Sekford proves it’s the right type
The launch of a new British watch brand used to be cause for celebration. Back in those heady days of about 10 years ago, the Brothers English were the new kids of the block with Bremont. But then came the rampant “me-too”-ism, and the open letters from members of the British watchmaking establishment about how these brands weren’t really British at all. The story has lost a lot of its sheen.
Then at the end of last year came Sekford, a British brand that means we can get excited about Blighty again.
Sekford is the brainchild of Kuchar Swara, a man who knows a thing or two about style, having co-founded eclectic lifestyle magazine Port.
Sekford’s S1 A2 Steel White Bridle with tan strap
Swara started Sekford because he saw a gap in the market. He didn’t think the stylish design-savvy chap was well served in the sub-£1,000 sector of the watch world and figured he could be the one to provide a solution.
Along with Cédric Bellon – a watch designer who counts Hermès, Bell & Ross and Longines among his clients – and Pierre Foulonneau – an industrial designer, who has collaborated with brands such as Tefal – he started work on Sekford, which takes its name from Sekforde Street in Clerkenwell, an area of London that historically housed watch and clockmakers.
It isn’t just the name that references the golden age of British watchmaking; Swara wanted the design to emulate the 18th and 19th century pocket watches he saw while researching the project at the Clockmaker’s Museum, which now resides at London’s Science Museum.
The vintage typeface used for the numerals was designed exclusively for Sekford
These trips also inspired the typography that was commissioned specifically for Sekford. It’s called Sekford Underground Tiny and was created by Commercial Type, the typeface design gurus behind such major projects as the relaunch of The Guardian a decade ago.
For the font geeks among you, it’s a special cut of Edward Johnston’s Underground typeface, but made extra thin to emulate the single-brushstroke lines on old watch dials.
Despite the nods to Britain’s horological history, the watches are made in Switzerland – although the straps are made of British leather. The starting price is £695.
Some have said that’s a bit steep for a quartz watch, but Swara has defended his pricing by pointing out the level of finishing and the quality of the leather, not to mention the attention to detail and craftsmanship in the watch, all of which is a cut above the standard quartz-watch fare. We concur – it’s a keen price for an elegantly considered piece of design.
The challenge for Sekford will be to convince customers that it wouldn’t be better to hold out for an extra £400 in the budget to get a NOMOS Glashütte, where design is just as important and you get the added bonus of a mechanical heartbeat.
But that’s a different buying decision, and article. If you’re after something that looks great on and marks you out as an arbiter of taste, then Sekford is certainly worth opening your wallet for. And – in spirit – it’s British too. Did we mention that?