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Farrer & Co | An Interview with Giles English of Bremont

You seem to have had a clear vision for the brand from its inception. What was your inspiration to create Bremont, and is there anything that you would do differently if starting out today? 

The inspiration very much came from growing up with our father who had a love for all things mechanical, aircraft, boats, clocks and watches. In 1995 he and my brother were in a terrible plane crash whilst practising for an air display in an old WWII aircraft. My father died but amazingly my brother survived. In the convalescence period post coming out of intensive care we decided to go and do something we loved and that was watches. We started Bremont in 2002 and did not sell our first watch until 2007.

“Luxury” means different things to different people. What does it mean to each of you?

Something that you love dearly that is beautifully made and will last for a very long time without dating.

What changes have you seen in the luxury watch market since you founded Bremont 17 years ago?

In the early days there was a lot of bling about and a lot of that thankfully has gone (not all of it) and now people want to know far more about how it’s made, that is why manufacturing in the UK is so important to us.

What is the prevailing trend the watch industry is facing?

Trends will always come and go, for the last few years it’s all been about vintage inspired collections from brands and a little more subdued. The smart watch market has killed off the fashion watch market but they are not luxury items and will never be so less of an effect on luxury watches.

Founded by two brothers, Bremont is very much a family business. What are the particular advantages and challenges of working with family members?

Trust is an amazing thing to have when running a business and I will always know that Nick will have my back and that is a wonderful thing. The sad part is we do not have enough time together away from talking about work!

What are the difficulties that face a British luxury brand in today’s market?

Luxury is a global thing and most luxury brands are part of a group which makes life a lot easier when growing. The English have nothing like the big French, Swiss groups.

The high-end watch market is incredibly competitive. What do you think sets your watches apart from other luxury watch brands and how to you ensure that message is heard by prospective customers? 

Firstly we are English and that makes us unique around the world. People think Swiss made but if you go back 100 years we were making half the world’s watches in the UK, the world sets its time by Greenwich Mean Time! Also we have had to work harder at producing a great product at a good price, many bigger Swiss brands do not have to work so hard at it.

You have a number of brand ambassadors, including Olympic rower Alex Gregory MBE and Carey Lohrenz, the first fully qualified female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S Navy. What do you look for in your ambassadors, what do your current ambassadors have in common and how important are they in contributing to the success of the brand?

Firstly, we look to deal with someone that we like and has the same ethos and morals as we do, they become our friends not business relationships. Also it has to be someone that Nick and I would be inspired by.

Your watches have been worn by the likes of Tom Cruise and Ewan McGregor. Is there someone you would like to see wearing a Bremont watch next?

We have been very lucky to have some great people wearing Bremont because they like them not because we pay them. We have not had a Bremont in space yet so perhaps that the next step?!

What’s next for Bremont? Where do you see the brand in five or ten years’ time?

We are looking to continue to grow around the world but also making considerable investment in a new facility in Henley on Thames and build more and more components in the UK. Nothing happens that quickly in watchmaking.

If you require further information about anything covered in this briefing, please contact Oliver Lock, or your usual contact at the firm on +44 (0)20 3375 7000.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, July 2019

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