Struthers London: What It Means To Be Independent Watchmakers

In our Insiders series, we invite our friends from the world of independent watchmaking to share their perspectives on the issues that matter most to them.

Craig and Rebecca Struthers are the horological duo behind their eponymous watchmaking brand, Struthers London. Both extremely skilled craftsmen – Rebecca Struthers is the first watchmaker in British history to earn a PhD in horology. We caught up with the pair in their studio in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter to chat Independent watchmaking.

CRAIG AND REBECCA STRUTHERS: Until recently, we didn’t see ourselves as independent watchmakers, we were simply making and restoring watches. For a long time, we didn’t really realise there was an industry surrounding what we do, or how many more people there are doing similar things there are out there. As it’s just the two of us in our little workshop we do feel quite disconnected, especially in the UK because there’s so few of us here.

But just seeing the hashtag ‘independent watchmaking’ trending on Instagram made us realise it was a thing.

We’ve found so many people that are making incredible things in their workshops. They’re on the other side of the planet, yet, we’re liking what each other are doing. And we love that.

As an independent watchmaker, I see it as the difference between a cruise liner and a little Riva speedboat. They’re both luxury but for bigger brands to make a change of direction, to design something new, is a huge exercise. But independent brands can move freely – they’re more dynamic.

Being smaller means you can make changes and create new models much more easily.

We can start with something very basic and run with it. The customer can sit with us and go through ideas – it can be very personal. If you want something personalised or bespoke, something completely different just for you, you can approach an independent watchmaker and they can make it happen.

We wouldn’t say the independents are a better choice – they are a different choice. If you want something unique that you won’t be able to get anywhere else, and if you want an experience to go with that – something more memorable than just walking into a shop on the high street and saying “I want that one” – that is what the independents have. If you go to a global watchmaking brand, walk into the store and ask to meet your watchmaker, that would never happen. It’s a different experience.

If you’re looking for a watch and an experience that’s created for you – that’s why you should choose the independents.

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