Case study: British Watchmakers’ Day at Lindley Hall

On 9 March over 1,300 buyers and watch enthusiasts attended the inaugural British Watchmakers’ Day at the Royal Horticultural Halls’ Lindley Hall in Westminster, London.

The UK government’s trade data cites that the export of British watches, clocks and related parts has tripled in growth from £200m to £800m over the last 13 years. 

“Since founding in 2020, the Alliance we’ve welcomed over 90 trading British watch and clock companies to our community. We’re enjoying a major resurgence of British watchmaking so it was time for us to make a statement with an event dedicated to our member brands,” Alistair Audsley, CEO of the Alliance said.

On the day, 45 exhibitors showcased timepieces, including many special editions and one-offs for the show. 

Chairman of The Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers, Roger Smith OBE said“It’s a huge day, a milestone really, for our resurgent watchmaking sector.” Referring to the Lindley Hall, he commented: “What a place, what a venue.”

Smith created a unique Series 1 watch for British Watchmakers’ Day, which was sold by closed bid auction for over double its reserve price of £297,500.

William Wood showed its new ‘Fire Exit watch’ in collaboration with award-winning watchmaker Max Resnick. Depicting pictorially a fire-fighter’s day as days of the week on the face, an inscribed ‘Fire Exit’ case back completes the piece.

Zero West brought a rare DB80 Watch with a one-time only blackout case for the show. The DB80 watch has special historical significance as it contains original metal from the Lancaster Bomber from the Dambusters Mission.

Brooklands brought three special editions of the racer’s chronograph watch designed by Sir Terence Conran. It announced that there would be a new watch launched later in the year, dedicated to chefs, in particular those with Michelin stars. The number of sapphires resembling how many stars the chef has attained.

On the scene for just three years, Studio Underdog, famed for its 01 Watermelon Watch, stood out from the crowd as its stand representatives wore pizza chef outfits, complete with pizza boxes in homage to the brand’s special edition Pizza Party Watch. It had 25 pieces of 02 limited edition Field Watches just for the show.

Production house Clownfish meanwhile was enrolled for digital signage, banners and stand design. 

The exhibition was such a success, organisers have confirmed it will take place again next year, with dates announced in due course.