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Our Founder Albert

My grandfather was an impressive fellow - he was a big influence on everyone he met, I can say with ease. Albert was a polymath, interested in everything and clever enough to employ his knowledge and skills in many spheres of the world.

He had a long and varied career in many different industries and professions and retained a humble attitude to the world and his achievements. He was at various times a farmer (sheep and crops), a watchmaker, and an entrepreneur with cars, manufacturing and engineering, and estate management.  But he described himself as a countryman - and that held a lot of purpose and meaning for him in both his approach to the natural world and the way he conducted himself. 

He taught me to shoot, fish, stalk and farm with varying degrees of success. His fascination with watches came from a combination of engineering interests and fascination with timepieces, so he taught himself a lot about watches and built partnerships with Swiss manufacturers to help with his passion. Wagstaff Watches traces its history back to records from 1923-24. There is some confusion over the exact timing because some records are incomplete.  But on his death, he died intestate (no will), and I had the unenviable task of sorting his estate and papers - which is soul-destroying at best, filtering gas bills from 50 years ago and other such records - he seemed to have thrown very little away!

In those papers, I found paperwork, certificates, documents, technical drawings and sketches of watches - which was a bit of a surprise as, at that point, we were unaware of Albert’s watch company.  On discussions with siblings, it became clear everyone knew of the company but myself and that over its long history, it had been mothballed more than once for various reasons - minor oil crisis, rationing and, of course, World Wars!! We decided as a family to relaunch Albert’s company and try to reach the scale he wanted to with Wagstaff Watch Company.

So after a discussion with my sons we all quit our jobs and jumped back into the watchmaking world. This is what Wagstaff Watches is today. We still run the company around principles Albert lived by, we use his aphorisms and bon mots almost daily to keep us on track and we try and stick to his thinking to motivate and advance where Wagstaff Watches goes from here.

Today Wagstaff works with overseas partners in Switzerland, Germany and Italy to bring out watches to our customers at a very high quality and robustness and at a sensible price. We donate 15% of our profits to support the charities in the countryside and farming and to support rural skills and sports along the way.  We also support conservation and land management goals with collaborations and partners - as Albert used to say - “always look to give something back”.

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