Luxury watchmakers Loomes of Stamford are about to launch a new British watch for 2017. The Stamford Original is a new mechanical wristwatch with 100% of components made or sourced in this country. Priced at £28,500 and housed in solid gold cases, each is very much hand-built to order.
Loomes have been repairing, making and selling watches for years: it was a family business. By 2010 however, managing director Robina Hill had a simple vision, "If the 20th century was about globalisation then the 21st is about localisation." Customer demand was for ever-more British made product and so Loomes set out to find ways to make or buy every single component they required as they developed the watch. Testing included watches being taken on a Himalayan climbing expedition by the Royal Gurkha regiment.
Loomes have been enthusiastic members of Made in Britain for three years now. They were thrilled to realise that the Stamford Original watch was the first 100% British component product reported to Made in Britain.
Most parts are made in their Stamford workshops, where a highly skilled staff of twelve work. Those components which have to be outsourced, including the miniature screws and ruby bearings known as "jewels", are all made within 100 miles of the company.
"It's exciting," said head engineer Michelle Brown, "some of these are the first such components made in mainland Britain for over a generation. As a company, the notion of Made in Britain is not an aim for us, it is an established reality."
Loomes have already started taking deposits for the watch, with delivery dates into 2017 although the first production model will be completed just in time for Christmas.