The 220 Watch Company was initially set up as a single watch project.
Three years ago I was in Winchester Cathedral (I lived in Winchester from 2006-2018) admiring the copper and brass dive helmet of William Walker. Walker is a local hero in Winchester. In 1906 he dived under the Southern wall of the cathedral and for 5 years, with zero visibility, he relaid the foundations with his bare hands. Without his work the cathedral wouldn’t be standing today.
I have studied history, and I am a PADI Divemaster, so I love this story on many levels. While I admired the helmet, it struck that the window of the helmet looked like a watch’s bezel. I also thought that the materials used in the construction of the helmet would probably make a great looking watch. I have been into watches since I was about 7 when my mum used to buy me a new Swatch every year.
Over the next few days I looked into it a bit further, hoping to find a copper watch to buy. I knew the story of the shoulder bolts inspiring Genta’s design of the bezel screws on the Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak, and assumed someone would have created a copper watch. It surprised me that there weren’t any copper cased watches on the available. I recognized that there was a gap in the market, but as the owner of a small I.T. recruitment company, I didn’t dwell on it.
Nearly a year later I was reading an article about how relatively easy it was now days for small scale European designers to partner with Chinese manufacturers. Out of curiosity, I wondered “How relatively easy?” I contacted two dozen manufacturers with my idea. None of them wanted to help apart from one. We developed the initial design concept. It was exactly the idea I had in my mind.
I paid for a prototype to be made, and thought the worst case scenario is I have a one off watch with a unique design (To fund part of the production of the first prototype, I sold one of my watches. A Christopher Ward C9, with an SH21 five day power reserve movement, and a white dial). The watch arrived and I was over the moon. I thought it looked fantastic, and I was proud of the unique design cues and features.
And as they say, the rest is history… (contributed by The 220 Watch Company)