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THE WATCH TAILOR

A Harold Pinchbeck English watch being meticulously hand-made at the workbench.

How and where are Harold Pinchbeck watches made?

Harold Pinchbeck is not merely an 'English brand': each and every watch is actually designed, built and finished in this country. According to an article in The Mail on Sunday, about ten million watches are sold in the UK every year! Sadly, very few of these are actually made in Britain, a complete reversal of the situation of fifty years ago. We may be a small manufacturer, but we are doing our bit to reverse this trend.

Photographs show how our watches look, but not the thought that goes into their making. The further up our range you look, the more you will find that many of your watch's parts are made, not only in Britain, but by small engineering firms and individual craftsmen. It's a joy to work with these people, whose expertise has been handed down through the generations. It is a world away from mass production. For centuries, watchmakers have sourced their movements from suppliers of basic calibres, and we honour this tradition by using fine Swiss movements, whether mechanical or quartz, in all our watches.

 

Just as in the 18th Century, each watch design begins its life on a sketchpad, although today it is soon transferred to a computer to create the working drawings.  

 

The small watchmaker has always employed the services of independent experts, and this is still true in the 21st Century. For example, our dials are made by the country's oldest-established specialists, who made their first dials for a locomotive in 1820, and who now produce dials for some of the world's most prestigious cars.

 

Many of our metal parts are made by local engineers, who use the latest computer controlled machines to achieve the required accuracy. By contrast, the leather straps on our bespoke watches are created by a craftsman who uses no computers: just hand tools and traditional methods.  

 

These parts are brought together in a workshop (not a factory), where a skilled craftsman assembles them into the finished watch. This work can't be rushed: it's painstaking, requiring good eyesight and steady hands! When he has built up a watch he examines it from every angle  before testing it thoroughly, adjusting it as necessary to ensure reliability and accuracy. Eventually, the case will receive its final polish and inspection, and at this stage the handmade strap is fitted. Only then is the watch ready to be placed in its wooden presentation box, ready to be sent to its owner, together with the five year warranty.

 

We believe that your watch should gratify your senses: the eyes, the hands and even (through our Tanner Bates straps) the nose. It might be an old fashioned approach, but we believe it makes a welcome change from the anonymous mass production of so many of those ten million watches!

Paul Pinchbeck, of Harold Pinchbeck watches, inspects a watch case back with engineer Tim Wilkinson in Lincolnshire.

(Above) Paul Pinchbeck inspects a watch case back with engineer Tim Wilkinson before it becomes part of a Harold Pinchbeck watch.

Engineering header caption A Harold Pinchbeck Christopher hand-made English watch on the workbench.

(Above) A Harold Pinchbeck hand-made Christopher watch in the making on the workbench. A truly unique watch being made by real craftsmen.

(Above and left) Our watches are hand-built by craftsmen, at a workbench, in an English workshop. Knowing your watch has been made meticulously by human hands, and cared for at every stage, creates an extremely special watch that will be totally unique to you!

Rob watchmaking A x 490