be the envy of many of our respected Swiss friends”. A state of the art facility like this for manufacturing mechanical watches hasn’t been seen in the UK since the sixties and we applaud Bremont in their efforts for keeping their entire manufacturing process on home soil.
So what can we expect to come from the new Manufacturing & Technology Centre? It seems predominantly, the facility will allow for Bremont to make more of their watches directly in the UK including components they would have originally sourced from overseas. This will give Bremont much more control over their own designs and allow them to get even more inventive. Bremont’s The Wing is also described as “a treat for any watch enthusiast to come and visit” while also promising to bring more jobs, increased training and allowing the British watch manufacturer to expand their charitable support.
Sitting on the edge of the beautiful English Oxfordshire town of Henley-on-Thames, the very same town the brand has resided in since their founding 19 years ago, the new 35,000 sq ft purpose built facility has been designed by award winning architects Spratley & Partners on a former piggery with strong eco-credentials including a living roof and a recycled air heating system. And of course, as a mechanical watchmaking centre, the site is home to CNC machining, finishing and assembly as well as an on-site boutique and significant entertaining space. Just as importantly, the site will provide a destination for watch enthusiasts to enjoy, with all profits of these tours going directly to charity.
In March 2019, Managing Director Chris Reynolds joined the business and with him he brought a wealth of expertise in engineering and manufacturing operations. He describes: “There is something really quite special in taking a high-quality design concept through to bulk production. To create something that will stand the test of time. The wonderful thing about joining Bremont was the extant sincerity and clarity over the direction the brand needed to go. We genuinely wish to invest in ourselves, in high quality local UK partners and suppliers. We wish to reduce our reliance on others and own our supply chain as much as technically possible. To reinvigorate British watchmaking is the snappy, slightly simplified tag line. The truth is there are a number of wonderful boutique watchmakers doing some incredible things on these shores, but nobody quite like what we are already doing, in fact our current facilities and certainly our ambitions extend far beyond what many of our Swiss counterparts are doing.”
As the single largest British mechanical watchmaker, we have no doubt that Bremont’s new Manufacturing & Technology Centre “The Wing” will lead to great things, both for the brand and for British watchmaking in general. Their collaborations with other British industry leaders like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and now the Williams F1 Racing team proves their willingness to collaborate and learn from some of the finest engineering businesses in the world and we couldn’t be more excited to find out what the brand has in store for us all. What this space for more of the latest news on Bremont watches…