Monday, 8 September 2014
Robert Loomes & Co. - Entirely English Watch
I don't cover watches, but when you have one of your most experienced continental field operatives (gen here and here) imploring you to say something about a British watchmaker, you have to take notice.
The watchmaker is Robert Loomes of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. (See Robert himself in the video below.) Our operative says that they're attracting the attention of watch collectors and enthusiasts from Antwerp to Vienna.
Robert Loomes is a family business that produces a range of manual-wind wristwatches that are entirely English-made in their Stamford workshops. A team of twelve watchmakers machine the components and assemble the watches, each specialised in a particular aspect. Loomes machine 80 percent of the watch components in-house. They also machine the cases and dials, and cut and polish their own crystals. They are happy to discuss any aspect of the manufacturing process and you are welcome to visit their workshops.
Keen as you are on heritage and provenance, you'll be pleased to know that the Loomes family has been involved in horology since the 17th century. You're buying into genuine British heritage here.
That's The Red Robin at the top in a solid 18ct gold casing. This model has the same mechanism as the watch Sir Edmund Hilary wore when he scaled Mount Everest.
A 'Swiss-made' watch requires only 50 percent of its movements to be made in Switzerland; dials, cases and so on can still be imported on top of that. LVMH use Seiko parts in their Tag Heuer watches, for example. This feels something of a con, perhaps perpetuated to fuel Chinese mass-consumption of 'luxury European products'. There are many notable exceptions, of course. I believe Rolex is a shining beacon against this practice, with Swiss-made everything; they even have their own in-house gold foundry.
Read the label and caveat emptor.
For the Anglophile Horophile
If you buy a Loomes watch, you support British manufacturing and reject the sharp practices and deceptions of the conglomerates in one fell swoop.
I relent. I will cover British-made watches form now on. How's that?