Glen Anthony Watches, which designs and crafts wrist watches using the finest Swiss movements and high-tech materials such as titanium, carbon fibre and stainless steel, is shooting for the stars following support from Business Northumberland.
The business is run by entrepreneur Glen Anthony Jobling, who has been intrigued by the inner workings of mechanical objects since beginning his career at the age of 15 in 1986 when he started as an apprentice motor technician at his family’s garage.
His father was a keen rally driver, which gave young Glen ample opportunity to gain an understanding of the mechanisms that work together to create complex machines.
“We were always modifying my dad’s cars and his customers’ cars – that’s where I grew an interest in customising cars and bikes,” he explains.
Glen continued to develop his skills as a vehicle technician until 2002 when he and his wife opened an MOT and service centre in North Tyneside.
“Though I was the director of my own garage for 15 years but had always had an interest in watches.
“I had always been making and modifying parts for cars when they were unavailable, so had a lot of experience in machining and fabricating parts, which converts nicely to watch making - though the components are smaller.”
In 2011, Glen realised that he could buy watch movements, dials, cases, hands and straps for watches individually.
So he bought all the parts and assembled his first watch, an achievement which gave him immense joy and was the first step to a burgeoning career.
“I made a few watches but realised that I could not move on unless I made the parts myself,” he continues.
“So I learned CAD design and purchased some CNC machinery and started designing and making my own cases and dials, which people were very positive about.
“I made my first collection and they sold very well, so in 2015 I sold my garage and put everything into watch making.”
Glen now oversees every aspect of his watch production, from design all the way to completion of each product.
He spends his days immersed in his craft, researching movements, sourcing new materials and coming up with new design inspiration.
But while making watches from scratch, creating components and assembling them in an intricate manner may seem challenging to most, this hasn’t been what Glen has found most difficult.
“I thought making the watches was going to be difficult, but it has been marketing and knowing how and where to sell our products,” he explains.
This led Glen to seek out assistance from Business Northumberland and its High Growth Coaching Programme, which provides support to help businesses grow across the region.
“I was searching for a business organisation in Northumberland when I found them online, and they have been excellent in assisting me to grow.
“Getting 12 hours with a specialist coach was very insightful and showed me how to look at my competition and pricing, elevating my online image to appeal to all kinds of people, how to create Facebook and other media adverts.
“I have learned who my customer is and how to engage with them, and that my online presence needs to be very upmarket to sell an upmarket product.”
Looking toward the future, growth is certainly on the horizon for this ambitious local manufacturer.
“In five years we hope to have more staff and machinery, selling online across the world and able to create more exciting watches.
“I would like to have the customers who would like an individual watch made, to their specifications and spend some time creating it for them.”
Case Study developed in partnership with BQ.