|By Pedro Gaspar Pereira
(GMBA Luxury Brand Management)
Nick English, co-founder of Bremont Watches, provided us with a lecture filled with passion, resilience and adventurous spirit, on his life and the founding of his brand.
Bremont Watches was founded by two brothers, Nick and Gilles English back in 2002 outside of London, England. The brand grew out of passion and urgency – passion for all things mechanical, the history of aviation and the role watches played in it, and urgency to size the day, to dedicate time to meaningful endeavors and not to settle for passionless careers.
Nick guided us through the challenges of creating a luxury brand from scratch and a watch brand at that – he explained how he and his brother were often laughed at for pitching the idea. See, in the early 2000’s England’s watchmaking industry’s best days were decades behind and the infrastructure required to design, manufacture, assemble and service watches at scale was simply not there.
They turned their wings to Switzerland and little by little established the necessary partnerships and gained the necessary knowledge to “make-it” – and make it they did.
We learned from Nick that during the past 20 odd years the company has been able to brand itself, especially in England, as a maker of well-engineered, purpose build and authentic British tool watches. They have standing partnerships with the armored forces and some of their watches are put through brutal testing conditions to prove themselves worthy of the mission.
We also discovered that, in 2021, Bremont took and even greater step in their journey to bring industrial level watchmaking back to the UK. In the mist of the pandemic they inaugurated their new production facility, The Wing in Henley on Thames This facility, combined with the introduction of the Brand’s first proprietary movement – conceptualized in partnership with a Swiss company – has allowed Bremont to become a brand more vertically integrated than a considerable amount of Swiss Brands.
Finally, Nick walked us through some of the challenges Bremont faces when it comes to brand management and retail strategy. Amongst the key topics, he approached (i) the brand’s retail strategy and the importance of their wholesale network, (ii) the enthusiasm he feels about the expansion into certain markets and the difficulties found in others, (iii) what he wants to see from the brand in the short term and (iv) the advices he would give to the potential entrepreneurs and brand managers sitting before him.
It was a privilege for the Luxury Brand Management track to discover the history of Bremont straight from one of the founders, but then again this is the type of unique opportunity that we have come to expect from the program.