Meet Camden Watch Company
Icons Made Here
Tue 2 May
DESIGNED IN NW1 AND MADE WITH SWISS TRAINING – MEET THE MARKET’S OWN TIMEPIECE MAESTROS
Setting up shop in Camden Market in 2015, Anneke Short and Jerome Robert are the power couple behind the Camden Watch Company. As the name suggests, Camden is an intrinsic part of the brand’s DNA; their designs take inspiration from the history of Camden – from markings on the dials to the watch straps themselves. With Camden in their blood, they make the perfect focus for our first article in the Icons Made Here series, telling the stories of the unique businesses that call Camden Market home.
They tell us what makes this watch company tick.
How did you end up here in Camden Market?
We first opened in 2014 with a pop-up shop on Camden High Street. Running our own shops wasn’t actually part of our plan, we were just planning on a pop-up to kick things off and then to go down the traditional route of selling via other stores, but that first pop-up shop worked so well that after some deliberation, we decided to change tack. And where else to enquire about opening our first store than Camden Market? We got in touch, and around 11 months after opening the doors to that very first pop-up, we now had our own permanent store to call home in the heart of Camden Market.
Did you always want to make watches?
A: I’ve always loved designing and creating things, but my passion for watches really came from Switzerland, where I studied watch and jewellery design. I’ve never looked back.
J: Not only am I Swiss, but I’m actually from La Chaux-de-Fonds, which is the Swiss watch town, so watches are in my blood.
Anneke is British, but the couple met in Jerome’s homeland Switzerland, where Anneke was studying jewellery. She then went on to intern with a famous Swiss watch designer. “Being Swiss”, says Jerome, “means you are constantly surrounded by watches, or people who work in the watch industry, so it just becomes part of your culture”. In 2010, they moved to the UK, where they launched their own design studio.
How did your Swiss training inform your design?
J: We approach our watches no differently than if we were designing a high-end Swiss watch that would sell for thousands – every detail has been designed and then re-designed until perfect.
A: It sounds like a stereotype but it’s true – in Switzerland, watches are everywhere, which means the general population are very knowledgeable. You can’t help but learn from that! Our real strength though, lies in our mix of Swiss knowledge and quintessential British-ness.
What do you hear from your customers?
We have so many interesting and wonderful customers come into our store. The first thing people often say when they step inside is how nice the store looks. This is such a great compliment to receive as we did all the design, decorating and shop fit ourselves, and of course it helps that the bones of the shop are so great and fit our style so well.
From there, we have such a wide variety of visitors that it’s hard to quantify. Some who have come specifically for us, glad to have finally found us in the maze of the market, others that stumble upon us by chance. We’ve even had celebrities – Martin Freeman is a frequent visitor!
We’ve had customers who come in so often they have become friends, and others that have left pressing notes containing phone numbers into our hands with the promise that if we ever visit their country we give them a call, and they’ll show us all the best places. We pride ourselves massively on that personal touch, and being in a place as vibrant as Camden just makes it all the easier.
What should someone look for in a watch?
J: Quite simply, make sure that you love it. Don’t follow a trend or buy it because someone else likes it. You’re the one wearing it every day. Also, research the history of the brand to see if you are buying something that has been made with passion or just stamped with a brand name.
What do you enjoy about what you do?
A: What stands out for me is when customers pick up on small details that we spent a lot of time developing, such as the second hand of our unisex watch, which is the same colour as Camden Lock bridge.
J: I know it sounds corny, but I really love our customers. We have a really loyal fan base and that’s so gratifying. For people to really get what it is that we are doing, and for them to choose to spend there hard-earned money on our products is very humbling.
Anneke and Jerome left us with these words, that hang on the wall of the store and encapsulates how they feel about Camden.
Welcome to Camden.
Home of the misfits.
The rockers, the artists, the girls with tattoos.
Where you can do what you want and be who you choose.
From a place – long forgotten – of smoke, steam, and sweat,
Where navvies and boxers and all were well met.
To a modern day maze full of life and acclaim,
That you know is not perfect but you love all the same.
Because whoever you are, and wherever you’re from,
You are welcome here and it’s here you belong.
So come, we are waiting. Can you hear the call?
From Camden, with love.
Not for one but for all.
For more info about the Camden Watch Company and where to find them, click here.