Since today is the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and the American actress Meghan Markle, we figured it appropriate to publish a conversation we recently had with Giles English, co-founder of the British watch company Bremont. Read on to find out why Giles, and his brother Nick, chose a career in the watch industry, what his favorite complication is, and what member of the Royal Family he’d like to see wearing a Bremont.
Why did you choose a career in the watch industry?
I grew up with a passion for watches from my father so it was hardwired into me. After he died in a plane crash, and my brother Nick amazingly survived, that provided us the tipping point to go and do something we loved. Everyone thought we were mad. (Nick certainly has a few screws loose!) I think it is one of the best careers to go into because it offers everything: engineering, design, retail, branding, marketing, but most importantly it is about long-term relationship building in an industry where there are many very decent people.
What was your first “real” watch? And which one’s next on your personal most-wanted list?
My first proper watch was an Omega given to me by my grandfather who was a doctor on the D-Day beaches. The most wanted for me is our watch that we have been working on for the last 3.5 years, our British designed and made movement. This, for myself, would be the fulfillment of a dream.
Are you planning to pass watches on?
Luckily I have quite a few watches so, yes, I will pass them on to everyone who I love. My twin daughters who are almost 17 are desperate for one but they will have to wait a few more years; a luxury watch should not be given away too easily!
What is your favorite complication?
The GMT second time zone I feel is the most useful complication — so damn useful when traveling or doing business abroad.
Who would you like to see wearing a watch from Bremont?
The Queen. I am a huge admirer of the monarchy and what she has achieved.
What would be your advice to someone trying to build a collection?
First and foremost, only buy a watch you love and don’t buy watches that won’t date well – nothing worse than watches in a collection that looks out of place five years after purchasing them.
What do you think are the watch industry’s three biggest challenges (or mistakes)?
Well, first, the British, for losing their whole industry from being such a powerhouse. I often feel that the passion and innovation have been lost through some of the brands out there and, ultimately, that is what watches are all about. The smartwatch market will have an effect but that is out of the control of mechanical watch manufacturers. The key point there is a mechanical watch will work in 200 years’ time; you will be lucky a smartwatch will work in a year. We need to all keep marketing that message.
What do you consider to be the most dominant trend?
Rolex and Patek growing!
What excites you the most about Bremont?
What really excites me is that we have made some massive achievements in a short time, but we are only just touching on what we can achieve. As an independent brand, manufactured in the U.K., we have so much potential and that is so damn exciting. We have gone through Chapter 1 of our growth; now we have Chapter 2.
How do you define “Britishness”?
Engineering, style, character, creativity, and uniqueness.