The Camden Watch Company
I was recently introduced to The Camden Watch Company, which is already rather established considering they were founded in 2014, With two shops already in the buzzing London hubs of Camden and Shoreditch and distribution in Japan and Taiwan, The Camden Watch Co is growing fast and is constantly coming up with special editions and exciting collaborations. It’s operated by and Anglo-Swiss duo Anneke and Jerome both with passion for horology and experience in the field.
They sent me a quartz version from their line called the No.29 which I got to spend some time with and they also kindly took the time to answer some questions I had for themselves and their company.
The watch that they sent is a classy, confident and cheeky contender in the entry level price range of watches that looks great dresses up or down, pretty much a watch you could wear for most occasions during the entire week. The watch strikes me as the type that constantly gets the promotion at work, tells the best stories from its weekend, and is king of the pub and nightlife. Popular, handsome and a reliable crowd pleaser. So let’s take a look at the Watch and at the insights behind the Camden Watch Company.
1) How old were you when you were first drawn to watches, and what was your first timepiece?
Anneke Short: I’ve always loved watches, actually beyond watches I have always loved clockwork, from music boxes to automaton. And I’ve owned watches pretty much since I could tell the time. I don’t remember what brand my first watch was, but I do remember that it was car-themed and I love it.
Jerome Robert: Mine was a real classic, a flik-flak.
2) What advice would you give to people who are just starting out in their watch collecting endeavour?
A: Think about the why of your collection. If you’re in it for the money, then you’re best sticking to the classics like Patek and Rolex, but if your in it for the love (which is always the best way to do it) then find pieces that you will remember in years to come. I find with most collectors that the stories about how they found a watch are often as important as the watches themselves.
3) Being a duo, which one contributes more to the aesthetics and which one to the mechanics and functionality?
J: In a nutshell, Anneke is the designer, and I’m the product guy. That being said, we are both interested in what the other is doing and we’ll often ask each others opinion.
4) Who would you say is the ideal demographic to wear your watches?
A: Anyone who want a meticulously designed watch at a great price. We work so hard on making sure that we are offering a great product at a great price point. Our clients have ranged from avid collectors to 14 year olds saving up to buy their first ever watch and we wouldn’t change that for the world.
5) Before beginning your own watch company what was your “Grail timepiece”
A: I have a few, I love what the likes of Jacquet Droz and Van Cleef and Arpels are doing. They watches are so poetic and intricate, it’s really a design thing, I love that they are doing something so different.
J: Mine would be a three gold bridges piece by Girard Perregaux.
6) Having a background in Switzerland, (please describe the background) and what made you decide to go with a Japanese movement in this watch?
J: I’m a born and raised ‘Chaux-de-Fonnier’, from the heart of the Swiss watch valley. It means you grow up with a kind of innate knowledge about watches, you just kind of absorb it. I think that high-end Swiss watches are great, and it’s not something that I want to knock at all, but for a brand like us, at our price point, we would just end up paying more just to put ‘Swiss Made’ on the dial.
A: I lived in Switzerland for almost ten years, it’s where I trained to become a watch designer and I worked for a range of international and Swiss brands. I completely agree with Jerome, price is a big thing for us and ultimately Japanese movements are more affordable for the same quality, so we’re able to offer the end customer a better product for it.
7) What would you say were your key components in the smashing success of your Kickstarter campaign?
J: It’s hard to pinpoint it to one thing, I think it’s a combination of a great product, at a great price, and hopefully that you can tell that we are genuine people who are very passionate about what they do. We loved filming the video and being able to tell the story of how we designed the watch.
8) can you give us a little background of how Camden Watch Co. was created? What’s your “Philosophy?”
A: It actually began as a showcase for our watch design studio (AMS Design Studio). It was a way we could show potential clients what we could do, but it actually turned into so much more. We love what we do and we poured our hearts into creating The Camden Watch Company, and that really stuck a chord with people. We live in Camden and we love it here, so we decided to base our brand around that. It’s all about working on every detail and offering something a little bit different.
J: We still run the design studio, but we are very strict about who we take on as clients, we have to really believe in the project to take it on.
9) what’s next? What should we be watching out for in the future?
J: We have so much planned for the future, more spaces, some really great collaborations and just really building on what we’ve created so far.
A: We never want to be a huge corporation, even as we grow we always want to keep that family feeling and the contact with the end customer.
10) In your opinion, what features must a watch have for you to consider owning it?
A: I don’t really have a checklist as such. I don’t like superfluous features on a watch, even chronographs don’t really do it for me. I think design it the most important thing for me. Great big clunky watches with all the bells and whistles are of no interest to me, that being said, it’s very personal, if that’s what you like then so be it.
11) what are you most proud of about your new product?
J: Certainly from a design point of view the attention to detail is huge, Anneke works tirelessly to keep tweaking the designs until they are perfect and I really think that shows, but mostly I’m just very proud of the the quality for the price and the overall end product. There’s not really one thing I can pick out, it’s an overall package.
12) I believe every watch has a personality and attitude. What would your watches be?
A: A raffish Victorian aristocrat, classy but with an edge. The kind of character you would find living it up in one of Camden’s gin dens.
13) How do your watches reflect your passions?
J: The whole brand is a real reflection of who we are. We love Camden, the Victorian period, history. We also into cycling, and recently designed a special cycling edition with one of our ambassadors. That was very fun to work on.
A: For me, it’s the whole storytelling aspect of our brand. I’m really into giving people an experience, whether it be in store or through an online order. The watches, the packaging and the unboxing
14) What was the biggest mistake you’ve made along the way, and what have you learned from it?
J: Wow, that’s a big question. If I’m honest, I’d say – touch wood – that we haven’t made any big mistakes yet. We’ve built the brand up slowly and organically, we’ve taken risks but that have all worked out for us. Don’t get me wrong, we have made mistakes for sure, but nothing that we have regretted.
A: Yes I think that’s the key, whenever we’ve taken a risk we’ve always been aware of what would happen if it didn’t work out, so I wouldn’t really class it as a mistake.
15) In a world of wireless technology and digital screens, why seek out a timepiece powered by springs and gears? What’s the allure?
A: I would say that’s exactly what the allure is, that it’s not yet another piece of technology that’s going to beep at you to remind you that you haven’t walked enough, or that you’ve just received a tweet, and that will be obsolete within the year. It’s a wonderful piece of craftsmanship, compacted down into your wrist. To me, that’s quite magical.
So a huge thanks to Anneke and Jerome for taking the time to share your insights with us and allowing me to take a look at the No.29 the design is lovely, classic with a major hint of adventures! Looking forward to seeing what you guys have in store for us watch lovers in the future! For more information please check them out here