15 June 2016

Bremont: Lessons from US

At the HSBC Trade Exchange during IFB2016, Giles English, co-founder of Bremont Watches will share his experience of taking a British watch brand into the US.

International Festival for Business 2016

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Driven by a passion for quality watch-making and a desire to take Britain back to the forefront of the industry, brothers Nick and Giles English launched Bremont Watches in 2002.

The success of the company is testament to the commitment and patience needed to build a strong business. From making the decision to take the plunge to actually launching the business took five years. Now, though, Bremont Watches is thriving, hoping to sell close to 10,000 watches over the coming year' and more than 70% of its sales going to overseas markets.

International growth has been at the heart of the company's success to date. As Nick says, "there's no point in being a British watch brand and just selling to the British market".

That global focus has taken Bremont to Asia and the Middle East but a key market for them is the US. The company first crossed the Atlantic in 2008 and has steadily built its presence in the world's most significant consumer market, with 50 retailers and eight full-time staff in the US at the latest count.

A major milestone for Bremont was establishing a boutique store on the iconic Madison Avenue in early 2015, but cracking the US market has not been straightforward as Giles explains.

"The US is not an easy market," he says. "The Americans are very brand conscious and whilst a positive, being a British brand certainly does not translate to immediate success."

As with almost any market, relationships and customer service are paramount but Giles points out that the quality of service that the US market is used to far out-strips the equivalent in the UK.

If you let a customer down in their eyes, it is very hard to win them back again," he says. "You need to be very much on the case

As Bremont has grown its presence in the US and met the high expectations of consumers on the other side of the Atlantic, Giles is very clear on what has enabled the company to achieve its success to date.

"Consistency and delivering when we said we would deliver have been absolutely key," he explains.

"Most important, though has been having brand representation out there through someone who understands the market and has lived and breathed it for a number of years.

"Just because we have a common language does not mean the Americans think the same way as us Brits - we are more different than you think!"

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