Roger Smith was previously the only horologist whose watches are entirely designed and built on British soil, more specifically on the Isle of Man where each year he makes just a handful of watches, including all their parts. Now two’s company. Robert Loomes, who is established in Lincolnshire in the east of England, came to the recent SalonQP with his Stamford watch whose hours-minutes-small seconds movement, which also goes by the name Stamford, is entirely his own work.
Robert Loomes is no stranger to watchmaking circles, having come to attention in 2011 when he came across a stash of unused movements, made in the 1950s by the now defunct Smiths Industries. This gave him the idea for classically styled watches that would house these calibres, and whose cases and several other components would be locally produced. “From the moment we did it, we kept having people say, ‘Well, aren’t you going to make your own movement as well?’” Loomes told The Telegraph. “And I’d been dreaming of it for years.” But as the British broadsheet reminds us, the reality is quite different, given the complexities of producing a working watch movement, particularly for anyone outside Switzerland’s deeply entrenched technological infrastructure.
Robert Loomes stood his ground. In 2014 he secured £250,000 in funding and started to invest in machinery and expertise, while collaborating with universities on a balance system and searching for British companies who could make the necessary components. Five years later, the Stamford is there in all its glory. “It’s not complicated,” says Loomes, almost apologetically. “It tells the time. But it does it with components designed by us and made in Britain, and that charms me immensely.”