Watchmaker making time for further deals in 2020

AnOrdain produces enamel-faced watches, which Heath calls the pinnacle of watchmaking. Picture: contributed.
AnOrdain produces enamel-faced watches, which Heath calls the pinnacle of watchmaking. Picture: contributed.
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A Glasgow watchmaker has turned over more than £500,000 in its first 18 months of trading, with the majority of sales coming from the international market.

AnOrdain launched in summer 2018 and already ships around 70 per cent of its orders overseas. Working predominantly in the US market, it also serves clients throughout Europe and in the Far East.

The firm says it combines modern design with 'traditional craft'. Picture: contributed.

The firm says it combines modern design with 'traditional craft'. Picture: contributed.

The business says it has had a constant waiting list of orders for the past year. Founder and product designer Lewis Heath said: “There’s never been a point in the past 12 months where we’ve not known who we’re making for.

"There’s been constant demand… The Scottish element probably appeals to some people, particularly those in the US with Scottish ancestry, but by and large it’s people buying because the watches are good value.”

The business, which already has a retail partnership with jeweller James Porter & Son in Glasgow’s Argyll Arcade, is looking to land further deals in 2020.

Tie-ups with retailers in New York and San Francisco are in the pipeline for early next year.

It also recently secured a loan from Umi Finance to fund the purchase of specialist components and equipment from Switzerland.

Pinnacle

AnOrdain produces enamel-faced watches, which Heath describes as the “pinnacle” of watchmaking.

“The watch market is quite conservative in its aesthetics and we’ve taken a more modern design and mixed it with that traditional craft, which is unusual.”

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Based in Glasgow’s East End, the business now has eight staff. Heath set up audio company RHA in 2011 with a loan from The Prince’s Trust. He left this business in 2017 to focus on AnOrdain, named after Loch an Ordain where Heath was first inspired to start the venture, and spent several years learning the watchmaking craft prior to launch.

This included learning enamel work, which is said to be one of the most difficult techniques in watchmaking.

Heath said: “Watch dial enamelling is incredibly specialist. You have to be able to make really fine wafers of coloured glass and they have to be perfect in thickness, consistency and colour. We’ve spent a long time getting this right."

Before launching AnOrdain, Heath struggled to find a watchmaker of working age, referring the craft as a “dying art” in Scotland, until he last year found Christopher Roussias. The latter is now AnOrdain’s only watchmaker and horologist and is recruiting trainees.