The founders of The Winton Watch Company – based in Yarm – have used the extra time lockdown has afforded them to bring their idea of a British watch company to life and launch the brand.
The fact that neither Simon Hebb (from Dishforth) and Chris Holder (from Eaglescliffe) had to travel during the pandemic gave them the time to devote to developing their idea, which originated from a chance meeting on a train ten years ago and was refined over the many hours of a regular commute from the north east to London.
The pair were inspired by unsung British pioneers and adventurers who have quietly changed the world without getting the recognition they deserve, including Alexander Winton – a British engineer who was a pioneer in the automotive industry in the US, but has been largely overlooked by history. In addition, the village of Winton, North Yorkshire, lies between both of them.
The first two Winton models – the Anning and Swan – are also named after unsung British pioneers – Mary Anning, whose critical role in the study of palaeontology in the early nineteenth century has only become clear in recent years, and Sunderland-born Joseph Swan, an early developer of lightbulbs and owner of the first home in the world to be illuminated by electricity.
Aside from its watchmaking partner in Switzerland, Winton has chosen to work with local companies in order to get its watches to market. These included Happyleaves – a Yarm-based design agency, which has worked closely with the founders to develop the brand and collateral – and specialist printer Beyond Digital, based in Ripon.
“We’re both massive watch fans,” said Simon Hebb, co-founder of The Winton Watch Company. “We spotted a gap in the market for a British brand that could deliver high quality handmade watches at a reasonable price, and the extra time we’ve had as a result of the pandemic has given us the time to do exactly that.”
“At the core of the Winton brand is doing things differently – and defying convention,” continued Chris Holder, co-founder of The Winton Watch Company. “As a result, the company is entirely self-funded, and (aside from our watchmakers in Switzerland) and we’re keeping things local wherever possible by using companies on Teesside and in North Yorkshire.”
Winton’s watches are priced from £475 – for further details visit www.winton.watch.