If you are about to launch your own watch company or even a jewellery range, following the lead of Anneke and Jerome, the creators behind The Camden Watch Company will surely steer you in the right direction.
Together they have taken their extensive knowledge of watch design, their love of Camden, and added some London industrial chic and created The Camden Watch Company, whose watch designs stand out even in such a dominated market of already well established brands. These watches once seen are instantly recognisable as a brand. Together they have achieved the seemingly impossible, the launch of a completely new watch brand that are selling well and growing bigger in both the UK and globally at a serious pace. We asked them about their background, how they managed to crack such a difficult market and what advice if anything would they tell their past selves when they were just at the beginning of creating their watch company.
When did you set up The Camden Watch Company?
Anneke – We set up the Camden Watch Company two years ago.
What made you want to create your own watch brand?
Jerome – Back in 2012, Anneke and I founded our watch design studio, AMS, from where we have designed some of the world’s leading watch brands. However, we really wanted our own brand to enable us to shout about our designs, bringing to market well-made and unique styles. This led to the birth of the Camden Watch Company, combining both our passion (and knowledge) for watches and our love of Camden Town.
Do you have a background in watch design and creation or another field?
Anneke – Yes. We were both trained in Switzerland. I trained there from the age of 14, whilst Jerome, who is Swiss, was born and raised in legendary watch valley La Chaux-de-Fonds.
How did you get your inspiration to create and design the watches?
Jerome – Our inspiration is drawn from the rich heritage of Camden and its surrounding area. Each design not only reflects the vibrancy and dynamics of the town today, but all styles give a subtle nod to a part of its history.
Anneke – Camden has this really amazing industrial Victorian history that not many people know about, so we like to exploit this in our designs, re-telling a part of the towns forgotten past in each one. Our unisex No.88 watch is an excellent example, with both dial and crown reminiscent of a steam train gauges. The turquoise-blue seconds hand pays homage to the iconic and current-day Camden Lock Bridge.
Are the watches made in Camden as well as designed?
Jerome – Every aspect of our watches is designed in Camden. The only exception to this is our use of a Japanese movement for each watch.
How did you bring The Camden Watch Company to market? How did you first get noticed?
Anneke – Getting first noticed was one of our biggest challenges, especially being a relatively small player in such a dominated market. With our limited budget, we started off selling on our website using social media, especially Instagram (we already had our own IG account promoting everything Camden so had an existing following), as a platform to get the brand seen. I believe the Britishness and London aspect of our brand really helped us secure our first distributor – we were contacted within days of launching the website by a Japanese based company and within a matter of months we were selling in Asia. Less than a year in, we took a pop-up on Camden High street which saw great success and propelled us to open our flagship store in Camden Stables Market.
On your website it mentions about becoming an Ambassador of the brand – what do you mean by this?
Jerome – It’s a way for us to work closely with advocates of the brand. Those who truly understand and appreciate what we do.
Do you go to any of the international trade shows to show your watches?
Anneke - We actually did our first ever international trade show in September 2016 in Japan in collaboration with our Japanese distributor. It went really well so on the back of that we will definitely be doing more.
What designs are you working on now?
Anneke – We have just finished our first Limited Edition, the Tom Sayers Boxer watch. This watch came about after a visit to Highgate cemetery where we saw the tombstone of Sayers. He was Britain’s very first boxing legend, becoming the World champion of bare knuckle boxing back in the 1850’s. The fight took place in a field in Hampshire!
We are also working on some new colourways after the success of our Rose Gold No.27 designs at the end of last year. A new Rose Gold No.24 is expected, along with a new colourway of our bestselling No.88 design. Further to this, we are also in discussion with regards to some collaborations, so keep an eye on our website for updates.
If you could give yourselves a single piece of advice when you were starting your company, what would it be?
Jerome - Wow, that’s a tough question. Unfortunately, I think it would be something really dry about keeping on top of everything in terms of organisation from the get go - numbers, stock, that kind of thing. It seems time consuming when you do it but it saves so much time and hassle in the long term.
A full catalogue of their range can be found at www.camdenwatchcompany.com