The award-winning British watch-making company, Bremont, has opened its new Manufacturing & Technology Centre in Oxfordshire, which it has named The Wing.
The Wing’ is a 35,000 sq ft purpose-built mechanical watch manufacturing centre enabling the full machining and manufacturing of Bremont’s watches. Sitting on the edge of the beautiful English Oxfordshire town Henley-on-Thames, it was designed by award winning architects Spratley & Partners on a former piggery with strong eco-credentials including a living roof, and recycled air heating system. The site has been transformed into an end-to-end mechanical watch manufacturing centre with CNC machining, finishing and assembly as well as an on-site boutique and significant entertaining space. Just as importantly, the site will provide a destination for watch lovers to visit from all over the world.
Nick and Giles English established Bremont in 2002, having spent their childhood making and restoring things in the workshop of their father, a former RAF pilot with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering.
Pilots of historic aircraft themselves, in the 1990s the brothers had a narrow escape in France while flying their vintage biplane, landing unexpectedly in a field. The farmer who rescued them turned out to be a gifted engineer, who had wall clocks all around the house. His name was Antoine Bremont.
Bremont watches are now designed, manufactured and assembled in England, and the company has invested heavily in its Henley-on-Thames based facility.
The company’s mission statement when the brothers set it up, was “to make exquisitely engineered mechanical time pieces on British soil with the lofty objective of reinvigorating Britain’s horological past using our adventurous spirit, passion for detail, desire to innovate and dedication to the highest quality customer service and satisfaction.”
The new site paves the way for a new era in British watchmaking with increased manufacturing capabilities, job creation, skills development, and a resolute intention of working with more high-quality British suppliers.
Giles said: “We have been on a long journey to bring watch manufacturing back to Britain. We can’t do it all at once, it’s very complicated. We have lost a lost a lot of our engineering skill set.”
Bremont has been running its own apprenticeship scheme for some time now, training up its workforce in this very specific and exacting craft. Working with partners like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and now Williams F1 presents a remarkable opportunity to collaborate and learn from some of the finest engineering businesses in the world and Bremont was to build up a team of first-class engineers to reduce reliance on its non-domestic supply chain and as a key part of its onshoring programme. An increased focus on movement manufacturing and assembly will see Bremont further develop its apprenticeship scheme and will ultimately lead to the recruitment of more technical engineers as well as skilful craftsmen and women. As proud supporters of the British School of Watchmaking, Bremont will be looking to integrate training courses for its students at The Wing.
Jeremy Spratley, Spratley & Partners, “Having designed the original, oak framed barn headquarters for Nick and Giles over ten years ago, it has been such an honour to be part of the design team for their new, “Wing” building. I have seen this ingenious, Henley-on-Thames based company, develop into an outstanding British brand. It is a truly inspiring journey and to be part of this amazing new vision in the Company’s future, as a local practice, has been a huge pleasure. We are immensely proud to have helped craft such an iconic design for Bremont to create and make in for the next generation.”