Norwich firm puts Britain 'back on the map' with £30,000 hand-made watches

Garrick Watchmakers are based in Norwich.

Garrick Watchmakers are based in Norwich. - Credit: Murray Laidlaw/Jason Smith

A Norwich firm which has become internationally renowned for its bespoke and hand-made watches - reaching prices of £30,000 - is putting British watch-making "back on the map".

The time, effort and craftmanship which goes into every unique Garrick watch has seen this Norwich-based independent business compete with the biggest names in the world. 

Garrick Watchmaker's Norfolk model.

Garrick Watchmaker's Norfolk model. - Credit: Jason Smith

Garrick Watchmakers was first launched by business-partners Simon Michlmayr and David Brailsford, back in 2013, with the aim to create luxury, hand-crafted watches at more affordable prices – compared to the “enormous prices” of their competitors. 

Mr Michlmayr, 56, has been a watch-maker in Norfolk for more than 30-years and builds only a limited amount every year – made for and designed specifically by the wearer. 

Co-owner of Garrick Watchmakers, Simon Michlmayr.

Co-owner of Garrick Watchmakers, Simon Michlmayr. - Credit: Murray Laidlaw

But it wasn’t until last year, with the launch of their model the S4 when demand for their watches “just went crazy”. 

And they were finalists in the Grand Prix d Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 2021 awards in Switzerland, which Mr Brailsford, a consultant advisor in the industry, described as the “Oscars of the watch world”. 

Owners of Garrick Watchmakers David Brailsford (left) and Simon Michlmayr (right).

Owners of Garrick Watchmakers David Brailsford (left) and Simon Michlmayr (right). - Credit: Jason Smith

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It has been a long road and it has been difficult. Simon and I have put everything into this.  

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“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved and the quality of watch we are making. We have put British, independent watch-making back on the map. 

“But also, our watches mean something to our clients because they become part of the building process.  

“It is special to them because it has been made specifically for them - you won’t find any other watch like it in the world."

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich.

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich. - Credit: Jason Smith

Garrick watchmakers ship to their clients all over the world and this year they are aiming to make 70 watches – the most they have ever attempted. 

Mr Brailsford, 54, who lives in Devon, says the wait for each bespoke creation can take anywhere from six months to a year to be made and delivered, with the prices ranging from £5,000 to £30,000. 

To keep up with demand Garrick recently employed another skilled watch-maker and they are set to expand their workshop this year – which will include the build of a new showroom in Fletcher Way. 

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich.

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich. - Credit: Murray Laidlaw

“Surprisingly, 99pc of all sales come from social media – especially Instagram,” said Mr Brailsford. 

“When you are selling watches like this, it's beautiful images which matter and we post some amazing photographs. They follow each watch being built until it is finished.” 

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich.

Garrick Watchmakers workshop in Norwich. - Credit: Jason Smith

Garrick Watchmaker's S4 model.

Garrick Watchmaker's S4 model. - Credit: Jason Smith