After seemingly coming out of nowhere to produce one of our favourite watches of the year – we caught up with Sam Holland and Jon Shakespeare to learn more about WT Author.
WT Author – Interview and About The Brand
We started off by asking Sam and Jon about their backgrounds.
WRUK: How did you get into watchmaking?
WTA: We are both Ex-Coventry University graduates, I studied Automotive design, and Sam Product design. We were a few years apart but met each other for the first time when we sat next to each other working for a watch company in Birmingham. That’s where our mutual love of watches started. Sam was the watch designer, and I was the packaging and graphic designer. So when we decided to start our own company, we naturally knew we had a lot of the skills already in place to hopefully succeed. Sam being the designer of the watches, tapping into all his technical know-how, and me on the graphics side. I think we’d had one of those days, and thought we could do just as good a job… the rest is history, and soon after we realised, just how much work and energy goes into starting your own business. We were incredibly naive really, but that was a good thing, as we’d probably have been too scared to take the plunge had we known just what was going to be involved.
WRUK: What made you decide to assemble your watches in the UK rather than having them made abroad like most other microbands?
WTA: We always knew we wanted to do as much as we could in the UK as possible. We still do. At any opportunity, if we can, we will still try to bring things back to the UK.
So we’d always had this idea that we were going to make our own watch straps. And then we were just thinking, how can we make this even better. I love making things, and anything mechanical, having grown up helping my Father fix classic cars. So when we were brainstorming ideas, We were just a bit like… ‘Well could we assemble them?’ and I had no hesitations. It gives us the final QC check, which I think is so important. Every watch is specifically built to order. So I’m involved in every part of the process, Any problems get picked up before the watch even gets assembled. It’s a special thing for the customer to know the time and effort that’s gone into their watch, and our customers love this about us.
WRUK: Your designs are completely unique – What is the process that goes into the design on a WT Author watch?
WTA: We start every year with a clean slate. We come back after Christmas, refreshed, and ready to start the next watch, full of excitement. We have a non-judgmental brainstorm phase, where nothing gets discounted. Then there’s a lot of back and forth as this watch slowly starts to form. We spend weeks trying to get it just perfect. Sam is in charge of this process and has incredible patience. He’s ultimately tasked with making each watch incredible. And not just from the front, but making sure the whole thing goes together as a beautiful coherent three-dimensional design. I just pipe up occasionally and annoy him. 🙂
We look at our favourite parts from the previous year and see how we can evolve those even further. Normally the more extreme the direction, the more people love the design. If we’ve learnt one thing, it’s to never hold back…
WRUK: Have you considered using any other movements – are Swiss or even in-house options coming in the future?
WTA: We absolutely have, and are constantly developing, and researching. We like to take our own sweet time, hence the ‘one watch a year’, when other companies are pumping them out by the 100s. We have things behind the scenes that we’re excited about, but unfortunately, you’ll have to watch this space, so no-one sneaks in and steals our ideas. 🙂
WRUK: Your collections are named after key dates in British history – what WT Author collections are planned for the future?
WTA: As we speak we have just started working on the 198(0…something). We never go more than a year into the future at any one time, as we just never know what’s around the corner. All we have is a seed at the minute, but it’s the perfect progression from one of our most successful watches and looks to be the most extreme watch to date…
But then again… who knows. lol, we might change our mind next month…
Find out more about WT Author
Thanks very much to Jon and Sam for their candid responses, and we look forward to seeing this year’s watch, the WT Author No. 1973. You can find out more about the brand at their website WTAuthor.com.