When we re-started Wagstaff Watches after my grandad’s death, we had to quickly decide how we wanted to develop the business and the brand. We had to choose whether to finance it all ourselves or do something innovative like crowdfunding, or we even had a few offers from investors. Decisions, decisions!


In the end, we decided to try and self-fund, take a risk on developing some quick partnerships and get products to market quickly. This is actually a common story in the watchmaking world. You know, use sweat capital and hard work but keeps those fingers tightly crossed.

Thus far, it has worked and we have had some great sales numbers to reflect on, and we have lots of lovely supportive customers who have so far taken our watches all over the world.  We even have a map up of all the locations we have had pictures sent in from customers, and they truly span the globe.

But now we are changing, for three reasons. Firstly demand is changing; people do want affordable watches for everyday wear. A watch that is reliable and inexpensive, but that demand is changing. The correlation between price and expectation is changing with it.  Secondly, more and more customers are asking us for upgrades, improvements and suggested product they want.  We are often asked for more expensive alternatives for gifts and those wanting automatics over quartz, heftier products, etc. Thirdly, to scale up and grow, we need to be aware that meeting some of these demands is achievable by us alone and our assembly, and some are tougher to deliver. We certainly need support from outside our small business.

We have been developing partnerships with overseas organisations that can help us achieve our goal, help us along this long road to getting more and more of our production and assembly in-house. We are building links in Switzerland and we are building links in the Far East too.  We aim to get assistance to widen our product offerings and get watches made that more demanding customers want to see. It has been fun so far, and it is not over yet.

We want to help fund more work on our rural apprenticeship programme, sadly stopped through Covid, and we want to deliver more and ever-improving quality watches.

We get our detractors, so-called experts, many who want the earth but don’t want to pay for it.  Many do seem keen to criticise us for no reason we can fathom rather than encourage British firms striving in tough markets, times and against big competitors but we plough on we know we can’t please all the people all the time eh?

An old warhorse of the watchmaking world told me recently there is nothing really new in design. These days for watches, we are all revisiting themes and trends and we are all trying to find those niches that work, and those niches seem to get ever smaller – so his advice was just plough on plan big and scale up where you can … and if people like your story they will buy.


This all brings me on to the latest development in our products, The Devonshire model that we are getting ready for market. This is our most expensive model to date. I will be honest; it is a massive investment for a small firm like us. It is a huge step forward in production terms, and it with a totally new partnership that will build towards future models and designs. We are pleased with the teaser adverts we have trickled out to test sentiment so far, and they are encouraging us to make it full-on despite the price being a big jump.

This is a serious professional standard watch with a top-level Swiss movement assembled in Switzerland, and materials engineers would love. Unidirectional bezel, helium escape value and pressure tests to 500m all mean this watch can be relied on.

We are up, though, stepping into some all-new prices brackets for our watches too. We are now going to have a range of prices from £105 right up to £650 with stop-off points all along the way. So we should have something for every wallet. It’s just a truism that upping component element quality and adding increased resilience tests. Plus, upping production values all add £££s to the end product final price-  but we are hoping to provide a product right across the price range.

One day our ambition is to have all our products entirely assembled and developed in house.  Many of our competitors are heading that way too, so the future for Britishwatchmaking products will be rosy. We wish our competitors every success in driving the innovation in production forward, but also suggest they don’t forget where you came from.

It costs a small fortune to build everything here in the UK (despite what enthusiast will tell you how easy it is). There are not enough ways to get parts, components, and assemble lines set up without ending up with massively expensive products at the end of it. I mean, even Rolex began how we began with partnerships and only some control over distribution so we think we are in good company – just give us another 70 years!

We hope you like the new products and understand how we are progressing both in our operations and offices around the UK – now stretching from the East Riding through Herefordshire and down to the South West and we will update that as we grow.

We will also be recruiting, too – so more tax, NI and cost for being a British brand, but now is our time to grow. Come along and join the ride!  Let us know how we are doing as customers feedback is our lifeblood; your feedback on customer services and packaging has helped a lot already, and we adapt to what you want.