My Life’s Work | Nick English, Co-founder, Bremont

In this weekly series, we meet a Walpole member chief executive to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week Nick English, co-founder of the award winning British luxury watch brand, Bremont on loyalty, passion and how life is too short.

Nick English co-founded the award winning British luxury watch brand, Bremont, manufacturing mechanical watches in Henley-on-Thames, England alongside his brother Giles. The brand was founded in 2002 and after five years in development the first watch hit the market in 2007 and has made a substantial impact on the watch industry in a short period of time. Passion and dedication has grown Bremont to be in the top 10 chronometer producers in the world with global retail coverage.

The brothers unique approach to product and marketing including partnerships with Martin Baker, Boeing & Jaguar have built a strong business and brought watch making back home to Britain. The brand remains true to its original principles of: aviation and military, British engineering and adventure.

WHAT DOES BRITISH LUXURY MEAN TO YOU? 

Craftsmanship, design and high expectation.

WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE COMPANY?  

To have Bremont play a significant role in the reinvigoration of watchmaking on British shores

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?        

Work wise it would have to be seeing rows of apprentice watch-makers lined up making significant quantities of beautifully engineered mechanical watches in this country – something that hasn’t happened since for decades.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?     

Getting to an exciting destination whilst looking back and having thoroughly enjoyed the journey in getting there.

WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?    

Old aircraft and cars! I am dreading the day my wife actually realises quite how much is spent on these hobbies!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

The building of a brand from nothing and the incredible people we have been fortunate enough to meet along the way.

LEAST?  

The lack of time. As you grow in size there simply isn’t as much time as you would like to have with all of your employees. You end up having great managers, but  I’d like to be able to put more time in myself.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REGRET? 

My father not having been able to have seen any of this Bremont journey with Giles (my brother) and myself.

WHAT’S THE SMARTEST BUSINESS IDEA YOU HAVE EVER HAD?

To bring back the manufacturing of the watches to the UK. It is a huge differentiator between us and the Swiss competition, and it gives us a real sense of longevity in the industry, a real foundation.

WHAT IS YOUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE? 

Treat people as you would like to be treated. That I think works well in the longer term. It is an incredibly small world we live in.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?        

My wife Catherine. She is an incredibly able individual  and mother – bright, beautiful and mentally strong.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVERUSE?       

‘Life is too short’, but it is, right?!

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?       

I am not a great fan of personal debt, and with setting up your own business there are certainly times where you are sailing far too close to the wind. This is never a great feeling and we all know it doesn’t take much to tip the balance the wrong way. It is a necessary evil unfortunately.

WHAT DO YOU MOST VALUE IN YOUR FRIENDS?      

Loyalty, and I guess a passion for something in life. It doesn’t matter what that passion is, but that passion makes them interesting. I love that in someone.

IN A PARALLEL LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? (FANTASY JOB)         

Fighter pilot or film producer. Both would be great!

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ENTERING THE LUXURY INDUSTRY NOW?

Don’t do it unless you honestly have a real and unrivalled love of the product you are bringing to the market, and a burning desire to succeed.  This passion is an essential ingredient.  There will be highs and lows along the way and this unqualified love of your product and industry will drag you through.