With the revival of watchmaking in the British Isles, the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers announces its first exhibition. The British Watchmakers’ Day will take place on Saturday, March 9th, 2024, at Lindley Hall (Royal Horticultural Halls) in Westminster. The event is dedicated to showcasing over 30 new and old member brands within the Alliance.

Since its founding in 2020, the Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers has aimed to showcase the watchmaking resurgence in the British Isles (including the Republic of Ireland). Britain was once a dominating force in watchmaking during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century, Switzerland took over as the leader in watch production and still is to this day. During the 1970s Quartz Crisis, many British watch marques went defunct, including Fears in 1976. However, since the 1990s, the provenance of watch brands from the British Isles has been gaining traction. From the turn of the millennium, the works of George Daniels and later Roger W. Smith reinstated handmade atelier watches. With Bremont and Christopher Ward providing more mainstream wristwatch options from Britain since the early 2000s, the popularity of British watches has seen a real boom.

Fears Redcliff 39.5 Date Mallard Green

The first event of the Alliance

The Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers consists of over 80 brands as of March 7th, 2024. It may come as a surprise to many that this number of watch brands exists in Britain. I certainly struggle to name 10 without referring to the complete list here. But it’s worth noting that the Alliance does not require a particular majority of the production on British shores. This is in contrast to the “Swiss Made” label, which necessitates that 60% of the value of a watch comes from within Switzerland. Policing the origin of each component of each brand’s watch would be almost impossible for the Alliance and would present a barrier of entry that goes against its purpose. That said, there are notable absences, including Bremont and anOrdain. The Alliance extends an open invitation to these brands, but both currently remain separate from the Alliance.

The Alliance’s founding year of 2020 was notorious for canceling large-scale events for reasons I’m sure you know. But with the past behind us, 2024 seems the perfect time to cement the Alliance and open its doors to a public audience. There are over 30 confirmed exhibitors already, including Accurist, Alkin, Arken, Backes & Strauss, Beaucroft, Brooklands, Christopher Ward, Clemence, Duckworth Prestex, Elliot Brown, Escudo, Farer, Fears, Great British Watch Company, Helicon, Iota, Isotope, MHD, Mr Jones Watches, Nomadic, Omologato, Pinion, Pompeak, Schofield, Shoreham, Sidereus, Studio Underd0g, Tesouro, Vertex, William Wood, Zero West, and, in an exclusive first for the event, Roger W. Smith. You’ve already seen the special-edition Roger W. Smith Series 1 that Thor wrote about here. And there’ll be plenty more announcements on the day.

Further details and attending

While there will be a trade and marketing aspect to the show, collectors will see special-edition watches created by exhibitors. Alongside the unique Roger W. Smith Series 1, Christopher Ward is also unveiling a 10-piece limited edition of the Bel Canto, exclusively available to guests at British Watchmakers’ Day via a raffle. While this is exciting for the collectors, all this is to raise awareness of the sector locally and worldwide. Tickets are sold out for the day, but you can follow along with the Instagram account here. For further details, check out the British Watchmakers’ Day website.