Mr Jones Watches is an indie, artsy watch company on the rise. It’s not hard to see why. Playful dials thumb their noses at convention in watches decidedly not for telling time. In the digital age, when watches are obsolete, Mr Jones Watches celebrates disconnecting from the matrix and having a little fun. I had the opportunity to get a tour of Mr Jones Watches’ manufacturing facilities as well as interview Mr. Jones himself, Crispin Jones. Needless to say, it was a fun afternoon.

I made the most of my time (pun intended) on my recent trip to London. I got to see many horological highlights, which you can read more about in my time tour of London. Not mentioned there, however, was me getting in the door to see one of Britain’s very own watch companies, where watches are designed, components are made, and watches are assembled right in London. Mr Jones Watches, headed by founder and namesake Crispin Jones, has been producing its flavor of flippant watches since 2007. Over that time, the watches, collaborations, and techniques have only grown. Today, Mr Jones Watches is a unique and established offering to the watch landscape that no other company comes close to touching.

Mr Jones Watches Crispin Jones

Crispin Jones, founder of Mr Jones Watches

Mr Jones Watches’ workshop

Stepping into Mr Jones Watches’ facilities on Dartmouth Road is akin to stepping into a watch version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Long had I marveled at the delectable pieces coming from the brand, but seeing the process of how the watches are made was no less colorful and interesting than the watches themselves. Willy Wonka himself, aka Crispin Jones, was there to meet me at the door, as was Stanley Jones, the admittedly adorable dachshund and company mascot.

The facilities on Dartmouth Road are not Mr Jones Watches’ only manufacturing space. However, as Mr. Jones explained to me, the Dartmouth facilities are smaller and show the entire process of printing, assembling, and packaging in an intimate setting. Having not seen the other spaces, I can’t make a comparison, but the spaces and experience were quite charming. After introductions and a cup of tea (herbal for me, thank you), we headed downstairs to the printing room.

Mr Jones Watches Tour Pad Printing

Pad printing and clear discs — Mr Jones Watches’ specialty

In the paint and printing room, I met Izzie, a print technician for Mr Jones Watches. Izzie explained to me the process behind printing the crystals, dials, and clear discs that go into the watches. Much like screen printing, each pigment for each component is applied separately.  In this case, I witnessed the crystals for the watch Mare Adesso receive their tranquil waves. At the press of a button, the machine jumped into action, pressing the pad down onto a pre-inked stencil of the design, then back up, forward, and down onto a loaded and ready crystal. It’s all over in seconds, though every second counts. With many watches having many layers of surfaces and even more colors, each watch’s components receive a significant amount of time on the printer. But Izzie was fast, only slowing down to demonstrate to me as she explained the process.

Mr Jones Watches Tour Paint Wall

A practice in patience

Like the designs, the precise pigments used in every watch are developed in-house. A wall of small paint containers against a back wall in the tight pad-printing area alludes to the maddening potion mixing that goes into each color of every watch. There’s a method to the madness, though, as is evidenced in the final product. At the expense of another idiom, the proof is in the pudding.

And pudding it is, because, as in baking (“pudding” means “dessert” in British English), the finished product is delightful perfection, even if the process to get there involved serious magic. I can bake cookies well enough, but I have no shame buying my bread from a true baker. You can imagine my surprise, then, when Izzie offered me a go on the pad printer. I’m happy to say that the crystal I printed did not result in an unrecognizable mess, unlike some of my kitchen forays. To my untrained eye, it looked similar to those Izzie printed, though I know there’s more to the process than pushing a button.

The crystals Izzie printed during my visit were set aside to dry, ready for another round of printing in a different color before assembly with the rest of the watch components. The crystal I printed was (hopefully) quietly discarded after I left. If not, I apologize to Mr Jones Watches and the future owner of a Mare Adesso watch with any quality-control issues.

Mr Jones Watches Tour Assembly


From the printing room, I was taken back upstairs to where assembly happens. Spoiler alert: if you don’t want to know details of how Mr Jones Watches achieves its magical whimsy, skip ahead. Honestly, though, it’s not that much of a spoiler. As I mentioned before, crystals, dials, and discs are the primary dial accouterments for many of Mr Jones’s pieces. The discs replace what would be hour and minute hands on traditional watches. With clever design and precise execution, watches like “Beam me up!” and “A perfectly useless afternoon” can seemingly float along in time without revealing the secret to their effect.

I was able to see the pressing of the minute and hour hands (printed, translucent discs in this case) for a “A perfectly useless afternoon”. That makes sense since “A perfect useless afternoon” is Mr Jones Watches’ most popular model, accounting for almost one-fifth of the brand’s sales. In the middle of each disc is a small brass rivet attached with a jeweling press. Employees refer to the press simply as the “Goat” as it vaguely resembles one. The rivets hold the discs to the stems for the hours and minutes in the watch. The clever bit from Mr Jones Watches that completes the illusion of floating elements is the printed crystal. In this case, the printed head of our anonymous floater effectively hides the rivets. This approach is replicated for each watch in this style, with a central element obscuring the rivets.

Mr Jones Watches’ R&D is all about straps

From assembly, Mr. Jones and I went back downstairs to see his most recent foray into various creative outlets. There, in a small corner across from the printing room, is Mr Jones Watches’ leather strap research and development center. Mr Jones Watches currently only offers replacement straps for those that come on their current models. Notably, those are not manufactured in-house. But since last spring, Crispin Jones himself and a couple of others have been brushing up on their leatherworking skills. Mr. Jones indicated that he’d possibly like to use handmade leather straps from their workshop for certain very special-edition watches.

“The issue is,” Mr. Jones says, “we’re quite inexpensive in our price point. If you’re hand-making watch straps, the discrepancy between the watch price and strap price is just too much. But they’ll be for special pieces or limited runs.”

Mr Jones watches watch straps

For fans of Mr Jones Watches, a potential extension upmarket with special watches is good news. Mr Jones Watches’ greatest detraction (excluding taste) from the watch community is that the watches don’t come across as “serious” watches. Now, to be fair, that is kind of the point, isn’t it? But stepping into the realm of more “serious” watchmaking, i.e. with movements and complications that get watch enthusiasts excited, could bode very well for the brand. We’ll have to wait and see, though the release of popular, previously only-quartz models as mechanical versions is further indicating a step in that direction.

Mr Jones Watches

Fulfillment in customer service

It was important to Mr. Jones that he take me a few doors down the road to the customer service department, and I’m glad he did. In fact, it was important to Crispin Jones that I saw just how important every team and aspect that comprises Mr Jones Watches is. But the customer service department, in its separate yet equally cozy building, came across as every bit as exceptional as the rest of the company.

“We’re really proud of our customer service,” Mr. Jones said. “We aspire to the absolute highest standards. One of the reasons we exclusively do direct-to-consumer sales is so that we can control the quality of customer service. That’s one thing we can control, and that’s powerful.”

For it being just before Christmas, the customer service department was busy but not overwhelmingly so. The Black Friday sale was the big push for Mr Jones Watches, as it is for many businesses. Interestingly, there’s another, smaller rush of sales in January. I presume it’s fans of the brand buying themselves watches with perhaps some extra cash received at Christmas. Employees were working steadily but enjoying themselves, engraving and packaging watches or answering customer emails. One thing I enjoyed was the (good) music playing throughout the two buildings.

Mr Jones Watches Case back

Mr Jones Watches offers custom laser engraving for case backs. This happens on the customer service side of things, right next to where watches are boxed up and shipped. As unique as the watches are, it’s no surprise that some of the engravings are equally so. For those living in London, this engraving is free if you purchase a watch from the brand’s brick-and-mortar shop.

A shop as creative as its wares…

I visited the Mr Jones store in London as well, which is the brand’s only physical store. Near Seven Dials in the West End, there’s no mistaking the store as you walk by. It has “Mr Jones” all over it, in more ways than one. Inside, the employees were expectedly friendly.

After going through much of the Mr Jones Watches website both for work and personal shopping, it was fun to shift gears and see physical displays of the watches. On the back wall is a giant version of “A perfectly useless afternoon.” It’s a functional clock and, as Mr. Jones describes, “expensive to have made.” But, in my opinion, it was worth it. It ties the shop together and emphasizes the uniqueness of what Mr Jones Watches offers.

Watches and T-shirts are on display uniquely, of course. For a store for art watches, it makes sense that one should really be able to see the watches. Not willing to wait until customers get home to view their watches through a loupe, Mr Jones Watches places key models behind high-magnification lenses. As you walk by, these both blow up the watch dials to many times their actual size as well as cause a carnival-funhouse-like effect as your perspective shifts them off center. In a word, this approach to display for Mr Jones is: perfect.

Mr Jones Watches Case

Where is Mr Jones Watches headed next?

Back at the assembly side of the facilities on Dartmouth Road, Crispin Jones and I talked about his background, the design process for new watches, and what’s next for the company. Mr. Jones is a true Renaissance man. He has a background in sculpture and yet now finds himself the passionate owner of a watch company. Along that journey, he’s learned watchmaking — true watchmaking in the sense of repairing and rebuilding mechanical watches. And now with his foray into leatherworking, it seems he’s a course in machining away from designing and fabricating an entire watch from scratch, strap included.

And that’s important. Crispin Jones’s passion and hands-on approach is palpable in all things Mr Jones Watches, as it should be — it’s his namesake, after all. Passion and dedication have gotten Mr. Jones and his team to where the company is now through a largely organic process. Fabrication and assembly naturally shifted to London over the years since the company’s start in 2007. Collaboration with outside artists (as well as employees) has colored the flavor we have come to know as Mr Jones Watches. And now, the exhilaration and stresses of rapid growth have Mr Jones Watches just getting its feet under itself and looking to the horizon.

So, what’s next?

I won’t give too much away, but there are some real gems on the horizon. Design buffs and watch nerds are going to enjoy Mr Jones Watches’ upcoming releases. A few of my pictures might reveal some things  (with Crispin Jones’s blessing). The mention of possible bespoke watch straps for special editions certainly points to the rest of it, as far as I’m aware. Mr Jones Watches’ cheekiness and knack for good surprises will keep all of us on our toes, but I think we can expect some forays into new complications and applications of art and design within the moving elements of watches. But, you know, sometimes complicated isn’t better. After all, time is just a construct, and there are simpler ways to spend a perfectly useless afternoon.

Stanley Jones

Stanley Jones, the very best boy of the company

How do you feel about Mr Jones Watches? What would you like to see from the brand next? Most importantly, which is your favorite watch from the brand? Let us know in the comments below, and discover more about Mr Jones Watches on the brand’s official website