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Best of British - the UK watch brands you’re going to love! By Extropian

UK brands
watches
Microbrands
Watch case
Automatic watches
Pilot watches
Dive watches
Dials
Anordain
William Wood Watches
Studio Underd0g
Strond Timepieces
Radcliffe
Matterhorn
Marloe
Isotope
Geckota
Farer
Clemence Watches
Christopher Ward
Best of British - the UK watch brands you’re going to love! By Extropian

We’ve already had a look at some of the great indy and microbrands which have sprung up in the USA over the past decade or so, and now we’re heading across the Atlantic to focus on the UK. It’s a smaller market, sure, but there are still plenty of companies to choose from, and they’re every bit as innovative and imaginative as their American cousins!

From dials made with parts of an airplane wing to straps made from upcycled fire hoses, and even a watch that looks like a watermelon, there’s so much to love about the UK watch scene!

anOrdain

Founded by Lewis Heath in 2015, anOrdain (named after Loch an Ordain in the Scottish Highlands) is a Glasgow-based company which fuses contemporary design with traditional craft techniques to produce some truly exceptional watches. Drawing on the city’s flourishing community of designers and makers, the company has grown steadily since its inception, now employing a team of fifteen people who oversee every aspect of production.

Their Model 1, launched in 2018, is an elegant, classically understated watch perfect for any occasion, including formal dress events, while the Model 2 is a more rugged and robust take on a classic field watch. Both feature anOrdain’s signature needle-shaped skeleton hands and vibrantly colored enamel dials, all made in-house by the company’s team of master jewelers. Their latest range, the Fabrik Model 1, gives a subtle update to the original Model 1 with dial details inspired by the contour lines and typography of antique Ordnance Survey maps.

an0rdain Model 1 - Plum Fumé

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an0rdain Model 2 - Racing Green

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Christopher Ward

The world’s first online-only watch brand, Christopher Ward was launched by co-founders Chris Ward, Mike France, and Peter Ellis in 2005. With a mission to produce premium watches without the enormous mark-ups common to many Swiss brands, the company has spent the past two decades creating “the cheapest most expensive watches in the world”. Based in Maidenhead near London, their watches are designed in-house and manufactured in Switzerland by their partner company Synergies Horlogères, with whom they create bespoke movements including the Calibre SH21 – the first commercially viable mechanical movement from a British watch brand in over 50 years!

Blending idiosyncratic English design with Swiss watchmaking expertise, Christopher Ward’s watches aren’t afraid to rip up the rule book when necessary. The C1 Moonglow is a beautiful, modernist Moonphase watch whose dial features a pair of rotating three-dimensional moons, one of which always remains clouded through smoked glass in the crystal. Meanwhile, the C65 Dune Automatic blends the retro style of ‘60s and ‘70s sports watches with modern touches to produce an elegant fusion between a field watch and something dressier.

Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow

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Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic - White Sand

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Clemence Watches

Fascinated by an old photo of his grandfather wearing a vintage Universal Genève wristwatch, Tom Clemence would eventually establish his own company in 2022, with the aim of producing durable watches which would stand the test of time. Launched in 2022 Clemence’s first offering, the Photic Diver, is a robust tool watch inspired by classic dive watches of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It features a 316L stainless steel case and bracelet, 120-click bezel, 200m water resistance, and a variety of dial and bezel finishes.

With an emphasis on in-house servicing and a climate positive business model which puts helping the environment above inflated profits, Clemence watches are designed to last a lifetime and minimize the company’s carbon footprint. For every watch sold, they will plant a tree in Scotland!

Clemence Photic Diver - Atoll Blue

Uk 5

Farer

Combining British design and Swiss manufacture, Farer watches recall a golden age of watchmaking characterized by bold colors, contrasting textures, and the very best craftsmanship. Launched in 2015, the company puts an emphasis on originality, creating its own unique aesthetic which deliberately stands out from the crowd.

The Moonphase collection features a cool cushion case with hand-painted moon complication and a range of bold dial/strap color combinations (Salmon Pink with Avocado Green for instance!). The Swann is a classic chronograph with a striking magenta sunray dial, bi-compax layout, and choice of textured granola leather straps (we like the burgundy version). These are definitely watches that people will notice!

Farer Moonphase Collection - Eddington

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Farer Swann

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Geckota

Launched in 2012 by self-confessed watch geek (and founder of the WatchGecko website) Jonathan Quinn, Geckota aims to produce stylish, timeless, and affordable watches for both long-time enthusiasts and first-time buyers alike. Based in the medieval market town of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, Geckota has developed a range of vintage-inspired collections with colorful modern twists that elevate them above simple homages.

The Pioneer, for instance, has a cool space-age aesthetic, its retro looks enhanced by a 316L stainless steel cushion case, vertically brushed crosshair dial, and Cathedral hands. By contrast, the Sea Hunter is a classic dive watch with a 120-click unidirectional bezel made of protective transparent epoxy resin, curved sapphire crystals, a polished 316L stainless steel case and bracelet, 200m water resistance, and 38-hour power reserve. Like other British companies, Geckota has a carbon neutral philosophy, working in collaboration with the One Tribe organization which helps protect the rainforests.

Geckota Pioneer - Brushed Vintage Green Dial

Uk 8

Isotope

Founded by José and Joana Miranda in 2026, Isotope strives to create original, modernist watches using bold colors and distinctive designs. Every one of their watches is packed with quirky little details. The HydriumX ‘Exit’ is inspired by the life-saving Emergency Exit signs we see everywhere, with its plain white dial offset by vivid green, fully-lumed bezel, hands, and indices, all of which glow in the dark. The lumed dial even reveals a small figure running for the door when the lights go out!

Isotope Hydrium X “Exit”

Uk 9

Equally impressive is the Isotope GMT 0°, which replaces the traditional function of the extra GMT hand and bezel with a unique cut-out dial design combining a date dot and GMT disc which shows both the date and time in a second time zone. As if that’s not enough, flip it over and the reverse of the case is engraved with the hours of difference of the world’s major cities relative to GMT!

Isotope GMT 0° - Olive Green

Uk 10

Marloe

From its home on the banks of Loch Leven in Kinross, Scotland, the Marloe Watch Company has been specializing in meticulously designed and crafted mechanical watches since 2015. Founded by Oliver Goffe and Gordon Fraser, the brand is notable for being part-owned by its devoted customer base, following two incredibly successful crowdfunding campaigns which have helped the company grow and develop new products in recent years. 

All Marloe’s watches are inspired by the endeavors of adventurers, craftsmen, and visionaries who have left a mark on the world. The streamlined simplicity of the Coniston pays homage to Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, who set numerous world speed records on both land and water. Its polished applied indices and stainless-steel skeleton hands stand out against a chalk-white dial with a central plateau surrounded by a sunken ring of Superluminova. Meanwhile, the robust design and diminutive dimensions of the Tay are inspired by Victoria Drummond MBE, the UK’s first female marine engineer. 

Marloe Coniston - White

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Marloe Tay - Itten

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MatterHorn

Launched in 2019, London-based MatterHorn draws inspiration from the great British Aline explorers of the 19th Century. Its founder, Taahir, aims to create high quality tool watches at affordable prices for the contemporary everyday adventurer.

The DiveMaster 300 is a classic-looking dive watch with a 316L stainless-steel case and micro-adjust bracelet, scratch-resistant sapphire crystals, screw-down crown, and an impressive 300m depth rating. It features a matte dial (in green, blue, or black) with matching 120-click bezel, polished applied indices, and stylish dauphine hands filled with Superluminova. At just £299 this must be one of the most competitively priced divers out there!

MatterHorn DiveMaster - Forest Green

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RADCLIFFe

Founded by Tayeb Boussalia in 2020, Oxford-based RADCLIFFe watch Co. has built a reputation for producing reliable, practical, and versatile mechanical watches with sapphire display casebacks, all combining timeless style with a vibrant modernist twist.

The Signature V2 falls somewhere between a sports and dress watch, with the refined elegance of its slim (10mm) brushed and polished case matched by a choice of Guilloché or Aventurine dials with minimalist applied indices. In contrast, the Haxel blends the iconic style of 1970s racing chronographs with a contemporary aesthetic and bold color choices. We love the Racing Series variant with its classic blue and orange color scheme, which is carried over from the striped enamel dial to the matching bezel and leather rally strap!

RADCLIFFe Signature V2 - Aventurine

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RADCLIFFe Haxel - Racing Series (Le Mans)

Uk 15

Strond Timepieces

Based in Basingstoke since 2020, Strond has carved a unique place in the UK watch market making vintage style pilot watches inspired by classic 1940s aviation. With a lifelong passion for watches, Strond’s founder Terrence Ray has designed timepieces for several different companies over the years, including the Aston Martin Tourbillon (to celebrate the launch of their new Valkyrie super car!), and now brings these years of experience to his latest venture.

The DC-3 Mk II is a classic pilot’s chronograph with a choice of handmade leather or canvas straps. But the truly unique detail is that each watch includes a metal tag on the dial made from the wing of a 1940s DC-3, with the plane identification number NC-16007 engraved onto the tag itself! 

Strond DC-3 MkII 1945 - Stainless Steel

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Studio Underd0g

Taking advantage of some enforced downtime during the Covid pandemic in 2020, London-based Richard Benc decided to channel his love of watches and background in Product Design into his own company, and Studio Underd0g was born. With a nod to classic vintage watches of the past, combined with a playful and vibrantly colorful approach to modern design concepts, the company aims to produce unique and highly individualistic timepieces which really stand out from the crowd.

Their debut offering is the Bicompax ST-1901, a mechanical hand-wound chronograph with an elegantly simple brushed and polished stainless-steel case, textured dial, and tachymeter scale running around the edge. Available in several quirky variations, our favorite has to be the Watermelon variant with its graduated pink and green color scheme which really does look like the fruit it’s named after – it even has black seed-shaped indices to complete the illusion! 

Studio Underd0g ST-1901 Bicompax - Watermelon

Uk 17

William Wood Watches

Named after his grandfather, a decorated member of the British Fire Service, Jonny Garrett launched William Wood Watches in 2016, with every piece the company produces paying tribute to the bravery of all firefighters, past and present, around the world. The history of British firefighting lives on in all their watches, which feature design details made from melted down antique firefighter’s helmets and straps made from upcycled fire hoses. What’s more, the company donates a portion of its profits to firefighting charities and has raised over £100,000 since launching!

The Triumph collection is a series of chronographs with sub dials inspired by the dashboard gauges inside a fire engine cockpit, a chronograph hand shaped like a vintage fire bell chime, and an exhibition caseback that looks just like a fire alarm! The Valiant is a modernist dive watch with a brushed stainless-steel case, aluminum bezel, and great details such as a crown inlaid with a brass fireman’s helmet and checkered markings around the dial inspired those found on the side of a British fire engine.

William Wood Triumph - Heat Edition

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William Wood Valiant - The White Watch

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Conclusion

We think there’s a whole lot to get excited about in the UK at the moment, and the market is growing steadily all the time. As ever, many of the watches made by these companies are produced in very limited editions and sell out quickly, so be sure not to miss out! Find out more about what all these brands (and more!) have to offer on Extropian’s database.

Created the 2023-09-04

Modified the 2024-04-19

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