Shaper: Nick English

Nick English

Nick English, one half of the The Bremont Watch Company, was born and raised in Cambridge, and graduated with a First in Geography from Manchester University in 1993. During his teen years he spent many hours flying and displaying historic aircraft with his father Euan, and his brother and company co-founder, Giles.

Nick qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 1996, and then went on to work at a Corporate Finance boutique called Henry Ansbacher in the City. These years were interrupted by a horrific vintage plane crash which took place in 1995 whilst practicing for an air-display, in which his father, Euan, died and Nick broke over 25 bones. This was a tipping point in Nick and Giles’ lives. The brothers left the City in 1997 to restore and maintain historic aircraft in a business their father had set-up as a hobby.

It was in 2002 that the brothers decided to follow one of their main passions in life – mechanical watches. Fully appreciative of the role Great Britain had played in the evolution of horology over the centuries, they embarked on the bold decision to set up a workshop, and so The Bremont Watch Company was born. The watches, all of which are chronometers, took five years of development to get them to the stage where the brothers were happy, and it was in July 2007 when the first watches were sold in the UK. The watches are now sold all over the world through high-end jewellers and Bremont’s own boutiques. The brand has won numerous awards and prides itself on manufacturing the watches on British shores.

Follow Nick on Twitter @BremontNick.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

“We had a tremendous childhood making things, restoring planes that we still fly, cars, old motorbikes and clocks and there is this amazing history of British watchmaking and that’s when it really, really started.”

“The worst thing we did was telling our wives at the time that it would take a year and a half to make the first watch. In 2002 we trundled off with a blank sheet of paper and we set up a little workshop in Bienne in Switzerland.”

“Luxury is an interesting word in itself but, I mean, there is an incredible amount of time and effort that goes into them. We only make mechanical watches so they are all beautifully engineered”

“My brother and I flew a vintage aeroplane down through France, this is in the nineties, and we had a precautionary landing, in inverted commas, in a French field. If you land in a field in America or England you buy the farmer a bottle of whiskey and take his wife for a flight, in France it’s illegal”

“Something which, if it was well made, should last, a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years which is what’s so special about a mechanical watch”

“We decided very early on we were only going to make chronometers which is the highest echelon of timekeeping in watches. They were only ever going to be mechanical but any good engineer or watchmaker would look and go ‘I love this.’”

“Internally and externally we work with great people so it makes a big, big difference.”

“60 – 70% of the innovation for mechanical watches came from this country, there is this amazing history and it’s a great differentiator between us and the seven hundred or eight hundred Swiss watch brands.”

“Life is so incredibly short, and that’s probably why we have thrown caution to the wind.”