A new watch company inspired by British pioneers that have largely been forgotten by history has launched during lockdown.

The Winton Watch Company has been founded by Chris Holder, from Eaglescliffe, on Teesside, and Simon Hebb, from Dishforth, North Yorkshire, after they were inspired by British pioneers and adventurers who have quietly changed the world without getting the recognition they deserve.

The business has been named after Alexander Winton – a British engineer who changed the automotive industry in the US, but has been largely overlooked by history.

Although the business is based in Yarm, it also takes its name from the village of Winton, in North Yorkshire, which lies between the homes of the two founders.

On top of this, The Winton Watch Company’s first two watches have been named the Anning and Swan. The first takes its name from Mary Anning, who played a critical role in the study of palaeontology in the early 19th century, but whose achievements have only recently been made clear.

The Swan is named after Joseph Swan, who pioneered the making of electric lightbulbs

The second is named after Sunderland-born Joseph Swan, who was an early developer of lightbulbs and whose home was the first in the world to be illuminated by electricity.

Commenting on the launch of the business, Mr Hebb said: “We’re both massive watch fans. We spotted a gap in the market for a British brand that could deliver high-quality handmade watches at a reasonable price, and the extra time we’ve had as a result of the pandemic has given us the time to do exactly that.

Mr Holder added: “At the core of the Winton brand is doing things differently – and defying convention.

“As a result, the company is entirely self-funded, and (aside from our watchmakers in Switzerland) and we’re keeping things local wherever possible by using companies on Teesside and in North Yorkshire.”

Simon Hebb and Chris Holder have formed the Winton Watch Company
Simon Hebb and Chris Holder have formed the Winton Watch Company

With the exception of Winton’s watchmaking partner in Switzerland, the company has chosen to work with local companies to get the watches to market. This includes working with Yarm design agency Happyleaves and Ripon printing company Beyond Digital.

Mr Holder and Mr Hebb originally came up with the idea for The Winton Watch Company after a chance meeting on a train 10 years ago. But during lockdown the pair have regularly travelled to London for work, giving them ample time to work on the business.

All of the company’s watches are handmade in Switzerland are available to buy online on the firm’s website. Prices start at £475.

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